Toronto City Council met yesterday to review the 2021 City of Toronto Budget. The meeting discussions were wide-ranging, but we remained focused on delivering the strategic outcomes identified by residents and stakeholders during the budget consultation process that took place over the past few months. We are investing in housing, so all Torontonians have a safe and affordable home. We are investing in our transportation network to connect communities and businesses better. We are supporting programs to meet the challenges of climate change. And we are investing in people and equity to create a city that serves and represents all its residents.
An important part of equity is its direct connection to community safety. While Council approved and is rapidly implementing sweeping changes to Policing, we should always want to do more where possible. Earlier this month, Council unanimously approved four community safety and crisis response pilots, a major milestone towards a non-police-led crisis response system. Included in that was the direction to investigate moving the 911 system away from the police and transitioning it into a City service. At Council, we approved a motion to take this step further, looking to transition all non-violent crisis response and intervention, traffic management, and parking enforcement in this direction. To achieve this as quickly as possible, we directed the City Manager to identify the time and resources needed to scale up City divisions to accommodate that transition and identify how to transition any savings directly into community supports, working with Toronto's Confronting Anti-Black Racism unit.
Despite this being an unprecedented time of financial pressures for the City, I am pleased that together we remain focused on our City's priorities and look forward to moving forward with these investments in our City and communities.
In the spirit of looking out for and supporting one another, late last week, Toronto Public Health has increased their reporting of active COVID-19 outbreaks at local workplaces. By making this information public, local community members can remain informed about COVID-19 in our community and help reduce transmission and keep workers safe. This information is published each Thursday through the public data portal.
As you can read in our e-newsletter, a lot is happening, and our team continues to work to serve you remotely. If we can be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us by email at [email protected] or by phone at 416.392.7012.
Table of Contents
- Question from the Community!
- Creating Better Parks in Oakwood-St. Clair
- Geary Works – Upcoming Public Consultation
- West Neighbourhood House - Call for Volunteers
- Haven Toronto Sock Drive
- MOCA Public Survey
- Your Area Board Needs You!
- Aangen’s All Dried Up Series
- Proper Winter Waste Bin Set Out
- Save the Date! the Toronto Virtual Seedy Saturday is on Sat February 27, 10 am to 2 pm
- TTC 5-Year Fare Policy Engagement and Survey
- Learn about the City's Snow Maintenance Programs
- Toronto After-School Recreation Care Programs
- SaveHospitality.ca Launches LocalLicious
- Round Two of the TO360 local map consultation will be live from February 5 to 26, 2021
- Park People Grant
- Toronto Police Service 11 Division Community Survey
- Lansdowne Station – Entrance Closure for Accessibility Work
- TTC Construction – Dovercourt and Queen
- Upcoming Infrastructure Improvements at the Intersection of King Street West, Queen Street West, The Queensway and Roncesvalles Avenue (KQQR)
- Metrolinx Caisson Drilling
- Recent Announcements
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].
Where can I find information about COVID-19's impact on my taxes?
The Canada Revenue Agency has created a one-stop website outlining changes to taxes and benefits linked to the COVID-19 pandemic. You can learn more here.
Creating Better Parks in Oakwood-St. Clair
We're talking about parks in the Oakwood-St. Clair neighbourhood! The City of Toronto is studying the parks and outdoor spaces around the Oakwood Ave. and St. Clair Ave. W. intersection to identify opportunities to upgrade and create new parks and recreation facilities. The findings of this study will be used to guide short and long-term investments in the local park system. The area was identified as a priority area for new and improved parks in the City of Toronto's Parkland Strategy adopted by City Council in 2019.
Your local knowledge, experiences, and ideas are essential to creating the Oakwood-St. Clair parks plan! We need your help to understand which parks you like to visit, how you think local parks can be improved, and what types of new parks and park facilities you think are needed in your neighbourhood. For more information about the Study, please visit the project website. You can help identify ways to improve the parks system by participating in a fun and interactive online mapping exercise and online survey. Help us to shape the future of your community!
Geary Works – Upcoming Public Consultation
The third consultation on Geary Works will be held on March 3 at 6:30 PM. Geary Works is a study to determine how to best support businesses and creative enterprises and improve the public realm on Geary Avenue. Register and learn more through the link above.
West Neighbourhood House (formerly St. Christopher House) has been working to support the community in Toronto’s west end for over 100 years.
Now they have launched a special project —the West Downtown Neighbourhoods Community Reference Panel— to work with community members to plan for the future.
They are looking for volunteers to take part in this project. The deadline to volunteer is February 25, 2021.
