Jessica Bell MPP, University–Rosedale

Government of Ontario

Thursday October 1 Update

Published on October 1, 2020

Dear Neighbour, 

I am deeply concerned by the stark rise in COVID-19 cases in our city, as are many of you.  We will continue to push the Ontario Government to release a comprehensive second wave plan that stops the spread and keeps us safe. Public health guidelines are changing frequently now, and I urge you to regularly check the City of Toronto’s public health page and the Ontario Government’s public health page for updates. As always, let’s continue with the actions we know work, including physical distancing, wearing a mask, and washing our hands.  

Please contact our office if you have a concern or an issue you’d like to raise at [email protected] or 416 535 7206.


Jessica Bell (MPP for University-Rosedale) 


My newsletter for this week includes:

  • Ghost Ride planned for October 1st (today) in honour of the cyclist killed near Kensington Market

  • NDP releases Save Main Street plan 

  • More than a Visitor Act passed to second reading

  • New reports reveal more delays for the Ontario Line and skyrocketing PRESTO fare costs 

  • Results from University-Rosedale Education Survey are in 

  • Toronto's West End NDP MPP's condemn spate of sexual assault and harassment incidents 

  • Join us for our community food drive on October 4th

  • Moore Park community canvas

  • Environmental groups join in the call to turn city-owned golf courses into something more


Ghost Ride planned for October 1st (today) in honour of the cyclist killed near Kensington Market

A Ghost Bike Memorial Ride will be held on Thursday, October 1st in honour of a 37-year-old male cyclist. He was cycling eastbound on Dundas St. West, just east of Bathurst Street. He fell due to the streetcar tracks and then was hit by a car.

This terrible tragedy serves to remind us of the vital importance of road safety in our community. We have a public health crisis on our streets and it’s clear our current approach isn’t working. We must commit to the fundamental message that fatalities and serious injuries on our roads are preventable, and we must strive to reduce traffic-related deaths and injuries to zero.

Date: Thursday, October 1st
Time: 6:00pm
Location: Matt Cohen Park at Spadina & Bloor 

Ride departs at 6:30p.m. Rain or Shine. The ride is approximately 2 km long out to the crash site. 

Masks and social distancing in effect at all times due to COVID-19.

The family has been contacted and at this time prefers discretion and privacy.


NDP releases Save Main Street plan

Last week, the Ontario NDP released a new plan to Save Main Street. Right now, we need to do everything we can to support workers and small business owners. 

Everyday I hear from small businesses that are struggling to get by and are worried about surviving a second economic shutdown. It’s been difficult to see so many beloved businesses in University-Rosedale close due to a lack of government support during these difficult times. 

Ontario’s Financial Accountability Officer revealed this month that the Ford government is sitting on $6.7 billion which was earmarked for pandemic supports. Part of that money should be used to help businesses keep people on payroll and out of a desperate situation.

By investing in working people, we can make sure Ontarians don’t just stay afloat through the second wave, but come out of this pandemic healthier and more prosperous, and ready to power the economy forward.

The NDP’s plan includes:

  • a ban on all commercial evictions

  • a 75 per cent commercial rent subsidy

  • sick days for all

  • a fund to help businesses with safe-reopening costs or remote-work set-up costs

  • more nonprofit and public child care spaces for working parents, and

  • an end to insurance gouging and insurance denials, and more.

You can read the full plan here.


More than a Visitor Act passed to second reading

Last Week, NDP MPP Lisa Gretzky’s private Member’s bill More Than a Visitor Act, passed second reading. Thank you to everyone who wrote to our office in support of this important bill and especially to those who shared their personal stories with us.  

Throughout the pandemic, I heard from many caregivers who were forced to standby while their loved ones experienced deep isolation, declining mental and physical health or passed away without being able to say goodbye due to COVID-19 restrictions. 

Safety and stopping the spread of COVID-19 remains absolutely critical. But we also have the responsibility to ensure residents have meaningful access to their caregivers. As we embark on a second wave of COVID-19, we need a plan that recognizes an individual's right to access their essential caregivers and one that gives congregate settings the resources they need to safely implement this.

We must continue to fight for the passage of this legislation so the rights of those in congregate living are upheld.

Add your name to support MPP Gretzky’s bill here. 


New reports reveal more delays for the Ontario Line and skyrocketing PRESTO fare costs

Last year, Premier Doug Ford stole Toronto’s right to plan its own transit lines by scrapping the sensible, shovel-ready Relief Line for a privatized Ontario Line.

