COVID-19 - May 12 Update

In view of the significant financial pressures facing municipalities, Mayor Tory repeated the call for federal and provincial support for Greater Toronto Area cities, including Toronto. Since the emergency declaration, Toronto has been losing $65 million weekly in revenue and expects to have a $1.5 billion budget pressure this year. In spite of reduced revenue, the City has continued all basic and much needed services. Toronto, and the GTA, are key to the country's recovery and support from the federal government and the province is needed to restore our economy. As one of the City’s representatives at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, I have also shared my voice with my FCM colleagues across the country, the Mayor and Council Colleagues, in calling for $10-15 billion in emergency operating funding for municipalities to maintain essential services keep all Canadians safe.

Chief Matthew Pegg, General Manager of Emergency Management Office for the City, provided an important update today, highlighting the new measures the City has taken to protect our front line workers and caregivers, including acquiring a device that can sterilize N95 masks if needed, allowing them to be safely re-used and in so doing increasing supply.

As a dog owner, I understand the importance of dog off leash areas. While it was necessary for the City close these spaces, along with other park amenities, to stop the spread of COVID-19, the more positive data is allowing the City to begin to plan the process of re-opening of dog off leash areas. Once this plan is established and the spaces are reopened, I hope every continues to practice proper physical distancing in these spaces.

Federally, the government has announced that they will be providing additional financial support for seniors through a one-time tax-free payment of $300 for seniors eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension, with an additional $200 for seniors eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS). You can see further details in the Recent Announcement section below.

Lastly, the Canadian National Exhibition today announced they will not be moving forward for the 2020 year. You can see their full update here.

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.

When will we find out more about the next stage of re-opening businesses?
The provincial government has released a general framework for re-opening (below). Starting this week, certain businesses such as hardware stores were allowed to re-open as were businesses with direct street access for curb pick-up. The Premier did indicate on Tuesday (May 12) that this coming Thursday (May 14) they will be announcing more details of Stage One of the re-opening process and may include additional low risk businesses within the list of businesses permitted to re-open immediately. So, the process is beginning, with strong safety protocols in place and more information will be available on Thursday and in the coming days.
https://www.ontario.ca/page/reopening-ontario-after-covid-19

What's happening with school closures, will schools be re-opening?
Schools remain closed in Ontario under the provincial government's emergency order. The provincial Minister of Education and the Premier have both indicated that they are continuing to review the issue of whether or not schools can re-open this academic year and if they do what special measures would be put in place. They have indicated that a decision and additional information will be made available the week of May 18th, after the long weekend. The provincial Ministry of Education does maintain a web page with full details regarding programs and supports for students and parents.
https://www.ontario.ca/page/covid-19-support-students-and-parents

Local Updates

Committee of Adjustment – Online Proceedings
The Committee of Adjustment for Toronto and East York will be proceeding on a digital, Webex format on June 3. To participate in the public Webex virtual hearing, you must register in advance no later than 4:30 pm on Monday, June 1, 2020. To register, either call 416-392-7565 and leave a voicemail or send an e-mail to coa.tey@toronto.ca. Provide your name, address, phone number, e-mail address and file number(s) you wish to speak to. When we receive your registration request, we will confirm your attendance and provide you with a confirmation message and instructions for participating in the public hearing.

Bloorcourt BIA Initiative
I would like to highlight the Bloorcourt BIA who have been working to support their businesses, handing out care hand sanitizer bottles to keep them all safe while they operate and serve our community.

YMCA Bright Spot
For over 165 years, the "Y" has been there for communities, stepping up to adapt to local needs by recognizing the challenges the community is facing and providing support. As the COVID-19 pandemic forces everyone to adapt their daily lives, the "Y" is stepping up to do even more. They are providing emergency child care for essential frontline workers, shelter and support for youth experiencing homelessness, and remote employment services for people who need work. 

With an increased need to stay home due to COVID-19, the "Y" recognizes that older community members face increasing challenges including connecting with friends and loved ones and maintaining routines, like walking, that are import for physical and mental health.

