COVID-19 - July 24 Update

I hope everyone is looking forward to the weekend and enjoying with their social circles. As the City remains in Stage 2, we continue to gradually reopen amenities safely for our communities to enjoy. If you want to see which facilities near you are open, please visit here.

Today, Mayor John Tory announced that the City of Toronto is making multiple investments in Toronto’s Black arts and culture community and business sector to address the systemic economic, social and cultural exclusion facing Black communities in Toronto. In addition to specific, targeted investments spanning business and culture, Mayor Tory also committed to establish a Community Accountability Circle, with key leaders from the Black business and cultural communities to co-develop goals and programs to confront anti-Black racism. Learn more.

Earlier this week, under the advice of Toronto’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, the City urged condominiums and apartments to adopt face covering policies for common areas and shared spaces. When we all do our part, we minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19 and help protect our local communities. If you live in an apartment or condominium, I strongly encourage you to wear a mask or face covering in common spaces whenever possible.

There was a new report issued today showing that Former Airbnb units in Toronto are moving to long-term rental market. This is having a positive impact on supply of long term rental units. Several reasons have contributed to this change but as the City has been fighting for reasonable rules around short-term rentals for some time and with these now in place we have an opportunity to create more long-term rental opportunity, while still being flexible for homeowners.

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.

Is it now okay to visit my loved one in a long-term care home?
As part of the Government of Ontario’s most recent announcement on changes to visitation guidelines in long-term care homes, families can now visit residents through indoor pre-scheduled visits under certain conditions. Up to two visitors at a time per resident can visit as long as the home is not experiencing an outbreak and that the visitors can attest they have had a negative COVID-19 test within the past two weeks. Indoor visitors will be provided with a surgical mask that they must wear at all times.

Are stores required to accept cash payments?
During COVID-19, many stores have opted to not accept cash as a form of payment as a preventative measure against the virus. While cash is legal tender, there is no legal requirement for stores to accept it in exchange for their goods or services. While this is the case, there are many people who rely on cash for essential transactions. I encourage business operators to be sensitive the unique circumstances of individuals looking to make purchases as we work to beat this pandemic together.s

Local Updates

Missing Middle – Sharing Stories from our Community
Last week, we requested members from our community provide their stories about missing middle housing. I wanted to share one we have received:

My partner and I live in a house on St. Clarens Ave that was long ago converted into three units (and now houses 6 people), but unless you know, you can't tell as you're walking down the sidewalk. The fear in some that allowing duplexes and triplexes as-of-right across the City will forever change the character of the neighbourhood is completely baseless. It is possible to 'invisibly' house a lot more people in Neighbourhoods without changing the character or indeed even the built form in most cases.

We too love spending time (and money) in our neighbourhood and we cherish the ability to walk to everything. Without an option like this, we would likely be in an apartment/condo, but we much prefer being nestled into a quiet neighborhood with access to a small backyard. Not everyone wants to live in a high-rise, and we need a range of housing options available for those that don't. As I'm sure you're aware, it has been widely reported that our city's neighbourhoods are declining in population. We need to support intensification so that there is a critical mass to allow small businesses such as our favourite coffee shops and restaurants to thrive.

Zoning that only permits single detached dwellings is inherently exclusionary and certainly does not represent the City's motto, Diversity Our Strength. It should be a thing of the past. I think we are on the cusp of a generational change - please keep pushing to make this a reality.

Anthony H, St Clarens Ave. 

Have a similar story to share? Write to councillor_bailao@toronto.ca with the subject I Live in Davenport “Missing Middle" with your story for us to share!

Right to Home Webinar


How can the Right to Housing equip local governments to end homelessness?

Next week I will participate in a cross-country conversation with Yellowknife Mayor Rebecca Alty, Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps, Edmonton Councillor Scott McKeen, and Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic.

Register here!

Discussing Modular Housing with Minister of Housing Steve Clark
This week, I took Ontario Minister of Housing, Steve Clark on a tour of the 150 Harrison Street modular housing site. Given this opportunity, I advocated strongly for supportive housing dollars from the province and the need for a rent supplement program. I thank the Minister for visiting our community and hope our governments can work together to provide affordable and stable housing to all Torontonians as we work to recover from this pandemic.

Queen Street West Streetcar Overhead Wire Maintenance – Dufferin to Gladstone
Weather permitting, the TTC will undertake nightly maintenance work on the overhead streetcar contact wire on Queen Street West between Dufferin Street and Gladstone Avenue July 27-30 from 10:30 p.m. until 4:30 a.m. This will require temporary changes to the 501/301 Queen streetcar service.

Metrolinx Watermain Work and Road Closure – Wallace Avenue
Due to watermain work, Wallace Avenue will be closed from Saturday, August 1 at 6 p.m. to Sunday, August 2 at 3 p.m.

Signage will be in place for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists. Residents can expect bright lights at night, and increased noise from heavy rail equipment and operating machinery.

Residents can expect loud noise and vibration on Sunday, August 2 between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Recent Announcements

Municipal

City of Toronto joins RBC-led Canada United to support local businesses and accelerate small business recovery
Today, Mayor John Tory announced that the City of Toronto is joining Canada United, a campaign to support local businesses in communities across the country. As part of the campaign, RBC has brought together more than 50 of Canada’s leading brands, Business Associations and the national Chamber network to rally Canadians to buy, dine and shop local.

City of Toronto to address financial impacts of COVID-19
The City of Toronto continues to monitor the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the municipal budget. Next week, City staff will present a report to City Council to address the experienced and anticipated financial impacts of the pandemic and propose options for mitigation.

City of Toronto to open 14 Emergency Cooling Centres during Heat Warning
Environment and Climate Change Canada has declared a Heat Warning for Toronto starting tomorrow, Saturday, July 25 to Monday, July 27.

An interactive map is available to help those who need to locate an ECC and other cool spaces, such as community centres, swimming pools, wading pools and splash pads near them. This week, 47 additional spaces where the public can access indoor cooling have been added to the map, including community centres.

City of Toronto update on COVID-19
There are 15,274 cases of COVID-19 in the city, an increase of 49 cases since yesterday. There are 107 people hospitalized, with 23 in ICU. In total, 13,668 people have recovered from COVID-19, an increase of 44 cases since Wednesday. To date, there have been 1,144 COVID-19 deaths in Toronto. Case status data can be found on the City’s reporting platform.

Provincial

Ontario Legislature Adjourns after Significant Sitting in Response to COVID-19
The Ontario Legislature adjourned after an unprecedented session that saw cross-partisan collaboration in the fight against COVID-19. Since reconvening in February, the legislature passed 18 pieces of legislation, including emergency measures needed to protect public health and prepare for economic recovery. The legislature has now risen until September 14, 2020.

Federal

The Government of Canada is providing funding to support child care for returning workers
Today, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, announced $625 million in federal support for Canada’s child care sector to help ensure that safe and sufficient child care spaces are available to support parents’ gradual return to work. Along with the agreements under the Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework, this investment means the Government of Canada will invest almost $1.2 billion to support child care in 2020-2021, a 67% increase over the next highest year in history, 2005-2006, when $700 million were announced.

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