It is hard to believe that we are approaching the end of the summer and this of course means we are preparing for a return to school. Of course, this year is like no other in terms of the preparations and changes that the school boards and the provincial government must make to ensure a safe return for children, teachers and staff. While the management of schools is the exclusive responsibility of the local school boards and the province, the City is doing what it can to support a safe return to school including offering school boards the use of additional space in City facilities. Discussions on this are continuing as school boards determine their needs. This week saw the Prime Minister announce an additional $381 million in funding, allocated to enhance reopening plans, busing, special education needs, remote learning and securing nurses for schools. This funding is in addition to the funding provided by the province.
This week, we also announced progress on our commitment to establish reasonable regulations around short-term rentals in our City. On September 10, the City will launch its new online registration system for short-term rental operators. Operators eligible under the new rules will need to register by December 31st, 2020 in order to continue operating. We were all concerned about the delays associated with an LPAT (Local Planning Appeals Tribunal) appeal but the City's by-law was upheld by this agency. Having worked on this initiative since 2017, we are all pleased to see it now move forward. The City continues to respond to related complaints through the 311 system, including rentals that are not principal residences. Thank you to all the residents who have been supportive through this process. To learn more about these regulations, please visit here.
I have also received an update from West Neighbourhood House on their campaign for community members for donations to support vulnerable communities. I am pleased to share that they received overwhelming support through mask donations, materials, time and financial contributions and I want to share their appreciation to our fantastic community. These donations have helped provide masks to people experiencing homelessness, to families enrolled in their children’s programs, and to clients of the Meals on Wheels program. In total, over 170 masks were provided. Still want to help out? Please contact Laura at [email protected].
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 [email protected] or by phone at 416.392.7012.
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 [email protected].
I understand that masks now have to be worn in apartment buildings and condominiums. Does this include every area within a building?
Outside of your personal suite, masks are now required in apartment buildings and condominiums. This includes areas such as hallways, laundry rooms, elevators and any commons shared facilities. These regulations came into effect on August 5th, 2020 and will remain in so until September 30th, 2020 unless renewed by City Council. There are exemptions to this by-law including for children 2 years of age and under and those with medical conditions that preclude them safely wearing a mask. However, essentially any common area of a building requires masks. Details on the regulations are below in the link.
How are buildings, residential and commercial, dealing with elevator capacity and usage during Covid-19?
Guidance has been issued by the City with respect to elevator usage including the number of people that should be permitted on an elevator at one time, where they should stand and the requirement (now in place) with respect to wearing a mask. Residential buildings have put in place measures such as floor markings, signage and limits on the number of people who can use an elevator at one time ensuring physical distancing. There is a significant challenge with respect to larger office towers where traditionally many people would be using the elevators at the same time (mornings, lunch periods and late afternoon). Many of these office towers are preparing for a limited return of employees with respect to elevators by scattering workday start and finish schedules, considering the installation of touchless mechanisms for elevator use and of course limiting the number that can ride an elevator at a given time along with floor markings showing people where to stand. Below is guidance provided to building operators outlining the actions, including elevators, that should be taken to reduce the spread of Covid-19.
Call To Action
Across the city, organizations are taking bold steps in our fight for equality. Get involved through the links below.
Reach Out Response Network
Reach Out is an organization working to develop a team to revolutionize crisis response and move towards an anti-oppressive, trauma-informed, non-police model, that will empower individuals in crisis and promote their dignity, autonomy, self-determination, and resilience. They have several online events for experts, people with lived experience and the public.
Black Legal Action Centre
The Black Legal Action Centre has developed a survey to better understand the impact of COVID-19 related emergency measures on Black communities in Ontario. These questions are designed to capture the experiences of Black Ontarians from March 17, 2020 onwards.
Immigrant Women Integration Program
IWIP is an 8 month, full-time, free training program that develops community leaders through capacity building to strengthen Toronto communities. Participants will gain knowledge of community needs and resources, increased sense of belonging, enhanced knowledge of Human Service Sector, community-based research and presentation skills and more. The application deadline is September 18.
