It’s almost voting time

Election day is around the corner! And, actually, you can already vote: did you know you can request a mail-in ballot today? If you’re interested in skipping the lines, request your mail-in ballot right now to cast your vote. 

We’ve also got advance polling days starting on May 19, which is also a great chance to skip the election day busy-ness. Find your advance polling station here, on the Elections Ontario website.

I still need your help

Every voter that you can help me meet brings me closer to Queen’s Park. We’re having amazing conversations at the doors – people love the policies that we’re announcing and the energy and expertise I can bring to the job of being the MPP for Spadina—Fort York – and I need your help to meet more of them. 

Volunteer for a shift or two, once or twice a week for the next three weeks. That’s how you can help me the most. We have an awesome crew of volunteers that we’re adding to all the time, and truly, we have the most fun! I’d love for you to join us

Sign up to Volunteer

 

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It's mental health awareness week...

This tree was giving me life yesterday. The pretty blossoms and the fragrance… I could have stared at it for hours.

It sounds cheesy, the whole idea of “communing with nature” but it’s been one of the lessons of the last two years: getting outside, green space and the great outdoors are vital to our mental health. We need it. 

So this #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek, let’s celebrate & protect nature. How do we do that? Create 5 new provincial parks. Plant 800K trees. Cancel the environment-destroying, smog-spewing Hwy 413. 

On the surface those might not sound like mental health policies, but they’re going to contribute to our collective mental wellbeing: access to nature & protection for it, and not adding to climate anxiety. All policies to move us in the right direction. 

The choice is yours. Vote for the Ontario Liberal Party this election.

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Investment in education

Now this is why I’m running for office. This is why I want to be at Queen’s Park: to get these policies put in place, these investments in education, in our future - our kids. 

This is commitment to investment in YOU and in US. Our kids deserve better education, & our education workers deserve better, decent work. Not the privatization of our public education system that Doug Ford & Stephen Lecce have been sneaking in over the last 4 years.

  • No more than 20 kids per class. At any grade level. 
  • Making online classes optional, not mandatory.
  • Hiring 10,000 teachers. (Good, union jobs)
  • Fixing existing schools and building new ones.

 

Things to vote for on June 2nd.

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It's Election Eve...

It's the eve of the Ontario provincial election. I've been working hard these past eighteen months learning, listening and getting ready to step up to serve my community. Over the next 30+ days, the Ontario airwaves are going to get noisy. And, even if you usually tune out, or don't pay attention or think "I don't know enough to get involved," I hope you do make some choices.

Coming into a new chapter for our province, the election gives an opportunity to collectively decide: what do we want for ourselves and our 14.5 million friends and neighbours? What is the path we want to set ourselves on - especially coming out of two turbulent and difficult years.

It's our chance to make a decision about what our leadership should look like, what plans and ideas can set us up to recover.

And, even if you've never voted -- like many in my riding of Spadina-Fort York, now is your chance. So - talk to a neighbour, a stranger, a friend. Invite them to imagine what they can do to make a better Ontario - and what they want their government to do.

I'm so proud that the party I'm running for has worked very hard these years to listen and to learn - and is about to put forward a plan that included the ideas and feedback of nearly a half million Ontarians.

I'm so proud that our party is running 90% first-time candidates: amazing leaders who want to make their province better and are stepping up to serve because we know there is a better way.

I'm so proud that our party is running more than 50% female candidates, and showcasing real talent and a reflection of what contemporary Ontario looks like.

I'm so proud that we're focused on some big, brave ideas for what we can do to help us all.

Whatever you choose, choose democracy. Make sure that you make the point of saying that our systems and we each matter to one another.

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The Ontario Liberal plan to Revolutionize Elder Care

Our seniors built Ontario. We owe them our gratitude and to make this province the best possible place to age with dignity. That’s not what Ontario has been under the Ford Conservatives. Instead, everyday costs continue to rise while seniors try to make do on fixed incomes. Their desire to age in homes that contain a lifetime of good memories is being threatened by a lack of affordable and available home care. And seniors who need around-the-clock support have instead endured shocking mistreatment and neglect in long-term care.

We’ll refocus seniors’ care on what matters most, helping to lower costs, increase care and go after those looking to make a fortune off the most vulnerable. We’ll make it easier to stay in your own home by guaranteeing home care. And in the event, you need more support, we’re going to build long-term care homes that feel like homes, rather than warehouses.

Our Ontario Liberal plan treats seniors with the dignity and care they deserve.

