COVID-19 - April 22 Update

Tomorrow I hope you'll join me as we virtually commemorate the second anniversary of the Yonge Street Tragedy. The City of Toronto will live stream Mayor John Tory’s commemorative statement on the City of Toronto YouTube channel at 9AM. The community-led virtual vigil can be accessed on the I Love Willowdale Facebook page.

Today is Earth Day when we recognize that our actions really do matter. Throughout the pandemic, we we've seen striking images ranging from animal sightings in our backyards to photos of cities clear of their usual smog clouds. Though TransformTO, our City's climate action plan, we've been working to meet ambitious targets, including reaching net-zero green-house gas emissions by 2050 or sooner. In October last year, we recognized more needs to be done, and faster, which is why City Council unanimously declared a climate emergency. It is vitally important that as we prepare our recovery from the pandemic we keep focused on helping creating a better, more equitable and resilient planet for future generations.

Supporting our local businesses is an important part of our recovery. I hold regular calls with our Davenport Business Improvement Associations to discuss actions being taken by different governments and to listen to their ideas and concerns. Today, the City has launched the BusinessTO Support Centre to provide virtual one-on-one support to Toronto businesses during this challenging time. Working with the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas, we have also expanded the Digital Mainstreet Program and tripled its staff, extended the facade grant program, coordinated with the Toronto Region Board of Trade on supports, and developed the Innovation Grant Program.

Business rents remain a top concern for local business owners. I continue working with our local business people while advocating for programs such as the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance, which will help to address these concerns directly.

Our office continues to work to serve you remotely. If we can be of any assistance, please don't hesitate to contact us by email at councillor_bailao@toronto.ca or by phone at 416.392.7012.

In community,

Ana

Questions from the Community!

Each day, we are working to answer important questions from our community. To help keep you informed, we will feature some of these questions each newsletter. Do you have a question you think would be good to share? Reach out to us at councillor_bailao@toronto.ca.

What is permitted in City parks and green spaces under the City's emergency order?
The City's parks and greens spaces are still open for people to visit. All amenities within them are however closed. This includes things like playgrounds, sports fields, basketball courts, off-leash dog parks, etc. The City has closed these amenities at the direction of the Chief Medical Officer of Health to reduce the potential spread of the Covid-19 virus. If you are visiting a park for brief periods of exercise you must practice physical distancing (at least 2 metres away from others). Remember, the direction from the Chief Medical Officer of Health is to stay home! While parks and green spaces are still open to safely exercise for brief periods, the main direction as we fight Covid-19 is to stay home!

Full details are available at this link: https://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/covid-19-latest-city-of-toronto-news/affected-city-services/

I understand that property taxes have been deferred by the City and automatic withdrawals stopped. What if I am still able to pay my property taxes and want to do so and I was registered for automatic withdrawals?

The City has deferred the payment of property taxes and City utilities (water) for 60 days from March 16th, 2020. If you are enrolled in automatic payments, these will not be withdrawn during the deferral period. If you still are able and want to pay your property taxes during this period you can do so through electronic banking and your account will be credited. More specific details are below.

Pre-Authorized Payment Plans

The City has suspended all pending pre-authorized withdrawals that were scheduled to be withdrawn between March 16, 2020 and May 15, 2020.

For customers already enrolled in the City's pre-authorized payment plans for property tax and utility, customers do not need to re-apply or re-register for pre-authorized payments – pre-authorized payments will start again automatically after the grace period. Property owners on these plans will receive a notification by mail in advance of planned instalment due dates and withdrawal amounts.

Property Owners Who Want to Pay as Scheduled

For property owners who may have made payments during the grace period, any payments you have made will be credited to your account, and the remaining interim taxes owing or any remaining pre-authorized withdrawal amounts will be adjusted accordingly.

Customers on the regular billing plan or those registered for pre-authorized plans who still wish to make payments during the grace period to help the City financially, may do so by making electronic payments through your bank or financial institution, using web or telephone banking or automated teller (ATM) transactions. Any payments made will be credited to your account, and any pre-authorized payments adjusted accordingly.

Local Updates

Davenport Diamond Night Work Update
I have been working with many members of our community who have been frustrated with the Davenport Diamond construction. Prior to construction, I organized a call with Metrolinx to raise expected community concerns, specifically around construction noise and lighting at night. When the construction began, it became clear that more needed to be done to mitigate these impacts to the community. The morning following the first night of work, I wrote to the Metrolinx CEO to see what other changes could be implemented. Today, we have received word that they will work to implement a number of changes including:

  1. Review storing construction equipment away from the condos to minimize noise along the access road
  2. Face lighting away from residences
  3. Review shifting specific noisy construction to daytime work and investigating a temporary shoring wall
  4. Continue real-time decibel monitoring to ensure work remains in the permitted limit

While we understand that some noisy work will be required to happen at night, I am glad that we could create some relief for those affected. Thank you to all the residents who joined me in this advocacy.

Community Clean-Up, Environment Day and Compost Days
A few residents have reached out to our office regarding community clean ups, environment days and compost days. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, these events have been cancelled until June 30. Any events after this date will be assessed at a later date, based on the public health advice.

35 Home Produce Delivery Options
Many people are unable or reluctant to go to grocery stores to pick-up produce. If you wish to have groceries delivered by shopping online, this is a good list of local options.

How Toronto Stores are Coping without Foot Traffic
A good article sharing the stories of small business owners, including the Maker Bean Café and their efforts to shift their business to operate responsibly during the pandemic.

Recent Announcements

Municipal

City of Toronto launches BusinessTO Support Centre to help support Toronto businesses during COVID-19 pandemic
Today, Mayor John Tory announced that the City of Toronto has launched the BusinessTO Support Centre to provide virtual one-on-one support to Toronto businesses during this unprecedented time.

The City's new BusinessTO Support Centre will be available for all sectors, including not-for-profit, creative/cultural, manufacturing, technology, retail, hospitality, tourism, main street businesses and consulting services.

High Park cherry blossom festival going virtual during park closure to stop the spread of COVID-19
Based on the recommendations of the Medical Officer of Health to stop the spread of COVID-19 and save lives, the City of Toronto is working to make the High Park cherry blossoms available online during the upcoming park closure.

Provincial

Ontario Takes Immediate Steps to Further Protect Long-Term Care Residents and Staff During COVID-19 Outbreak
The Ontario government is making progress on the implementation of the COVID-19 Action Plan for Protecting Long-Term Care Homes to help stop and contain the spread of COVID-19 in the province's long-term care homes. The government has introduced more aggressive testing, screening, and surveillance, deployed specialized teams from hospitals, public health and the home care sector, recruited additional frontline staff, and increased personal protective equipment.

Federal

Statement on joint WTO efforts to ensure open and predictable trade for food and agricultural products amid COVID-19
The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, today issued a statement on making sure trade remains open and predictable to ensure people in Canada and around the world can access the food and essential goods they need.

Removing barriers for international students working in essential services to fight COVID-19
To help battle the COVID-19 outbreak, starting immediately, the government will remove the restriction that allows international students to work a maximum of 20 hours per week while classes are in session, provided they are working in an essential service or function, such as health care, critical infrastructure, or the supply of food or other critical goods.

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