Peggy Sattler MPP, London West

Government of Ontario
 

Hello Neighbour,

Whether this weekend finds you at an Easter dinner, Seder, or Iftar, or if you are just enjoying a well-earned day off, I hope you have lots of opportunities to spend time with family, friends and neighbours. To all the Christian and Jewish families in London West who are observing Easter or Passover, please accept my best wishes for a joyful celebration.

On Thursday, we had an eventful end to the week at Queen's Park. First, we learned that the Ford government will NOT pass Our London Family Act, a bill written by Muslim community leaders in London and across the province to address rising incidents of Islamophobia and racism, and named to honour London's beloved Afzaal family whose lives were tragically taken in a horrific Islamophobic attack on June 6, 2021. I am heartsick that the government does not intend to pass it. 

Later Doug Ford surprised us all by adjourning the Legislature until April 28, when the provincial budget will be tabled. With the Legislature now recessed for a scheduled constituency week, it will be two weeks before MPPs return to Queen's Park. As the Official Opposition House Leader, I raised concerns about this lack of accountability, as Ontario experiences the sixth wave of COVID, in the media and in the house. We can expect the budget to be even more partisan than usual - presented not for debate but to become the PC campaign platform as the province heads into the provincial election. The call is likely to come on May 4 for a June 2 election day.

Before I close, I want to give a shout-out to Londoner Brendon Samuels, who joined my colleague MPP Chris Glover at a Queen's Park media conference on April 5 to urge that bird-safe windows be mandated on all new buildings. Birds are essential to the health of our environment — they disperse seeds, eat billions of insects each year and help to maintain lush agricultural land, forests and wetlands. However, 25 million birds die each year through collisions with windows. In London West's Coves Environmentally Significant Area, 59 different species of breeding birds have been identified. You can listen to bird call recordings for some of these species here.

Please note that my constituency office  will remain open to serve constituents throughout the election period, and I will continue to use this newsletter to update the community on my work as MPP until the election is formally called. 

Although I can not send out MPP newsletters during the campaign, please let me know if you would like to receive updates on campaign-related information. You can either respond to this email or visit peggysattler.ontariondp.ca. More information about the election is available at elections.on.ca  

Thanks for taking the time to read these updates. It is an honour to serve as your MPP.

Stay safe and take care,

My community office is available to help with provincial programs and services by phone at 519-657-3120 or by email at [email protected] In-person meetings can be arranged by appointment only.

 
In this newsletter:
 

Around London

I am excited to host my annual Leading Women Leading Girls Awards next week! The event is free and open to everyone. To ensure the safety of recipients and their guests, capacity will be limited, masks and vaccination will be required, and we will not be serving refreshments. If you haven't already, please RSVP here to attend and review the COVID protocols.
 
Thank you to the dedicated volunteers at Anova's drop-off zone, who receive needed items to help people in shelter.

The Donation Centre is located at 1067 Wellington Road, and open Tuesday and Thursday from noon to 3pm. Check Anova's website to see an up-to-date list of the most needed items. Click here for this month's list.
 
The London Environmental Network is hosting a Butt Blitz for the month of April. Londoners are encouraged to pick up discarded cigarette butts in their community, then deliver or arrange for the waste to be picked up from one of their team members. It will get sent to TerraCycle Canada for recycling.
 



Are you a high school student with a passion for filmmaking? The Forest City Youth Film Festival is accepting submissions until June 30, 2022! Read here for more information.
 
The City of London is consulting with the community to create the Mobility Master Plan. You can share you experiences and comments on mobility in the city here!
 
Toronto Artist Asim Hussain launched the National Letter of Remembrance campaign to commemorate the Afzaal family (Our London Family) and take action against Islamophobia. The interactive website allows folks to send letters digitally to the campaign, which are shared publicly. 
 

Join thousands of Londoners at Victoria Park to celebrate taking climate action on April 22!

London’s first-ever Earthfest will take place on Earth Day at Victoria Park, with speakers, live music, booths and activities, a climate march, and more. The march will leave at 3:30pm from the bandshell at Victoria Park, followed by the festival from 4pm to 7pm. Please drop by the London NDP booth to say hello!

 
The London Public Library is hosting pop-up vaccination clinics. Eligible individuals can get everything from a first to fourth dose! Find more pop-up clinic dates here.
 
Congratulations to all of the exceptionally talented nominees for the 20th annual Forest City London Music Awards! Voting is now open at academy.fclma.ca.
 

In the Media

 

Your Voice at Queen's Park

April 12 was Equal Pay Day in Ontario, marking how much further into the next year a woman has to work in order to earn the same average wages as her male counterpart. It was also a historic first in Ontario, with a Leaders' Debate focused entirely on women's economic equality and the policies necessary to close the gender pay gap - like paid sick days, affordable childcare, a $20 minimum wage, and the repeal of Bill 124, Doug Ford's unconstitutional legislation that keeps healthcare and public sector wages down. I was pleased to attend the debate with Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath and NDP candidates Andria Barrett and Farheen Alim. Unfortunately, one leader's podium was conspicuously empty, with Doug Ford unable to attend because of a "scheduling conflict."  

Thanks to the Equal Pay Coalition for hosting this important debate. If you missed the livestream, you can watch it here.
 
Thank you to the cancer patient advocates who came to Queen's Park to demand an end to the delays, high costs, and distress that people under 65 go through to access take-home cancer drugs in Ontario. Every patient should have access to the most effective treatment for them, and they should be able to get it when they need it. An Ontario NDP government will make it happen by funding take-home cancer drugs for every patient who needs them!
 

