COVID-19 - June 1 Update

Today marks one week since we witnessed the tragic death of George Floyd in the United States' City of Minneapolis. Like you, the images of what occurred were terrible to view and clearly demonstrated there is much that remains to be done to eliminate racism, intolerance and violence of this kind. This event has resulted in protests across the U.S., Canada and around the world. Here at home we too must understand that we still have much to do to address issues of racism, inequality and injustice.

With respect to death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet in our City, the independent Special Investigations Unit is conducting a thorough investigation of what occurred and we all deserve a transparent report on what happened. We have been assured that this will be the case. Let us together reflect on how all of us as a community, a city and a country can come together to address these challenges and continue to achieve a more just, more equitable and more caring society.

June is also Pride Month and in recognition, Mayor John Tory raised the Rainbow flag and Transgender flag on the City’s flag pole in recognition. To learn the history of LGBTQ2S+ in Toronto and Canada, and see how to celebrate this year, please visit here.

This morning, the Federal Government announced it will be accelerating the gas tax funding for municipalities. This will bring $166 million of funding to the City by June 10. While this action is helpful, it was funding the City was expecting prior to COVID-19 and more support is needed to address the $1.5 billion financial hit Toronto is expecting for 2020.

COVID-19 has shown us that it is affecting vulnerable populations more severely. The City has taken a number of steps to improve the lives of people experiencing homelessness, including moving over 3,000 people to hotels, interim and permanent housing and creating 100% physical distancing standards for 7,000 shelter spaces. We recognize that more needs to be done, which is why we announced today that the City will partner with United Way to develop a COVID-19 Shelter Interim Recovery Strategy. When complete, the strategy will guide the City and partner agency response to homelessness over the next six- to 12-month interim recovery period. Until June 30, this taskforce will engage with community providers, Indigenous communities, health sector partners, regional municipal partners and the public about the actions needed to shape the next phase of our COVID-19 response for the shelter system in Toronto.

On Thursday, June 4 at 7pm, I will be hosting my third Virtual Davenport Town Hall to bring our community together, share updates from the City and hear from you about how we can support our community further. You can register for this event here, or by calling our office at 416.392.7012. I look forward to connecting with you.

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.

I know that universities have made changes to how they are conducting classes. Can I still apply for university admission for this coming year?
During the Covid-19 public health emergency many universities are looking to manage their classes and programs differently for the coming academic year. But, with respect to your question, yes applications for university admission are still being processed remotely. Below is a link to the Ontario University Application Centre that contains full details on this issue.
https://www.ouac.on.ca/news/important-covid-19-update/

With travel overseas not available, we are thinking of vacationing in Ontario this summer. What do we need to know and where can we find information?
At present, travel within the province is also not recommended. However, in the coming weeks and months as part of the recovery process it is likely that directives and guidance on this will change within the context of physical distancing and public health safety. The link below contains additional information on this as well as material about planning travel within Ontario.
https://www.ontariotravel.net/en/social/blog/article/13300

Local Updates

Passing of Former Corso Italia BIA Chair Jeff Gillian
I was deeply saddened this weekend to hear of the passing of former Corso Italia BIA Chair Jeff Gillian. Jeff was a warm and welcoming person to many in the St. Clair community. To read the obituary, or leave a message on the memory wall online, please click here. In lieu of flowers the family would prefer a donation to the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada in his name.

Seniors’ Month
June is senior’s month and this year has been a particular challenge for our seniors. Please try and make an extra effort to reach out to your older relatives this month and extend your well wishes and support. Even just a conversation can mean the world to someone feeling isolated, so please reach out.

Pam’s Roti Shop
I was disheartened to hear that the beloved local business Pam’s Roti Shop was facing the threat of eviction from their landlord, who was unwilling to apply for commercial rent supports. In support of the shop, I wrote a letter to the landlord to try and persuade him to work with his wonderful local tenant.

City Re-Opening 50 Parks Washrooms
Over the course of this week, the City will be reopening 50 washrooms in parks. These will be subject to regular cleaning. Public health is advising for patrons to wash their hands upon entry and exit. The list of parks can been seen through the link above.

Toronto Recover and Rebuild Survey
The City’s new Toronto Office of Recovery and Rebuild is asking for your ideas so we can all recover, rebuild and emerge from the pandemic even stronger. Take the survey before June 30.

