COVID-19 - April 24 Update

This morning Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced further details to assist businesses with rent. He outlined partnerships with provinces and territories to deliver the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance for small businesses. Two days ago, after a call with the Davenport BIAs, I wrote about the need for rent relief for our businesses. According to a recent survey, 61% of businesses reported they would have to close their doors for good after 3 months without support. This is an important step forward to respond to the needs of our small businesses and governments need to ensure that these programs are implemented in a way that best supports our main street businesses. The program will lower rent by 75% for small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19 and is an important step in supporting many of our main street businesses.

The City has also taken a formal step toward recovery with the announcement of Toronto’s Recovery and Rebuild Strategy, including the establishment of an office led by Mr. Saad Rafi, with a public health strategy led by Dr. David Mowat. The Toronto Office of Recovery and Rebuild will be guided by several themes including, building preparedness through City divisions and agencies, resilience, equity, business and cultural development, and government and fiscal renewal.  As a member of the Mayor’s Economic Support and Recovery Taskforce, I have been leading the Social Services and Housing tables and will be providing recommendations to this office as we build a robust and comprehensive recovery strategy.

The City will work closely with institutions, communities and partners to ensure engagement throughout. Residents and businesses will play a significant role in successfully restoring communities and social and economic infrastructures, while ensuring the city remains healthy.

Decisions about timing of re-opening and relaxing current measures to help stop the spread of COVID-19 have not been determined yet and will be guided by advice from public health officials.

Our office continues to work to serve you remotely. If we can be of any assistance, please do not 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 keep you all informed, we will feature some of these questions each newsletter. Have a question you think would be good to share? Reach out to us at councillor_bailao@toronto.ca.

I recently visited a store and noticed that some of the prices on essential items had increased a lot since the beginning of the Covid-19. Is this legal?

No, the provincial government has issued directives under their State of Emergency Order that makes this practice illegal and provides for significant fines for businesses that violate this regulation. You can report any potential "price gouging" at the provincial link below or by phone at 1-800-889-9768.

https://www.ontario.ca/form/report-price-gouging-related-covid-19

Is it true that I can still put my yard waste out for pick up – I heard this service was stopped by the City?

Seasonal yard waste collection was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as the City needed to ensure proper staffing levels to continue collecting main waste such as garbage, recycling and organics. It was determined that staffing levels were remaining at appropriate levels and yard collection will continue to May 1, 2020. More information is available at the link below.

https://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/covid-19-latest-city-of-toronto-news/affected-city-services/?accordion=garbage-recycling-and-organics

Local Updates

#CrushCOVID with Councillor Brad Bradford (Donate)
My Councillor colleague Brad Bradford will be participating in the Ride to Crush COVID – biking (from home) for 24 hours to raise funds for Michael Garron Hospital starting at 6:00pm today. This is an amazing initiative which has already raised over $120,000 from over 300 participants around the world. Tomorrow, I will be joining him at 4:00PM (after 22 hours of cycling!) to provide him words of encouragement. As a surprise, I want to give him some words of encouragement from across Davenport. Please send your words of encouragement to councillor_bailao@toronto.ca for me to share with him tomorrow. If you wish to follow this event, you can watch it live here.

Secondhand Sunday
Due to COVID-19 physical distancing requirements and to ensure the safety and health of Torontonians, Secondhand Sunday will be a little different this weekend. Instead of sharing your reusable items with your neighbours on Sunday, please consider sharing your sidewalk chalk art with them instead! Some examples may include environmentally friendly messages, children’s artwork, nature interpretation, or general messages of positivity and gratitude. Remember to take part in this activity in a safe and responsible manner while respecting physical distancing requirements. Please share your chalk art on social media by using the hashtag #secondhandsundayTO. You can also email images to info@secondhandsunday.ca for them to share them directly.

18 Foundry Splashpad
I am pleased to share that the design of the splash pad project at 18 Foundry Avenue has been completed and the work is scheduled to proceed this year. I am glad that this important addition is moving forward for the families in the community can enjoy this new feature. Thank you to all the residents who have put in time to consult on the design of this work. To see the design work, please visit: anabailao.com/FoundaryAve_SplashPad

Toronto Public Library – Free Children’s Books in Food Hampers
As part of its ongoing support of Toronto’s food banks, Toronto Public Library is providing brand new books for children, free of charge, in the food hampers they are distributing through pop-up food banks. TPL's food banks have been set up in partnership with North York Harvest Food Bank, Daily Bread Food Bank and Second Harvest in nine library branches across the city.