This week, the Ford government announced they will not pass Our London Family Act before Queen's Park dissolves. The bill was developed by the Ontario NDP in partnership with NCCM and Muslim leaders in London and across Ontario, to set out concrete actions to address Islamophobia, racism and hate. It channels the collective grief, trauma and anger that devastated our community, and Muslims around the world, in the wake of the murder last summer of Salman Afzaal, Madiha Salman, Talat Afzaal, and Yumna Afzaal.

Six weeks ago the Conservatives blocked Our London Family Act from being debated and referred it to committee, saying this would help ensure its expedited passage. But the bill has been stalled at committee ever since and now the government has confirmed that they have no intention of moving it forward.  

Our London Family Act responds directly to recommendations from the Muslim community. Thousands of Ontarians have signed petitions, sent emails and advocated for the government to go beyond words to action.

Please print and sign my petition to show your support for Our London Family Act. Signed petitions can be dropped off at my office for presentation in the Legislature on April 28. 

Sign the Petition
 
Last week, I asked the Premier to commit to renewing Best Care funding, a program that has supported 10,000 Londoners and others across Southwestern Ontario who are living with chronic diseases like COPD, heart failure and asthma. Although Best Care has proven its effectiveness in improving patients' lives and reducing hospitalizations and emergency room visits by 60 percent, program funding ended on March 31, 2022. Without a commitment from the government to renew funding, Best Care will be forced to close and issue layoff notices to its 30 staff. I will continue to push the government to do the right thing and reinvest in the Best Care program.
 
The Ford government's Bill 106, the Emergency and Pandemic Preparedness Plan, violates workers' charter rights to collective bargaining and equality, and undermines women workers' rights to pay equity. This unconstitutional bill will set women back - and is not what Ontarians want! We must continue to advocate for better wages and working conditions for women.

You can read the full text of my speech on Bill 106 here
 
Earlier this week, I met with inspiring student leaders from the Ontario Medical Students' Association (OMSA) to discuss how we can improve our Long Term Care homes. I was happy to support OMSA's recommendations, including an end to for-profit models, improving worker's wages and working conditions, and increasing care to a minimum of four hours a day. These very much align with the Ontario NDP's platform for Long-Term Care and Home and Community Care
 

UPDATE: OHIP coverage for Ukrainian refugees

In my last newsletter, I told you that I had called on the Ford government to waive the OHIP waiting period for Ukrainians who have come to Ontario to escape the illegal invasion in their country. This week, the government finally announced that there will no longer be a waiting period for those who are eligible for OHIP. Ukrainian newcomers arriving under the new federal travel authorization will have access to OHIP coverage which includes mental health services and drug benefits. If you know a Ukrainian newcomer who needs help accessing OHIP, please contact my office.

 

COVID-19 Developments

  • Middlesex-London Health Unit vaccination clinics will operate with holiday hours over the weekend.The Western Fair District Agriplex, Caradoc Community Centre, and White oaks Mall will all be closed on Sunday, April 17 and Monday, April 18.
     
  • Fourth doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are now available for individuals aged 60+ and First Nation, Inuit, and Métis individuals and their non-Indigenous household members aged 18+. The fourth dose may be administered after a minimum of three months from when the third dose was given, but it is recommended to wait five months. 
     
  • The Middlesex-London Health Unit is warning Londoners that the local risk of COVID-19 transmission is very high. Public health officials are advising individuals to take the following precautions:
    • Wear a three-layered mask
    • Receive all eligible COVID-19 vaccine doses
    • Stay home if you are feeling unwell or experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms (you can take a self-assessment test here)
    • Evaluate the risk of attending social gatherings 
    • Consider inviting fewer people to your gatherings or opt to host events outdoors
       
  • Ontario is dispensing Paxlovid, a COVID antiviral pill, through participating pharmacies for higher-risk groups. These are the following eligibility requirements: 
    • Individuals aged 18 and over who are immunocompromised (have an immune system that is weakened by a health condition or medications);
    • Individuals aged 70 and over;
    • Individuals aged 60 and over with fewer than three vaccine doses; and
    • Individuals aged 18 and over with fewer than three vaccine doses and at least one risk condition (e.g., a chronic medical condition)
    • You can find participating pharmacies here.
       
  • The Ontario COVID-19 Science Table released updated projections on April 14. Their report confirms that Ontario is well into wave 6 of the pandemic, driven by the new, more transmissible BA.2 subvariant, waning immunity, and lifting of public health measures.

Everyone born in 2016 or earlier is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine in Ontario, and everyone aged 12 and over is now eligible for a third booster dose, and some individuals are now eligible for a fourth dose.

  • Make an appointment at an MLHU mass vaccination clinic
    • Call the Boys & Girls Club transit services at 519-434-9119 (8am - 5:30pm, Monday to Friday) to book a ride if you have mobility issues and cannot get to a clinic yourself
    • You can also get vaccinated in your car at a mass clinic (call 226-289-3560 to book, 8am - 7:30pm, Monday - Friday)
  • Visit a walk-in pop-up clinic
  • Make an appointment at a participating pharmacy
  • If you cannot leave your home, arrange a vaccination at home (call 519-663-5317, 8am - 7:30pm, Monday - Friday)
For the most up-to-date information, please refer to linked sources and the COVID-19 information provided at the Middlesex-London Health Unit website, COVID-19.Ontario.ca, London.ca/covid-19, Canada.ca/coronavirus. You can also find a range of helpful resources on my website at peggysattler.ca/covid19resources.