Recent Announcements

Municipal

Toronto Public Library reopening more drop boxes ahead of the start of curbside pick-up service next week
This morning, Toronto Public Library (TPL) reopened 53 additional library branch drop boxes to accept the return of library materials, the next step in its rollout of curbside drop-off and pick-up service. Toronto residents will be able to start scheduling the pick-up of their reserved materials as of Monday, June 8.

Mayor Tory raises rainbow and transgender flags and proclaims Pride Month in Toronto
Today, Mayor John Tory, joined by Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam (Ward 13 Toronto Centre), and a representative of Pride Toronto, officially proclaimed June as Pride Month in Toronto and raised the rainbow and transgender flags at City Hall. The ceremony was recorded and streamed live, kicking off Pride Toronto’s 2020 Virtual Pride Festival.

City of Toronto to reopen parks washrooms
The City of Toronto will begin to open some of its approximately 200 parks washrooms this week across the city following the Province of Ontario’s amendments to an order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.

The reopening will occur in two phases. The first phase will have roughly 50 washroom sites opening by June 6, followed by the remaining locations by mid-June. A list of locations and health guidelines for washrooms are available on the City Services webpage.

City of Toronto and United Way Greater Toronto partner to create COVID-19 Shelter Interim Recovery Strategy
The City of Toronto and United Way Greater Toronto (UWGT) have partnered to develop a COVID-19 Shelter Interim Recovery Strategy. When complete, the strategy will guide City and partner agency response to homelessness over the next six- to 12-month interim recovery period.

City of Toronto update on COVID-19
There are 11,338 cases of COVID-19 in the city, an increase of 164 cases since yesterday. There are 379 people hospitalized, with 83 in ICU. In total, 8,630 people have recovered from COVID-19, an increase of 184 cases since yesterday. To date, there have been 828 COVID-19 deaths in Toronto. Case status data can be found on the City’s reporting platform.

Provincial

Ontario Supports Those Struggling with Electricity Bills during COVID-19
The Ontario government announced that it will continue to support provincial electricity consumers by providing stability and greater customer choice, while helping those struggling to pay their energy bills as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Ontario Takes Additional Steps to Protect Seniors in Retirement Homes during COVID-19
Today, the Ontario government made amendments to the Retirement Homes Act, 2010 regulation, enabling the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority (RHRA) to better support seniors living in retirement homes during the COVID-19 outbreak. The regulation change increases the emergency payment the RHRA can pay to eligible retirement home residents from $2,000 to $3,500. In the event of an emergency, such as an outbreak, this funding can be used to support residents to cover costs for transportation, alternative accommodation or temporary care. The regulation change also requires retirement homes to report infectious disease outbreaks to the RHRA during COVID-19 and beyond.

Ontario Opens Up COVID-19 Testing Across the Province
As the province carefully and gradually reopens the economy, the Ontario government is implementing the next phase of its COVID-19 testing strategy to detect and quickly stop the spread of the virus. Testing will now be available to more people in more locations across the province.

Ontario Taking Action to Better Protect Indigenous Women
The Ontario government is establishing a new Indigenous Women’s Advisory Council that will provide culturally-relevant advice on violence prevention. The Council will help confront and eliminate the root causes of violence so that Indigenous women and girls today, and for generations to come, will be able to live their lives feeling safe and secure. Today’s announcement is being made on the first day of National Indigenous History Month in Canada.

Ontario Extending Infectious Disease Emergency Leave for Workers during COVID-19
The Ontario government is taking steps to help ensure that as the economy gradually and safely reopens workers will have jobs to return to and businesses will be protected from incurring unsustainable termination costs. Today, the government announced that it has enacted a new regulatory amendment that will put non-unionized employees on Infectious Disease Emergency Leave during the COVID-19 outbreak any time their hours of work are temporarily reduced by their employer due to COVID-19. This will ensure businesses aren't forced to terminate employees after their ESA temporary layoff periods have expired.

Federal

Prime Minister announces support to help communities create jobs and restart the economy
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced that funding delivered through the federal Gas Tax Fund will be accelerated this year to help communities as quickly as possible while respecting public health guidelines.

Government of Canada announces funding for the social and economic inclusion of persons with disabilities
As part of Canada’s fourth National AccessAbility Week, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, announced financial support of up to $6.4 million over three years for up to 16 organizations across Canada through the disability component of the Social Development Partnerships Program (SDPP-D). 

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