Community Update: November 4, 2021

Hello Neighbours and Friends, 

Happy Diwali to all those celebrating! I wish you all joy, health, and prosperity. 

I hope you have all been able to feel something of the joy of being able to gather again – to receive adorable Halloween trick-or-treaters and to reconnect with friends and neighbours, at the door on Sunday or at the pumpkin parades that dotted our neighbourhoods the day after.

I am sure that many of you will also be grateful to be able to join the Remembrance Day ceremony at the Cenotaph on Queen Street this year and I look forward to seeing you there.

This week in the legislature, the NDP caucus tabled an Opposition Day motion on Ontario’s Affordability Crisis that will be debated on November 15th. Join us as we call on the Ford government to end its low-wage policies and develop a meaningful plan to tackle Ontario’s cost-of-living crisis. 

We are asking that the Government restore the lost earnings of workers affected by the Premier’s minimum wage freeze and take real action on unaffordable rent and soaring home prices. The Ontario government needs to step up and work with the federal government to implement desperately needed $10-a-day childcare and provide financial assistance for small businesses affected by the pandemic. Finally, the motion calls on the Government to keep its promises to lower the cost of hydro, auto insurance, and gas.

This week Ford also announced that the minimum wage will be raised to $15 an hour in the New Year and that in future it will increase annually by inflation. While an increase is long overdue, the reality across the province is that $15 an hour is not enough to make it: data shows that a living wage in Toronto is now $22.08/hour. We are witnessing an additional 100 people per month becoming unhoused in this city in the middle of a homelessness emergency where shelters are overwhelmed. Food bank use continues to skyrocket. Working people are struggling to be able to eat and pay their rent. 

What is most frustrating is that the Ford government cancelled the planned increase that would have seen a $15 minimum wage in January 2019. With that decision alone, Ford took more than $5,300 out of the pockets of Ontario workers. If we are going to get Ontario workers back on track, we need to do better. Canadian-born economist Professor David Card just won the Nobel Prize for his work that shows that increases in the minimum wage do not cause job losses; in fact, quite the opposite: When people earn more, they spend it, which in turn stimulates the economy and creates jobs. We need to remember that lesson and build it into our policymaking going forward.

As you have likely heard, the government announced a plan for covid19 booster shots: some of you will be eligible for boosters as of this Saturday, and the rest of us will be eligible as of the new year.

The good news is that we shouldn’t have to see a return to the Hunger Games this time around as the province has plenty of supply. The NDP is calling for a number of measures to ensure a smoother rollout, including a province-wide, in-school vaccine option for all families, and for family doctors to be better included this time around. We would like to see a province-wide system to deliver shots at home to seniors staying indoors in the cold months and to people with disabilities.

Please see below for more information about who qualifies for a booster shot starting Saturday, November 6, and for how to make an appointment.

Finally, I am elated to be able to be out in community again and am thrilled to be having real-life conversations on your doorsteps, on the street, in parks, and on the boardwalk again.

I so look forward to seeing you and hearing what is on your mind. 

Take care and be well,


Rima Berns-McGown
MPP for Beaches - East York 


Booster Shots

Yesterday, we got an update to Ontario's vaccine eligibility regulations, specifically regarding booster shots.
Starting this Saturday (Nov 6) at 8AM, booster shot appointments will be available to the following groups of people – if at least six months have passed since their last dose:

  • Individuals aged 70 and over (born in 1951 or earlier);
  • Health care workers and designated essential caregivers in congregate settings (including long-term care home and retirement home staff and designated caregivers);
  • Individuals who received a complete series of a viral vector vaccine (two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine or one dose of the Janssen vaccine); and
  • First Nation, Inuit, and Métis adults and their non-Indigenous household members.

It has also been announced that in the coming months, that the Ontario government is planning to make booster shots gradually more available, until everyone aged 12 and over is eligible for a booster. This change is being made as a result of scientific evidence that suggests there is some gradual waning of immunity six months after receiving your second dose. All the booster doses that will be
If you are eligible for a booster dose, you will get your shot a few different ways.
Shots will be available:
Locations and timing for booster doses may vary by public health unit based on local planning and considerations.

  • By booking an appointment through the online portal here;
  • By calling the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre to schedule an appointment at 1-833-943-3900;
  • At Indigenous-led vaccination clinics;
  • From local public health units using their own booking systems (more information coming);
  • At select pharmacies, find your nearest option here.
  • In primary care settings.

You can read the full government press release on this announcement here.


Ford's Financial Plan for the Province

Today the government announced their financial plan for the province. It does not include anything to deal with; skyrocketing housing prices, nothing to make childcare more affordable, lower price of gas, hydro or auto insurance. 

At a time when people across the province have faced unprecedented challenges, it is not the time to make cuts. 

  • We need to urgently hire and retain tens of thousands of health care and long-term care workers – Ford refuses to invest in that and refuses to pay them a fair wage
  • We need to clear a massive backlog of surgeries to help people waiting in pain — Ford isn’t spending an extra dime on that
  • We need to invest in our kids’ safety and recovery at school, both academically an emotionally  — instead, Ford’s cut another $500 million out of schools
  • We need to invest in people


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