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For Liberal Tanya Vrebosch, helping people is her passion

'I always tell people that name recognition is what got my foot in the door, but my work ethic is what kept me there'
2021 11 24 Tanya Vrebosch Steven Del Duca Liberal (Del Duca-Twitter)
Ontario Liberal candidate for Nipissing Tanya Vrebosch and Ontario Liberal Party Leader Steven Del Duca, in North Bay.

Liberal candidate Tanya Vrebosch has been a Zamboni driver, disc jockey, social services worker, city councillor and she wants to represent you as the MPP from Nipissing.

She tells BayToday that helping people is a passion for her, and elder care is an issue she wants to be front and centre as the Boomers are now at the point where they, or their spouses, need care.

A woman recently told Vrebosch that she has a husband in his 70s that is not well and can't come home from the hospital, and now the hospital is about to charge $1,900 a month for the care, and he has no place to go.

"She can't care for him at home. When he falls he's too heavy for her to pick up. So he's on a (long-term care) wait-list but has to stay in hospital. She's lost within the system. She doesn't even know who to talk to."

Vrebosch calls the healthcare system "too broken and too complex" with seniors that just need a little help.

"We're saying home care is a priority, so we need to make sure that we have enough personal support workers (PSWs) to have a consistent person coming in and they are paid the right wage, because now you can stay in your own home because you have the support to stay there and you don't have to be institutionalized. A lot of people are going into nursing homes but don't need to. They need a little extra help. People want to age at home with dignity."

See: Liberals unveil northern platform. Promise an immigration plan that attracts New Canadians to the north and highway improvements

On the lighter side, Vrebosch says the "buck-a-ride" proposal has gained lots of attention. That idea would slash transit fares to $1 across the province, including on all municipal transit systems and Ontario Northland.

"There was a guy who worked at a local restaurant and he was saying what a difference that would make for him. He says it can't start soon enough. The ability for him to take Ontario Northland to Toronto for a buck to get to his doctor's appointments is huge for him and his wife. He said even having his grandchildren come and visit, so it's opening doors for people with medical appointments."

Buck a ride is a two-year plan that would be reviewed and revisited at the end.

Vrebosch is proud to be "born and raised in Corbeil" and stayed until she was 18 when she moved to North Bay.  That's also when she became a member of the West Ferris  Legion.

She attended Scollard Hall and chose the alto sax as her musical instrument "because if you were a girl you most likely played clarinet and boys played the trumpet. I didn't want to be the typical clarinet-playing girl, I wanted something different."

She claims to be a "not very good' sax player and her dad Bill "hasn't asked me to join his band yet."

Vrebosch didn't know what she wanted as a career but she likes organizing things so she went to Canadore College and took Recreation and Leisure Services.

"I bounced around different jobs with government contracts" which included working at the East Ferris Community Centre as the events coordinator. One of her duties included driving the Zamboni "not well, but I drove it."

Working as a volunteer with LIPI (Low Income People Involvement) led to a full-time job.

Executive director Lana Mitchell said it would only last three months.

"I wasn't sure I could do the job. I didn't go to school for this."

Mitchell asked her if he had a brain. "Yes," Vrebosch replied.

"Can you use it?" queried Mitchell. "Yes, Vrebosch repeated.

"Then you can work here."

That three months turned into 10 years and acted as a stepping stone for her next job at Ontario works where she's now a supervisor.

Her Dad, North Bay Councillor Bill Vrebosh was her inspiration to enter politics.

"We'd go to conferences and I always loved watching how he helped people."

She's now been on council for 14 years. Her first run ended in defeat when she finishedn11th, but moved up with the resignation of Councillor Maureen Boldt.

Then following that election, "I went to three, two, one. So I always tell people name recognition is what got my foot in the door, but my work ethic is what kept me there."

Vrebosch is hoping that same work ethic translates into votes on June 2.