COVID-19 - December 3 Update

Tragically, last evening a woman cycling on Dufferin Street was involved in an accident and lost her life. My thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends at this time. No one should have to fear for their safety when traveling on our roadways, and this is a stark reminder that more needs to be done. I have always been an advocate for safe, separated and connected cycling routes. As one of the heaviest utilized transit corridors, Dufferin Street will be undergoing a review as a bus-priority lane. Cycling and pedestrian safety must be a central part of that discussion, so we can create a safer and more reliable route for everyone. There are a number of requests to staff for improvements along the route and some are awaiting installation. I am looking to have this work coordinated and implemented as soon as possible.

Speaking in favour of immediately implementing a vacant home tax in January 2020

Next week, I will join my colleagues on Executive Committee to discuss the implementation of a vacant homes tax in the City. I have long supported implementing this measure and have lead the conversation on it at City Hall. Now more than ever we need to take every step possible to ensure residential properties are used for people, not profit. Not only will this measure help add to available housing stock in our City, it will also generate much needed revenue for the City which will be used for affordable housing. Last year, a study was initiated on the implementation of this measure, and I look forward to seeing it approved at Executive Committee and then City Council this month. 

On Monday, Deputy Prime Minister and Federal Minister of Finance, Chrystia Freeland, delivered the Federal Fall Economic Statement, giving us a snapshot of where our country is, and where we are going. This update provided an outline of how the Federal Government is looking to shape the country's recovery. It contains measures to help Canadians get ahead, including creating Canada’s first nation-wide childcare system. While there is much to unpack in this update there are promising policies outlined, including implementing a tax on short-term rentals and adding $12 billion in new lending to create new affordable rental units across Canada.

At Toronto and East York Community Council yesterday, we moved forward a number initiatives, including road safety improvements. Included in this was the traffic light request on Dufferin Street at Goodwood Avenue and Cloverlawn Avenue and an all-way stop at Rowntree Avenue and Chambers Avenue to create a safer crossing for pedestrians in the Earlscourt and Silverthorne communities.

Yesterday evening, I met with residents of Carleton Village, along with staff from Toronto Police 11 Division, to discuss the community's concerns about crime and public safety. More details on actions and dates for future meetings will be communicated soon.

Connecting with Carleton Village Residents to discuss community safety

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,

Ana

Table of Contents

  1. Question from the Community!
  2. Key Updates
    1. Proposed Renaming of Salem-Westmoreland Parkette
    2. Advancing Garden Suites
    3. RentSafeTO: Colour-coded Rating System
    4. Steps Toronto is Taking to Help Protect People Experiencing Homelessness
    5. Fairbank Village and ArtworxTO – Calling all Artists
    6. Alternative Crisis Response Model – Share your Views
    7. Automatic Rent Reduction for 2020
    8. 466-468 Dovercourt Road (The Matador Ballroom)
    9. 900 Dufferin Community Working Group Vision
    10. Geary Works Public Meeting
    11. Bag of Toronto
    12. Toronto Miracle
    13. Metrolinx Caisson Drilling – CP Diamond
    14. TTC Holding Virtual Information session for Women Considering a Career as a Transit Operator
    15. Dovercourt Boys and Girls Club – Holly Toy Drive
    16. MCC Toronto’s Christmas Season Kickoff
    17. West End Phoenix’s 2021 Joe Burke Journalism Fund for Social Justice Reporting
    18. PollinateTO
    19. Support George Chuvalo Community Centre – Become a Member
    20. Federal Housing Advocate, Canadian Human Rights Commission
  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].

I have a friend that works in the construction industry and they have continued working through the pandemic. He was asking about what the rights are for workers in Ontario during Covid-19. Where can he find out?
There are very clear and specific rights that workers have in terms of their health and safety during the Covid-19 pandemic. There are also responsibilities that the provincial government has made clear must be followed by employers. The link below contains information about the rights of workers and the responsibility of employers during the pandemic.

https://www.ontario.ca/page/covid-19-support-workers#rights

Key Updates

Proposed Renaming of Salem-Westmoreland Parkette
Residents have contacted my office requesting that Salem-Westmoreland Parkette be renamed after Bruce Cox, who has recently passed away. Bruce was a much loved and well-respected community member and organizer as well as a director of 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 he spent many hours in the parkette, especially 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.


