COVID-19 - July 30 Update

Tomorrow, the Government of Ontario will be moving Toronto into Stage 3 re-opening. This was made possible through the considerable effort made by each member of our community to help flatten the curve. You can learn more about what this means for you in the Questions from the Community Section below.

This week, a $4 billion commitment was made by Provincial and Federal governments toward financial relief for Ontario’s municipalities. Earlier in this pandemic, I joined my voice with colleagues in the Federation of Canadian Municipalities in calling for this support. While details on how this funding will be allocated are still to be determined, this is important progress on a path to a strong recovery. The City is also taking steps to be diligent about anticipating the financial impacts of COVID-19 and has identified over $500 million in savings to address the experienced and forecasted financial impacts of the pandemic. With mitigation strategies in place, the City projects a reduced total year-end shortfall of $1.35 billion.

Last week, Bill 184, received royal assent in the Ontario legislature. This bill changes processes around landlord and tenant interactions and has been met with criticism for removing important protections for tenants. As this pandemic has made it difficult or impossible for many to meet their rent obligations, there is a fear that there will be a large number of evictions once the Provincial moratorium on evictions is lifted.

Throughout this process, the City has been working to advocate for fair tenant rights and provided this list of recommendations to create a more balanced rental environment. At Council yesterday, City Council also voted in favour of mounting a legal challenge against Bill 184, calling for fairer processes for tenants, which I supported.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the urgent need to increase the supply of safe, secure and affordable housing for lower-income households in the city. As a result of the pandemic, Toronto and cities around the world have also seen an increase in the number of former short-term rental apartments becoming available for rent on the market.

In order to effectively take advantage of this opportunity to increase the availability and length of tenure of rental opportunities, City Council supported my motion to explore the feasibility of renting the units itself with the support of non-profit housing partners, along with the layering of housing benefits where required, to provide more longer-term affordable rental options for tenants. I am looking forward to working with organizations such as FairBnB and others in the Housing sector to explore this opportunity.

Another key housing item passed by Council in our recent session related to creating more housing options in Toronto’s neighbourhoods. This item has initiated what will be a robust public conversation about the need to create gentle density and how we may come together to meet a greater variety of housing needs throughout our city.  As the Chair of Planning and Housing and champion of our successful laneway suites initiative, I am pleased that we are taking an expanded look at our Residential areas and providing more housing choices going forward.

City Council has also voted in favour of a temporary bylaw requiring masks or face coverings in common areas in apartments and condominiums to protect the health and safety of our communities by reducing the spread of COVID-19. The strengthened safety measure responds to concerns that the opportunity for more close contact through Stage 3 re-opening, especially in indoor settings, will result in more virus spread. While our City continues to open up, it is important that we continue to take steps to keep one another safe.

Throughout this pandemic, our team has worked to keep you informed on important updates and announcements from all levels of government through frequent communication. As our path to recovery becomes clearer and the need for frequent updates diminishes, we have decided to provide updates once a week moving forward. Our objective will continue to be to provide concise, accurate and timely information relevant to our community.

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.

Tomorrow, the Ontario Government will move Toronto to Stage 3. What does that mean for me?
As of Friday, July 31, Toronto residents are allowed to participate in expanded social gatherings and organized public events. Indoor gatherings of up to 50 people and outdoor gatherings of up to 100 people are now permitted. These gatherings remain subject to compliance with provincial physical distancing requirements. The City’s bylaws on physical distancing in City parks and squares remains in effect, as does the mandatory mask or face covering bylaw for indoor public spaces.

A number of City facilities and amenities will reopen in Stage 3, including the City’s more than 800 playgrounds and play structures, community and recreation centres, and libraries for all on-site services. City staff are now preparing for these additional openings, including inspecting and readying playgrounds and play structures. Following guidance from Toronto Public Health, outdoor playground equipment will not be sanitized. Permits can be issued for picnics and outdoor gathering purposes, as well as, leagues and clubs for training, team practices and games. Staff are working with permit groups to finalize their permits and these activities will resume in the coming days. 

More information on all programs and services is available and will be frequently updated on toronto.ca/parks.

Where can I view City of Toronto Announcements regarding COVID-19?
Mayor John Tory and Toronto's Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, provide regular updates of the current situation and City response to COVID-19 in Toronto, typically every other weekday. These updates are streamed live and the archive can be accessed here.

Local Updates

Bloor West Bikeway Extension
The Bloor West bikeway extension is an important cycling project through the heart of our Ward. It will connect cyclists from Runnymede Road to the existing bike lanes at Shaw Street, connecting to the larger cycling network. Construction on this project is planned to begin on August 4, with a phased installation over the course of three weeks.

Information on the project and contact details for the Bloor West bikeway team can be found here.

Turnberry Park North
Following a meeting with residents, a new design for Turnberry North Park was prepared to support a wide range of community needs. Construction for the new park will begin in early fall 2020, and the park is slated to be open to the public during by winter.

The new park will be fully accessible. The existing artificial turf will be removed and replaced with a lawn area, new trees, and a new active play circuit. The park will also feature expanded social gathering spaces that will feature new park benches and an accessible picnic table and a new fencing on its east edge.

More details and updates can be found at Toronto.ca/TurnberryNorthPark

Community Compost Days
Solid Waste Management Services, in consultation with the Medical Officer of Health, will be hosting mini Community Environment Day Events on seven Sundays commencing September 13th and ending November 1st, 2020.

In response to COVID-19, a new format has been created which allows residents to safely drive to one of the City’s seven Transfer Stations to drop off items for disposal and to pick up free compost (a 2 bag limit will apply).

Dufferin Sidewalk Widening (North of Davenport)
There are a few updates regarding the widening of the sidewalk on the east side of Dufferin north of Davenport.

The retaining wall is being replaced as part of Etobicoke's "Minor Bridge Repairs" contract and the face of the new engineered wall will be set back approximately 15" from the back of the sidewalk. This new gap between the wall and sidewalk will be filled with asphalt, increasing the sidewalk clearance by about 15 inches.

Luso Virtual Volta Charity Event
Whether you’re a walker, runner or rider; families and supporters of any age, level of fitness or location around the world can participate and come together for this fun and worthwhile event. Virtual Volta is Without Barriers and borders.

Luso’s care and support for adults living with disabilities is invaluable and I would ask you to consider joining Virtual Volta, Support without Barriers; as they work to reduce the daily barriers and lack of social inclusion many adults with disabilities face.

For more information, please visit lusoccs.org.

Youth Violence Prevention Grant
Yesterday, the City announced the recipients of Toronto’s youth violence prevention grants. The grant will see approximately $2 million in annual funding for up to three years, allocated to 12 community organizations to implement programming in 10 communities identified as Neighbourhood Improvement Areas and/or revitalization sites.

Included in the list of recipients is St. Stephen’s Community House, who help youth at risk in Oakwood Village.

Recent Announcements

Municipal

City of Toronto weekend update on services, amenities and ActiveTO
As the City of Toronto moves to Stage 3 tomorrow, July 31, additional amenities will safely and gradually reopen for everyone to enjoy.

COVID-19 continues to circulate in Toronto and it remains critical that residents continue to follow Toronto Public Health’s advice to stay home when ill, wash hands often, practise physical distancing and wear a face covering or mask in all indoor public spaces.

Restaurants in Toronto permitted to open Friday for dine-in with new safety measures
Restaurants and bars are, as of tomorrow, permitted to offer indoor dine-in service.

The City of Toronto and Government of Ontario have set out clear requirements for these establishments to protect the health and safety of restaurant patrons and employees

Toronto Public Health releases new socio-demographic COVID-19 data
Given Toronto’s racial diversity, large number of newcomers, and high proportion of people living with lower-income, Toronto Public Health (TPH) launched important work to understand if Toronto residents were also inequitably affected by COVID-19. Today, TPH has released the findings and trends from recently collected individual-level COVID-19 case data on reported ethno-racial identity, household income, and household size. This information is key to understanding who is being impacted by the outbreak, and to inform public health actions.

City of Toronto reopens ten more child care centres
As part of the next phase of reopening child care centres, the City of Toronto will reopen 10 Toronto Early Learning & Child Care Centres (TELCCC) by August 4 to support parents returning to work and to support the restart of the economy. Two centres opened on July 23 and eight more centres will reopen by August 4.

City of Toronto recommends actions to strengthen COVID-19 response
The City of Toronto is continuing to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and prepare for a second wave of COVID-19 activity as the city moves toward Stage 3 reopening. Today, the City Solicitor and Medical Officer of Health submitted reports to City Council on measures that can be taken to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in food and drink establishments, condominiums and apartment buildings, and strengthen the City’s response to a potential second wave of COVID-19 activity in our community.

Toronto City Council unanimously approves RapidTO bus lanes to improve reliability and capacity on Eglinton Avenue East
Toronto City Council has unanimously approved changes to traffic and parking regulation amendments required to install approximately 8.5 kilometres of priority RapidTO bus lanes on Eglinton Avenue East, Kingston Road and Morningside Avenue.

City of Toronto residents get a peek at Toronto’s unique past through HistoricTO
Mayor John Tory announced the launch of HistoricTO, a new cultural experience that connects Toronto’s communities by providing inclusive access to local history, heritage and land-based learnings at Toronto History Museums. HistoricTO will offer access and experiences that have not previously been available.

Provincial

Ontario Moving Toronto and Peel Region into Stage 3
Additional businesses and public spaces will be reopening as the Ontario government allows the City of Toronto and Peel Region to move into Stage 3 of reopening the province on Friday, July 31 at 12:01 a.m. This decision was made in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and local medical officers of health. It is based on positive local trends of key public health indicators, including lower transmission of COVID-19, ongoing hospital capacity, public health capacity to conduct rapid case and contact management, and a significant increase in testing.

Historic Agreement Delivers up to $4 Billion to Support Municipalities and Transit
The Ontario government, in partnership with the federal government, is providing up to $4 billion in urgently needed one-time assistance to Ontario's 444 municipalities. This funding will help local governments maintain the critical services people rely on every day, including public transit, over the next six to eight months. Details on specific allocations will be provided in the coming weeks. This funding is part of the province's made-in-Ontario plan for renewal, growth and economic recovery.

Federal

Government of Canada invests $19 million to reduce human trafficking and support those most impacted
Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development, along with the Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness announced funds to support victims and survivors of human trafficking. The $19 million will be administered by two federal departments responsible for the implementation of the Government’s five-year National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking, a whole-of-government approach to eradicating human trafficking and supporting those impacted.

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