The Community Reference Panel will consist of 28 randomly selected volunteers representing the community. The panellists will learn from experts about the present and future challenges facing the community, deliberate on options, and create recommendations that will make West Neighborhood House —and the community— better prepared for the future.
The Panel is an intensive, one-off process that will take place over a weekend and one additional Saturday. The project team will work with and support participants throughout the process. If needed, a stipend will be offered for participation. Our team will also provide further support if needed, including but not limited to lending tablets to enable internet access and providing individual learning assistance.
To learn more or volunteer, please:
Visit westnh-checkin.ca | Email [email protected] | Call 1-866-508-1435.
Haven Toronto Sock Drive
Did you know that socks are one of the most requested items from people using shelters? Haven Toronto has partnered with Dovercourt Boys and Girls Club, Toronto Police 11 and 22 Divisions, and the Port Credit Academy of Martial Arts for a sock drive between February 15 and 28. New socks can be dropped at any of their locations to help someone in need.
MOCA Public Survey
The Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto (MOCA) is developing a strategic plan with the help of PROCESS. The plan will create a shared vision and a strategy for the next 5 years and beyond.
PROCESS and MOCA have created a survey and would like to hear from you! They are interested in better understanding how MOCA's community understands their work, who they serve and how they should grow. Whether you visit MOCA all the time (well, before COVID), you never visit, or you're somewhere in between, your perspective will help them learn and adapt and better reach our visitors.
The survey will close on Feb. 22.
The City of Toronto has eight indoor ice arenas operated by boards of management. These boards oversee the programs and operations of the arenas and are a way for local residents to get involved in supporting facilities in their community.
We are looking for local residents with an interest in community engagement and recreation to serve as public members on the following arena board:
- McCormick Playground Arena Board (4 positions) - located in the west end of Toronto, at Dundas Street West and Brock Street. Apply at:
Application deadline for the above Arena Board: March 9, 2021.
If you have any questions about this opportunity or the application process, please contact the City of Toronto's Public Appointments Secretariat at 416-397-0088 or [email protected].
Aangen’s All Dried Up Series
All Dried Up is a dehydrated meal product developed to support seniors' nutrition and ensure adults with physical or cognitive barriers can access healthy, nourishing meals that are safe to prepare and easy to serve. Created in consultation with a geriatric nutrition specialist, All Dried Up is heart-healthy, supports digestion and contains antioxidants that address joint pain and swelling. One cup of hot water added to our pre-portioned soups is all that is needed to prepare and serve a delicious meal. It's as simple as toast and tea!
With the recent cold and snowy weather, the City of Toronto is reminding residents about the importance of proper winter set out of waste bins. Improper set out can make it difficult for crews to collect bins and may result in items being missed.
Follow these tips to ensure safe and efficient collection throughout the winter season:
- Ensure items are set out before 7 a.m. on collection day.
- Keep bins 0.5 metres (2 feet) apart to make enough room for automated collection.
- Find a visible and accessible area to put your bins. Do not place bins behind or on snow banks.
- Clear snow from around your bins and leave them out until they are collected.
- If there is a snow storm, hold on to electronic waste or oversized items until the next collection date.
- If collection is missed, visit toronto.ca/311 or call 311 to report it, or submit an online service request: https://www.toronto.ca/home/311-toronto-at-your-service/waste-collection/.
For more information, please visit toronto.ca/set-out-tips/.
Brought to you by Seeds of Diversity Canada, Toronto Urban Growers and Toronto Seedy Saturday organizers, this Virtual Seedy Saturday promises to be full of great gardening and growing advice. There will be links to seed and gardening companies, a resource library, webinars by gardening experts, a live question/answer forum, kids activities and info re local seed exchanges.
Webinars include Balcony/Container Gardening, Starting Seeds Indoors, Garden Planning, Saving Seeds and many more! If you have extra seeds, please consider contributing them to the local seed exchanges! (see website for drop off points)
No sign up required! Visit ongoing and day of http://www.seedysaturday.ca/toronto to connect to info, webinars and live chats. For questions mailto:[email protected] And like their event page for updates https://www.facebook.com/events/879640102868936
The TTC would like you to help shape their 5-year fare policy by completing this survey before February 18.
You can read the full background on the TTC and York Regional Transit Authority's 5-Year Fare Policy Project here.
More opportunities for public consultations in the coming months will include Focus Groups and Virtual Town Halls, which are currently being planned and scheduled for the first half of 2021.
Learn about the City's Snow Maintenance Programs
Have questions about City snow services? Use the link above to access the City plow map, learn about snow removal, salt management and more.
