COVID-19 - May 11 Update

I hope everyone had an enjoyable Mother’s Day with their households, or by connecting with family by phone or video call.

Today marks the beginning of both National Nurses Week and National Police Week. Our nurses and police officers continue to demonstrate every day their dedication and commitment to serving us, caring for us and protecting us. It is especially true at this very challenging time where every day they literally put their lives on the line for all of us. I hope you can join me in thanking them. To support them in their work, let’s continue to stay home as much as possible.

Today is the first day of easing retail restrictions by the province and our own Bloordale business community shared their views on how they have been navigating this pandemic and preparing to operate safely during this time. If there are items you need to pick up, I encourage you to consider shopping locally.

We understand that this is a difficult time for our businesses and their patrons. Not being able to visit stores and browse items can make it difficult to find what you need. To make this process easier, the City has launched ShopHERE through our Digital Mainstreet Program. Now, artists and business owners can sign up to have hands on support to build and launch an online store at no cost. Nearly 50,000 are expected to be eligible. We are also asking Toronto’s tech community to volunteer and help with this initiative. If you think you are able to assist, please sign up to volunteer!

Today, I also moderated an Empire Club panel on construction in the post-COVID world. If you did not have an opportunity to watch it, you can do so here.

Finally, I wanted to provide an update on ActiveTO. This initiative is about making sure people have space to get around while respecting physical distancing. Locations are being prioritized by several factors including population density, equity, access to greenspace, car ownership rates, and traffic volumes. The initial roll-out of ActiveTO's Quiet Street installations will include 50 kilometres of neighbourhood streets. In Ward 9, we will see nearly 6KM of this space created. This is important progress that will allow people to properly distance when out and is a meaningful shift in our approach to transportation.

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 there any clarity yet regarding possible travel this summer? Is there guidelines the government has in place?
Yes, there are guidelines in place and below is a link to the Transport Canada web page that provides information. Restrictions do remain in place, for example the Canada-U.S. border remains closed and although the closure agreement with the U.S. is set to expire on May 21, it could well be extended. Discussions are underway with U.S. officials. Restrictions are also in place to other destination such as Europe. So, it remains unclear what the travel picture will look like so it would be best to continue to monitor the situation until more clarity emerges. Additionally, many airlines have not resumed many of their usual routes and may not do so for a while.

https://www.tc.gc.ca/en/initiatives/covid-19-measures-updates-guidance-tc.html

https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/latest-travel-health-advice.html

Is it true that provincial parks are now open again?
Yes, the provincial government has announced that provincial parks and conservation areas are open but it is important to note that these are for limited day-time use only. There is no overnight camping, use of beaches or park/campground amenities permitted at this time but you can visit these provincial parks and conservation areas for the day. Details are available at the Ontario Parks web page below.
https://www.ontarioparks.com/covid19

Local Updates

Toronto Rent Bank Update
The City of Toronto has made recent program enhancements to the Toronto Rent Bank in response to COVID-19. As we all know, the COVID-19 pandemic has had an economic impact on the livelihoods of Toronto residents. Many are facing financial hardship, including the inability to pay rent. The Toronto Rent Bank provides interest-free loans to low-income households in Toronto who are experiencing rental arrears or require help with a rental deposit in order to prevent homelessness.

The City of Toronto has made an investment of $2M to the Toronto Rent Bank to support approximately 800 additional low-income households to remain housed.

Program changes have also been implemented to be more responsive to the needs of low-income households during the COVID-19 pandemic. These include:

  • Increasing the maximum allowable loan from $3,500 to $4,000 for up to 3 months of rental arrear loans.
  • Automatically deferring all loan repayments for up to a period of 12 months
  • Eliminating the eligibility requirement that households demonstrate a steady income on a go-forward basis
  • Moving from original copies to electronic document verification

 For more information on how to apply, residents may call 416-397-RENT(7368).

Safehaven – Challenges and Solutions for Deliving Home Care and respite Services During COVID-19
Safehaven has experienced many moments of light, growth, and community despite the current COVID-19 pandemic. They have been an active participant as Developmental Sector and Community Care groups have come together to share resources and strategies to best protect our clients, employees, families and communities. Recently, their CEO Susan Bisaillon, presented at a national webinar hosted by Children’s Healthcare Canada. Susan spoke to the Challenges and Solutions for Delivering Home Care and Respite Services During COVID-19. I join the Safehaven staff in being proud of how Susan represented their organization.

Building Permits Update
All permitting and inspection services are now being offered. Some of the services are modified with new applications being accepted electronically only and in-person inspection protocols have been established to ensure health and safety.

Staff are focusing their efforts on permits that were received prior to the service disruption. As of April 29, 92% of all active building applications received prior to the service disruption have been reviewed and processed.

New building permit applications are being accepted electronically and staff are evaluating the timeframe for review and processing.

City of Toronto continues May pothole blitzes
The City of Toronto continued its pothole repair blitz on Saturday. This was the second of three scheduled repair blitzes in May to help keep roads safe and in a good state of repair. The final blitz this month is scheduled for May 23, weather permitting. Crews have been busy all spring repairing as many potholes as possible on Toronto's expressways, major roads, bike lanes and neighbourhood streets. Already this year, staff have fixed more than 93,000 potholes while making daily repairs.

Collective Action and Response for Everyone in Scarborough
As part of the ongoing response to COVID-19, and to ensure that residents in Scarborough have access to food, the City of Toronto, GlobalMedic and the University of Toronto Scarborough launched the Collective Action and Response for Everyone in Scarborough (CARES). CARES will be packaging and distributing food to food banks across Scarborough. Community members interested in volunteering to help package food can register to volunteer at utsc.utoronto.ca/partnerships/cares-utsc.

Article on Arts and Culture in the COVID-19 World
This is a great article highlighting art in the COVID world, featuring the amazing art at MOCA Toronto, in the heart of our community.

Recent Announcements

Municipal

City of Toronto launches ShopHERE to help local businesses and artists open free online stores
Today, Mayor John Tory announced the launch of ShopHERE, a program to help Toronto independent businesses and artists open a free online store to minimize the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

City of Toronto continues May pothole blitzes
The City of Toronto continues its pothole repair blitz today, Saturday, May 9. This is the second of three scheduled repair blitzes in May to help keep roads safe and in a good state of repair. The final blitz this month is scheduled for May 23, weather permitting.

City of Toronto partners with GlobalMedic and University of Toronto Scarborough to provide food to Scarborough residents
As part of the ongoing response to COVID-19, and to ensure that residents in Scarborough have access to food, the City of Toronto, GlobalMedic and the University of Toronto Scarborough launched CARES – Collective Action and Response for Everyone in Scarborough.

City of Toronto update on COVID-19
Dr. de Villa stated that, while we are making progress in Toronto’s battle against COVID-19, Toronto Public Health continues to see new infections in the city. There are 7,557 infected with COVID-19 in Toronto, an increase of 144 since yesterday. There are also 5,340 people who have recovered from the virus, an increase of 148 since yesterday. Unfortunately, today Dr. de Villa reported the first COVID-19 death within the city’s emergency shelter system. Additional case status information 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 Retail Stores Open for Curbside Pickup and Delivery
Starting today, more people will be returning to work across the province as the Ontario government allows retail stores with a street entrance to offer curbside pickup and delivery. Over the weekend, garden centres, nurseries, hardware stores and safety supply stores began offering in-store purchasing. All retailers should follow available safety guidelines in order to protect staff, consumers and the general public during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Ontario Opening Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves
The Ontario government is opening provincial parks and conservation reserves for limited day-use access. The first areas will open on Monday May 11, 2020, with the remaining areas opening on Friday May 15, 2020. At this time, recreational activities will be limited to walking, hiking, biking and birdwatching. Day visitors will also be able to access all parks and conservation reserves for free until the end of the month.

Ontario Enables School Board Employees to Be Voluntarily Redeployed to Congregate Care Settings
The Ontario government has approved an emergency order that would enable available school board employees to be voluntarily redeployed to congregate care settings during the COVID-19 pandemic, including hospitals, long-term care homes, retirement homes, and women's shelters. Many of these congregate care settings are in need of staff such as custodial and maintenance workers.

Ontario Helps Build, Repair and Replace Municipal Roads and Bridges
The Ontario government is providing $30 million to build a safer and more reliable transportation system that will help keep goods moving and better connect communities across the province.

Ontario Government Supporting Parents as Economy Reopens
The Ontario Government is protecting licensed child care in Ontario during the COVID-19 outbreak by ensuring parents retain access to local licensed child care, as well as EarlyON Child and Family Centres. The government unveiled a plan that, together with federal and municipal partnership, provides supports to licensed child care providers to ensure they remain sustainable and ready to open when parents return to work. 

Federal

Prime Minister announces additional support for businesses to help save Canadian jobs
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced new measures to support businesses so they can keep their workers on the payroll and weather this pandemic.

Message from the Minister of Health – National Nursing Week - May 11-17, 2020
National Nursing Week is about recognizing the incredible contributions that nurses make to our lives every day of the year - contributions that have never been more evident than during this pandemic. As countries around the world respond to COVID-19, the theme for this year, Nurses: A Voice to Lead -- Nursing the World to Health, is especially fitting as we recognize the nurses and nurse practitioners who are contributing to this effort.

 

 

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