What a year it has been! The athletes representing Team Canada at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, have won a total of 11 gold, 8 silver and 10 bronze medals! Thanks to incredible performances from athletes like Mark McMorris, Justine Dufour-Lapointe, the Canadian Figure Skating Team and our local hero Natalie Spooner, the 2018 Winter Olympic Games have been nothing short of spectacular. All of our athletes, medal recipients or not, have showcased the very best of Canadian courage, humility and sportsmanship.  I look forward to cheering on our Paralympic Athletes at the 2018 Winter Paralympics starting on March 8.

This February in the House of Commons, it was my distinct honour to speak on Bill C-262, an act to ensure that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Bill C-262 calls for consistency between the standards set out in the UN Declaration and federal laws, as well as a national action plan and reporting mechanisms to ensure the full and correction implementation of the bill. As a country, we have a responsibility to have a long overdue conversation about the recognition and implementation of Indigenous rights. This conversation can only begin once we as a country address the legacy of denial that lies at the heart of federal laws and policies and begin by replacing it with the recognition of the rights of Indigenous peoples.

To help Canadians file their income taxes this year, the Government of Canada has introduced a new File My Return service for Canadians with low or fixed incomes. Eligible Canadians will be able to file their income tax and benefit returns through an automated phone service after answering a series of short questions and providing some personal information. The File My Return service will run 21 hours a day, from 6 a.m. to 3 a.m., seven days a week and is open until April 30. Individuals with questions about the File my Return service can call the Canada Revenue Agency’s individual tax enquiries line at 1-800-959-8281.

For those who require additional income tax filing assistance, my office will be offering free tax clinic services to qualified members of our community starting Thursday, March 15. To register for one of our free tax clinics, contact our office via email or telephone.

Finally, I would like to thank those of you who attended our third annual Black History Month event at St. Mother Teresa Catholic Academy on Saturday, February 10. This event was a huge success and I was delighted to see so many members of the Centennial community at our celebration! This year, my team and I focused on the themes of black women and leadership, and we were honoured to have Order of Canada recipient and Toronto’s first black female councillor Beverley Salmon join us to deliver a special keynote address.

If you would like to meet my team and me, contact my office at (416) 283-1414 or Gary.Anand@parl.gc.ca. My office staff are eager to hear your ideas, assist you with federal services, answer your questions and notify you about our upcoming events in the community.