SIU Decision on the Death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet
Special Investigations Unit Report
This week, the Special Investigations Unit, the arms-length agency that investigates serious incidents involving police officers issued its finding following the tragic and sad death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet.
The Director of the Special Investigations Unit reported that following their thorough investigation they had determined that "reasonable grounds" did not exist to lay any charges against Toronto Police Officers who were at the scene. The report (https://www.siu.on.ca/en/news_template.php?nrid=5977 ) detailing the findings has been publicly released.
Interim Police Chief James Ramer indicated that the Toronto Police Service will now undertake its own review to determine how officers can better deal with such situations. The Interim Chief also stated that he had been engaging mental health professionals to help them prepare a report to the Toronto Police Services Board on better practices and he is also already expanding the Mobile Crisis Intervention Team which responds to mental health crises.
This is on top of the more than 80 recommendations submitted by the Mayor based on City Council's direction which has now been approved by the Toronto Police Services Board.
The TTC is working to move people more efficiently on transit by improving reliability, speed and capacity on some of the busiest surface transit routes, through the implementation of priority bus-only lanes. They want your input on these service concepts, starting with online surveys for the Eglinton Avenue East and Jane Street lanes. The survey is will be live until September 30, 2020.
Local residents Kevin Putnam, Vickie McGregor, Yuen Kan Wong and many others went the extra mile to help beautify the improved Dupont planters by adding shrubs! Thank you for all your amazing work to keep our community beautiful!
Share Your Thoughts: Vehicle for Hire Bylaw Update
The City is proposing to extend the maximum age of taxicabs, limousines and private transportation company vehicles and wants to hear from you. Share your feedback via this online survey from August 14, 2020 to September 2, 2020.
Drop off items for reuse, recycling and safe disposal at Community Environment Days
Community Environment Day events begin September 13 and will run on seven weekends 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 landfill and to safely dispose of household hazardous waste.
At the events, you will be able to 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.
Modular Housing’s Role in Ending Homelessness
Abigail Bond, our City’s Executive Director of the Housing Secretariat, wrote about all the efforts we have made to address homelessness through the COVID-19 period, and the role modular housing has in our recovery.
CNE At Home!
Although the iconic lights of the midway won’t shine at the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) this year, Toronto’s end of summer tradition continues in a new way – as the fair comes to life online from August 21 to September 7, 2020. The new CNE At Home online portal, which can be accessed through TheEx.com will share some of its most popular shows, favourite food recipes, tricks of the trade from buskers, historical retrospectives, new music performances and much more.
Bike Share – Free Ride Wednesdays in September
Thanks to the new Bike Share Toronto – CAA South Central Ontario partnership, Bike Share Toronto riders will ride for free every Wednesday in the month of September. Riders can take out a bike for up to 30 minutes, return the bike to any station, and take out another bike for an additional free 30-minute ride.
Earlscourt Park Splashpad Survey
We are going to make a big splash at Earlscourt Park! We want your input on the design of the new splash pad. Fill out the survey linked above before September 6 to make sure your ideas are considered. A public consultation will be held on September 1. Details can be found under the ‘Get Involved’ tab.
Twilight Sculpture Garden Project at Lisgar Park
Artists Rhonda Weppler and Trevor Mahovsky are creating a DIY temporary public artwork, housed in an improvised pop-up structure and containing delicate, taped-together monuments to everyday things. The project is a giant lantern made to look like an antique store, in homage to the many small businesses that have lined Queen Street West, including those which now only exist in memory. The artists have created an ever-growing archive online of many of the files used to assemble these lanterns, made available for anyone to print out and make for themselves, at their web-based project http://www.craftsabyss.com.
The artist will begin installation on August 17 and it will be officially be open from September 5 until October 27.
466-468 Dovercourt Road Planning Application
On Wednesday, September 2nd, from 6-7:30pm, the City will be hosting a virtual community consultation meeting to discuss the proposed Official Plan Amendment and Zoning By-law Amendment to allow a new 6-storey mixed-use building. This application will have commercial/retail uses on the ground floor, mezzanine and basement levels and 30 dwelling units on the upper floors.
The property is currently a vacant 2-storey mixed-use building (formerly The Matador Ballroom).
