On the Issues

I'm excited about the broad range of issues that I'll be able to work on as an MPP. In most cases, strong solutions and valuable opportunities that can really work for Ontario are multi-faceted and stretch across multiple areas. I'm looking forward to tackling the issues, big and small, that will help us build a better province.

Here are my thoughts on a few issues I care deeply about. If you'd like to know my thoughts and plans related to other issues, please don't hesitate to reach out!

JOBS

The number one issue facing London North Centre today is jobs. With the country's lowest workforce participation, compounded by a shortage of secure and stable work, Londoners are hurting and our future is in jeopardy. There is no silver bullet, and it will take systems change and coordinated efforts to fix this growing problem.

Here are a few of the items I'll prioritize addressing:

  • Pursue regional economic solutions. London is a natural hub for Southwestern Ontario's major industries. Developing our role as a central location for personal services, business services, and industry growth will create jobs in London.

  • Fix the support programs intended to help businesses become employers or increase their workforce. Right now, they favour other regions and they're difficult to access, so Londoners aren't benefitting from them. We also need to improve access to business services for immigrants, who are statistically more likely to become job creators but often aren't directed toward appropriate support.

  • Make a strong case for London to be included in the Province of Ontario's growth plans, where we are currently excluded. We have a great deal to offer and are an important part of this province's future—investment plans need to recognize that.

  • Create a province-wide network that allows individuals in affordable housing to transfer between jurisdictions. This will allow people to pursue job opportunities without being dropped to the bottom of the list for support.

ELECTORAL REFORM

  • Immediately charge Elections Ontario with the responsibility of running a complete, comprehensive, and extensive education campaign on proportional representation. Use the 2007 citizens' assembly recommendation for a mixed-member proportional system and give Ontarians their choice this time by ensuring they're well-informed before a referendum.

  • I'm very supportive of extending the vote to 16 and 17 year olds, as well as to permanent residents. In the interim, I would strongly support giving municipalities the option to implement such changes.

  • Work with municipalities to implement Ranked Choice Voting in more places across the province.

STOP PUNISHING PEOPLE FOR BEING POOR

Any time we have or allow a policy that imposes heavy consequences for non-payment, we’re disproportionately impacting low-income people and families. In many cases, those consequences can have an exponential effect, leaving people in dire and difficult circumstances because they faced financial difficulty, even temporarily. 

A couple of key areas I'll address as an MPP are

  • transportation-related issues
    • license suspensions for non-payment of tickets should not face the same repercussions as license suspensions for dangerous or illegal behaviour
    • insurance rates should not take into account payment history or period without insurance. Not being able to afford insurance, or having plans cancelled for non-payment, should not force Ontarians into higher premiums or high-risk categories. 

  • OSAP
    • currently it is very difficult for an individual who has filed for bankruptcy in the past to ever get funding—either grants or loans—through OSAP. We need to fix this issue so that Ontarians who want to work hard to improve their lives after financial trouble are able to do so.

  • Banking
    • NSF fees for automatic withdrawals are out of control and out of sync with the real cost to financial institutions of a declined withdrawal. It punishes people who struggle with cashflow at home. We need to work with banks to regulate and end these exorbitant fees.

    • Payday lenders and cheque cashers need to go. But they need to be replaced with something. The unfortunate reality is that many people rely on them because they don't qualify to open a bank account. We don't need any more minor tweaks—we need a solution for those people soon.

HEALTHCARE

  • Better mental health care is an urgent need in our province. Investing in proactive, dedicated and dignified mental health care will pay for itself by taking the strain off of our hospitals, police, and other front-line workers who have to make do to fill this gaping hole in our healthcare.

  • Truly universal Pharmacare makes sense from every angle. It's time to implement it.
     
  • Extend adequate healthcare to Indigenous populations regardless of where they live. The federal government is falling down on the job, and we can't allow the current situation to continue in our own province. 

OPEN DATA AND DIGITAL GOVERNMENT

  • Create better tools to allow people to participate and to access information more easily from across the province. Digital tools can greatly improve the inclusiveness of our government and make our democracy stronger.

  • For transparency's sake, a data dump isn’t good enough when we share information. We need to make the information more easily understandable, digestable, and in some cases, usable for Ontarians who can help us make better decisions and build better solutions.

A TENANT'S RIGHT TO A HOME

A long time ago, it was presumed that people only rented homes for a brief period before buying. If that were ever close to the truth, it's certainly not now. We need regulations and legislation that allow tenants the same sense of comfort, safety, and pride in their homes as property owners enjoy.

A few key changes that I'll work to bring:

  • Make it unacceptable for landlords to include clauses that are illegal in their leases. Currently, an illegal clause is void, but there is nothing to prevent a landlord from including one, and many tenants are unaware of their rights. A good example is that landlords often include rules prohibiting pets, even though they aren't allowed to forbid them in Ontario.

  • Charge landlords with a duty to disclose the same things you would have to disclose if someone were purchasing a home. Renters should know about potential safety issues related to things like outdated electrical and plumbing work, or any other hidden defects that may make the home unsafe or unhealthy.

  • Tenants deserve a right to know specifically who has potential access to their home by being provided with a list of all the individuals who have keys or access codes.

  • Landlords should not be allowed to require authorization to “enter at any time” in order for tenants to request maintenance.

ELGIN-MIDDLESEX DETENTION CENTRE

The situation at Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre is absolutely unacceptable, full stop. I hope there will be remedies in action before the general election, but if nothing has been done—or not enough has been done—this will be a Day 1 job for me as an MPP. While the EMDC is not in London North Centre, citizens of this riding are and will be there. Their safety and wellbeing needs to be protected. The province can not neglect its duty to care for the people in EMDC any longer.

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  • published this page in Meet Amanda 2018-01-08 12:50:27 -0500
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