Dear Neighbour,

I’d like to talk today about the substantial challenges being faced by First Nations and Indigenous communities in Ontario. Many of these are chronic issues which have become especially pronounced during this crisis.

First Nations and Indigenous communities are facing overcrowding in substandard homes, life under multiple boil water advisories, and health care systems with a chronic shortage of nurses and doctors in clinics. All of this, while having a population with many trauma, health and mental health vulnerabilities creates stress on these communities which is untenable. Public Health advisories to wash your hands are not helpful for those who don’t have running water. Self-isolating is hard when your home is overcrowded to begin with. These are the realities in First Nations and Indigenous communities across our province.

COVID-19 has also increased the risk of violence against Indigenous women and girls, according to
consultations conducted by the Native Women’s Association of Canada. There is an alarming spike in the number of Indigenous women who have reported violent attacks since the beginning of the pandemic, often by an intimate partner. These are the intersections which our government’s response must consider in supporting Indigenous communities through this crisis.

We also know that First Nations and Indigenous communities are not receiving enough personal protective equipment (PPE) from provincial and federal health authorities to properly protect community members from COVID-19. As we have already seen
reports of on-reserve outbreaks across the country, this is unacceptable. The systematic neglect of First Nations and Indigenous communities by our governments has created a dangerous and unjust situation for their community members. We must do better. If you are looking for immediate support, the Yellowhead Institute and Indigenous Climate Action have created great lists of resources.

I have included updates on testing, public transit, OSAP, and COVID-19 research below.

As always, wash your hands, stay home if you can, wear a mask when needed, be kind. We are all in this together.


Bhutila Karpoche,
MPP for Parkdale—High Park
Accountability in Long-Term Care

My colleagues and I continue to push towards accountability for the tragedy in Ontario’s long-term care homes. We need to listen to seniors, families, workers, and experts in order to fix the broken system. It has now been discovered that since the pandemic began, the three largest for-profit long-term care corporations have hired close allies to the Premier as lobbyists in order to protect their interests. An independent, non-partisan, and public inquiry is the only way to ensure that we can fix long-term care in Ontario.

Testing Figures

Ontario’s number of completed tests has fallen woefully short of its own benchmark of 16,000 per day, averaging about half that number since Monday. Testing is essential to monitor the spread of COVID-19 especially as Ontario eases its emergency restrictions. We must rapidly increase testing and contact tracing if we are to be able to successfully fight the second wave of the virus, which experts say is inevitable. The WHO has said, “We have a simple message for all countries: Test, test, test, test.”

Tests Conducted in the Past 5 Days

Safety on Public Transit

New measures have been introduced to ensure the safety of riders and operators on public transit vehicles. The Chief Medical Officer of Health is now recommending:

  • Enabling physical distancing by admitting fewer passengers on board and using physical markers between seats
  • The use of face coverings, especially when physical distancing is not possible
  • The availability of alcohol-based hand rub upon entering and exiting
  • Implementation of engineering controls, such as plexiglass dividers between drivers and riders
  • Enhanced cleaning protocols, especially of high touch surfaces
  • Find out more about measures being taken by TTC and GO Transit.
COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund
  • Recipients of funding from the Ontario COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund were announced today.
  • This funding will be distributed to Ontario’s leading hospitals, universities, colleges, and research institutions for research into vaccine development, diagnostics, clinical trials, and social services.
  • Project details are available here.
Other provincial updates
  • OSAP applications for full-time students in the 2020-2021 school year are now open. You can apply online here
  • In a press conference today, the Premier announced that a plan for random community-based testing will be shared next week.
Reminder: For the most up-to-date information please visit Toronto Public Health, Ontario Ministry of Health, and the Public Health Agency of Canada. Contact information is available on my website here.
Community Office
While our office is closed to the public as part of our efforts to manage the COVID-19 virus, we will continue to provide services for constituents via phone and email. Thank you for your patience and flexibility during this time. 

Phone: 416-763-5630
Copyright © 2020 MPP for Parkdale—High Park, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp