COVID-19 - May 13 Update

I joined with my fellow members of the City of Toronto’s Music Advisory Council as we met virtually today for the first time since the Provincial declaration of Emergency. We know that while everyone has been affected by this pandemic, the music industry and live venues have been impacted particularly hard. To help the sector, I joined with other members in voting unanimously to endorse the expansion of a property tax subclass to live venues. Music venues contribute not only to our culture, but also significantly to our economy and both are vital to the continued success of our city.

To support our local businesses and hear their ideas on how we can be of most support, I hosted another call with Business Improvement Associations from across Davenport today. The major concern from our main street businesses continues to be related to rent issues. A recent survey released by Toronto Business Improvement Areas actually revealed that 63% of commercial tenants had trouble paying their May rent and 44% fear being locked out. I will continue to advocate for the support necessary to keep our communities and local businesses vibrant.

To support restaurants and bars, the City is developing a plan to investigate expanding patio space on sidewalks and roadways, where appropriate. This plan would be an important economic lifeline to many, as the province begins the process of re-opening the economy and restaurants work to ensure adequate physical distancing for their patrons.

Yesterday, I shared that the Mayor and Council had called on the Provincial and Federal governments to support municipalities so we can maintain the services we provide to residents and so we can keep our city operating. Today, Premier Ford acknowledged that the TTC and Ontario’s municipalities need provincial support. That is a positive step forward – but we need support from Provincial and Federal Governments now. Supporting municipal services helps residents and businesses and is key to economic recovery.

Mayor Tory also announced that the City will be creating $100 million in social bonds, to be sold this year. These social bonds are a first for any government in Canada’s history and will provide investment into important City social efforts, including social and affordable housing, basic infrastructure improvements, senior and shelter services, and more. This bond will create an opportunity for investors that are looking to make an impact by investing in communities and social services that address inequality. Proud to have Toronto paving the way in Canada on this front!

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.

Will the CNE (Canadian National Exhibition) go ahead this year?
The Canadian National Exhibition has announced that the fair will not be going ahead this year. This is only the second time the CNE was cancelled. The first time was during the Second World War when the fairgrounds were used for military use from 1942-1946. CNE officials indicated that the decision was taken out of an abundance of caution due to the Covid-19 public health emergency and after consultation with patrons and vendors, 60% of whom had indicated they would not be attending this year. The CNE is looking forward to returning in summer 2021. We are all disappointed that the fair, which has been going since 1879, will not be proceeding but we all look forward to next year's CNE. The CNE joins almost all major fairs across Canada is cancelling their events for this year ranging from the Calgary Stampede to the Pacific National Exhibition.

Do I still have to file my income taxes this year?
Yes, the federal government is requiring Canadians to file their income taxes, however, the dates for filing were extended in view of the Covid-19 public health emergency. For individuals the filing deadline is now June 1st, 2020 (for 2019 taxation year) which is extended from the normal April 30th, 2020 filing date. For individuals the payment date for taxes (for 2019 taxation year) has been extended to September 1st, 2020. Below is a link to information on filing dates and Canada Revenue Agency updates.
https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/campaigns/covid-19-update/covid-19-filing-payment-dates.html

Local Updates

Oasis Dufferin Community Centre (Donate)
Oasis Dufferin continues to serve our community with limited operations. To see what services are available, please check here.

COVID-19 Emergency Benefit for People Receiving Social Assistance
The COVID-19 Emergency Benefit which was introduced as a one-time benefit in April 2020, has been extended and is now available in each month up to and including July 2020. This benefit is available for people receiving assistance from Ontario Works (OW) or Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) who may have had additional costs related to COVID-19. This benefit will help cover the additional costs of emergency needs such as hygiene and personal protective supplies, cleaning supplies, non-medical transportation, or additional costs for staple foods. The amount is $100 for a single person and $200 for a family. Updated information on this benefit and TESS services is available at toronto.ca/covid19

Service impacts and reopening – recap from yesterday:

  • ShopHERE is here to help local businesses and artists open free online stores. This new initiative will help Toronto’s independent businesses and artists set-up their online stores with the help of volunteer web developers, business students and corporate partners. For more information please visit here.
  • External Announcements: 2020 Canadian National Exhibition is cancelled. The Canadian National Exhibition Association (CNEA) announced yesterday, that this year’s CNE will be cancelled. The 18-day event was slated for August 21 to September 7, 2020 at Exhibition Place.

