Welcome to my community newsletter. Fall is in the air and legislators are back at work at Queen’s Park.
Need help? Plan your visit: Contact-MPP Ted Hsu .
Here’s what you can find in this month’s issue:
– Back to the House
– Integrity Commissioner’s Report
– Ombudsman Report on COVID-19 in Long-Term Care
– Wolfe Island Ferry
– Hospital Building Conditions
– Office of the Worker Advisor
In Our Community
– Labour Day Community Picnic
– Welcome Back Students
– Opening of new French schools
– Terry Fox Run
– Tiny Homes for Veterans
– Royal Kingston Curling Club
– Princess Street Promenade
– Ontario Culture Days
Here are some of the big stories from Ontario over the last month.
Back to the House
There are a lot of problems facing our province right now – housing, healthcare, affordability, education, the climate crisis, and so much more. With this past Monday marking the start of the fall legislative session, I am looking forward to challenging the government on these matters and other issues important to our riding, such as the continuing ferry delays and the family doctor shortage. I also look forward to pushing the government to be open and honest with Ontarians about the Greenbelt scandal by continuing to call for an independent Public Inquiry. Ontario’s Public Inquiries Act grants special investigative powers which were not available to the Auditor General or the Integrity Commissioner during their investigations. I will also be echoing calls for the matter to be brought to the Standing Committee on Heritage, Infrastructure and Cultural Policy. WATCH: There’s A Lot For The Government To Answer For
Integrity Commissioner Report
Ombudsman Report on COVID-19 and Long-Term Care
The Ontario Ombudsman recently released a report on the Ministry of Long-Term Care’s oversight of long-term care homes during the Covid-19 pandemic. The report reveals that the long-term care inspection system had already “fallen apart” by the first wave of the outbreak.
I am troubled by the findings of the investigation, which indicate that the Ministry was unable to ensure the safety of staff or patients during the pandemic. The Ombudsman found that the lack of preparation for the crisis was “unreasonable, unjust and wrong”, with serious Covid-related issues often being inspected much more slowly than necessary, or not at all.
The Ministry has accepted all 76 of the Ombudsman’s recommendations for an overhaul of the current inspection system. Ontarians deserve a long-term care system that will not fall apart under pressure, and I will push the government to make good on their promises.
Wolfe Island Ferry Trial Run and New Minister of Transportation
The new ferry for Wolfe Island is, unfortunately, still not in service. The Ministry has once again failed to meet its own deadline, which had been extended to the end of the summer. The Premier has recently selected a new Minister of Transportation. I have already spoken with the new Minister and checked that he has been briefed about my previous conversations with the Ministry. The disruptions and delays we’ve experienced underscore the pressing need for reliable and efficient service. The new ferry underwent its first trial run in August, carrying a load of passengers and cars across to Wolfe Island. I hope that full service will begin as soon as possible.
Hospital Building Conditions
A recent report by Global News has revealed that a quarter of Ontario’s publicly owned hospitals are in serious need of structural repair. Although this state of disrepair is not at a level which is dangerous for patients, if the costs of repair continue to grow then it will soon become cheaper to build entirely new hospitals. This is just one of many indications of the urgency of investing more in our healthcare system. With the recent return of the legislature, I plan to push the Ontario Government to address these healthcare-related issues in a manner which provides not just a short-term fix but allows our hospital buildings to continue functioning for many years to come.
Office of the Worker Advisor
My constituency office staff had the opportunity to attend a virtual information session with the Office of the Worker Advisor. The OWA provides free and confidential services (advice, education, and representation) to non-unionized injured workers, survivors of injured workers, and to non-unionized workers who have experienced a health and safety reprisal. To learn more or to get the help you can visit www.owa.gov.on.ca My office is also able to provide referrals to the OWA for those who meet the criteria of their mandate.
In Our Community
Labour Day Community Picnic
Thank you to everyone who joined me and Mark Gerretsen for our Labour Day Picnic! With over 1000 RSVPs, it was good to see many familiar faces, even better to meet unfamiliar faces and celebrate as a community. Despite the hot weather it was a fun afternoon for all involved, with plenty of free lemonade and ice cream to help cool off. I’d also like to extend a big thank you to our performers, Fiddle Earth, and all our volunteers for their help in making this event a success!
Welcome Back Students!
Whether it be the first day of kindergarten or the start of your last year of high school, I want to wish the best of luck to all students in Kingston and the Islands as the new school year gets underway. I want to also wish the best of luck to all teachers, ECEs, EAs, administrators, and support staff as the new year starts.
I also want to extend a warm welcome to all the students at Queen’s, St. Lawrence College, and RMC. I hope the returning students had a great summer and I want to wish the new students all the best as they begin their post-secondary journey. Be responsible and have fun!
New French Schools
This academic year marks the official inauguration of two new schools with a unique approach to infrastructure: École Secondaire Catholique Saint-Marie-Rivier and École Secondaire Publique Mille-Îles. Although they are from different school boards, they are co-located in a shared building, along with a daycare and EarlyON child and family centre. This new building is a clear demonstration of the value of cooperation in addressing our community’s needs. The Centre Culturel Frontenac was also significantly involved, facilitating collaboration throughout the building and planning process. Congratulations to all students, staff, and community members on this achievement, and I wish you all success in the upcoming academic year!
Terry Fox Run
On September 15th, Kingston participated in the 44th annual Terry Fox Run and raised over $33,000! Thank you to everyone who contributed by running or donating; the initial goal of $18,000 was easily surpassed. It’s always inspiring when a community comes together in support of a cause, especially when the cause is such an important one. Canada continues to be a leader in cancer research, which is in no small part thanks to Terry Fox’s legacy. His mission of bringing hope to cancer patients everywhere lives on in communities like ours.
Tiny Homes for Veterans
Earlier this month, the first tiny homes for veterans were put in place at the Kingston Provincial Campus near Lake Ontario Park. These tiny homes are close to transit, community centres, and social supports. I am happy to see a project that works to assist veterans.
Royal Kingston Curling Club
I would like to extend a big congratulations to the Royal Kingston Curling Club for receiving a grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation. As the second oldest curling club in Canada, this club is not just a local fixture but a historical one; it has been providing our community with curling for over two centuries! This recognition is well-deserved and will hopefully encourage even more Kingstonians to make use of this state-of-the-art facility.
Princess Street Promenade
On September 23 my staff, volunteers, and I participated in the Princess St. Promenade with a few fall-themed activities. The Princess St. Promenade is always a great opportunity to engage with constituents outside of the office and to see what local businesses and community groups are up to.
Ontario Culture Days
Taking place from September 22 to October 15, 2023, Ontario Culture Days Festival is a free celebration of arts and culture in communities across the province. Ontario Culture Days fosters participation in diverse arts and culture communities. The festival highlights the powerful ability of arts and culture to bring people together, especially through collaboration with local organizations and creatives. I hope to check out some of the events happening in our area and hope you will too!