Council Highlights July 2013

CouncilHighlights.jpg

Council Highlights
Toronto City Council meeting of July 16, 17, 18 and 19, 2013

Council Highlights is an informal summary of decisions made by Toronto City Council

Support for a Scarborough subway
After two days of debate, Council confirmed its support for a Scarborough subway contingent on the provision of new federal funding equal to 50 per cent of net capital costs and a provincial contribution of $1.8 billion. Councilspecified that no funding outlined in the Metrolinx/City of Toronto master agreement is to be re-allocated from the Sheppard LRT (light rail transit), the Finch LRT or the Eglinton LRT to fund the proposed extension of the Bloor-Danforth line (the Scarborough subway project), and there is to be no reallocation of City revenues from other services to pay for the subway. Council also approved other actions and conditions for the subway project, including a commitment to fund the City's share of the costs by means that include property taxes and development charges.

Loss of provincial pooling funds
Council voted unanimously to urge the provincial government to rescind its recent decision to eliminate Toronto Pooling Compensation funding or, at a minimum, to maintain the social housing component of the funding. The province recently announced that $149.4 million in Toronto Pooling Compensation - most of which Toronto uses for social housing expenses - will be phased out starting next year, ending in 2016. The loss of the funding would result in an increase in property taxes and/or a reduction in services for some of the most vulnerable people in Toronto.

Water infrastructure and flood damage
Council adopted numerous motions concerning water infrastructure and damage caused by the July 8 rain storm/flooding. Actions to be taken as a result of the motions include, for example, requesting provincial and federal financial assistance to help pay for damage caused by the flooding, considering an increase in City subsidies available to residents for basement flooding protection, and working on ways to finance increased investment in Toronto's water and sewer infrastructure.

Toronto's ward boundaries
Council decided to not adopt a request made in a petition from the Toronto Taxpayers Coalition calling for changes to Toronto ward boundaries to make the wards match the federal ridings in Toronto. Council authorized the City Solicitor to defend the City's position if Council's decision on the petition is legally challenged. The City recently commenced a ward boundary review that is expected to result in changes to ward boundaries for the 2018 municipal election.

Fair wages in Toronto
Council amended the Toronto Fair Wage Bylaw to increase the Schedule C wage rates, which include wage rates for workers performing cleaning services for the City and its agencies. All fair wage schedule rates will now be updated every three years by the Fair Wage Office to ensure they remain consistent with prevailing market rates.

Child-care funding model for Toronto
Council endorsed principles and evaluation criteria to guide the establishment of a new child-care funding model for Toronto. The model, tied to a new provincial child care-funding framework, is a made-in-Toronto funding model for child-care programs to support Toronto families. The report considered by Council emphasized that at present, provincial allocations do not support the growing demand for fee subsidies in Toronto.

Welfare of immigrant children
Among recommendations adopted regarding services for, and welfare of, immigrant children, Council agreed to ask the federal government to establish a data collection system at Canada's ports of entry to facilitate gathering statistics on unaccompanied minors and children who arrive in Canada to be reunited with their parents/step-parents. The information would be shared with providers of child welfare services.

Youth equity strategy
Council approved a framework for the development of a Toronto Youth Equity Strategy supporting youth at high risk of marginalization. The strategy will emphasize engaging and supporting youth who are furthest from social and economic opportunities and at highest risk of violence and victimization, while pursuing any related opportunities that benefit all Toronto youth.

Toronto Pan Am/Parapan Am Games showcase
Council endorsed the Host City Showcase Program for the Toronto 2015 Pan American/Parapan American Games, with anticipated expenditures of up to about $20 million for 16 showcase initiatives supporting Toronto's role as the official host city. Council also approved the establishment of a reserve fund for major special events, initially as a reserve for the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games. The Games in August 2015 are expected to draw at least 10,000 athletes and officials and up to 250,000 visitors to the Toronto region.

Anti-discrimination policies
Council adopted an amended Human Rights and Anti-Harassment/Discrimination Policy and Hate Activity Policy, and a revised declaration of compliance with anti-harassment/discrimination legislation and the City's policy. The changes were made to clarify how the City of Toronto deals with discrimination complaints related to the delivery of City services, including anti-discrimination obligations of third-party providers of City services. The revised declaration of compliance replaces the old Declaration of a Non-Discrimination Policy.

Integrity Commissioner's annual report
Council endorsed a recommendation to move from a part-time to a full-time Integrity Commissioner beginning with the next Integrity Commissioner appointment in 2014. The decision came after Toronto's current Integrity Commissioner, Janet Leiper, gave a presentation to Council with highlights of her 2013 annual report. The City of Toronto established the Integrity Commissioner position in 2004 to provide advice/education to members of Counciland local boards to assist them in maintaining a high standard of ethical behaviour.

Charitable bingo and gaming initiative
Council authorized Toronto bingo halls to offer electronic bingo (eBingo) and other electronic games in bingo halls as part of an initiative of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation to revitalize charitable bingo and gaming. Slot machines are not part of the initiative.

Mimico-by-the-Lake plan
Council adopted the final Mimico-by-the-Lake Secondary Plan and urban design guidelines that will provide a policy framework for Mimico's revitalization over the next 20 years. The secondary plan envisions a mixed-use community that is well integrated with the surrounding neighbourhood and that provides good access to Lake Ontario.

Queen Street West in Parkdale community
Council approved recommended restrictions on restaurants and related uses - including limiting the number of restaurants - on Queen Street West between Dufferin Street and Roncesvalles Avenue. Not more than 25 per cent of properties will be allowed to contain restaurants. About 35 new restaurants have opened along that part of Queen Street in recent years, which has created a concern that restaurants and bars threaten to become the main commercial activity, making it harder for other kinds of businesses to take root and serve the local community's diverse needs.

