Ford’s child care cuts hurt families


Ontario is currently experiencing an affordable child care crisis.

Parents across Ontario have expressed disappointment at a Provincial Government decision to slash funding for 51 planned childcare projects consisting of more than 3,000 much needed spaces in the city of Toronto.

These new projects, which would have opened up additional spaces in local schools, were already approved and ready to go but are now in jeopardy because the Ford government removed all provincial funding at the very last minute as part of their budget cuts.

Now the City of Toronto and the Toronto District School Board have until August 30 to replace the lost provincial funding, or, these projects will be cancelled.

The Conservatives didn’t seem to have a problem with paying out $1 billion to rip up the Beer Store contract, nor did they have any issue in losing $150 million to get rid of the so- called “Six Million dollar man” at Hydro One, yet they now claim that the province can’t afford to fund vital new child care projects?

Ontario is currently experiencing an affordable child care crisis. Right now, we pay the highest average child care fees anywhere in Canada.

Working parents are under significant stress when trying to find a daycare spot for their children, and spend on average almost $1,700 a month on childcare.

Having fewer available child care spaces could increase costs due to demand, making the situation even worse.

Families deserve better than this. 

The Ontario NDP and I have been fighting to make childcare more affordable for all Ontarians. In order to do this, we need to fund more affordable childcare spaces rather than make cuts that hurt Ontario children and their families.

The Vision Zero Road Safety Plan 2.0

The Vision Zero Road Safety Plan 2.0 is a five-year (2017-2021) action plan that aims to eliminate traffic-related deaths and reduce serious injuries on Toronto’s streets to zero. At the last City Council meeting in July, councillors voted to boot up the effort. 

Vision Zero 2.0’s main measure is to reduce speeds on main, arterial roads, further preventing casualties from occurring in the first place. The plan also includes specific programs that are dedicated to expanding cycling infrastructure across the city and boosting safety zones for seniors and school children. The School Safety Zones program is dedicated to implementing measures that protect children who walk or bike to and from school. 

This program includes a variety of traffic safety measures that improve the visibility of school zones and signal drivers to slow down and pay better attention to their environment. Enhanced pavement markings, pavement stencils, driver feedback (Watch Your Speed) signs and flashing beacons are all examples of the strategic measures being used. These measures will continue to be installed within the boulevard or public right-of-way areas to ensure that they do not hinder vehicles, pedestrians or properties. You can expect to see more of these measures over time.

While the City is not required to provide advance notice to residents before the installation of poles and signs within the public right-of-way area, they do notify residents whose property is next to a new School Safety Zone sign two weeks prior to the installation. All locations that have been selected for the installation of traffic safety measures have been reviewed by the City’s top advisors and engineers. 

The City of Toronto will continue to install these safety measures year-round according to priority. As of October, 2018, the City began the installation of school safety zones at 61 locations and has been on track to increase that amount to 88. Several of these zones are in the Downsview or Humber River-Black Creek area. 

The zones and measures being implemented are examples of how the City is working hard to protect pedestrians and road-users. The Downsview Advocate will continue to share updates about Vision Zero 2.0 as they become available.

For more information, please visit: toronto.ca/VisionZero

Pensions in Canada are leaving seniors in poverty

In July most seniors on Candian Pension Plan (CPP) saw an increase of only $12 to $16 a month – not enough

It is hard for many of us to imagine that Finch Avenue was once a dirt road, lined with countless apple orchards. Back then, the City of Toronto was much smaller. The area was known for its farmland and cottage country bungalows. Those who remember those days would have been contributing to their Canadian Pension Plan for decades before retiring.

Many of our neighbours have lived in the Downsview area for over 40 years, making them the original homeowners. While they are retired now, they continue to be active leaders on their own streets and at local community centres.

The CPP was created in the 1960’s as a response to people living longer and the rising level of poverty conditions for seniors at that time. The Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement were added to ensure a base level of income for all seniors. The system was designed to protect people from destitution in their old age and to give them both dignity in life and dignity in their hard-earned retirement. 

Today, our system is not keeping up with the realities of modern life. Most young people are aware of the difficulties of buying a home in the current real estate market. What many people do not realize yet, however, is the difficulty that many seniors are facing as rents rise. To illustrate the problem, a person living off of CPP and OAS could very well make $20,000 a year. A one-bedroom apartment in our neighbourhood now costs around $1500 per month, or $18,000 per year. Many who rely on their pensions live on the knife’s edge of poverty. 

Pensions go up on July 1 of every year, but most seniors only saw a monthly increase of $12-$16 per month. With real estate prices sky-rocketing and rents following suit, many seniors can barely afford their homes anymore in addition to keeping up with other living expenses. The problem is likely to get worse, as we are the only major country without a plan to deal with the realities of an aging population. 

The beauty of Canada has been its caring disposition, tolerance and acceptance. This is what makes our country one of the best places to live, and has created some of the highest standards of living in the world. That being said, the current government has done little to change make life affordable for seniors and they have no plans of making any significant changes. Seniors have it too hard and we are not doing enough to help them.