Advancing Garden Suites
At the December 8th, 2020 Planning and Housing Committee meeting we will be reviewing recommendations to allow garden suites in Toronto. A garden suite is a detached accessory dwelling unit generally located in the rear yard of a detached house, semi-detached house, townhouse, or other low-rise dwelling. The Garden Suites review will expand upon the findings of the Laneway Suites initiative to add as-of-right options for garden suite units within neighbourhoods city-wide.

The City's Planning Division is working on a range of initiatives to safeguard and broaden our housing supply through the Expanding Housing Options in Neighbourhoods (EHON) work program. This work plan builds on recent work in support of secondary and laneway suites, Inclusionary Zoning and dwelling room protections. Enabling more variety in housing that can be built in the city’s neighbourhoods is another part of Housing Action Plan to increase housing choice and access for current and future residents of Toronto.


RentSafeTO: Colour-coded Rating System
At the December 8th, 2020 Planning and Housing Committee,  we will be reviewing a staff report requested in November 2019 on the creation of a colour-coded rating system for apartment buildings which will also respond to outstanding directives related to the RentSafeTO program. The proposed apartment building rating system is modeled after the City's DineSafe program administered by Toronto Public Health, and the RentLogic program in New York City. The rating system would require apartment building owners/operators to display a colour-coded rating sign near the entrance in a prominent location visible to both tenants and the public. The rating sign would display the building's most recent evaluation score, provide information on the next evaluation or audit, and explain how to submit a service request to the City. All apartment building ratings will also be easily accessible on the City's webpage.


Steps Toronto is Taking to Help Protect People Experiencing Homelessness
Since the start of the pandemic, the City of Toronto has moved at unprecedented speed to adjust its services for those experiencing homelessness by creating 2,300 spaces in new temporary shelter and hotel programs for physical distancing. In 2020 alone, the City has also referred more than 2,500 people experiencing homelessness into permanent housing through a combination of housing allowances and rent-geared-to-income units, representing a 50% increase over the same period last year. In addition, there are more than 6,000 shelter spaces in the city today.

The City continues working to provide safe and adequate housing to those who need it, and you can learn more through the link above.


Fairbank Village and ArtworxTO – Calling all Artists
Fairbank Village is celebrating Toronto's Year of Art in partnership with ArtworxTO. They are looking for artists to help them introduce new artwork that brings light to the vitality of the community. Know an artist? Send them to the link above to submit a proposal!


Alternative Crisis Response Model – Share your Views
The City has committed to creating a community-based crisis response model, based on community input. The second survey is now live. There, you can also access the public portal to track the City's progress on all the recommendations it has put forward.


Automatic Rent Reduction for 2020
If the property taxes on your rental unit have decreased by more than 2.49%, tenants of that property can automatically reduce their rents.

Although you do not need the permission of your landlord to reduce your rent, you should talk to your landlord about the amount of the rent reduction and the new monthly rental amount starting December 31, 2020. Provide a copy of this notice to your landlord with your first reduced rent payment and keep copies of your rent payments.

If your rent is not reduced in accordance with this notice, you may apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board for an order requiring the landlord to pay back any applicable reduction amount. You must apply no later than December 30, 2021.

This rent reduction notice is based only on municipal property taxes. It does not include “other municipal charges” such as solid waste management fees. The Residential Tenancies Act permits landlords to apply for above-guideline rent increases arising from operating cost increases, including municipal charges, where the increase is extraordinary.

Automatic rent reduction does not apply to certain types of rental residential properties, including public housing, non-profit housing projects, non-profit co-operatives, vacation homes, or housing owned by educational institutions.

If you have questions about the rules for automatic rent reductions, exemptions, or making an application, please call the Landlord and Tenant Board at 416-645-8080, or visit their web-site at www.ltb.gov.on.ca 311 Toronto also provides information.


