Peggy Sattler MPP, London West

Government of Ontario
 

Hello Neighbour,

Let me begin this first post-election newsletter by saying what an honour it is to serve our community once again. I am deeply humbled to represent the people of London West for another four years and look forward to continuing our work on the issues facing our community and the province. Elections are at the very heart of our democracy, and I want to congratulate and thank the other London West candidates, volunteers, and supporters. With record low numbers of people voting across the province (just 43 percent), I am encouraged that the turn-out among London West voters was higher (49 percent) than in the rest of the city and the province. 

Although we do not yet know whether MPPs will return to Queen's Park in the summer or in the fall, the priorities that the Ford government must address are clear - in particular, health care, housing, and cost-of-living.  

New insights into the crisis in our health care system were revealed in data from Ontario Health and reported by CBC news on June 16. Ontario patients are waiting an average of 20 hours in the emergency department to be admitted - a whopping 42 per cent jump year over year. In London, emergency room patients are waiting longer than the provincial average to see a doctor, and those who are not admitted to hospital are staying longer than the provincial average before they return home. Patients admitted to hospital wait an average of 15.2 hours at LHSC Victoria campus and 17.3 hours at LHSC University campus. Many of you have contacted me to share your stories of long, painful ER waits, or your experience as a health care worker run off your feet, exhausted, and burnt out. My NDP colleagues and I will keep up the push to ensure that Ontario patients get the care they deserve.

Other data released last week on race and Toronto Police Services officers' use of force was difficult - but not surprising - for many in London's Black, Indigenous and racialized communities. As a statement by my NDP colleagues pointed out, the government has a responsibility to ensure justice and equity for all Ontarians by working to eradicate systemic discrimination in our province. Some specific actions to tackle discrimination, racism and hate in Ontario are set out in Our London Family Act, a bill that I was proud to co-sponsor in the last Parliament. On June 6, 2022, the date marking one year since the horrific Islamophobic murder of four members of London's Afzaal family, I joined with MPPs Terence Kernaghan and Teresa Armstrong to once again call on the Ford government to pass this critical legislation

As Londoners take advantage of the many opportunities to enjoy our city in the days and weeks ahead, it is important to remember that COVID continues to circulate in our community and to take steps to protect yourself. After two years of avoiding infection, last week I tested positive for COVID-19. While I was able to self-isolate for five days without losing income, the expiry of the Ford government's temporary three paid sick days at the end of July will make it difficult - if not impossible - for many workers without paid sick days to stay home when they have COVID or other infectious diseases. This will remain another of my priorities when MPPs return to the Legislature.    

Thanks as always for reading, and for the privilege of being your voice at Queen's Park.

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.

 
In this newsletter:
 

Around London

Rising costs and supply chain shortages are hitting low-income Londoners the hardest. To help those in need, my office is hosting a tampon and hygiene product donation drive from June 20 to June 30. Please consider dropping off a donation of essential hygiene items for distribution to local organizations. 
 
As the newly re-elected MPP for London West, I was delighted to attend the Old South Community Organization's beloved Gathering on the Green with my friendly volunteers Therese and Bharati. Many thanks to everyone who visited my tent to say hello. It was great to see both new and familiar faces! 
 
I was pleased to participate in the official opening of the new 10-bed crisis stabilization space at 648 Huron Street and the re-opening of the renovated 24/7 walk-in Crisis Centre operated by CMHA Thames Valley Addiction and Mental Health Services. It has been seven years since funding was first announced for these crucial stabilization beds, which will help individuals in crisis who are feeling suicidal or experiencing severe symptoms of mental illness, emotional trauma or substance withdrawal. Visit the CMHA TVAMHS website for more information about community mental health supports.  (Above right, with CMHA TVAMHS Board Chair Heather Bishop)
 
On June 4, the Muslim Association of Canada's new Hyde Park Mosque held an emotional dedication of its gym, now officially known as Our London Family Gymnasium. Assembled guests heard from Afzaal family members, who shared their grief at the loss of their loved ones and celebrated the kind, caring and beautiful people they were. (With City of London councillors Elizabeth Peloza and Mariam Hamou, and MRCSSI Executive Director Dr. Mohammed Baobaid, on right).  
 