This week, the September Infrastructure Ontario Market Update revealed construction of the Ontario Line will be delayed by another two years. After promising the Ontario Line would be complete and carrying passengers by 2027, Doug Ford needs to explain why the northern section is being delayed yet again. 

We also learned this week that Ontario’s taxpayers are on the hook for $120 million in TTC fare system costs. Thanks to the previous Liberal and current Conservative government, we’ve been forced into a situation where the TTC is paying $120 million a year for a fare card system that still doesn’t work properly. 

As we recover from COVID-19, Toronto needs fast reliable transit. This money should be going towards making transit better and fares affordable.

Read my statement here.


Results from the University-Rosedale Education Survey are in

Thank you to everyone who participated in our education survey. From the survey we learned that parents, educators and community members across University-Rosedale are deeply concerned about class sizes, want to see more teachers and education workers hired, and want to see COVID-19 testing in schools. 

If you did not get a chance to participate in our survey, we will continue to leave it open and welcome your responses. 

Click here to respond to our survey. 

A summary of schools and child care centres reporting COVID-19 is available here.


Toronto's West End NDP MPP's condemn spate of sexual assault and harassment incidents

This week I joined my colleagues in categorically and whole-heartedly condemning the recent attacks, assault, harassment, attempted abductions, and intimidation targeted towards women in Toronto’s West End neighbourhoods. 

In our open letter we demanded:

  • The reinstatement of the provincial Strategy to End Gender-Based Violence Taskforce

  • Torontonians amplify the voices of women, and share the stories of those impacted across social media

  • The creation of a sexual assault warning system 

  • The police force and the municipality to conduct a transparent, consultative process with the communities affected as quickly as possible

  • That the aim of these consultations should be to determine what immediate, then medium-term measures can be taken so that women (including trans and non-binary people) feel safest as quickly as possible

Gender-based violence has no place in Toronto. We must collectively work towards a future of non-violence, gender equality, and peace. 

If you have been the victim of gender-based violence and are in need of support, please do not hesitate to contact my office at [email protected] where we can connect you with appropriate resources. 

Click here to read our letter in full detail.



Join our Community Food Drive on October 4th

The University-Rosedale NDP riding association has planned a community food drive at the South-East entrance of Christie Pits Park. The event will take place on October 4th from 1-3pm. 

COVID-19 has brought major financial challenges to many which has led to an increase in food insecurity across the country. Many in the University-Rosedale community need our support.  If you are able, please consider contributing to the food drive.

Priority items include: 

  • Canned goods: meat, fish, vegetables, fruit

  • Dry pasta

  • Peanut butter

  • Soup 

  • Rice

  • Cold or hot cereal 

  • Adult and child diapers

  • Sanitary products 

Please practice COVID-19 safety by wearing a mask and remembering to social distance.



Moore Park community canvas

Over the last few months I’ve been thinking of safe ways to keep in touch with the community. I deeply miss being able to knock on doors and talk directly with neighbours about the issues that matter most and what I can do to help. 

As COVID-19 cases climb in Toronto, I want us to stay connected. 

This week, I delivered flyers across Moore Park and created a short survey for Moore Park residents so I can better understand what is important to you.  


Environmental groups join in the call to turn city-owned golf courses into parks

Throughout the pandemic, we’ve had to rethink how we can shape our city in healthier and more inclusive ways. This led to exciting changes like ActiveTO, which brought bike lanes to Bloor St East, opened the Gardiner to cyclists on weekends, and more. We’ve also talked about the need for more green space, so residents can get fresh air in a way that is safe and rejuvenating. 

Right now, the city owns several golf courses that cost users up to $75 to play. These fees are inaccessible for many Torontonians. I have joined the growing list of environmental and food-advocacy groups calling for the city to reimagine our golf courses and turn them into public parks and more.


Now is the time to follow public health guidelines

As COVID-19 cases climb in Ontario, please consider these reminders from Toronto Public Health to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed:

  • Limit non-essential trips out of your home and follow travel advice

  • Keep two metres (six feet) distance from others

  • Wear a mask or face covering in indoor public spaces and when you can’t keep physical distance

  • Clean your hands often. Use soap and water or an alcohol-based (70-90 per cent) hand sanitizer

  • Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with your elbow or a tissue. Immediately throw the tissue in the garbage and wash your hands.

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick

  • Stay home if you are feeling unwell

Download the COVID Alert app so you can be notified directly if you have been in close contact with someone who was contagious with COVID-19. I have downloaded the app and I encourage you to do the same.