COVID-19 - May 4 Update

I hope everyone was able to enjoy the beautiful weather on the weekend while remaining at home and physically distancing as directed by our public health officials.

Today marks the beginning of Canadian Mental Health Week. You can explore and learn more about mental health for individuals, families and children at https://mentalhealthweek.ca/. We all understand the importance of mental health and particularly at this time of increased isolation during the public health emergency. Recognizing the importance of dealing with mental challenges, the federal government has announced a new investment of $240.5 million to develop, expand, and launch virtual care and mental health tools to support Canadians.

The federal government has also announced an increase to the Canadian Child Benefit by $300 per child in May, which will provide struggling families with support as they work to manage their budgets and households through this pandemic.

Municipally, there have been several important updates. As we navigate this pandemic, the City continues to lessen the impact on communities and create an ideal climate for recovery. One initiative that the City is working on is the acceleration of major road work which will lessen future disruptions when traffic volumes increase again. Included in this work is a necessary watermain replacement on Ossington Avenue from Dupont St to Bloor St W. In the Local Updates section, you can find information and updates on property tax payments, permit parking renewals, yard waste collection and more. Further, I am pleased to share that CurbTO, launched only last week, has already more than doubled its locations to 21. These changes are part of a well-rounded recovery approach to make our City more efficient, safe, and livable in the post-COVID world.

As your representative at City Hall, I am available to answer your questions. This Thursday at 7PM, I will be answering questions on my second Facebook Live event. To participate, be sure to follow me on Facebook (@AnaBailaoTO).

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 local schools re-open in the City?
The decision about when schools can re-open will be made by the Ontario Ministry of Education. The provincial Minister of Education has now announced that the school closure under the state of emergency has now been extended to May 31, 2020. There is a potential for a further extension but schools, and all facilities within them, will not re-open before May 31, 2020. There is a link below that outlines the provincial extension decision.
https://news.ontario.ca/edu/en/2020/04/school-closures-extended-to-keep-students-staff-and-families-safe

My driver's licence is coming up for renewal, how do I do that during this public health situation?
During the Covid-19 public health state of emergency, most Service Ontario outlets have been closed. The provincial government has extended the expiry dates on products that can expire (driver's licences, health cards, etc.). So, you are not required to renew these products during this time until the state of emergency is ended. Below is a link to further information.
https://www.ontario.ca/page/serviceontario-centre-closures#section-1

Local Updates

Toronto Public Health warns of callers posing as TPH staff
The Chief Medical Officer of Health for Toronto, Dr. Eileen de Villa, is warning people that there may be people calling residents in our community who are falsely claiming to be Toronto Public Health staff. In one instance, the individual was asked to provide their banking information and their social insurance number. Dr. de Villa stressed that Toronto Public Health would never request this information because it is not relevant to public health work. Anyone who receives a suspicious call requesting financial information should not give out any personal information and call the Toronto Police Service non-emergency line at 416-808-2222. Anyone with questions about public health operations can contact Toronto Public Health at 416-338-7600.

Ward 9 - Road Resurfacings
As part of the Council-approved 2020 Capital Works Program to renew aging city roads and sidewalks for current and future needs, the City of Toronto will resurface:

  • Beaconsfield Avenue from Mackenzie Crescent to Argyle Street
  • Beaconsfield Avenue from Afton Avenue to Argyle Street
  • Northern Place and Sheridan Avenue between College Street and Moutray Street and between Dundas Street West and Florence
  • Shannon Street

Multilingual COVID-19 Information Posters
If English isn't your first language, getting credible information on how to stay safe during COVID-19 can be difficult. The City of Toronto has created helpful, accessible flyers to support these individuals. Please share them with those who need them.

Property tax and utility bills
The 60-day grace period for property tax and utility bill payments and late penalties ends May 15. Customers already enrolled in the City’s pre-authorized payment plan don’t have to re-enroll – payments will start again automatically after the grace period ends. Property owners will be receiving a letter in the mail regarding payment due dates. Please visit Property Tax and Utility Bills section of the COVID-19: Changes to City Services webpage for more information.

Residential permit parking renewal
The May 31 deadline for residential permit parking renewal applications has been extended until further notice. Toronto Police will continue to use discretion when enforcing permit parking areas. Learn more at toronto.ca/covid19 under Parking.

Regular updates are being made to the COVID-19: Changes to City Services webpage.

Regular yard waste collection resumes
The City is resuming regularly scheduled yard waste collection. The start of seasonal yard waste collection was suspended in March to ensure adequate staffing levels to continue the core collection of garbage, Blue Bin (recycling) and Green Bin (organics). The City recently resumed yard waste collection for four weeks and has determined that it can continue to provide the service on a regular basis.

Residents are asked to put their yard waste out before 7 a.m. on their regularly scheduled garbage/yard waste collection day. If yard waste is not picked up the day it is put out, the City is asking residents to leave it out until it's collected and refrain from calling 311 to report a missed collection. If possible, residents should use a yard waste bag. Otherwise a rigid open-top container can be used. Brush and branches should be secured in bundles no longer than 1.2 metres (4 feet), no wider than 0.6 metres (two feet) and no heavier than 20 kilograms (44 lbs). For more information, visit here.

