COVID-19 - December 17 Update

Unfortunately, our City along with the rest of the country is experiencing a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. We join cities and countries across the world in facing this challenge. We have seen a significant rise in COVID cases in our City, and had a record increase of 850 new cases just yesterday. In response to this, Mayor Tory announced during yesterday’s press conference that this week the City will have to implement increased COVID restrictions on the advice of our Public Health officials. Further, the Toronto District School Board has also shared the possibility of all students moving to online learning following the holiday break. Although we are grateful to see the vaccine start to be administered in Toronto, this process will take time so it remains of utmost importance that we continue to take every precaution to keep our families and communities safe. While acknowledging that it is difficult, Public Health officials continue to direct that everyone celebrate the holidays with only their immediate households, and to connect with extended family online. As a result of the current situation and the need to place public health safety first, the City has cancelled all holiday camps and instructional programs for the winter.

Click to hear my comments on implementing a vacant homes tax

This week, Toronto City Council has been meeting, with many important items being discussed. While Council will most likely continue into tomorrow, we have already approved an implementation plan for a tax on vacant homes. A Vacant Homes Tax looks to increase the housing supply by encouraging homeowners to sell or rent their unoccupied properties. Ideally, this tax would not generate any income, but would rather bring vacant units back on the housing market to serve as homes for individuals. I have advocated for a Vacant Homes Tax for some time and I am pleased that we are moving forward with this measure.

As we have been communicating throughout the pandemic, we have seen different levels of impacts based socio-economic factors. To address this, Council adopted a COVID-19 Equity Action Plan which included 25 equity actions and measures to support Torontonians disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

This week also marked a significant transit milestone, with the advancement of Eglinton East LRT and Waterfront Transit NetworkThe Eglinton East LRT is a planned 15-kilometre extension of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT from Kennedy Station to Malvern, with up to 21 stops and three connections to GO Transit. The line would provide transit access to historically underserved communities, travelling through or adjacent to seven Neighbourhood Improvement Areas and bringing higher-order transit within walking distance of 49,000 Torontonians.

This week, we saw a significant investment by the province (including funds provided by the federal government ) to help the City with its recovery. Municipalities have been at the forefront in dealing with the pandemic including having to meet enormous financial impacts. This $1.2 billion in financial support for Toronto will help the City meet the significant pressures that have resulted from the pandemic and allow for the continuation of vital services we all need. This funding is part of a larger package to assist all municipalities across the province.

As Council continues, there are many other important items being discussed such as a motion to implement a 3 month eviction moratorium at TCHC, improvements to RentSafe, and more. I will continue working to keep the community informed on all the measures being debated at the City.

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.

In community,


Table of Contents

  1. Question from the Community!
  2. Key Updates
    1. Safety Improvements on Dufferin
    2. Mayor Confirms No TTC Fare Increase in 2021
    3. Keele St. Clair Local Area Study Consultation
    4. Inclusionary Zoning Public Meeting Materials
    5. Support Depanneur
    6. Co-Operative Housing Federation of Toronto's 2021 Diversity Scholarship Application
    7. Toronto Foundation's "Good to Give Guide"
    8. Light Up Oakwood Village
    9. Corso Italia Food Drive
    10. Regal Heights Sign-Along
    11. Proposed Renaming of Salem-Westmoreland Parkette
    12. Dovercourt Boys and Girls Club - Holly Toy Drive
    13. West End Phoenix's 2021 Joe Burke Journalism Fund for Social Justice Reporting
  3. Recent Announcements

Question 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].

We have relatives in another province and we were wondering what the advice, direction or regulations are with respect to travelling within Canada during the holidays? Are we allowed to travel?
The guidance and directions from public health officials have been clear in that they do not wish people to be travelling this holiday season due to the escalating Covid 19 case numbers. In fact, within Toronto, for example, the guidance is to remain at home (and not to mix with anyone outside of your household) except for essential shopping (food, medicines, etc.) and exercise. So, no travelling between provinces, and even regions within the GTA should not take place this year. Below is a link to the Government of Canada's web page outlining inter-provincial travel restrictions.

Key Updates

Safety Improvements on Dufferin
At Council, I received unanimous support for my motion to improve safety on Dufferin Street. This motion directs the coordination and expediting of studies and traffic reviews along Dufferin, to assess current connectivity of cycling infrastructure and to identify a staffing strategy that will support these requests, without moving staff from other important projects across the city.

Click to see Cycle Toronto's comments on the motion

Mayor Confirms No TTC Fare Increase in 2021
This afternoon Mayor John Tory confirmed that there will not be an increase in TTC fares this coming year.  This announcement recognizes the need to assist TTC commuters in a year where many have experienced financial hardship and this will also help to encourage commuters to return to the system.  Federal and provincial financial assistance helps the TTC to return to service levels and make up for the revenue shortfalls experienced due to the pandemic. 

