Dufferin-Caledon MPP Sylvia Jones ‘proud’ of community & province-wide initiatives

January 31, 2020   ·   0 Comments

By Alyssa Parkhill

Dufferin-Caledon MPP Sylvia Jones says Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government made huge strides in 2019 and she is working hard to push forward more goals in 2020.

In an interview with the Citizen, she said one of the main highlights of 2019 was passage of the Provincial Animal Welfare (PAWS) Act, giving Ontario the strictest animal protections laws and punishments in all of Canada, which came into effect on Jan 1.

“2019 was an incredibly busy year but I’m pretty excited about some of the announcements that we were able to make in the first year of government. Introducing the PAWS legislation and having that now in place, in the province in Ontario, leading Canada in the animal welfare field and protecting our pets and animals,” she said. “That was amazing work that I had the honour in leading as the Solicitor General.”

According to the government’s website, the legislation prioritizes the protection of animals and improves animal welfare, by including new offenses to combat activities such as dog fighting, allowing inspectors to help animals in distress and holding those necessary accountable, giving the government ability to empower others allowing actions to take place if animal is at risk of serious injury or death, increasing penalties for serious or repeating offenders, improving increased transparency and accountability and ensuring the necessary experts such as veterinarians, academics, animal advocates can produce information and advice for the government to help improve animal protection. 

Ms. Jones has studied and worked on ridding Ontario of human trafficking for close to 10 years. Working alongside the Associate Minister of Children and Women Issues, Jill Dunlop, a new strategy was developed to fight and overcome human trafficking in Ontario.

The government is committing to $20 million annually for the initiative to fund supports and develop other initiatives for victims of human trafficking.

“Many people in Dufferin-Caledon know that I worked previously on a human trafficking select committee, and have a lot of ideas and heard a lot of great opportunities on how we can shut down what I think is probably one of the most heinous crimes that we have where organized gangs are using it to fund their illegal activities,” she explained. “While Ontario is most impacted today, this opportunity that gangs are using our young people to fund their criminal activity is only going to grow if we don’t start to figure out ways to shut them down. There’re some very exciting opportunities that we can do if we work together.”

The local MPP also discussed work going towards improving life for the Dufferin-Caledon community, including one big aspect, health care. 

“The announcement of the Ontario Health Team here in Headwaters, is literally going to transform how people can access and get help when they transition through the many steps of the health system,” she said, “whether it’s through coordination of paramedics, long term care, palliative care, family health teams, the emergency room in the hospital,.

“I’m really looking forward to working with all of our health partners on the Headwaters Ontario Health Team. I know from talking with them how excited and how they see this really being at the centre for helping patients and families get the assistance they need. “

The MPP and her team have moved into a new office that allows easier access to services for residents of the riding, located at 180 Broadway in Orangeville. 

“Our new location has really allowed us to offer service a better service, we’re more coordinated because of the office layout, and the access with elevators and parking. That move was long overdue, and we’re very excited to be in our space,” she said.

She also commented on the continuing improvement of the Metrolinx transit system. This past December, several members of the community formed a united group to prevent Metrolinx from cancelling the GO Transit Bus Route 38 to and from Bolton which allowed commuters to get to and from work. With the community involvement alongside Mayor Allan Thompson, Ms. Jones and some Caledon council members, their voices were heard and the route retained. She said she plans to work on further improving the transit system, alongside several partners.

“From a local standpoint there are some local initiatives that I’m working with. With municipal leaders, I’ll point to continuing working with Mayor Thompson and Metrolinx on the GO Bus service transformation. The first step was to make sure access was still there for the Bolton residents and steps three four and five are how do we ensure that more people will use the service, because the best way to ensure that it stays is that we have high rate of usage and to make sure that it is a system schedules and timing, that people can use and want to use.”

She said she and her team look forward to the new year with new initiatives and goals that will come out over the course of the year.

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