Toronto After-School Recreation Care Programs
The City's After-school Recreation Care (ARC) programs, located in City community recreation centres and local schools, as well as non-ARC after-school programs in community centres, has resumed as of Tuesday, February 16 to support the return of Toronto children to in-person learning. More information about the City's After-school Recreation Care programs is available at the link above.
SaveHospitality.ca launches LocalLicious
From February 25 to March 7, SaveHospitality.ca, a coalition of independent Canadian restaurateurs and suppliers, is encouraging independent restaurants to participate in LocalLicious and offer a three-course prix fixe menu, with $1 from every menu sold to be donated to a local charity.
Round Two of the TO360 local map consultation will be live from February 5 to 26, 2021
TO360 is the pedestrian wayfinding system central to the City's ambition to make Toronto a more walkable, welcoming, and understandable place for residents and visitors. TO360 provides consistent wayfinding information through a unified signage and mapping system delivered by the City and project partners.
The City's Transportation Services has prepared some draft wayfinding maps for St. Clair West and Eglinton West and is looking for feedback from people in Ward 9 (Davenport) who are passionate about their neighbourhood and want to make walking in their community better.
Go to www.to360survey.com to learn more about TO360 and the ways to get involved!
Park People Grant
TD Park People Grants will provide $2,000 to groups from the Greater Toronto Area to help build vital connections between people and city parks. Enhance green spaces by hosting three online or in-person activities such as nature webinars, scavenger hunts or photo contests.
Applications close on March 1st. Visit the website to get all of the details, helpful event ideas and application forms for the TD Park People Grants program.
Toronto Police Service 11 Division Community Survey
If you live or work within the geographic boundaries of 11 Division, they are requesting your assistance to complete a brief crime, disorder and public safety survey.
Your opinion is important to help them provide the policing services you need.
The link for the survey can be found at the bottom of our 11 Division page of the Toronto Police Service website, linked above.
Lansdowne Station – Entrance Closure for Accessibility Work
The main entrance to Lansdowne station will be closed until May, as the TTC is installing elevators to make Lansdowne Station accessible. The station will also be getting additional enhancements, including a new canopy for the main entrance.
TTC Construction – Dovercourt and Queen
TTC will be rebuilding an existing underground utility chamber and duct bank on the east side of Dovercourt Road just north of Queen Street West. The utility chamber is located at the north-east corner of the Queen/Dovercourt intersection, and the duct bank runs along the east curb lane and connects to a utility chamber in front of 127 Dovercourt Road (which was rebuilt in 2019). The chamber is part of a network in the city that provides access to electrical and communication cabling for the TTC, as well as for other utility companies.
The TTC is working in cooperation with the City's ongoing watermain project in the area. The City's contractor will demobilize the area prior to TTC's start date of February 1 and will be completed in 8 weeks.
Upcoming Infrastructure Improvements at the Intersection of King Street West, Queen Street West, The Queensway and Roncesvalles Avenue (KQQR)
Beginning February 12, 2021, work crews will begin advanced preparation work on The Queensway and KQQR intersection, ahead of the closure of the KQQR intersection scheduled for March 31, 2021.
Metrolinx Caisson Drilling
Metrolinx is conducting caisson drilling over the next five months. This involves boring (or drilling) a hole into the ground down to more supportive bedrock, lifting in steel reinforcements (or rebar cage), and then pouring concrete. This creates reinforced concrete columns underground that will form structural piers to support the load of the elevated guideway structure above.
The work is scheduled to take place during the day and overnight from February to July 2021. While most of this work is carried out during the day, crews will also be working overnight as the equipment will be available and they will be able to work more safely and efficiently.
City of Toronto COVID-19 immunization clinic staff preparing to launch clinic operations as soon as vaccine supply available
The City of Toronto’s Immunization Task Force continues to prepare for the launch of City-operated COVID-19 immunization clinics while waiting for vaccine supply and direction from the Province of Ontario to restart clinic operations. Staffing of City-operated clinics is now well underway.
City of Toronto Council approves 2021 tax-supported budgets
City Council approved a 2021 tax-supported operating budget of $12.13 billion and a 10-year tax-supported capital budget and plan of $29.1 billion. The budget preserves existing services within public health guidelines while managing the impacts of COVID-19 and continues to invest in key capital projects to build a more equitable and prosperous Toronto for all residents.