Read about our full plan here: https://ontarioliberal.ca/elder-care-plan/

Guarantee home care for everyone who needs it

Ontario Liberals will:

  • Help 400,000 more seniors get home care by 2026
  • Increase funding for home care by 10% annually prioritizing non-profit care
  • Fund assisted living alternatives and “hub and spoke” community care
  • Create a dementia care network
  • Fully fund the clinical costs for hospices

We’ll guarantee that any senior who needs care in their own home gets it by increasing the annual budget for home and community care by over $2 billion through 10% annual increases year with a focus on front-line non-profit care, resulting in 400,000 more seniors able to get not-for-profit home care by 2026.

We’ll also fund 15,000 new assisted living homes – including small, accessible and community-based residential services – as well as “hub and spoke” care that provides a comprehensive continuum of care.

We’ll create a dementia care network by investing in existing memory clinics and expanding the number of clinics. This kind of access to care should continue right up until the very end of life, so we’ll support more palliative care by fully funding the clinical costs for hospices. Finally, we’ll merge the government’s home care functions into one ministry focused on seniors. (cost: approx. $100 million)

End for-profit long-term care and protect seniors

Ontario Liberals will:

  • End for-profit long-term care as quickly as possible with a target of 2028
  • Place audits, inspections and zero-tolerance sanctions on long-term care homes that endanger residents or misdirect funds
  • Repeal rules that protect long-term care companies from legal liability

People were rightly horrified and disgusted when the media revealed living conditions at Ontario’s private long-term care homes during the pandemic – with our parents, mentors and friends forced to endure mistreatment and neglect for “cost savings.” Seniors in private long-term care homes were more likely to die from COVID than those in non-profit or public homes. Conditions were so poor that the Canadian Army had to intervene.

We can’t let this keep happening, so we’ll end for-profit long-term care as quickly as possible with a target of 2028 by no longer renewing licenses for for-profit long-term care homes, as well as by negotiating and financing the transfer of existing homes to not-for-profit entities and municipalities (net interest cost: $150 million annually).

We’ll also improve conditions for seniors in long-term care homes, enhancing inspections to enforce – with zero-tolerance sanctions – when homes endanger residents or don’t meet new standards. We’ll verify through audits that government funding for long-term care homes is being spent on resident care and services and not going into the pockets of corporate directors and shareholders. We’ll prevent homes from admitting new residents when they’re not appropriately staffed and repeal the Ford Conservatives’ rules that protect long-term care companies from legal liability for harming residents. We’ll also increase training, awareness and enforcement mechanisms to eliminate elder abuse in long-term care and beyond

Create not-for-profit long-term care homes that feel like homes

Ontario Liberals will:

  • Build and redevelop 58,000 new non-profit long-term care spaces
  • Ensure seniors in long-term care homes receive at least four hours of direct care every day

To make sure closing for-profit homes doesn’t lead to longer wait times for seniors, we’ll build 30,000 new long-term care spaces by 2028 and redevelop 28,000 existing spaces to modern standards. We’ll do this by providing capital, operating and governance support to non-profit groups that want to build long-term care homes, with an emphasis on building smaller homes that reflect their communities, rather than institutional warehouses. We’ll give funds to non-profit long-term care homes to provide at least an average of four hours of direct care per day, as well as provide pharmacy services, high-speed wi-fi, air conditioning and other standards of excellent care.

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Less than 50 Days

Less than 50 days. We get to choose our next provincial government in 42 days.

So what are you voting for? 

On Tuesday April 12, we announced our Ontario Liberal plan for Equal Pay and Opportunity for Women, which includes:

  • Implementing the Pay Transparency Act that the Ford Conservatives scrapped – requiring job postings to include salary ranges, banning employers from asking about compensation history, and ensuring large companies publish pay gaps by gender
  • Lowering the cost of child care to provide $10/day before- and after-school care, and topping up the 18-month parental leave program to ensure EI benefits aren’t reduced

And also addressing the systemic barriers that women face outside the workplace, too: 

The fight for gender equality has been a long one, and I was so furious to watch Doug Ford and his government remove so many hard-won measures when he was first elected in 2018. So now, I’m very proud that our Ontario Liberal party has weaved together a host of measures to ensure that we are creating opportunities for women and that we’ve made some very strong commitments to women. We are also doing this internally, within the party: women leaders have been at the core of helping us to create our policy platform, with Kate Graham and Carol Kim as co-chairs of the policy platform process, and for the first time in our party’s history, we will be running 50% women candidates. I’m so glad to see our party transform in these ways.

