COVID-19 - October 2 Update

Next week, I hope you can join me for the first of our three Davenport Speaker Series on various topics, the first is with Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa and Board of Health Chair, Councillor Joe Cressy. Be a part of these important conversations about how our City is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and also have your questions answered.

With COVID-19 cases increasing in Toronto, it is essential that we act proactively to slow its spread as we enter what we now know is the second wave. This week, provincial public health officials indicated they are projecting as many as 1,000 cases per day across Ontario as we move into October. The province has now announced a number of additional measures for select cities, which the City of Toronto has already approved for implementation. To protect our communities, City Council has been working diligently to create as safe an environment as possible. At this week's City Council meeting, we passed a number of new measures recommended by the Medical Officer of Health including reducing the total number of patrons permitted at bars and restaurants, having restaurants record contact details for every patron as opposed to just one member of a group, and reducing the number of patrons to six per table.
Of course, action needs to be taken at other levels of government as well. That is why we have also called on the provincial and federal governments for enhances measures as well, including to collaborate on and strictly enforce existing quarantine rules, to rapidly implement new testing technologies, improve lab test turn around times, increase testing capacity and create more robust infection prevention measures at long-term care facilities.

How many cases occur over the next few months will also be impacted by the decisions we make at a personal level. The Medical Officer of Health has strongly recommended that we now limit our contact to our own households and only go out for essential trips. Even if you do not view yourself as potentially at a higher risk, you can still potentially carry the virus to someone more vulnerable.  We all have a major part to play in helping to protect each other.

While we work to fight this pandemic, many other critical issues continue to be addressed at City Council. On changes to policing, many of the recommendations approved at the beginning of the summer have moved forward, from requesting direct oversight over the Police Services Budget, seeking to expand the Auditor General’s jurisdiction to Toronto Police Service, the public posting of TPS use of force policy, advancing City Council’s decision to engage the community on creating an alternative community response model and more. We also approved the first round of consultations on the potential Dundas Street renaming, which will be a comprehensive consultation process about the future of the street. On housing, we also advanced historic changes that were discussed at Planning and Housing Committee last week, including the implementation plan of HousingTO, the City’s 10-year housing plan and calling on other levels of government to support an escalated program of affordable housing over the next two years.

Speaking on the process and need to consult on renaming Dundas Street and City assets

As you may know, I have long supported implementing ranked ballots, seeing it as an election model that helps create an even playing field for new candidates and allows voters flexibility with their vote. While I have been working closely with many Council colleagues to advocate for a ranked ballot municipal election in 2022, COVID-19 has created a number of challenges that the City's election staff need to prioritize to ensure a fair and well managed election. While these challenges mean it will not be possible to have a ranked ballot election in 2022, I supported a motion directing staff to meet the conditions in 2023, well in advance of the 2026 election. 

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


This Week's Update

  1. Questions from the Community
  2. Local Updates
    1. Supporting Artists
    2. New School Crossing Guard Locations
    3. Traffic Light Approved at Geary Ave and Dufferin St
    4. Earlscourt Park Clean Up
    5. Ward 9 Recreational Programming
    6. Protecting the Expansion of the West Toronto Rail Path
    7. Supporting Businesses in Little Jamaica
    8. Vision Zero Be Safe Campaign
    9. Fairview Nursing Home
    10. After Breast Cancer Flag Raising
    11. COVID-19 Outreach Rapid Response Team
    12. Women Legal Education and Action Fund Speaker Series
    13. Davenport Diamond - Metrolinx Piling Work
    14. Nuit Blanche Goes Digital
    15. Help Improve Wayfinding in Ward 9
    16. Drop off items for reuse, recycling and safe disposal at Community Environment Days
    17. Open Doors – Call For Applications
  3. Recent Announcements
    1. Changes to the visitor policy and continued efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at City of Toronto’s Long-Term Care Homes
    2. City of Toronto announces ActiveTO major road closures will be extended into October
    3. Ontario Delivers $2.8 Billion COVID-19 Fall Preparedness Plan
    4. Ontario Providing over Half a Billion Dollars to Protect Vulnerable Seniors against Second Wave of COVID-19
    5. Prime Minister announces infrastructure plan to create jobs and grow the economy
    6. New agreements to secure additional vaccine candidates for COVID-19

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.

