Kitchener Centre MPP Laura Mae Lindo has announced she's stepping down.
Lindo said she will finish out the next session of the legislature before moving into a new role in July, in the philosophy department at the University of Waterloo.
Lindo says she did not make the decision lightly and there were a couple of reasons behind it, one of which was wanting and needing to be home with her family.
The NDP member of the Ontario Legislature says the death of her father in November after he was ill, followed by the death of a cousin days later, "left me in a place where I was really thinking about that ... close support network that I have. Both my parents were in their 80s, the rest of my family lives outside Waterloo region and I'm a single parent of three kids."
She said the high cost of child care was also an issue.
Lindo said being a single parent who doesn't live in Toronto, but is expected at Queen's Park regularly when the house is sitting, required her to pay child care above and beyond what she would normally pay as a parent with a job locally.
She tried to work behind the scenes to make changes to get support for other MPPs who are parents, but didn't get very far.
"The system sort of proved itself unwilling to provide that," she said. "I found myself grappling with the fact that a lot of everyday people, like myself, can't afford to do the job and we're just missing a whole ton of potential leaders as our elected representatives."
She said she tried to talk to people at Queen's Park to explain this wasn't an issue that just impacted her.
"This is about equity, it's not actually about me. It doesn't matter what party you're in ... if you're a single parent and you're at Queen's Park, but you live outside of Toronto, you need to have that support or you won't be able to do the job and feel that your kids are safe at home," she said.
Lindo says the Legislative Assembly Act lays out the housing allowance for MPPs. A change to that to permit child care support that is not a taxable benefit would help other single parents take on the job.
"What happened for me was, a decision was made that they would try to help me with the additional care costs but they made it a taxable benefit, so when I filed my taxes, I ended up owing $6,000," she said.
"They explained to me that if I carried on and was at Queen's Park Monday to Thursday for the entirety of our schedule, I would always owe somewhere between $6,000 and $8,000," she said.
"I don't know a single parent that would be able to find that, to pay to be the representive for the community, no matter how much they love their community."
Lindo shared the news of her resignation on Twitter:
The party said no one was available for an interview.
Interim NDP Leader Peter Tabuns issued a statement Wednesday afternoon thanking Lindo for being "an integral member" of the party, and called her a "tireless advocate" for her constituents.
"We thank her for her years of work serving her constituents and pushing to make Ontario a better, more just place for everyone, and for her work as chair of the Ontario NDP Black Caucus," said the statement, which also wished Lindo "all the best in her next endeavours."
Lindo was first elected MPP for Kitchener Centre in 2018, when she beat Liberal incumbent Daiene Vernile.
Lindo has served as the NDP's critic on anti-racism and equity as well as colleges and universities.
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