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Add Women, Change Politics

Reading the news is hard right now. It has been for a while. My heart goes out to our Ukrainian friends and neighbours – so many of whom have called Spadina—Fort York home for so long – and others who have been impacted by war and displacement themselves, or in generations past.

While we have to take care of ourselves as we take in our world, we can’t look away – and we must take action. I’m reminded of the journey my parents took from Vietnam, to Japan, and finally to Canada, and how our community wrapped their arms around us as newcomers to Toronto. For me, that was volunteering with the young women’s program at the St. Stephen’s Community House (now The Neighbourhood Group), running children’s programs at Scadding Court Community Centre, and connecting with inspiring women through the YWCA.

A vital lesson I learned during those early days was about access: who had opportunities and resources and who did not. I also learned how, through funding and policy choices,  governments can control that access, and how decisions are made that can make it harder for people to get by, or that can set people up to thrive.

So on this International Women’s Day, I’m continuing my commitment to add women to politics. It was 21 years ago that I spent a few foundational days in Ottawa when we started Women in House at McGill University to talk about women’s place in Parliaments. Back then, as I know now, we need more women to lead in our communities. Our feminist recovery, our caring economy, the families here in Spadina—Fort York who are making it through every day – need it. 

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Accessibility for our provincial election

Protecting our Democracy: accessibility considerations for Elections Ontario in advance of the upcoming provincial election

I love democracy. It’s a far from perfect system: it was designed for an elite few. But what if we could imagine a society where opportunities to engage in democracy were truly universal and accessible? What if every citizen had the education, experience, and the opportunity to contribute to how decisions are made in our government? Our government is how we work together to take care of each other, collectively.  

Voting is one of the ways that we engage with collective decision-making. We choose our elected leaders; we choose who gets to serve and work on behalf of us all. I love voting so much that nearly twenty years ago I launched a national initiative to get young women to vote. I’m idealistic: I believe that our imperfect system is our best shot at expressing and choosing how we collectively care for one another. 

I’m going to talk about what it means to be political over the next five months in the lead-up to the provincial election, because even if you don’t think you’re political, you actually make political choices every moment of the day. We’re living through an extraordinary moment of crisis in our communities. I can’t think of a time when we’ve seen the impact of decisions and actions that our political leaders are taking daily have such a clear impact on our daily lives. 

Today I want to share the submission I made to Elections Ontario about accessibility and voting locations in Spadina—Fort York. 

Read on:

Elections Ontario Letter

 

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Heading into 2022

TL/DR: friends in Ontario, make a donation/contribution if you can to a strong woman you admire (me!) who is running for office in 2022. 

 

Well, friends, colleagues and family — it’s been an intense year. Many of us thought we were finally coming into a new chapter towards the pandemic’s recovery as the kid vaccines were coming online. But, here we are with omicron making its way through our communities and more uncertainty about how the next months will  unfold.

 

This time last year, I was in the early throes of trying to secure the nomination in Spadina- Fort York. We made it through some tough weeks of online schooling with Ellis, I started on a new work team, and then in early June, the awesome news that I was being acclaimed as the provincial candidate for the Ontario Liberals. So, since June, I have started to make phone calls, to make new friends and meet neighbours, to knock on doors and to build an incredible team of volunteers - including a lot of impressive women - to help me win this election. 

 

I’m incredibly proud of what we’re accomplishing. I love the team of people who are rolling up their sleeves to help on this campaign. I’m proud that I’m part of rebuilding a political party where I’m actively talking about culture change, feminist leadership, and real collaboration. I LOVE that I’m running with a new team of very impressive candidates, including people who I admire. I love how many of us are running because we have young families and we want to fight for the childcare, education and health systems we know that Ontario deserves. 

 

My own history of involvement in women’s leadership has always been about the many ways that women find their own ways to contribute to building the communities that we want. And, I know that this means that extraordinary women step up in the political homes where they feel most at ease. 

 

We’re five months (155 days!) from our next provincial election. We’ve had an incredible civics lesson over the last 21 months - to see what governments can do to support all of us through challenging times. Our federal and provincial supports have been lifelines for millions of us - but they have not been perfect. And, here in Ontario, we’ve seen that choices around how we have responded and planned for our social infrastructure: we’re the only province that has not signed an agreement for affordable childcare; we’ve seen such an inequitable distribution and access for covid-testing, for vaccine rollouts and now the rapid antigen tests. We’re continuing to rely on the old ways for far too much rather than really putting people at the centre of how our governments and community supports should work. And, fundamentally, this stems from our political leadership being disconnected from the communities most impacted by these decisions. 

