COVID-19 - April 30 Update

Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the men and women on the Canadian Armed Forces helicopter that remains missing near Greece this evening and who are presumed lost in the service of our country.

For the first time in its history Toronto City Council met in a virtual online format. Unable to meet since the beginning of March, the City used technology to meet and ensure that City business continues to move forward during the public health emergency.

Among the items dealt with at the Council meeting, we reviewed the City’s response and ongoing management of Emergency City Business for the COVID-19 pandemic. This was a comprehensive review, which included discussions around TTC operations, health measures needed for the recovery and the restart plan. This also included cooperation and collaboration with the provincial and federal governments. I spoke on this item, outlining the need for us to take bold steps to prepare for our City's recovery and to address inequalities in our society.

Today, Council also approved the delivery of 250 Modular rental units.  110 modular rental units will be completed by September of this year and 140 will follow next April. In June of 2019 the Mayor and I moved a motion to asking staff to bring forward a plan for modular housing this spring. This report was brought forward to this virtual meeting on an urgent basis. This decision is another positive step toward creating the equality we need, bringing people out of hardship and supporting their personal recovery by most fundamentally giving them a place to call home.

I would like to close by thanking all City staff who have been working tirelessly to assist the people of Toronto. They have been putting in an extraordinary effort from before COVID-19 was in our City and their dedication and sense of urgency has saved lives and allowed us to respond as quickly as we have needed.

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.

Which buildings will receive support for internet access for vulnerable people?
Earlier this week, the City announced that is has partnered with technology and telecommunications companies to provide free temporary internet access for low-income neighbourhoods, long-term care homes and shelters. The addresses of participating buildings will be determined on a rolling basis, based on testing technical feasibility, starting in early May. A final list of participating buildings will be provided once they have been identified. Social Development, Finance & Administration and Technology Services at the City are cooperating to shortlist buildings for inclusion in the pilot project based on the criteria below:

  • Staff are focused on larger towers with a minimum of 8 storeys.
  • Buildings have a prevalence of 40 per cent or more residents at the Low Income Measure After Tax (LIM-AT).
  • The building is located in either a City of Toronto designated Neighbourhood Improvement Area, Emerging Neighbourhood or in a Revitalization Area.
  • Neighbourhoods were identified as having significant levels of need for internet access among low-income residents based on consultation with the City-wide Community Coordination Table and partner agencies.
  • Ease of access to the building through the property manager, and ease of technological implementation (e.g. building has the right power source, wired Ethernet, and ideal outdoor anchor locations).
  • Geographical representation across Toronto.
  • Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) and not-for-profit buildings are not included, as residents can enroll in Rogers' Connect for Success Program, providing the service for $10 per month to non-profit and subsidized housing providers.
  • Buildings that are not receiving high levels of internet access via school boards/Ministry of Education initiatives for online education.

Is there a way I can find out about Covid-19 testing?
The Ontario Ministry of Health manages the testing system and protocols across the province. The province does maintain a web link that provides considerable information including a self-assessment tool. The link to the provincial site is below. The City also has a link with detailed information, also below.

https://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/covid-19-what-you-should-do/covid-19-have-symptoms-or-been-exposed/covid-19-assessment-centres/

https://www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus

Local Updates

Ask Me Your Questions!
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.

Watch the Cherry Blossoms Bloom Online
With the peak bloom period about to begin, the City of Toronto is closing High Park starting today at the direction of the Chief Medical Officer of Health due to concerns about large crowds and the potential spread of the Covid-19 virus in such circumstances. During the park closure, residents will be able to enjoy the cherry blossom bloom virtually. Throughout the closure period, the City will provide a continuous livestream of the cherry tree grove in High Park, plus multiple live events and videos featuring virtual walk-throughs of the blossoming Sakura (cherry blossom) trees. BloomCam, the continuous live stream, is now live: toronto.ca/cherryblossoms

Sanitation & washroom services for vulnerable persons opening this week
In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the City is opening seven City operated-facilities as Sanitation and Washroom Services locations with showers, washrooms, and drinking water for individuals experiencing homelessness. Wallace Emerson Community Centre has been selected as one of these centres.

Community Heroes!
Maria de Lurdes Santos is a local resident and professional wedding seamstress who puts her expertise to work to give a helping hand to neighbours by providing homemade face masks. Thank you Maria for your amazing work!

Recent Announcements

Municipal

Modular Housing
As noted in the introduction above, Toronto City Council has approved a modular housing initiative that will provide 110 modular housing units for those experiencing homelessness and for vulnerable persons. These first 110 homes will be ready for occupancy by September of this year with more to follow by September 2021. If the Covid-19 public health emergency demonstrated something more clearly than ever is the need for people to have a safe, comfortable and secure home. The public health direction is to remain at home during this emergency but you can't do that if you don't have a home. This modular housing initiative will be manufactured here in Ontario creating jobs as well as homes. When Mayor Tory and I introduced our motion in June 2019 to bring forward modular housing we had expected it to come to the spring council meeting but due to the emergency this was cancelled. By bringing this motion to today's special Council meeting we will be able to deliver quality, comfortable and secure housing in an expedited manner.

City Council extends the declaration of the State of Emergency in Toronto
Today, Toronto City Council unanimously voted to extend Mayor John Tory’s State of Emergency declaration in the city of Toronto until the COVID-19 municipal emergency has ended, in accordance with advice from Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health and the Office of Emergency Management.

City of Toronto update on COVID-19
As of this afternoon, there are 5,551 cases of COVID-19 in Toronto. Cases include 5,019 confirmed cases and 532 probable cases. There are 345 cases hospitalized, with 111 in intensive care units. We continue to see COVID-19 deaths; to date, 366 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.

Provincial

Ontario Providing Employers with Workplace Safety Guidelines
The government safety guidelines released today will provide direction to those working in manufacturing, food manufacturing and processing, restaurant and food service, and the agricultural sector. These measures build on more than 60 guidelines developed by Ontario's health and safety associations in response to COVID-19 for various sectors such as retail, health care, construction, transportation, police services, firefighters, and transit employees. 

Government Launches New Tool to Support Trucking Industry
The Ontario government is offering a new free 511 app which will provide truck drivers immediate access to the information they need to stay safe, fed and rested while delivering essential goods across the province during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Federal

Statement on malicious cyber threats to the health sector
Global Affairs Canada, today issued a statement on malicious cyber threats to the health sector.

Government of Canada introduces new digital initiatives to its suite of virtual tools for COVID‑19
Today, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, together with the Honourable Joyce Murray, Minister of Digital Government and the Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, announced two new additions to the Government of Canada’s suite of virtual tools to support the health and wellness of Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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