We have heard that some provinces have restrictions in place for people travelling to them from other provinces.  Is this true?  We were thinking of a driving trip this fall and are concerned about possible restrictions.
Prior to the Covid-19 public health pandemic we were very much accustomed to travelling between provinces without any restrictions.  However, some restrictions were put in place when the pandemic began in the winter period.  Although some of these have been removed, some remain in place. For example, the so-called "Atlantic Bubble" has restrictions in place with respect to non-residents of the Atlantic provinces.  Below is a link that provides information on each province's requirements and you would be advised to review this information before planning any trips.

https://travel.gc.ca/covid-19-provinces-territories


Local Updates

Supporting Artists
The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have heavily impacted both the arts and culture sectors and main street retail in Toronto. The City has taken measures to support these sectors, including expanding the Creative Co-Location Facilities Property Tax Subclasses (reduced taxation levels) to include live music venues and the expansion of Digital Main Street as well as the introduction of ShopHere.

COVID-19 has exacerbated longstanding issues in Toronto that challenged the viability of cultural enterprises and organizations that rely on public gatherings to generate income have been particularly impacted. At the same time, main street retail properties are seeing a significant increase in vacancies.

in order to stimulate economic and cultural activity on main streets, I presented a motion which proposed that City staff work with Business Improvement Areas to assess the role of retail recovery programs in supporting cultural animation with the potential to provide neighbourhood economic development. The motion proposed research into programs that would encourage landlords to allow temporary use of their vacant properties by artists and cultural organizations through short term leases. The aim of this effort is to animate main streets, provide affordable spaces to artists who currently have little to no income, and assist in social and economic recovery efforts. 

New School Crossing Guard Locations


At Council, we decided to add 30 new crossing guard locations across the City. This includes three new locations in our Ward:

  • College St and Ossington Ave
  • Laughton Ave and Houndslow Health Rd
  • Pelham Ave and Uxbridge Ave

Traffic Light Approved at Geary Ave and Dufferin St
I am pleased to share that City Council voted to approve the installation of a traffic light at Dufferin Street and Geary Avenue. I have received concerns from the community about this intersection and I am glad we are able to take this step to improve safety at this busy location.

Earlscourt Park Clean Up


Throughout the year, the Earlscourt Centennial Planning Committee have been hard at work to develop events to celebrate the park's centennial year. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, much has had to be delayed or cancelled. One event that is moving forward is a park clean up this Sunday, October 4 from 11AM-2PM. If you wish to attend, please meet the organizers near the playground for instructions. Equipment will be provided to you, but please don’t forget to bring your own mask.

Ward 9 Recreational Programming
The City of Toronto has provided updated fall schedules for community centres across Ward 9, Davenport. You can access more information through the link above.

Protecting the Expansion of the West Toronto Rail Path
At Council we discussed a Master Agreement with Metrolinx, the provincial transit agency, for the GO Expansion Program. While negotiations between Metrolinx and the City are ongoing to advance both projects in the corridor, I wanted to specifically ensure that an agreement is reached prior to the release of any City lands. 

Supporting Businesses in Little Jamaica
While most businesses have been struggling with the impact of COVID-19, Little Jamaica has been facing challenges for nearly 10 years due to Eglinton Crosstown construction. Working with Councillor Mike Colle, we are asking for immediate support to help these businesses survive. Included in this is a call for compensation for the small business owners, a property tax assessment reform that accounts for local economic realities, and for the elimination of surface construction equipment from public sidewalks and road allowances. Further, to recognize the unique and substantial history of Eglinton West, we called on the City to report on actions required to establish a Little Jamaica Heritage and Innovation Hub, that recognizes and promotes local Black History and culture in the area.

In addition to this, I supported Councillor Matlow’s motion which called for additional measures including rent control legislation for commercial units in this corridor and other protections to ensure the history and vibrancy of this community remains secure.

Vision Zero Be Safe Campaign


The City of Toronto launched a city-wide public education campaign to remind all road users – pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and drivers – to exercise caution, stay alert and obey the rules of the road as traffic volumes continue to rise and as many students have now returned to school.

The campaign will run until October 31. It is currently being featured on back of buses, transit shelters, billboards, in addition to radio, print and social media ads. More information is available at Be Safe campaign.

Fairview Nursing Home
Our thoughts and prayers are with the residents and families of those residing in the Fairview Nursing Home which is currently faced with a Covid-19 outbreak.  Nearly 50 people have tested positive for the virus and tragically one person has passed away.  As a community we wish all residents and families our very best during this very difficult time.

After Breast Cancer Flag Raising


Yesterday marked the beginning of breast cancer awareness month. 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer during her lifetime and we should remember that this disease affects all genders. Yesterday's After Breast Cancer flag-raising recognized the importance of supporting survivors and acknowledging the need to help them with their recovery.

COVID-19 Outreach Rapid Response Team
As part of Toronto Public Health's emergency response, COVID-19 Outreach Workers have been deployed throughout the city in order to increase resident awareness of COVID-19 prevention and testing information among disproportionately impacted communities. This multi-lingual team conducts a wide range of outreach activities, including:

    • Direct outreach to Toronto residents in a variety of in-person settings and online platforms.
    • COVID-19 presentations which are adapted to meet the specific needs of diverse resident groups and community organizations.
    • Collaboration with various organizations to promote community testing sites.

Women Legal Education and Action Fund Speaker Series


LEAF is hosting a five-part Speaker Series in lieu of an in-person Gala this year. Join them on October 26, 2020 for our first panel discussion: “What Makes a Person? A Critical Look at the Persons Case and its Legacy.”

Davenport Diamond - Metrolinx Piling Work
From October 26, 2020 until April 2021, the provincial transit agency Metrolinx will be conducting piling work along the Barrie corridor. Piling involves drilling a hole into the ground down to more supportive bedrock, installing a rebar cage, and then pouring concrete. This work may result is some loud construction noise and is scheduled to take place during the daytime.

Nuit Blanche Goes Digital


This year, you can enjoy Nuit Blanche from the comfort of your own home. On October 3, from sunset to sunrise, you can explore art and culture online.

Help Improve Wayfinding in Ward 9


Are you experienced with walking routes, destinations and landmarks around the St. Clair West, or Eglinton West areas? The City's Transportation Services Division would like your help with improving public maps! Survey open until October 9.

Drop off items for reuse, recycling and safe disposal at Community Environment Days
Community Environment Day events will run until November 1. This year, Community Environment Days will be set up as drive-thru events at the City’s seven Drop-Off Depots. This is a great opportunity to help reduce the amount of reusable or recyclable waste going to landfills and to safely dispose of household hazardous waste.

At the events, you will drive to different stations to drop off clothing, books and unwanted items for donation and to dispose of batteries, old paint and other household hazardous waste. Free bagged compost will be available (limit of two bags per vehicle while supplies last).

A list of event dates and more information is available at http://www.toronto.ca/environment_days.

Open Doors – Call For Applications
The City of Toronto has released the 2020 Open Door Call for Applications to accelerate affordable housing construction.


Recent Announcements

Municipal

Changes to the visitor policy and continued efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at City of Toronto’s Long-Term Care Homes
Effective October 5, the City of Toronto’s Long-Term Care Homes (LTC) will be restricting entrance to staff members, essential visitors and essential caregivers. This is the result of recent measures announced by the Provincial government to ensure that all long-term care homes in areas of highest community spread are able to continue to keep residents safe and to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

City of Toronto announces ActiveTO major road closures will be extended into October
Mayor John Tory has announced that major weekend road closures, as part of the popular ActiveTO suite of programs, will be extended into October.  They had originally be scheduled to conclude by the end of September.

Provincial

Ontario Delivers $2.8 Billion COVID-19 Fall Preparedness Plan
The Ontario Government has developed a $2.8 billion COVID-19 fall preparedness plan to ensure the province's health care, long-term care and education systems are prepared for the immediate challenges of the fall, including a second wave of COVID-19 and the upcoming flu season. Keeping Ontarians Safe: Preparing for Future Waves of COVID-19 will enable the province to quickly identify, prevent and respond to surges and waves of the virus to protect the health and safety of all Ontarians.

Ontario Providing over Half a Billion Dollars to Protect Vulnerable Seniors against Second Wave of COVID-19
The Ontario government is investing close to $540 million to protect residents, caregivers, and staff in long-term care homes from future surges and waves of COVID-19. The funding is part of the province's COVID-19 fall preparedness plan, Keeping Ontarians Safe: Preparing for Future Waves of COVID-19.

 

Federal

Prime Minister announces infrastructure plan to create jobs and grow the economy
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced $10 billion in new major infrastructure initiatives to create jobs and economic growth. The Canada Infrastructure Bank’s (CIB) Growth Plan will help Canadians get back to work and is expected to create approximately 60,000 jobs across the country. The three-year plan will connect more households and small businesses to high-speed Internet, strengthen Canadian agriculture, and help build a low-carbon economy.

New agreements to secure additional vaccine candidates for COVID-19
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced an agreement with AstraZeneca to procure up to 20 million doses of its COVID‑19 vaccine candidate. This agreement adds to those already reached with Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Novavax, Pfizer, and Moderna, which were made following the recommendations of the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force. With these agreements in place, the government has now secured access for Canadians to six leading vaccine candidates.

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published this page in COVID-19 Updates 2020-10-02 18:06:40 -0400

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