Recent Announcements

Municipal

City of Toronto adopts Social Debenture Framework, first of its kind in Canada
The City of Toronto today adopted a Social Debenture Framework. Toronto is the first municipality in Canada to establish a Social Debenture Program, allowing the City to further its leadership in sustainable finance and promote positive socioeconomic outcomes.

City of Toronto partners with Ritual to support Toronto restaurants and food services
Today, Mayor John Tory announced the City of Toronto is partnering with Toronto start up Ritual to provide local businesses with an easy way to accept digital orders online and onsite.

City of Toronto provides update on key construction projects
Over the next couple weeks, the City of Toronto will begin construction on a number of key projects to renew and improve aging infrastructure. With traffic volumes on Toronto’s roads down between 45 and 65 per cent as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the City recently announced that construction is moving forward this year and work will be accelerated on as many important projects as possible.

Provincial

Ontario Making Prescription Drugs More Affordable During COVID-19
The Ontario government is making the cost of prescription drugs more affordable. Effective today, people using the Ontario Drug Benefit Program will not be required to pay any co-payment until July 1, 2020 for any prescription of 30+ days that is now being dispensed in installments. In addition, existing and new Trillium Drug Program households can apply for an income reassessment to help reduce the financial burden for families during the outbreak.

Voluntary Redeployment of Education Workers to Fill Staffing Shortages
The Ontario government is working together with the province's education sector to voluntarily place available employees in staffing roles needed at congregate care settings during the COVID-19 outbreak. This initiative is part of the government's ongoing efforts to redeploy broader public sector workers to areas where they are needed most, such as hospitals, long-term care homes, retirement homes, women's shelters, and homes serving those with developmental disabilities.

Ontario Takes Steps to Better Protect Long-Term Care Residents and Staff During the COVID-19 Outbreak
The Ontario government has adopted an emergency order allowing the province to issue a mandatory management order for a long-term care home struggling to deal with a COVID-19 outbreak. This order would support the use of rapid, immediate and effective management alternatives to protect residents and staff within a home. The manager could be any person, including a corporation or a hospital.

Ontario Further Supports Victims of Gender-Based Violence and Human Trafficking during COVID-19
Today, Jill Dunlop, Associate Minister of Children and Women's Issues released a statement regarding new measures to support people experiencing or at risk of sexual assault, gender-based violence and human trafficking during COVID-19.

Protecting Ontario's Children with COVID-19
Today, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, issued the following statement about multisystem inflammatory vasculitis, which appears to be similar to Kawasaki Syndrome, in children and COVID-19.

Federal

Canada Emergency Student Benefit application period to launch on May 15, 2020
Today, Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, along with the Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue, announced that the application period for the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) will begin on Friday, May 15, 2020. The CESB, which will be delivered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), will provide temporary income support to eligible post-secondary students and new graduates who are unable to work or find work this summer due to COVID-19, or are working and are not making over $1000. (Additional Information)

COVID-19: $962 million additional support fund now available to businesses and communities affected by the pandemic
Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, which is why the Government of Canada has implemented a series of concrete and tangible measures to help them retain their employees, pay rent and access capital to cover costs. Building on these measures, the new Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) devotes nearly $962 million to help more businesses and organizations in sectors such as manufacturing, technology, tourism and others that are key to the regions and to local economies.

COVID-19: FedDev Ontario launches Regional Relief and Recovery Fund to support local economies
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in uncertainty and anxiety for businesses and their employees. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are at the heart of our economy and our communities. As a source of local employment and pride, they play a key role in the well-being of communities across the country. That is why the Government of Canada has implemented a series of concrete and tangible measures to help them retain their employees, pay rent and access capital to pay their bills.

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