COVID-19 - August 13 Update

At the June Toronto City Council meeting I, along with my Council colleagues, supported clear and transparent measures to be implemented without delay to bring significant transformation to the way we deliver public safety in our City. We committed to address anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism and also change the way we respond to situations involving those experiencing mental health issues. This means reallocating resources from traditional policing to new, more appropriate and more responsive ways of serving our communities.

This week, holding true to the direction from Council, Mayor Tory released the report containing over 80 recommendations that will now go to the Police Services Board for action and implementation. These are comprehensive changes that respond to the concerns we share – address anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism, deal with mental health incidents differently, develop alternative community safety response models, increase police accountability and transparency, create more public involvement including from experts and leaders from marginalized communities and ensure these changes are implemented quickly.

Toronto has been a leader in addressing anti-Black racism, including through the creation of North America’s first Anti-Black Racism Unit in our City government but we absolutely know there is much more to be done. As I stated at Council in June, we can't have more reports on shelves or bookcases, we need action that is quick transparent and meaningful. The report coming to the Toronto Police Services Board based on the direction of City Council in June will ensure we move forward quickly, transparently and with measurable and meaningful transformation. 

We all know that the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have created enormous challenges to individuals, businesses and governments. This is also true of our City government. This week, the City has received the much needed supports it has been calling for from the provincial and federal governments to assist with our recovery. The recent announcement of up to $4 billion in support for Ontario’s municipalities is now being clarified. For Toronto, this will mean over $404 million to provide immediate relief for the TTC from the financial pressures causes by the pandemic. In addition, the City will be receiving $145.7 million in support for COVID-19 related operating costs and pressures and $118.8 million for social service supports.

With the province taking a two-phase approach, Toronto may also be the recipient of further support. Over the course of the pandemic, I have joined with my colleagues in the Federation of Canadian Municipalities as we stated the need for support from the federal and provincial governments for municipalities to recover. While these announced steps are welcome and very badly needed, they do not fully address the expected City of Toronto revenue shortfall of $1.35 billion or more. While this is progress this week, much work remains ahead of us.

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.

Where can I find information on all City of Toronto services during the recovery period?
During the pandemic period there were considerable changes to a significant number of City services.  Many of these services have been restored or are in the process of being restored to as close to normal pre-pandemic levels as possible.  Below is a link to all of the City's services and what their status is at the present time. 

 https://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/covid-19-latest-city-of-toronto-news/affected-city-services/

Is the provincial government allowing driver's tests to take place now?
Yes, driver's tests and licensing is now taking place as part of the recovery period from the Covid-19 pandemic.  It is important that you reach out to the Drive Test Centre to obtain information about what tests can be taken and when you can attend the test centres and what will be required.  A link to the provincial government web page is below.

https://www.ontario.ca/page/get-g-drivers-licence-new-drivers

Local Updates

Concerning Incidents in Our Community
There have been several concerning incidents in and around our community with an individual in a vehicle conducting indecent acts towards women. Please stay alert and report any relevant information to the Toronto Police Service at 416-808-1400. More information can be found in the link above.

Alphonse Production in Dufferin Grove Park
Theaturtle in partnership with Shakespeare in Action has announced their tour of Toronto city parks with ALPHONSE by Wajdi Mouawad. This production will be presented in Dufferin Grove Park from August 27th-30th, 2020. Pay what you can tickets are available through the link above.

Bristol Avenue Parkette West Improvements
The City is improving Bristol Avenue Parkette West to increase accessibility, to ensure the playground is in good condition for users and to better serve the community! Make sure you share your input through our survey by August 23.

Earlscourt Park Splashpad Survey
We are going to make a big splash at Earlscourt Park! We want your input on the design of the new splash pad. Fill out the survey linked above before September 6 to make sure your ideas are considered.

Twilight Sculpture Garden Project at Lisgar Park
Artists Rhonda Weppler and Trevor Mahovsky are creating a DIY temporary public artwork, housed in an improvised pop-up structure and containing delicate, taped-together monuments to everyday things.  The project is a giant lantern made to look like an antique store, in homage to the many small businesses that have lined Queen Street West, including those which now only exist in memory. The artists have created an ever-growing archive online of many of the files used to assemble these lanterns, made available for anyone to print out and make for themselves, at their web-based project http://www.craftsabyss.com.  

The artist will begin installation on August 17 and it will be officially be open from September 5 until October 27.

466-468 Dovercourt Road Planning Application
On Wednesday, September 2 from 6-7:30pm, the City will be hosting a virtual community consultation meeting to discuss the proposed Official Plan Amendment and Zoning By-law Amendment to allow a new 6-storey mixed-use building. This application will have commercial/retail uses on the ground floor, mezzanine and basement levels and 30 dwelling units on the upper floors.