 

So, my year end ask to my fellow Ontarians: please help a strong woman you know get elected in this province. Please help me get to Queen’s Park by making a donation and/or signing up to contribute time in the coming five months. There’s still time for you to receive a 2021 tax receipt for contributions to our campaign. (With the tax credits, a $200 donation only costs you $50). I’m hoping that you can help build our momentum by becoming a donor – we can’t do any of this vital work without your support! 

 

I want Doug Ford to know: “Mothers brought you into this world. We can vote you out” - Allison Venditti, Moms at Work. 

 

Here's to a new year, everyone. 

Cheers, 

Chi

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End of Year Newsletter

Our December Update

In the midst of this holiday season, I hope that everything you’re celebrating is full of love and light. It’s been a long year, and my wish for you is that you can rest and celebrate safely with your family and friends. 

The Omicron variant of COVID-19 is unfortunately a new reality for all of us right now, so as soon as you’re eligible, please book your third vaccine dose. If you are the parent or caregiver of a child aged 5 to 11, I hope you’ll get them vaccinated too. I was so proud of watching Ellis get his first dose and can’t wait for vaccines to be made available to kids under 5 so Sam can get his too.  

The Ontario government just announced that third doses will be available to everyone 18+ who is at least three months from the second dose, starting next week. And COVID-19 rapid antigen tests are going to be made available at locations across the province; please get some for you and your family so that you can help to stay safe over the holidays and help to stop the spread of the virus. 

 

Out and about in SpaFY

  • Two weeks ago, I had a chance to walk Steven Del Duca around our riding. The Leader of the Ontario Liberal Party met up with some SpaFY residents in the City Place neighbourhood where we talked about raising a family in a tower community, and then we went to Scadding Court Community Centre, where we met with staff and learned about their innovative community work. 

Chi Nguyen and Steven Del Duca

  • I had a great time at Scadding Court assembling holiday hampers for seniors last week, and was pleased to contribute delicious cookies from Out of This World Cafe, a social enterprise at CAMH for consumers of mental health services facing barriers to employment. Mental health is an issue that I care deeply about and that my family has been personally affected by, so it was an obvious choice to support the work this fantastic business does. 
  • On December 6, I spoke at a gathering for the Spadina-Fort York federal Liberal Party riding association. I had a great time meeting with supporters, and appreciate the enthusiasm for my provincial candidacy in our awesome community.
  • December 6 also marked the 32nd anniversary of the Montreal Massacre, and I was privileged to invite my friends at Next Gen Men with Liberal Party candidates from across Ontario as we work together to fight the causes of violence against women.

 

SpaFY issues I’m watching

  • The Ontario Line: There’s a lot of unknowns about the potential disruptions caused by the construction of the Ontario Line subway, but newly released plans from the City of Toronto are concerning. Without having a construction partner for the line in place, it’s hard to know exactly what will be required, but there are currently some streets that could be closed off for up to seven years. I’m very concerned about the impact that this will have on businesses and residents of Spadina-Fort York, where seven of the downtown stops will be located. I’m reading the plans carefully to understand how pedestrian and cyclist safety will be maintained, and to see what plans are being put in place to mitigate disruptions for local residents and storefronts. We know that building transit is disruptive, but with a pending construction partner, there’s still room for refinement. 
  • $10/day childcare: Ontario is now the last remaining province without a childcare deal with the federal government, and the Ford government deserves a lump of coal in their stockings for this one. Ontario continues to have the most  unaffordable and inaccessible childcare in the country; signing a deal with the federal government and contributing to COVID #SheCovery should be a no-brainer: If we want to have more women and mothers return to the workforce, we need to create a strong, healthy childcare system, and I’ll continue to add my voice to advocate for this deal to get signed sooner rather than later. If Doug Ford can’t get it done in time, we have the opportunity on June 2 to elect a Liberal government that will.
  • Housing Affordability: I’ll be watching the outcomes of the housing affordability summit, just moved to January 19, which I hope will be positive and actionable. We have a housing crisis in this province, and I’m concerned the recently announced advisory group doesn’t include many of the necessary community voices: no tenants groups, or tenant advocacy groups. The people at that table are predominantly from the finance and investment point of view, who are not the only people we need to hear from. 

 

Lastly…

As we approach the end of the year, there’s still time for you to receive a 2021 tax receipt for contributions to our campaign. (With the tax credits you receive, a $200 donation only costs you $50). I’m hoping that you can help build our momentum by becoming a donor – we can’t do any of this vital work without your support! 

Become a donor.

A very happy holidays,

Chi

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