Keele St Clair Local Area Study Consultation
Keele-St. Clair is changing. Transit and road improvements are planned to connect the area in new ways. New development around transit will bring more people and jobs. Click the link above to access a map and drop pins or lines to share your ideas on community focal points, parks, buildings and more!

Inclusionary Zoning Public Meeting Materials
The City of Toronto is developing an inclusionary zoning policy that would require new residential developments to include affordable housing units, creating mixed-income housing. Our city is growing and we want to make sure new housing is affordable for those who call Toronto home. Inclusionary zoning is one solution among a range of City initiatives to help address Toronto’s housing needs.

2019-2020 saw a range of public meetings and discussions on inclusionary zoning. A consultation summary is now available through the link above.

Support Depanneur
The Depannneur has long been working to support others and share cultures through the magic of food. Now, you can support them by purchasing their new cookbook, featuring 100 recipes from 100 cooks who graced their kitchen over the last 10 years.

Co-Operative Housing Federation of Toronto’s 2021 Diversity Scholarship Application
Starting in the second year of studies, several colleges and universities provide additional money to CHFT Diversity Scholarship winners. These scholarships average $3,000 per student. (Please note: Some conditions apply. Recipient's average marks must meet standard requirements.)

Toronto Foundation’s “Good to Give Guide”
This guide is a short list of some of the organizations tackling the most pressing challenges facing Toronto at a time of great uncertainty and crisis. Many small and mid-size charities in Toronto are doing the tough work to fight inequality, but they need more financial support to scale up their successes.

Light Up Oakwood Village
Until January 7, you can vote for the best Oakwood Village storefront and win! You can use the QR code posted in store windows, or post a picture on Instagram tagging @OakwoodVillageBIA and using the hashtag #lightupoakwood. More details at

 Corso Italia Food Drive
Looking to give back this holiday season? The Corso Italia Business Improvement Area Association is working with Oasis Dufferin and The Stop to provide fresh, wholesome and nutritious food to families in need. Pick up food from a local business and make a donation!

Regal Heights Sing Along
While the community cannot get together physically for their traditional Regal Heights Carol Sing, the Regal Heights Residents’ Association will be moving their celebrations online. You can participate by singing a seasonal carol, reading a poem or story, or simply wishing your neighbours a Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays!

Proposed Renaming of Salem-Westmoreland Parkette
Residents have contacted my office requesting to rename Salem-Westmoreland Parkette after Bruce Cox, who recently passed away. Bruce was a much loved and well-respected community member, organizer, and was a director at Greenpeace for over 10 years. He was beloved by the west-end community, which is deeply saddened by his passing. He lived on Westmoreland Avenue and spent many hours in the parkette there, along with his dog Scruffy. To honour Bruce's memory and community work, we have created this petition to collect community support for changing the name of Salem Parkette. If you wish to sign the petition, please do so via the link above by December 23.

Dovercourt Boys and Girls Club – Holly Toy Drive
The Dovercourt Boys and Girls Club’s annual Holly’s Toy Drive will be happening again this year. You can drop off toys at the front entrance of the Club at 180 Westmoreland Avenue until December 18.

West End Phoenix’s 2021 Joe Burke Journalism Fund for Social Justice Reporting
West End Phoenix is welcoming proposals for a series of pieces, rooted in the West End of Toronto, with a social issue at their core. The series – to be unfurled in related reported or visual pieces – will be published in the West End Phoenix, in print and online.

This project is being supported by a $10,000 endowment created by Donald Bayne, Mark Ertel and Hal Mattson. These funds will go to the recipient to research and produce reported pieces, in collaboration with the West End Phoenix editorial team. Submissions opened Monday November 16 and close Friday December 18.

Recent Announcements


City Council approves 2021 rate-supported budgets with the largest annual capital investment in Toronto Water’s history
Toronto City Council has approved the 2021 rate-supported operating and capital budgets for Toronto Water, Toronto Parking Authority and Solid Waste Management Services. The approved budgets maintain current service levels and make critical investments in infrastructure while reducing planned rate increases to just 1.5 per cent.

City of Toronto update on COVID-19
There are 50,745 cases of COVID-19 in the city. Today, our Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa reported a record increase of 850 new recorded cases. There are 281 people hospitalized. To date, there have been 1,741 COVID-19 deaths in Toronto, an increase of 19 deaths, including a person who was 47 years old. In total, 43,340 people have recovered from COVID-19. Case status data can be found on the City’s reporting platform.