The property is currently occupied by a vacant 2-storey mixed-use building (formerly The Matador Ballroom).

See You Soon Toronto Update
See You Soon Toronto was born out of a response to the impact of COVID-19, including the effects of being quarantined, the impact to the hospitality industry and the need to thank frontline and essential workers. Funds raised through the sale of their merchandise goes towards purchasing meals at full price and providing them to essential workers. Over the last 3 months, they have raised over $250,000 and delivered almost 2,000 meals.

New Trees Take Root In McCormick and Turnberry Park
The City is in the process of adding three trees along the southern portion of McCormick Park, and five trees in the southern portion of Turnberry Park, including to provide shade over the benches. These are small but meaningful improvements to add greenery to our community, add to our tree canopy and further beautify our parks.

Recent Announcements

Municipal

City of Toronto announces winning artist to commemorate abolitionist figure Joshua Glover
Today, Mayor John Tory announced that the winning proposal for the Joshua Glover Public Art Competition is by Quentin VerCetty, a young Black artist, storyteller and educator who was born and raised in Rexdale, Etobicoke in Toronto.

More recreation options open up in Stage 3, with a new online reservations option for indoor swimming lanes and fitness centres
City of Toronto staff have been developing new ways to deliver and improve service. This week, the City is introducing an online reservation option for its indoor drop-in lane swim program as well as weight rooms and fitness centres.

The new online reservation option enables people to conveniently book an indoor lane swim at any of the City’s 29 indoor pool locations or a gym session at select City weight rooms and fitness centres. To date, more than 300 aquatic amenities in Toronto have opened safely with public health measures in place, and Toronto continues to progress in its reopening. Fitness centres and weight rooms will reopen on August 17, but people will be able to reserve spots online beginning today.

Don Valley Parkway closed this weekend for annual maintenance and improvements
The City of Toronto will perform annual maintenance and improvement activities on the Don Valley Parkway (DVP) this weekend from Friday, August 14 at 11 p.m. until Monday, August 17 at 5 a.m. The closure will extend the entire expressway from Highway 401 to the F.G. Gardiner Expressway. The rain date is planned for Friday, August 21 to Monday, August 24.

City of Toronto resumes volunteer tree planting and forest stewardship program
Mayor John Tory announced that starting next week, the City will resume its Forestry Community Stewardship Program. The program involves hands-on work by volunteers to support and encourage native biodiversity in various ecologically sensitive sites across Toronto. Volunteer teams will begin stewardship activities by mid-August.

City of Toronto COVID-19 Response for People Experiencing Homelessness
A comprehensive overview of all the action the City has taken to support people experiencing homelessness through COVID-19.

Mayor John Tory announces $2 million partnership with the Slaight Family Foundation and Advance to support Black professionals in Toronto’s music industry
Mayor John Tory announced a $2 million partnership between the City of Toronto, the Slaight Family Foundation and Advance, Canada’s Black Music Business Collective, to support the entry, retention and advancement of Black professionals in Toronto’s music industry.

City of Toronto update on COVID-19 (August 12)
There are 15,548 cases of COVID-19 in the city, an increase of eight today. There are 64 people hospitalized. In total, 14,117 people have recovered from COVID-19, an increase of 21. To date, there have been 1,163 COVID-19 deaths in Toronto. All of Toronto Public Health’s COVID-19 Monitoring Dashboard indicators remain green, indicating they meet the established goal. Toronto Public Health continues to closely monitor local COVID-19 data. COVID-19 case status data can be found on the City’s reporting platform.

Provincial

Ontario Providing Municipalities with up to $1.6 Billion in First Round of Emergency Funding
The Ontario government, in partnership with the federal government, is delivering on its commitment to provide up to $4 billion in urgently needed one-time assistance to Ontario's 444 municipalities.

Ontario Releases 2020-21 First Quarter Finances
The Ontario government is continuing to support the province's recovery from COVID-19 over the long-term while delivering on its commitment to transparency and accountability with the release of 2020-21 First Quarter Finances and an update to Ontario's Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19

Federal

Government of Canada investment brings nutritious surplus food to vulnerable Canadians
The innovative Surplus Food Rescue Program is a $50-million federal initiative designed to address urgent, high volume, highly perishable surplus products falling under fruit, vegetables, meat and fish and seafood. These surpluses were created because the COVID-19 pandemic largely shut down the restaurant and hospitality industry, leaving many producers without a key market for their food commodities.

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