Message From Tony
Building Community Resilience
I am pleased to inform you of a new priority entitled Building Community Resilience. With this call to action, $3 million is being set aside for organizations to hold events that nurture dialogue, strengthen connections, and build social cohesion. The objective is to inspire and catalyze local grassroots initiatives that nurture community building across Canada.
The funding will be provided under the Events component of the Multiculturalism and Anti-Racism Program for initiatives held between April 2024 and March 2025.
Examples of eligible events include:
- public education events fostering intercultural understanding, sharing cultural heritage, traditions and viewpoints;
- community-based celebrations of the historic contributions to Canada of particular ethnocultural, cultural or religious groups; or
- musical events that bridge ethnocultural, cultural or religious communities.
Combatting Auto Theft
Last week here in Aurora, I was pleased to join the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Public Safety, Democratic Institutions and Intergovernmental Affairs, the Honourable Arif Virani, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, the Honourable Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario, and the Honourable Michael Kerzner, Solicitor General of Ontario, as we announced a federal investment of $121 million to support gun and gang violence prevention in Ontario through the Initiative to take Action Against Gun and Gang Violence (ITAAGGV).
During the announcement, federal and provincial officials touched on their joint efforts to combat auto theft. This crime is growing in scope in Ontario, and increasingly involves organized crime groups. The proceeds of these thefts are also used to fund other illegal activities.
To combat this issue, the Government of Canada is convening a National Summit on Combatting Auto Theft on February 8. It will bring together all orders of government, industry and law enforcement partners to collaborate on a coordinated response and build on joint initiatives that are already underway. The Government of Canada is committed to combatting serious and organized crime, reducing gun and gang violence and keeping communities safe.
Kicking off Black History Month
Last week, I was honoured to join Newmarket-Aurora in celebrating the beginning of Black History Month at two flag raising ceremonies.
On the morning of the first, I had the pleasure of joining the Newmarket African Caribbean Association (NACCA)’s flag raising. I saw many familiar faces, including Jerisha Grant-Hall, the chairperson for the organization.
In the coming weeks, NACCA will be hosting several events, including a film screening, art exhibit, museum exhibit, and more. I encourage everyone to stop by at least one event to learn more about Black history.
In the afternoon, I joined the Aurora Black Community (ABC) Association and their founder, Phiona Durrant, for their flag raising to kick off Black History Month.
On February 20th, ABC will be hosting Diversity on the Ice at the Stronach Aurora Recreation Complex. This event will aim to encourage more Black individuals to enjoy skating and winter sports and to help bridge the diversity gap in sports.
I applaud Phiona and Jerisha for the work they’ve put in and I’m looking forward to seeing the success of their events and joining in on some of them. Thank you for inviting me.
International Development Week 2024
For decades, Canada has participated in International Development Week (IDW) to highlight the importance of getting involved and making a difference and to celebrate how Canada has created positive change around the world.
This year, IDW calls on Canadians to “Go For the Goals” and emphasizes the key role of youth in shaping our global future. In Newmarket-Aurora, the youth council has already shown incredible dedication to creating positive change in our community by delivering Christmas cards to local Long-Term Care facilities and more.
This week, IDW is emphasizing partnerships, gender equality, education, health, and climate action.
From coast to coast to coast, events will be held honouring IDW and bringing awareness to initiatives that aim to make a difference in our communities. Learn more here.
Freshwater funding for Lake Simcoe
Lake Simcoe is the largest inland lake in southern Ontario and a significant source of water for Newmarket-Aurora and hundreds of thousands of Canadians. The watershed also contains significant natural, urban, and agricultural systems including parts of the Oak Ridges Moraine.
Excessive phosphorus runoff from urban and agricultural sources has led to an increase in nuisance algal blooms in Lake Simcoe. It is the most significant cause of degraded water quality in the lake and is further exacerbated by invasive species and the effects of climate change.
Through the Freshwater Action Plan, we launched the Lake Simcoe Freshwater Ecosystem Initiative, which will provide funding for Indigenous groups, organizations, and municipalities with projects that aim to reduce phosphorus loads to the lake.
Projects can receive up to $150,000 per year and may span up to three years.
I encourage groups with eligible projects to learn how to apply today.
The deadline for applications is 11:59 p.m. EST on March 22, 2024.
Other Freshwater Ecosystem Initiatives include:
The deadline for the Great Lakes, Lake Winnipeg, and Lake of the Woods funding is February 15, 2024. The Wolastoq/Saint John River funding is due on March 22, 2024.
The EcoAction Community Funding Program is also open for applications. This program provides financial support to non-profit and non-government organizations for Canadian communities to take on local action-based projects that produce measurable, positive effects on the environment. Applications are due by March 22, 2024.
Building more student housing
Canada is home to some of the world’s best higher learning institutions, helping the future generation develop crucial skills. But when students are unable to find a place to live on or near campus, they look to the nearby community, which can drive up rent and reduce the number of homes for everyone.
That’s why we’re making changes to the Apartment Construction Loan Program to offer low-cost loans to build more student housing on- and off-campus. By doing this, we will help students have access to safe and affordable housing while also ensuring that more homes are available for families in the same community.
This is just one step in our economic plan that addresses housing challenges and boosts affordability and is one of many reforms our government has committed to in the 2023 Fall Economic Statement.