466-468 Dovercourt Road (The Matador Ballroom)
Yesterday, Toronto and East York Community Council approved the final report on 466-468 Dovercourt Road. This application proposes a 6-storey mixed-use building: 30 dwelling units, commercial and retail uses on ground floor, mezzanine and basement levels of the new building.

As we look towards the future of 466-468 Dovercourt Road, I will continue working with Economic Development and Culture Staff and the Toronto Music Office to help locate a music-related use here to further honour the unique history of this site, while building cultural capacity for Davenport's music scene moving forward. Supporting documentation for this application can be found through the City's application information centre.


900 Dufferin Community Working Group Vision 
Subsequent to our first official public meeting on the Dufferin Mall redevelopment proposal in February, I convened a working group of area residents, local stakeholder organizations, City Planning Staff and the developer to help to ensure community needs are addressed, despite there being an appeal to the Local Planning Appeals Tribunal (LPAT) at the provincial level. Community members and my office then formed a subcommittee to come up with a holistic vision for this large site that includes planning principles as well as community priorities for section 37 contributions (community benefits as part of the planning process) and more. This smaller group decided it was time to put forward the group's vision and so we met this week with the developer and the community members presented these documents (Slide Show, Working Group Vision). I want to thank the group for all their work!


Geary Works Public Meeting
The second round of public consultations for Geary Works took place on December 1. I have called this area a cultural corridor in Davenport and we are working to preserve and enhance what makes Geary Avenue work. Thank you to the residents who joined the call and shared their thoughts.


Bag of Toronto
Want to receive a locally curated assortment of speciality food and goods from the comfort of your home? You should get your hands on your very own Bag of Toronto. You will be supporting local businesses and exploring the amazing items available right in our backyard! Check out what I received!


Toronto Miracle
Toronto Miracle is a grassroots event started by community members who were concerned about the impact COVID-19 was having on our city and its food banks.

On December 5, they are inviting every Torontonian to leave a non-perishable food item on their doorstep by 10:00 a.m. to be collected by volunteers.

Their goal is to bring together all 140 Toronto neighbourhoods to raise 250,000 non-perishable food items in one day.

Register your intent to participate through the link above.


Metrolinx Caisson Drilling – CP Diamond
From December 8th to 18th, 2020 Metrolinx will be conducting some night work to prepare pillars to support the Davenport Diamond Bridge. The work zone is around the CP track intersection, north of Dupont Avenue. The Metrolinx team managing this provincial project can be contacted at [email protected].


TTC Holding Virtual Information session for Women Considering a Career as a Transit Operator
Due to popular demand, the TTC is hosting a second virtual information session on operator recruitment. The event is open to all, but there will be a specific focus to provide an opportunity for more diverse TTC women employees to share about their experiences. This event will be held on December 10th, 2020 from 1-3PM.


Dovercourt Boys and Girls Club – Holly Toy Drive
The Dovercourt Boys and Girls Club’s annual Holly’s Toy Drive will be taking place again this year. You can drop off toys at the front entrance of the Club at 180 Westmoreland Avenue until December 18th, 2020.


MCC Toronto’s Christmas Season Kickoff

Metropolitan Community Church Toronto has worked hard to keep our communities connected - from putting their Refugee Program online to creating new engagement programs that address social isolation and mental health challenges due to COVID 19, to their worship services going digital – their spiritual, social, and human rights work continues unabated. 

As we begin a lockdown in this second wave, they want to help you and your loved ones get in the holiday spirit. Taking place on December 5, 2020 at 8 PM on their YouTube Channel, Our Gift to You: MCC Toronto’s Christmas Season Kickoff features performances from Thom Allison, Micah Barnes, Alana Bridgewater, Jackie Richardson, Cailin Stadnyk and Lady Anya Face, as well as The B-Side, Pride & Joy, and the highly-acclaimed Choir of MCC Toronto.


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 open Monday November 16th, 2020 and close Friday December 18th, 2020.


PollinateTO
The City is now accepting applications for its PollinateTO Community Grants, offering up to $5,000 to support community-led initiatives that create or expand pollinator habitat. Apply by January 8.


Support George Chuvalo Community Centre – Become a Member
The George Chuvalo Neighbourhood Centre is asking for everyone in the community to become members. Complete the survey linked above to become a member and have voting rights at their December 9 Annual General Meeting.