Jane’s Walks
Did you know that Jane’s Walk will be proceeding this year through a digital format? On their website, you can find live walks, self-guided walks, and the 3D walks. Jane’s Walk Festival is May 1-3.

West Neighbourhood House
West Neighbourhood House is supporting a network of local grassroots volunteer groups who have offered to help seniors and others who are especially vulnerable right now. Mutual aid volunteers are available to run errands, do pharmacy and grocery pickup, provide social support over the phone, and identify pressing needs in the community so no one falls through the cracks. 

They need your help to spread the word so they can:

  • identify folks who are in need,
  • recruit more volunteers, and
  • help organize our neighbours.

You can see detailed information about the project or sign up as a mutual aid pod leader or volunteer at westnh.org/mutualaid.

Pro Bono Ontario
PBO has developed a COVID-19 Legal Health Check-Up to help people who do not seek legal advice because they don’t recognize that they have a legal problem. The pandemic has created hardships for people, non-profits and small businesses, many of whom do not realize that there may be a legal element to the hardship they are experiencing. The COVID-19 Legal Health Check-Up is a brief, plain-language questionnaire that is available as an online interview or downloadable document.

Users who ‘screen positive’ for legal problems can contact PBO’s Free Legal Advice Hotline at 1-855-255-7256, where they can get legal advice and help drafting legal documents. The Hotline helps with Employment, Housing, Powers of Attorney, Consumer Debt and Protection, Civil (non-family) litigation, and Corporate law for non-profits and small businesses. The Hotline is open Monday-Friday from 9:30 – 11:30 am and 1:00 – 4:00 pm, and is staffed by lawyers who can answer general legal questions as well as those specifically relating to COVID-19.

Recent Announcements

Municipal

City of Toronto begins targeted spring cleanup across the city
The City of Toronto will have a targeted spring cleanup taking place across the city over the next few weeks.

Spring cleanup activities include:
• Illegal dumping cleanup
• Boulevard and laneway cleaning
• Litter and debris removal in parks
• Fence-line litter clearing
• Street sweeping to clean up dirt and debris from Toronto’s streets.

Unfortunately, the annual Clean Toronto Together community cleanup campaign was cancelled due to COVID-19.

Saad Rafi appointed to lead the Toronto Office of Recovery and Rebuild to begin planning post-COVID-19
Today, Mayor John Tory announced the start of Toronto's Recovery and Rebuild Strategy including the establishment of an office led by Mr. Saad Rafi, with a public health strategy led by Dr. David Mowat.

City of Toronto urges residents to stay focused on stopping the spread of COVID-19
As of this morning, there are 4,480 cases of COVID-19 in Toronto. Cases include 4,048 confirmed cases and 438 probable cases. There are 300 cases hospitalized, with 113 in intensive care units. We continue to see COVID-19 deaths; to date 238 people in Toronto have died from COVID-19. Case status data can be found on the City’s reporting platform at toronto.ca/home/covid-19/covid-19-latest-city-of-toronto-news/covid-19-status-of-cases-in-toronto. As the weekend approaches, residents are reminded of the importance of staying home and remaining focused on fighting COVID-19.

Provincial

Ontario Provides Urgent Relief for Small Businesses and Landlords
The Ontario government is partnering with the federal government to provide urgent relief for small businesses and landlords affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. The province is committing $241 million through the new Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (OCECRA). The total amount of provincial-federal relief that would be provided is more than $900 million, helping to ensure small businesses are ready to reopen their doors when the emergency measures are lifted.

Governments Invest $2.5 Million to Grow Agri-food e-Business During COVID-19
The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing up to $2.5 million to help the agri-food sector expand online, providing more opportunities for producers to grow their business and offer more food choices for families who are shopping from home during the COVID-19 outbreak. The funding is being provided through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the Partnership).

Federal

Prime Minister announces partnerships with provinces and territories to deliver the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance for small businesses
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced that the federal government has reached an agreement in principle with all provinces and territories to implement the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses. This program will lower rent by 75 per cent for small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19.

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