City of Toronto begins pothole repair blitz
Three pothole repair blitzes are planned in May to help keep roads safe and in a good state of repair. The first was this past Saturday and more than 7,700 potholes were repaired. The next repair blitzes are scheduled for May 9 and 23, weather permitting. The public is asked to be safe by respecting work zones and giving crews space while they make repairs. Please read the news release below for more information.

Targeted Spring Cleanup Across the City
Targeted spring cleanup is taking place across the city over the next few weeks. Spring cleanup activities include:

  • Illegal dumping cleanup
  • Boulevard and laneway cleaning
  • Litter and debris removal in parks
  • Fence-line litter clearing
  • Street sweeping to clean up dirt and debris from Toronto’s streets.

During the pandemic, the City has been working hard to keep public spaces clean and safe. Staff are out each day picking up litter, emptying street and park waste bins and sweeping streets. The public can do their part to help keep Toronto clean and safe by properly disposing of items in available street bins and not littering. You can also report litter hot spots to 311.

Recent Announcements

Municipal

City of Toronto to begin opening community gardens and allotment gardens
On April 25, the Province of Ontario announced amendments to an Order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act that permit the use of allotment gardens and community gardens. To help increase the resiliency of and food security for Toronto’s residents during the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Toronto will open its community and allotment gardens for the 2020 gardening season. The City will follow a phased approach in opening its 81 community gardens and 12 allotment gardens to ensure public safety while providing access to an essential source of fresh food.

City of Toronto launches first of three pothole repair blitzes planned for May
The City of Toronto has planned three pothole repair blitzes in May to help keep roads safe and in a good state of repair. The first blitz is today, Saturday, May 2, followed by repair blitzes on Saturday, May 9 and 23, weather permitting.

City of Toronto accelerates important planned construction and continues maintenance to renew aging infrastructure
This construction season, with traffic volumes on Toronto’s roads down between 45 and 65 per cent as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Toronto will accelerate as many important construction projects as possible and continue maintenance work to renew aging transportation and water infrastructure, as well as improve some facilities. In addition, other projects that the City will look to accelerate this spring through working with contractors and advancing the tender process including a watermain replacement on Ossington Avenue from Dupont St to Bloor St W.

Provincial

Ontario Significantly Increases Daily Lab Testing
Ontario has significantly increased testing and contact tracing capacity, allowing health experts to identify cases of COVID-19 and support efforts to stop the spread of the virus in the community, long-term care homes, and other congregate settings. In partnership with Ontario Health, Public Health Ontario, local public health units, and hospital and community laboratories, the Ontario government has developed an integrated laboratory system which has established the province as a national leader in daily testing volumes per capita.

Ontario Ready to Respond to Spring Flooding Season
The Ontario government has been actively working with federal and municipal governments, First Nations partners, and non-governmental organizations to prepare and respond to any flooding situation across the province during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Ontario Continues to Support Mental Health Needs During COVID-19
Today, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Todd Smith, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, and Jill Dunlop, Associate Minister of Children and Women's Issues, released a statement to acknowledge Mental Health Week.

Federal

Families to receive increased support through the Canada Child Benefit
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, highlighted that families receiving the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) will get $300 extra per child in May to help them deal with the added pressures of COVID-19.

Canada and international partners launch the Coronavirus Global Response
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today joined other global leaders to launch the Coronavirus Global Response. This online pledging event aims to initially raise more than $8 billion (USD) to help researchers and innovators develop solutions to test, treat, and protect people, and to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.

Prime Minister announces virtual care and mental health tools for Canadians
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced an investment of $240.5 million to develop, expand, and launch virtual care and mental health tools to support Canadians.

Message from the Minister of Health – National Mental Health Week
Mental Health Week this year will be different than those in the past. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted and changed our lives. For many Canadians, living through the pandemic has led to heightened anxiety and unease. Some have lost employment, others are trying to balance working from home while parenting all day, and others have seen an increase in their substance use.

Government of Canada creates COVID-19 supply council in support of Canada’s response and recovery
The Honourable Anita Anand, Minister of Public Services and Procurement, announced yesterday the creation of the COVID-19 Supply Council which will bring together a diverse group of leaders to provide the government with advice on the procurement of critical goods and services required as part of Canada’s COVID-19 response and recovery. (Members of the COVID-19 Supply Council)

Minister Bains announces investment in antibody discovery technology to help treat COVID-19
The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, yesterday announced a contribution of $175.6 million to AbCellera Biologics, a Canadian biotechnology company that researches and discovers next-generation antibody drugs to fight infection and disease. This contribution is part of Canada’s Plan to Mobilize Science to fight COVID-19, announced on March 23, 2020, which includes significant investments in Canada’s world-class research community to develop vaccines and treatments for COVID-19 and to diagnose the disease. These investments in research, combined with investments in innovation and manufacturing capacity, will help stop the spread of COVID-19 and, ultimately, facilitate our return to work and economic recovery.

Statement on joint action plan to facilitate flow of goods, services and personnel amid COVID-19
The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, issued a statement on a join action plan to facilitate the flow of good, services and personnel amid COVID-19.

Statement from the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada on COVID-19
Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, issued the following statement on the COVID-19 situation in Canada.

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