COVID-19 - April 29 Update

The current Covid-19 pandemic has certainly brought into clear focus the need to do many things differently if we are to protect lives and provide sustainable solutions to the many social, economic and environmental challenges of the 21st century – today Mayor Tory did just that!

Among the new initiatives, we are bringing forward is action on modular housing. Mayor Tory and I, supported by City Council, asked City staff to provide Council with a plan to implement modular housing back in June 2019. With the cancellation of regular Council meetings this report is now coming to tomorrow's special Council meeting on an urgent basis. Today, we announced a proposed implementation plan for a modular supportive housing initiative (Click here to read my Oped in the Toronto Sun) that will create housing for those in need more quickly and the first 110 modular homes coming this September will be followed by 140 more by the following spring with more to come after that. Over the last six weeks, I have been working with an incredible team of City Staff under the leadership of Mayor Tory to speed the implementation of these homes and I can't wait until we see the first residents moving into their new homes in September. I truly believe that as we manage this crisis it is important that we look for long-lasting solutions and I believe this is a great example of just that.

In addition to this important measure, and to further protect people experiencing homelessness, the City will also be utilizing two vacant apartment buildings to provide interim housing for people who have been sleeping outdoors. The new program is located in two connected, vacant mid-rise apartment buildings and there is a total of 125 furnished units for clients. There is a kitchen available in each unit, and clients will have access to laundry, free wi-fi and cable television. The building is accessible and pet-friendly and there is no cost to clients.

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.

What is the proper way to sanitize groceries?
COVID-19 is spread by contact with droplets, so it’s most important to wash your hands and avoid touching your face after touching surfaces to reduce the risk of infection. There is no evidence that COVID-19 is spread by food or food packaging. Wiping down containers or packaging is not necessary according to public health officials. In general, you can lower your risk of infection by following safe food handling practices.

It is important to:

  • Wash your hands before and after handling groceries, take-out bags & containers
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces after handling groceries and packaging
  • Wash reusable shopping bags
  • Wash vegetables and fruit under cold running water

CFIA provides recommendations on the cleaning of reusable shopping bags on their website, here

Other tips for grocery shopping and food are available under “Food Safety” on the City’s website, here.

What is happening in terms of re-opening the City and province? 
This is a question that has been raised by a number of people. The provincial government will be taking the lead on the way and the time in terms of re-opening our city and province. On April 27, the Premier released a framework for the way forward in terms of opening things up in a safe and appropriate way. One of the main points made at the provincial news conference is that they were not assigning dates at this point, this will depend on the advice and direction received from public health officials at all levels of government. But, the framework, once initiated outlines how things will move forward. We are all looking forward to returning to normalcy as soon as possible but in a safe and responsible way. A copy of the Premier's announcement can be viewed at the link below.

https://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2020/04/ontario-unveils-guiding-principles-to-reopen-the-province.html

Local Updates

Ask Me Your Questions!
I believe that as your representative at City Hall, I am available to answer your questions. This Saturday, I will be answering questions on Instagram. To ask a question or to see my responses, be sure to follow me on Instagram (@AnaBailaoTO) and watch my stories.

Convergence Theatre (Donate)
Convergence Theatre is working to connect art lovers with artists! So far, they have commissioned 88 works, but still have artists looking to make you a tailored piece. Another great initiative they are hosting are phone plays, with dates coming up quick. I encourage you to buy tickets for you and your family.

Virtual Toronto City Council
In order to make sure the City remains on track with important and pressing business, this Thursday City Council will be proceeding online. You can find the agenda posted here and watch it live here.

Recent Announcements

Municipal

Implementation plan for up to 250 modular supportive housing units released, CMHC’s Affordable Housing Innovation Fund to cover 40 per cent of capital costs for Phase I
Today, Mayor John Tory announced the proposed implementation plan for a modular supportive housing initiative to create modular homes on two City-owned sites. The new modular homes (110 in first phase) are expected to be ready for occupancy by September 2020 and will provide stable, affordable housing and support services to individuals experiencing homelessness.

City of Toronto taking action to fight COVID-19 by providing interim housing to people sleeping in encampments
As part of the ongoing fight against COVID-19 and to help stop the spread of the virus, the City of Toronto is providing interim housing for people sleeping outdoors.

Residents can experience virtual cherry blossom bloom during closure of High Park
Based on the recommendations of the Medical Officer of Health to stop the spread of COVID-19 and save lives, the City is taking action to prevent crowding and gathering in High Park during the cherry blossom bloom.

With the peak bloom period about to begin, the City of Toronto is closing High Park starting tomorrow, Thursday, April 30. During the park closure, residents will be able to enjoy the cherry blossom bloom virtually.

Provincial

More Frontline Workers Eligible for Emergency Child Care
The Ontario government is further expanding the list of essential workers eligible to receive free emergency child care during the COVID-19 outbreak. Those who will benefit include people who work in the food supply chain, retirement homes, grocery stores and pharmacies, and certain federal employees, including the military. Since emergency child care was introduced last month, almost 100 child care centres have reopened along with 40 Licensed Home Child Care Agencies in communities across the province.

Federal

Canadian Forces Snowbirds launch cross-Canada tour
The Canadian Forces Snowbirds will cross the country to salute Canadians doing their part to fight the spread of COVID-19. This unique mission is being aptly dubbed Operation INSPIRATION.

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