Federal Housing Advocate, Canadian Human Rights Commission
The Government of Canada is accepting applications for the Federal Housing Advocate. The Federal Housing Advocate is a full-time Governor in Council appointee, housed at the Canadian Human Rights Commission, with specific responsibilities provided for under the National Housing Strategy Act. The Federal Housing Advocate’s primary role is to independently monitor the implementation of the federal government’s housing policies and to further the key principles of a human rights-based approach to housing.

Recent Announcements

Municipal

St. Lawrence Market Saturday Farmers Market to resume full operations this Saturday
Today, the City of Toronto announced the St. Lawrence Market Saturday Farmers Market will resume full operations so it can provide essential food retail to residents.

The St. Lawrence Market Complex is a public food market that provides fresh and prepared foods to local residents. The Market believes in the importance of local food systems and is committed to providing food access.

City of Toronto updates on Eglinton East Light Rail Transit and Waterfront Transit Network
Today, Mayor John Tory announced a City of Toronto staff report providing an update on the Eglinton East Light Rail Transit (LRT) and the Waterfront Transit Network will be going to Executive Committee next week.

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 update on COVID-19 (Dec 2)
There are 42,719 cases of COVID-19 in the city, an increase of 438 new cases today. There are 235 people hospitalized. To date, there have been 1,620 COVID-19 deaths in Toronto. In total, 36,073 people have recovered from COVID-19. Case status data can be found on the City’s reporting platform.

City of Toronto reopens Green Bond to help fund projects that mitigate the effects of climate change
The City of Toronto is reopening its Green Bond, originally issued in 2019, for an additional offering of $130 million to help finance capital projects that mitigate the effects of climate change. This is the City’s fifth public debenture issuance this year and the lowest 20-year term rate the City has ever issued with an all-in cost of 2.184 per cent.

City of Toronto gives thanks and kicks off “12 Days of Giving” campaign to celebrate Giving Tuesday
On Giving Tuesday, the City of Toronto extends its sincere thanks to all the gracious residents and businesses who have donated gifts, goods and services to help support Toronto’s most vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic. Today also marks the first day of the City’s “12 Days of Giving” social media campaign, where the City will use its Twitter account to highlight a different way people can give on each of the next 12 days.

Desmond Cole wins Toronto Book Award for The Skin We’re In
Desmond Cole has been awarded the 2020 Toronto Book Award for his memoir The Skin We’re In: A Year of Black Resistance and Power, published by Doubleday Canada. The announcement was made this evening at an online ceremony in conjunction with program partner, Toronto Public Library.

City of Toronto lights Nathan Phillips Square Christmas tree
The holiday season is officially here as Mayor John Tory has switched on the 60-foot Christmas tree on Nathan Phillips Square at City Hall. The tree and the lights on the Square will be lit for the season and into part of 2021.

City of Toronto helps small businesses by re-opening CurbTO registration for temporary pick-up zones
The City of Toronto will re-open registration for CurbTO temporary parking pick-up zones to help support main street businesses while Toronto is in the Grey – Lockdown category of the Province of Ontario’s COVID-19 response framework.

Provincial

Ontario Expanding Innovative Home and Community Care Services
The Ontario government is investing more than $115 million to support 850 patients across the province with high, complex care needs access services in the comfort of their own homes, while also expanding virtual care options for patients across the province. This funding is part of the province's COVID-19 fall preparedness plan, Keeping Ontarians Safe: Preparing for Future Waves of COVID-19, which will enable the province to respond to future surges and waves of the virus, while preserving hospital capacity.

Federal

Government of Canada introduces legislation respecting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples 
If passed by Parliament, Bill C-15 would require the Government of Canada, in consultation and cooperation with Indigenous peoples, to take all measures necessary to ensure that the laws of Canada are consistent with the rights of Indigenous peoples set out in the Declaration, as well as to develop an action plan to achieve its objectives.

This legislation responds to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Call to Action 43, which calls on all orders of government to fully adopt and implement the Declaration as the framework for reconciliation. It also responds to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ Calls for Justice. 

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