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The Toronto Tragedy and Ways You Can Help

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario is shocked and saddened by the van attack tragedy that took the lives of 10 people and injured 14 others in Toronto this week.

Our sincere condolences go to the families, colleagues and friends who lost loved ones. Our thoughts are with those who are struggling to recover from their injuries.  And our thanks go out to the many brave first responders including firefighters, police, paramedics and community members who rushed to the scene to save lives and comfort the injured.

This tragedy has affected many communities and labour is no exception. Of those killed and injured, many were working people; among them were union members.

Renuka Amarasingha, 46, was a member of CUPE 4400 and had just finished her first day of work at a nearby high school cafeteria when she was killed.  A single mother, she leaves a seven year old son Diyon behind.

Amir Kiumarsi, a CUPE 3904 member and Chief Steward, remains in the Intensive Care Unit at Sunnybrook Hospital. He is a chemistry teacher at Ryerson University’s G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education.

CUPE 79 member Amaresh Tesfamariam, a registered practical nurse at Fudger House, was also gravely injured and remains in critical condition at Sunnybrook Hospital.

A tragedy such as this evokes the pain of loss, and fear for our collective safety. This week, people from all over the country have come together, as have residents of Toronto, to affirm the spirit of community and caring for one another that makes our city, province and country strong.

We can all participate in the future of those left behind and those struggling to heal. 

  • A Toronto Strong Fund has been set up by the City of Toronto and the Toronto Foundation to help fund organizations and agencies to provide crisis support through Victim Services. Over $1,100,000 has already been donated.
  • A GoFundMe campaign has been set up for the son of Renuka Amarasingha.
  • A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to assist the recovery of Amaresh Tesfamariam.

We also remember others who lost their lives in this tragedy:

  • Sohe Chung, a young sales associate
  • Anne Marie D’Amico, with the investment management company Invesco
  • Chul Min ‘Eddie’ Kang, a chef at the Copacabana Brazilian Steakhouse
  • Dorothy Sewell, a grandmother and great-grandmother
  • Jordanian Muni Abed Alnajjar, who was visiting his son
  • Betty Forsyth, a 94-year-old known for breeding Toy Poodles