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DIALOGUE WITH DAWN: Province supporting reforms of education, health care

In this month's column, Newmarket-Aurora MPP Dawn Gallagher Murphy highlights back-to-basics reforms in education and roundtable discussions with health-care professionals
Newmarket-Aurora MPP Dawn Gallagher Murphy.

Newmarket-Aurora MPP Dawn Gallagher Murphy writes a regular column for NewmarketToday about provincial initiatives and issues impacting our community.

Back to Basics in Education

As we welcome back students for another school year, the government’s priority is to deliver a normal, stable, and enjoyable year of learning. The back-to-basics reforms will emphasize reading, writing and math. In 2023-2024, our government will be providing more than $27 billion to school boards, including $700 million more in base education funding and $180 million in a new strategy to boost literacy and math rates. Educators are the foundation of our student’s success, and as such, the government is hiring two thousand more educators who will help reinforce this foundation.

New Replacement Aurora Secondary School and Skills Development

I was incredibly pleased to announce approval to award tender for the new Dr. G.W. Williams Secondary School at 11 Spring Farm Rd. After many years of advocacy by local moms, it was truly a momentous occasion to advise that this new state-of-the-art school is supported by an investment of $67.5 million from the government, including $2.4 million from the Town of Aurora for an artificial field to be used jointly by the school and community.

Expected to open in 2026, this replacement new school will provide 1,212 new secondary spaces. This is great news for Aurora. Since 2018, our government has invested more than $2.2 billion in capital projects in education, including 100 new schools and 88 additions and renovations to existing facilities.

Ontario continues to face a historic labour shortage with almost 300,000 jobs going unfilled in the province daily. That is why our government is investing an additional $160 million in our Skills Development Fund to help at least 100,000 workers get the training they need for careers in their community, and to help businesses find the talent they need. Applications to the Skill Development Fund are now open.

Improved Health Care Through Dialogue

Making improvements to our health-care system is a top priority for our government. As the parliamentary assistant to the minister of health, I have a special interest and commitment to help make changes and improvements for the benefit of all Ontarians. Over the last several months, I have had the opportunity to visit several regions in Ontario to participate in roundtables where family physicians, nurse practitioners, clinical directors and other health-care professionals came to discuss ways to reduce administration burden on primary care providers so they can spend more time helping patients and less time navigating red tape. Working together, we will make it easier to connect people with the care they need in their home or community.

Supporting our Seniors

Thank you to the Aurora Seniors Centre for holding a successful Seniors Information and Active Living Fair held last weekend. I was one of 50 exhibitors at the fair that was attended by more than 300 older adults from our community. It was great to announce that through the Seniors Community Grant program, over $247,000 was distributed to 100 seniors community organizations, $2,500 of which the Aurora Seniors Centre received to hold this event that supports our seniors by providing valuable information on local programs for seniors and families, to help keep them safe, healthy and connected.

Community Events

It is wonderful to see how Newmarket and Aurora residents are so active and engaged in community events, and it is always a pleasure for me to participate and learn more about local initiatives including:

A demonstration for the launch of Road Tennis

Road tennis originated in Barbados and is now coming to York Region. I joined local businessman, Ron Kellman, along with Sport Aurora president and Town of Aurora Councillor Ron Weese, Mayor Tom Mrakas, YRDSB's new director of education and trustees and others, including representatives of the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame at the Aurora Heights Public School, as they announced that this sport will be piloted in several York Region Schools this fall. Its popularity is due to its simplicity, it can be learned quickly and early in a child’s development.

York Region Food Network (YRFN) First Community Barbecue

What a great way to meet up with so many community members while supporting such a worthy cause. YRFN held this barbecue to show appreciation to their supporters, and to introduce everyone to their amazing team. This is an outstanding community organization offering services and programs to support food security, offering kitchen programs and more. Loved the assortment of great salads prepared by their own chefs.

MPP Gallagher Murphy 2nd Annual Community Barbecue

Please mark your calendar and plan to attend my annual community barbecue. Join me for food, music and fun for the whole family at the Riverwalk Commons, 200 Duncan Dr., Newmarket on Sunday, Oct. 22 from 2 to 4 p.m.