Toronto City Council votes to advance Eglinton East Light Rail Transit and Waterfront Transit Network
Toronto City Council unanimously voted in support of City of Toronto staff advancing work on the Eglinton East Light Rail Transit (LRT) and the Waterfront Transit Network.

The Eglinton East LRT is a planned 15-kilometre extension of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT from Kennedy Station to Malvern, with up to 21 stops and three connections to GO Transit. The line would provide transit access to historically underserved communities, travelling through or adjacent to seven Neighbourhood Improvement Areas and bringing higher-order transit within walking distance of 49,000 Torontonians.

City of Toronto to address opioid-related fatal overdoses in Toronto shelters
The City of Toronto is launching an Integrated Prevention and Harm Reduction initiative (iPHARE), a multi-pronged strategy to address opioid-related deaths in local shelters. This initiative comes in response to the escalating opioid poisoning crisis in Toronto. It helps to advance the Toronto Overdose Action Plan, and recent recommendations approved by the Board of Health at its November 16, 2020 meeting, and recommendations from the General Manager of Shelter, Support and Housing Administration.

Toronto History Museums launches virtual Awakenings program
Mayor John Tory launched the Awakenings Program – a virtual series of art projects by Black, Indigenous and artists of colour. Awakenings is a new program that will feature art projects that explore untold stories, awaken a new perspective and invite the public to join the conversation. The series is part of the City of Toronto’s efforts to address anti-Black racism and will be released over the next couple of years.

Transitional home for LGBTQI2S youth experiencing homelessness opens today
The City of Toronto is announcing the opening of a new transitional housing facility that will provide units for 33 youth between the ages of 16 and 29, who identify as LGBTQI2S and are currently experiencing homelessness. The first group of youth move into the facility today.

City of Toronto continues to support COVID-19 testing at its facilities throughout the city
In order to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Toronto, the City of Toronto is supporting provincial testing efforts by providing various locations for pop-up testing in areas across the city. Between October 3 and January 7, the City will have hosted 128 COVID-19 testing clinics at 17 City-owned locations across Toronto.

City releases its 2018 Greenhouse Gas Inventory, Toronto on track to exceed 2020 target of a 30 per cent reduction in GHG emissions
The City of Toronto released its 2018 Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventory, which tracks Toronto’s progress towards greenhouse gas reduction targets and identifies key emissions sources. The City confirmed it is on track to exceed its 2020 target of a 30 per cent reduction in GHG emissions.


Ontario Increasing Mental Health and Addictions Services
The Ontario Government is providing over $147 million to immediately expand access to the provincial mental health and addictions system for people of all ages and to address capacity issues in response to COVID-19. This funding builds upon the $176 million provided earlier this year as part of a Roadmap to Wellness, the government's comprehensive plan to deliver high-quality care and build a modern, connected and comprehensive mental health and addictions system.

Ontario Launches Historic Long-Term Care Staffing Plan
The Ontario Government is launching one of the largest recruitment and training drives in the province's history to deliver on its commitment to improve care for seniors in long-term care homes. The province released its long-term care staffing plan that sets out actions to hire more staff, improve working conditions for existing staff, drive effective and accountable leadership, and implement retention strategies.

Ontario Unveils New Comprehensive Plan to Combat Poverty
The Ontario Government released its new Poverty Reduction Strategy today which will help more people get back to work and participate in the province’s economic recovery from COVID-19. The five-year strategy outlines key initiatives that will help connect people experiencing poverty with education, skills training, health and other supports, while helping people keep more of the money they earn.


Prime Minister announces Canada’s strengthened climate plan to protect the environment, create jobs, and support communities
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced Canada’s strengthened climate plan, A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy, which will help achieve our economic and environmental goals. The proposed plan, supported by an initial $15 billion in investments, will make life more affordable for Canadians, make communities more livable and focus on creating jobs, growing the middle class, and supporting workers in a stronger and cleaner economy.

Government of Canada announces commitment to build Canada’s clean industrial advantage
As the Government of Canada continues to protect and support Canadians during this pandemic, it is committed to laying the foundation for a better-prepared, healthier and more prosperous future. Canadians and consumers around the world continue to seek more environmentally friendly products, and businesses are prepared to make the investments to shift their production accordingly.

City Hall Address:

Toronto City Hall
100 Queen Street West, Suite C42
Toronto, ON M5H 2N2

Open: Monday - Friday 8:30AM - 4:30PM

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 416-392-7012

Fax: 416-392-7957

Constituency Office:

1240 Bloor Street West
Toronto, ON M6H 1N5

Open: Wednesday, Thursday and Friday
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