Metrolinx Overnight Work – Labour Day Long Weekend
Metrolinx, the provincial transit agency, has informed our office that they will be conducting overnight work for the Davenport Diamond project throughout the Labour Day long weekend. This work will largely take place just north of Bloor, just north of Davenport, and just north of Dupont at the CP diamond. While Metrolinx is a provincial agency, we have successfully advocated for some relief for the community. At our request, Metrolinx has agreed to face all lights away from residences during overnight work and to schedule as much of the loud work during the daytime hours. If you have a complaint about this work, the project team can be contacted at [email protected] or by calling 416.202.6911.
Dovercourt Road Watermain Replacement and Road Reconstruction – Sudbury Street to College Street
Starting September 8, 2020, the City of Toronto will replace the watermain and the City-owned portion of substandard water services on Dovercourt Road from Queen Street West to College Street.
Given that work on both Dovercourt Road and Lisgar Street will happen concurrently, the City's contractor will divide work on Dovercourt Road into two phases (see map on Page 4 for details). The phasing will allow for distance between the two contracts in an effort to minimize traffic and parking impact.
This work is expected to be completed by Summer 2021.
City of Toronto extends outdoor sport field season due to COVID-19
Today, the City of Toronto announced the extension of the outdoor sport field season. The City’s outdoor sport and multi-use fields will remain open until Sunday, October 25 and permits will be issued for the remainder of the 2020 season.
City of Toronto registration of short-term rentals to launch September 10
This September, the City of Toronto will launch a new online registration system for short-term rental operators who are renting their homes on a short-term basis for a period of less than 28 consecutive days.
Beginning September 10, 2020, short-term rental operators will need to start registering with the City in order to operate in Toronto. Registration is a necessary first step to allow the City to effectively administer the new rules applicable to short-term rentals. People who are currently renting their home on a short-term basis, or planning to do so, must be registered by December 31, 2020. After this date, all new operators will be able to register on an ongoing basis and must register prior to short-term renting their homes.
Toronto Public Health resumes in-person home visits for Healthy Babies Healthy Children program
Toronto Public Health (TPH) nurses will begin a phased-in approach to resume in-person home-visiting services to eligible priority families as part of the Healthy Babies Healthy Children (HBHC) program. Now that Toronto has entered Stage 3 of the provincial reopening plan, TPH is resuming the in-person part of the program for families with young children in the HBHC program.
City of Toronto issues $300 million bond to help fund key capital projects
The City of Toronto has issued a new debenture to help finance capital expenditures from 10 different City divisions and agencies. This is the City’s third debenture issuance this year and marks the lowest ever 20-year cost of funding for the City with an all-in cost of 2.218 per cent.
City of Toronto update on COVID-19 (August 26)
There are 15,866 cases of COVID-19 in the city, an increase of 33 since yesterday. There are 44 people hospitalized. In total, 14,401 people have recovered from COVID-19, an increase of 32 since yesterday. To date, there have been 1,167 COVID-19 deaths in Toronto. Case status data can be found on the City’s reporting platform.
Ontario Releases COVID-19 Management Plan for Schools
As part of Ontario's plan for students to safely return to the classroom in September, the provincial government has released the Operational Guidance: COVID-19 Management in Schools document. This guide was developed in consultation with public health experts, including Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health, and aims to help schools identify and isolate COVID-19 cases, reduce the spread of COVID-19 in schools, and prevent and minimize outbreaks.
Additional Funds Enhance Ontario's Robust Back-to-School Plan
The Ontario government's back-to-school plan, developed in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and public health officials, is being further enhanced by additional federal investments and resources to support the return to class in the fall. The federal announcement provides $381 million to Ontario, on top of the nearly $900 million provided by the province to support provincial back-to-school plans.
Prime Minister announces support for a safe return to school
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced up to $2 billion in support for provinces and territories through the Safe Return to Class Fund. This will provide the complementary funding they need, as they work alongside local school boards to ensure the safety of students and staff members throughout the school year. For example, the Fund will help provinces and territories by supporting adapted learning spaces, improved air ventilation, increased hand sanitation and hygiene, and purchases of personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies.