Why I’m here, what I’m fighting for

Dear Neighbour,

Throughout my life I’ve seen how our lives can be made better or more challenging by the work done at Queen’s Park.

This province has given me so much: a fantastic education through our public schools, financial aid to attend university, and healthcare when my family has needed it most.

I’ve seen the good we can do, and I’ve seen where we can do better.

As a kid in Port Elgin I watched my mom struggle to raise two kids on a lower income.

In high school near Walkerton I saw how cuts devastated education and public health.

In 2016, we lost one of our twin boys to a school flu outbreak.

Policy choices can change our lives.

I’m running to be your MPP because I believe that when we put people first, not as a slogan, but because it’s the right thing to do, we thrive.

We’ve been reminded during the pandemic how much our health and livelihood depends on all of us.  And I’ve seen so many members of our community step up to help however they can.

I know we can do better in Ontario. As a parent and small business owner, I know how much is at stake.

It’s time for plans that are both practical and compassionate, that will put our families first and be sustainable so people will be able to count on them.

We need to rebuild our community not to where it was before – but to something greater we will be proud to leave behind to our kids.

You and I are in this together. I’m here to work for better for all of us.

I’m proud to have this chance to represent Mississauga – Streetsville and I can’t wait to talk with you.

_________________________________________________________________________

After losing Jude to a school flu outbreak in 2016, I went to work advocating for illness prevention in our communities to prevent more stories like ours. I launched For Jude, For Everyone, a campaign to help people better understand the flu and learn to protect themselves and each other. Through the years this work has gained international media attention, brought me to elected representatives at all levels, and given me the opportunity to work with hospitals, university students, and the healthcare community to build vaccine confidence and help people find the answers they need from trusted sources.

In combination with this work, I’ve also spent years advocating for better sick day policies to enable people to stay home when they’re unwell. Throughout the pandemic we’ve seen how great this need is, and how failing to meet it puts us all at risk. 1 in 4 Peel workers who tested positive for COVID-19 went to work sick because they couldn’t afford to stay home. This problem isn’t new, but it has been made more urgent by the pandemic. In a typical year ~3500 Canadians lose their lives to seasonal flu, and in Ontario alone ~5000 are hospitalized, putting our hospitals in surge protocol and resulting in canceled surgeries. We’re spending a fortune on preventable illness instead of protecting our communities and our healthcare system with preventative policies.

We’ve also seen how this government has failed to help Peel. As we struggled with consistently the highest rates of COVID-19 in the province, and extended lockdowns that left Peel businesses closed more than open, the government chose not to take action to help us bring community transmission under control. Peel’s industrial sector employs ~300,000 essential workers in close proximity, many precariously employed and most without paid sick days. Illness doesn’t enter a workplace and stay there. It comes home to families, communities, classrooms and other essential businesses. The government waited more than 400 days to implement fewer sick days than our community needed. Peel workers kept Ontario’s shelves stocked and orders fulfilled so most of the province could stay home. Peel needed our government’s help, and with 9 of 12 Conservative MPPs in the region, including all six in Mississauga, that help never came.

When vaccines became available, our region wasn’t prioritized despite our high rates of infection and inability to control transmission. With ~10.5% of Ontario’s population and 20% of overall cases, Peel received only ~7.5% of the province’s vaccines, outside of the two week period of increased allocation.

Our small businesses have struggled, and members of our community tell me about debt over $100,000 and questions of whether they’ll ever recover – or reopen their doors. The two allocations of $20,000 per business were a help, but they were the same funds offered to businesses in green zones, and weren’t enough for businesses in our region who have had to stay closed longer than the rest of the province. As a small business owner (wedding and lifestyle photographer) who has had to be closed throughout the pandemic, I know what an incredible hardship this has been.

We can do better, and we all deserve better.

I know too well how important it is to get these policies right. I’ve been fighting for years, and it’s time to bring that fight to Queen’s Park. I’m running because my life and the lives of my loved ones and neighbours have felt the impact of decisions made at Queen’s Park, and we’ll continue to feel them in the years ahead. Because of the cuts to education in the last three years have left high schools in Mississauga unable to offer courses like physics and calculus, and other post-secondary prerequisites. Because a government’s job is to protect people’s lives and well-being, and we don’t have that right now.

I’m running for my family and yours.

I’ve included below a small sample of my work through these years. When you elect me, I’ll be able to fight for public education, public health and healthcare, and sustainable policies that will put Ontarians’ health and well-being first. We aren’t seeing that with our current government. There is nothing more important to me.

_________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________

Global Citizen – ‘This Mom Lost Her Son to the Flu. Now She Wants to Stop Others From Ever Facing the Same Thing.
December 21, 2020 – Written by Jacky Habib

_________________________________________________________________________

Ellected Podcast with Sarah Elder-Chamanara
June 9, 2021 – Jill Promoli – Mother, Advocate, and Ontario Liberal Candidate

_________________________________________________________________________

The Agenda with Steve Paikin – September 25th, 2019
Preparing for Flu Season, with Dr. Michelle Murti

_________________________________________________________________________

Your Morning – Jill Promoli – August 19th, 2020
Paid sick days for a plan for a safe September

_________________________________________________________________________

Jill Promoli – Bill 47 Deputation, November 15th, 2018
Deputation transcript

Excerpt:

_________________________________________________________________________

Jill Promoli – PDSB delegation, August 27th, 2019
Advocating for better communications about illness prevention in schools – gained unanimous support
Audio embedded below

_________________________________________________________________________

Kelly Grant, The Globe and Mail – November 11, 2016
A child’s death, a mother’s campaign

_________________________________________________________________________

OntarioSAFE – Queen’s Park, August 31, 2020

Speech transcript:
Hi everyone. My name is Jill Promoli. I would give anything to have nothing of value to add to this conversation, but thank you all for being here today.

I’m a mother of three and live in Mississauga. I’m worried. Peel schools are scheduled to gradually reopen beginning on September 9th, but only two of my kids are still here to go to school.

Four years ago influenza B swept through my daughter’s kindergarten classroom. Most of the class had already been out sick before we knew this was happening – some for weeks, and some hospitalized. Isla recovered quickly from her fever, but later that week, my son Jude died. He was two years old, and left behind his twin brother.

I won’t try to describe for you what it’s like to lose a child. I can’t. What I do need you to hear is how painful it was to learn Jude’s cause of death, and understand that it was preventable. He’d failed to develop immunity from his own flu shot, but what if one more person had had theirs? What if one more person had stayed home when sick? What if one more person had been more careful to protect themselves and everyone they came in contact with?

*What if*s can’t give us Jude back now. It’s too late for him, but it isn’t too late for everyone who’s still here, and we’re facing a situation that’s about to change the risk factors for everyone in this province. Like the flu, everyone who gets COVID-19 gets it from someone else. It doesn’t just happen. The choices and the plans we make now will either increase or decrease the risk for every Ontarian as we begin the school year.

The experts have been clear, and we know what works. We know to keep our distance. We know to limit the number of people we’re in close, regular contact with. We know to wear masks when we’re indoors. And we know we need to stay home when we’re sick.

But the most important thing we’ve learned while advocating for better illness prevention in the four years since losing Jude, is these measures only work if people can do them. Right now, with this plan for our return to school, this government is setting us up to fail.

They’ve chosen not to invest in hiring enough additional teachers, so classes are collapsing, and kids are going back to crowded classrooms next to empty ones. Instead of minimizing the number of people our kids and education workers will be in contact with all day, five days a week, classes will be at their full sizes, exponentially increasing all of our risk for exposure and infection. Most of the youngest students in this province are still not required to wear masks. And this government has not stepped up to enable people to stay home when they or their kids are sick, despite their regular requests to keep kids home with even mild symptoms. When a sick day could mean being unable to afford groceries or rent, or even losing your job, parents will send sick kids to school because they have no choice.

This pandemic has already been hardest on marginalized and low-income communities and there’s been no meaningful change to the conditions that put them at risk when everything began.

On April 28th, Premier Ford was clear: “I’m not going to put our children in a crowded classroom… We’ve got to protect our children at all costs.”

But most elementary students are returning to the exact same classes that Premier Ford said were too dangerous for our children in March, when there were 59 active cases in the province. They’re going back without extra space, with little protection, and more than 1,100 active cases. But these aren’t just ‘cases. These are people. These are 1,100 people.

Our kids probably won’t be the ones to deal with the most serious effects of COVID-19. There’s some room to breathe knowing they’ve been safer through this time so far. But as we send them back to school, we increase the chance they’ll be infected, and the chance they’ll bring it home to their loved ones and their communities. It isn’t only about the people in the classroom, it’s everyone else they come in contact with when they leave, and everyone those people go on to have contact with.

This isn’t a parent problem or a teacher problem or a school problem. It’s an Ontario problem. It’s about all of us, and we need a plan that recognizes that.

We know what it will take for a safe return to school. We need paid sick days to enable parents to keep sick kids home. We need to be realistic about plans to address ventilation issues. And we need smaller class sizes so kids can better keep their distance from others and reduce their number of contacts.

Please, Premier Ford. We need you to take these actions.

_________________________________________________________________________