January 2017 Council Highlights

Toronto City Council met on January 31, 2017 Council Highlights is an informal summary of decisions made by Toronto City Council. The City Clerk's formal documentation of all the meeting's decisions is available at http://www.toronto.ca/council.

Waste collection east of Yonge Street       

Council considered the matter of curbside waste collection service east of Yonge Street and voted to refer the matter to staff for further study and a later report to the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee. The current curbside collection system is split between contracted collection west of Yonge Street and in-house collection by City workers east of Yonge Street.

Support for arts and heritage spaces   

Council adopted a motion to ask the Ontario government to work with municipalities to explore ways to support non-profit arts organizations and incubators, and to help conserve heritage properties through property assessment measures. Background information with the motion says Toronto heritage assets such as the building at 401 Richmond St. W. in the King-Spadina area – and the creative organizations inside it – are under threat from development pressures.

Modernizing Ontario's municipal legislation   

Council adopted motions that will be part of the City's input for changes the Ontario government is considering for modernizing its legislation governing municipalities. If passed, Bill 68, Modernizing Ontario's Municipal Legislation Act, 2016, will amend the City of Toronto Act, the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, the Municipal Elections Act and other municipal statutes.

Appointment of Medical Officer of Health  

Council approved the appointment of Dr. Eileen de Villa as Toronto’s new Medical Officer of Health, as recommended by the Board of Health. The new Medical Officer of Health is scheduled to start work at the City on March 27. Dr. Barbara Yaffe will continue to serve as the Acting Medical Officer of Health until the end of March.

Appointment of City Solicitor     

Council approved the appointment of Wendy Walberg as Toronto’s new City Solicitor, effective February 15. Walberg, a long-time member of the City's Legal Services division, takes over the City Solicitor position from Anna Kinastowski, who retired last year. Brian Haley has served as interim City Solicitor for the past eight months.

Resources for review of development applications      

Council asked staff to prepare a report on the City's development approval process, including improvements for identifying buildings of heritage significance that may be under threat of demolition. The City is increasing staff resources to handle increased development applications. Applications in City Planning have increased by 27 per cent over the past three years, with a total of 4,790 applications submitted in 2016.

Sponsorship of Syrian refugees   

Council supported asking the federal government to ensure that Syrian refugee families, as well as families from other countries, are processed and travel arrangements made so sponsorship groups ready to host families can welcome them to Canada within three months. Council is also asking the government to reconsider its current cap on the maximum number of privately-sponsored refugees and to review Canada's refugee resettlement plan for 2017.

Toronto as a Sanctuary City   

Council voted to re-affirm Toronto as a Sanctuary City where all residents have full rights to access municipal services without fear regardless of their documentation status. The motion that was adopted also urges the federal government to uphold a Canadian immigration and refugee policy that is based on the values of inclusion, acceptance and non-discrimination.

Charter for inclusive communities    

Council endorsed the National Council of Canadian Muslims' Charter for Inclusive Communities, which commits signatories to promote inclusive, just and respectful communities. The motion that was before Council said the charter "not only acknowledges that Islamophobia presents real dangers to certain members of our community, it asserts that, as a community, we have a duty to work towards eliminating the hate."

Transit fare inspection and enforcement  

The Toronto Municipal Code will be amended allow members of the Toronto Transit Commission's transit enforcement unit to tag and tow vehicles that disrupt transit service. Council approved the measure in the context of a report on a new transit fare inspection and enforcement model recently adopted by the TTC. 

Parking options for commuters  

Council agreed to direct staff to consult with stakeholders and report back by April on the parking needs of commuters using the Spadina-University subway line in the northern part of the city. The objective is to consider circumstances that have reduced commuter parking in the area and recommend options for more commuter parking.

Safety at electronic dance events    

Council voted to ask staff to undertake a review of the City's policies and regulations on the operation of electronic dance music venues, particularly those that attract large crowds. Staff are to report back with a strategy and recommendations on ways to enhance public health and safety at such venues.

Donation of public art and monuments   

Council adopted a new policy on donations of public art and monuments to the City, replacing the old policy on donations. The updated policy will help to ensure that works donated to the City clearly show their relationship to Toronto and reflect the diversity of its public spaces. The City currently has about 200 pieces in its public art collection, of which about a third are monuments and other commemorative pieces.

Commemoration - Afghanistan conflict  

Council approved accepting a donated monument for Toronto to recognize the contributions and sacrifices of Canadian soldiers during the 2001-2014 Afghanistan conflict. A charitable organization called Canada Company has proposed donating a decommissioned light-armoured vehicle as a monument. Some veterans of the conflict are Toronto residents. Details such as the monument's location still need to be worked out.

College Street Bar    

Council adopted a motion calling for actions to address concerns involving the operation of College Street Bar, 574 College St.

Signs at Yonge-Dundas Square     

Council authorized Yonge-Dundas Square's board of management to negotiate a 10-year agreement with Outfront Media Canada for a new signage program on the downtown square. Current signs will be replaced by co-ordinated signage for visitors to the City-owned square.

Recognition of family caregivers    

Council supported establishing Family Caregiver Day in Toronto, marking the day on the first Tuesday in April each year. The intention is to recognize the social and economic contributions made by family caregivers and offer support as a municipality. 

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