Recently, they launched The Bright Spot, an online community where older adults can shine, offering everything from exercise classes and small online group discussions to trivia nights and mindfulness tutorials – all free of charge.

Allotment gardens are open for the 2020 season
The City’s community gardens and allotment gardens are open for the 2020 season as the Province of Ontario has amended its emergency order. Plans for the safe operation of these gardens include COVID-19 public health guidelines. This week, permit holders were notified that their allotment is available. All permit holders must sign the provided permit and declaration forms before they can attend an allotment garden. Visit the City’s website for more information about allotment and community gardens.

Stay, Play & Learn at Home
If you’re looking for ways to stay active and engaged while practicing social distancing or self-isolating at home, visit the City’s new Stay, Play & Learn at Home web page to find a listing of free recreational and fitness programs, fun virtual learning and leisure activities. You can sort activities by type, time commitment and audience. There’s something in the listing for every age group and the page will continue to be updated with more virtual resources.

Recent Announcements

Municipal

A Message Regarding the 2020 CNE
Canada’s largest fair will not be taking place this summer. The Canadian National Exhibition Association (CNEA) announced today, with the support of the Province of Ontario and City of Toronto, that this year’s CNE will not move forward with its 18-day event slated for August 21 to September 7, 2020 at Exhibition Place. The historic decision marks only the second occasion in its 142-year history, and not since WWII, that the CNE closed in its entirety.

City of Toronto update on COVID-19
Toronto Public Health continues to see new infections in the city. There are 7,775 people infected with COVID-19 in Toronto, an increase of 218 since yesterday. There are also 5,449 people who have recovered from the virus, an increase of 109 since yesterday. 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

Declaration of Emergency Extended While Ontario Gradually Reopens the Economy
Passed during a special sitting of the Ontario Legislature today, the Declaration of Emergency has been extended until June 2. The declaration will allow Ontario to continue to enforce current emergency orders, such as restricting retirement and long-term care home employees from working in more than one facility and prohibiting events and gatherings of more than five people. Since the emergency was first declared on March 17, the government has taken over 150 actions to help protect individuals, families, and businesses from the impacts of COVID-19.

Ontario Marks the First Provincial Day of Action on Litter
Today Jeff Yurek, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks and Andrea Khanjin, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks released a statement on the First Provincial Day of Action on Litter.

Federal

Prime Minister announces additional support for Canadian seniors
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced a series of additional measures to help Canadian seniors and provide them with greater financial security in this time of crisis.

COVID-19 : Temporary suspension of service at select Canadian border services locations
Further to the reduction of service at some Canadian land border ports of entry on April 15, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) today announced the temporary suspension of service at certain small vessel reporting sites, small airports of entry, ferry terminals and to the Remote Area Border Crossing (RABC) program. These COVID-19 related measures are temporary, and in effect as of May 12, 2020, at 11:59 pm EDT. They will remain in effect until further notice.

Free tax clinics go virtual
Free tax clinics are important to communities throughout Canada. Due to concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, many community organizations had to close, postpone, or scale back on the free tax clinics they offer.

Today, the Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue, announced that virtual clinics will be held on an interim basis to help those that rely on this service while still following physical distancing guidelines. Clinics will have new flexibility to receive and authenticate documents in a variety of ways, including allowing the use of video communication.

Minister Gould announces funding for global vaccinations
The Honourable Karina Gould, Minister of International Development, today announced new support to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative’s end-game strategy, toward ensuring regular routine immunizations for hundreds of million children around the world. The Minister made this announcement at the launch of the Group of Friends of Solidarity for Global Health Security virtual meeting, which she co-hosted alongside her counterparts from Denmark, Qatar, the Republic of Korea and Sierra Leone.

Government announces help for employers to meet their labour needs
That is why the Government is announcing, effective immediately, a new, temporary policy that will drastically reduce the time it takes for a temporary foreign worker to start a new job.

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