Handling vexatious complaints
Council agreed to ask for a report on creating a policy for dealing with multiple, apparently vexatious complaints about neighbours' apparent property bylaw infractions and other such complaints involving bylaw enforcement. The report is to include direction on the City's fee for appealing such complaints.

Heritage grants for 2013
Council approved the awarding of grants for restoration work on 24 heritage properties in Toronto. The grants, which constitute the Toronto Heritage Grant Program for 2013, range from $3,000 to $40,000. This year’s grant recipients include homeowners, condominiums, places of worship and commercial heritage properties.

Implementing Toronto's recreation service plan
Council adopted an implementation plan for the Toronto recreation service plan that was approved at the end of 2012. The recreation service plan aims to increase overall participation in recreation, decrease financial barriers, and improve local and geographic access. The implementation plan, which covers 2013 to 2017, includes 27 actions addressing the service plan as well as initiatives for community engagement in Toronto's delivery of recreational services.

Bathurst Street planning study
Council voted to enact an interim control bylaw that prohibits the addition of retail and service uses for a period of one year on the lands generally bounded by Queen Street West to the south, the Dupont Street train tracks to the north and the properties fronting onto Bathurst Street to the east and the west. Staff are undertaking a Council-directed planning study of built form and land use on both sides of Bathurst Street from Dupont Street to Queen Street.

St. Lawrence Market North
Council authorized the continuation of architectural design work for the redevelopment of St. Lawrence Market North and directed the City Manager to prepare a plan aimed at increasing revenue to help offset the project's costs. The building initiative is intended to improve the utility of the market complex, which has been hub of economic activity in the area for more than 200 years.

Guild Inn revitalization
Council authorized staff to negotiate the terms of an agreement with Dynamic Hospitality and Entertainment Group to design, build, finance and operate a new restaurant and banquet/event centre at the Guild Inn site in Scarborough. Dynamic responded to a request for proposals from the City for this revitalization project. The Guild Inn's extensive grounds and 1914 mansion were once a hotel and artists' colony.

Railway safety issues
Council decided to ask Transport Canada to advise the City of Toronto on the status of the Railway Safety Act review and to expedite the implementation of new safety protocols for Canada's railway system. The motion adopted by Council also directs staff to review railway safety in Toronto to determine if there are any steps the City can take to improve public safety locally with regard to dangerous goods transported through Toronto by rail.

Review of EMS and Fire Services
Council approved a series of recommendations aimed at achieving efficiencies while maintaining the quality of the service in Toronto's emergency medical and fire services. The actions approved follow a study that assessed the possible consolidation of the EMS and Fire Services. The independent consultant concluded that merging the two organizations would not yield enough benefits to warrant consolidating fire and paramedic services. Council directed the City Manager to look into other ways of achieving efficiencies in the two emergency service operations.

Long-term strategy for waste management
Council adopted terms of reference for the development of a strategy that will guide decision-making on Toronto's waste management for the next 30 to 50 years. Achieving the established target of 70 per cent waste diversion by 2016 would extend the life of the City's Green Lane Landfill until 2036, but there will be a need for disposal capacity beyond that date. The Solid Waste Management Services division will explore long-term options for Toronto's residual waste.

Common-sense parking enforcement
Council committed to taking action to make sure the work of Toronto Police parking enforcement staff is mainly focused on helping achieve City priorities such as relieving traffic congestion and keeping traffic moving. The motion under consideration said that certain kinds of parking infractions do not warrant the same level of police enforcement as others.

Truck deliveries on busy streets
Council supported a motion asking for a report on strategies to discourage commercial deliveries and truck traffic on busy routes during peak commuting hours to help relieve congestion.

Shaw Street bikeway
Council authorized the installation of bicycle lanes along sections of Shaw Street to provide a continuous bikeway between Davenport Road and Douro Street using bicycle lanes and shared lane markings (sharrows). The Shaw Street bikeway will provide an important north-south cycling connection to five major east-west bikeways, as well as to the future extension of the West Toronto Railpath.

Appointments to Build Toronto
Council appointed four members of the business community to fill citizen-member vacancies on the board of directors of Build Toronto. One of the four, Christopher Voutsinas, has been appointed chair of the board. As part of its action on this agenda item, Council asked the Integrity Commissioner to investigate an alleged breach of confidentiality pertaining to the nominating panel's recommendations. Build Toronto is the real estate and development corporation that was created in 2010 to generate value from the City's real estate assets.

Action on non-compliance with Fair Wage Policy
Council authorized the Fair Wage Office to disqualify Aurostar Inc. from conducting business with the City of Toronto for two years. The company was found to be in non-compliance with the Fair Wage Policy twice in the past three years. The disqualification period ends July 16, 2015.

City/school boards task force
Council approved establishing a task force made up of City councillors and Toronto school board trustees to identify issues that would benefit from better co-ordination between the City and the school boards and to advise City Council and school trustees on how to achieve better co-ordination.

Invasive species threatening Great Lakes
Council agreed to communicate with the federal and provincial environment ministers, urging their co-operation with the United States Army Corps of Engineers to identify a preferred solution to the problem of invasive carp and to move forward quickly to implement that solution. The motion says the Asian carp is one of the most serious invasive-species threats ever presented to the Great Lakes and its connecting waterways.

Toronto and Austin music alliance
Council endorsed an Austin-Toronto Music City Alliance that will position Toronto as a leading tourist destination for live music and promote Toronto's music industry. The City of Austin, Texas has committed to the partnership with Toronto. Council also adopted a motion for the City of Toronto to take steps to establish a music advisory committee and create a strategic action plan for the City's support of the music industry in Toronto.


The City Clerk provides the formal documentation at http://www.toronto.ca/council.

Do you like this post?
Sign in with Facebook, Twitter or email.