On June 5, the Youth Coalition Combatting Islamophobia (YCCI), formed through the leadership of Yumnah Afzaal's best friend Maryam and her cousin Esa, brought thousands of Londoners together to walk in honour of the Afzaal family. The walk was organized from Oakridge Secondary School, where Yumnah was a Grade 9 student, to the London Muslim Mosque, where Yumnah and her family worshipped. Please take 10 minutes to watch the powerful and moving video created by the YCCI to commemorate Yumnah and her family, and share experiences of Islamphobia  (Above, with YCCI volunteers and with YCCI co-founder Esa).    
 
On June 6, the London Muslim Mosque launched an art exhibit to honour Our London Family. With the support of Museum London, the exhibit displays community art pieces created in response to the tragic 2021 attack, and will remain open daily from 5pm to 7pm until June 30. I had the pleasure of meeting London West artists Jan Neville, whose lovely and intricate mosiac is made up of tiny pieces from photographs taken at the site and at the mosque, and Nazia Aamer, whose beautiful painting provides spiritual comfort and solace to Fayez Afzaal.   
 

In the Community

London's popular outdoor movie nights are returning this summer. Click here to access the schedule.
 
Celebrate First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities on Indigenous Solidarity Day at The Green in Wortley Village. The Sunrise Ceremony will begin at 6am and will be followed by a series of activities throughout the day, including vendors, food and dancers! For more information, please click here.
 

Canada Day

Downtown London will come to life on June 30 with Night Market London, followed by Canada Day London on July 1. These interactive and family-friendly events will focus on celebrating the rich cultural mosaic of the Forest City and its people, as Londoners learn about our past, acknowledge our history, and appreciate the people and communities that came before us. Join the ceremony at 1pm to honour and celebrate Indigenous communities. For more information on the event, please visit the London Heritage Council ite.
 
What are your Canada Day plans? The Heritage London Foundation is hosting an outdoor celebration with live music, activities, and cake - something for everyone to enjoy.
 
Close off your Canada Day at the Byron Optimist Sports Complex and continue celebrating! Bring the whole family along for fun outdoor activities beginning at 4pm, and ending with a spectacular fireworks display at dusk.
 

Neighbourhood Decision Making

Do you want to have a say in what happens in your neighbourhood? The City of London invited Londoners to pitch their ideas, and voting is open from June 18 to June 25 for the ideas you like best. This is a great opportunity to get more involved in your community! You can vote online, via phone or in-person. Note: there are varying voting dates depending on the option you choose.

Click here to look through some of the creative ideas to strengthen communities in Northwest London, Southwest London and Old South (included in Central London).
 

COVID-19 Developments

The Middlesex-London Health Unit has announced that its online COVID-19 dashboard will change from five-day-a-week reporting to twice-weekly beginning June 20, 2022. 

Everyone born in 2016 or earlier is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine in Ontario, and everyone aged 12 and over is eligible for a third booster dose. Fourth doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are 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. 

  • 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)
  • Make an appointment at a participating pharmacy
  • The White Oaks Mall walk-in clinic will remain open throughout most of June
    • Hours of operation will remain Thursdays through Saturdays from 1pm to 7pm until its last day on June 26
  • If you cannot leave your home, arrange a vaccination at home (call 519-663-5317, 8am - 7:30pm, Monday - Friday
The provincial government has lifted the mask mandate in most public settings, with the exception of long term care and retirement homes. However, masks may still be required in businesses and workplaces that choose to implement it.

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
Free rapid antigen tests will remain available at participating pharmacies and grocery locations while supplies last. You can find participating locations here.
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.