Toronto Public Health releases new data on variants of concern
As of February 17, there have been 57 cases confirmed for VOC reported in Toronto. Of these cases, 56 have tested positive for the UK B.1.1.7 strain and one has been confirmed to be the Brazilian B.1 strain. There are 341 cases that have screened positive for a mutation, which suggests it is likely a VOC. Public Health Ontario is currently conducting whole genome sequencing to determine and identify the specific variant. The dashboard will be updated by 3 p.m. today to reflect these data.
City of Toronto requests extension of Shutdown Zone and Stay-at-Home Order
Since the start of the pandemic there have been a total of 93,455 cases of COVID-19 in the city, an increase of 302 new cases today. There are 378 people hospitalized. To date, there have been 2,563 COVID-19 deaths in Toronto. In total, 86,749 people have recovered. Case status data can be found on the City's reporting platform.
Dr. de Villa has asked the Province of Ontario to keep Toronto in the Shutdown Zone of the Lockdown Regulation and subject to the Stay-at-Home Order for an additional two weeks, until March 9th at the earliest. The request stems from significant concern around new COVID-19 variants of concern (VOC) that are appearing in settings across Toronto. Variants have now been identified in long-term care homes, hospitals, a shelter and a meat packing plant. The extension of the regulation would allow public health officials to focus on the safe reopening of schools and monitoring the new variants in the city.
City of Toronto applauds health care partners for completing second vaccination doses for Toronto long-term care residents and staff
As of Tuesday, February 16, seven health care partners and the City of Toronto will have offered COVID-19 immunization clinics to administer the second dose of vaccine at all 87 long-term care homes in Toronto. This vaccination milestone, protecting some of the city's most vulnerable residents, represents a significant achievement in the City's ongoing response to the pandemic.
Select City of Toronto recreation facilities to open for individuals with disabilities to access physical therapy
The Provincial Government recently filed a revision to Regulation 82/20 which provides an exemption for a person with a disability to access recreation, sports and fitness facilities during the lockdown. Weight rooms, studios, stretch areas and indoor walking tracks will be made available to residents who meet the provincial criteria to use fitness centres. It is important to note that these amenities will not be available to people who do not meet the criteria outlined in the revised regulation.
First COVID-19 variant connected to a shelter for individuals experiencing homelessness
Toronto Public Health has been advised of a COVID-19 case that has screened positive for a COVID-19 variant of concern at the Maxwell Meighen Centre, a shelter funded by the City of Toronto and operated by The Salvation Army.
City of Toronto seeks members for Public Art Commission and Design Review Panel
The City of Toronto is seeking members for two volunteer boards, the Toronto Public Art Commission and the Design Review Panel.
Ontario Deploys Rapid Tests to More Essential Workplaces and Settings
Based on the successful use of rapid tests in select settings across the province the Ontario government is deploying test kits to more essential workplaces and sectors in order to quickly identify and help stop the spread of COVID-19. Rapid tests are now being used in long-term care homes, retirement homes, congregate care settings, First Nations communities and many essential workplaces.
Ontario Investing in Wearable Contact Tracing Technology to Help Protect Workers from COVID-19
The Ontario government is providing Facedrive Inc. with $2.5 million through the Ontario Together Fund to accelerate the deployment of its wearable contact tracing technology, TraceSCAN, which alerts users within a workplace who have been in close contact with individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19. The company anticipates manufacturing about 150,000 devices under this project and creating 68 new jobs, including software, firmware and hardware engineers and machine learning specialists.
Ontario Takes Steps to Grow the Greenbelt
The Ontario government has launched a 60-day consultation to grow the Greenbelt and help protect more of the province's natural environment — including farmlands, forests, wetlands and watersheds — from future development. The consultations could result in the largest expansion of the greenbelt since its creation in 2005.
Ontario Expands Eligibility for Main Street Relief Grant
The Ontario government is expanding the number of small businesses that can apply for the Main Street Relief Grant to help offset the costs of purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE) to cautiously and gradually reopen in parts of the province. Small businesses with 2 to 19 employees in all eligible sectors - expanded from 2-9 employees - including those in the arts, entertainment, and recreation sector, can now apply for up to $1,000 in financial support. The expansion is being made as more parts of the province enter the strengthened COVID-19 Response Framework, which allows for the gradual and safe reopening of in-store shopping at non-essential retail stores.
New firearms measures to combat crime and increase public safety
Gun violence has had devastating effects on communities across the country, and on too many Canadians who have lost loved ones. According to Statistics Canada, firearms were used in over 40 per cent of homicides in Canada in 2019. This violence must stop. This is why, last May, the Government of Canada banned over 1,500 models and variants of assault-style firearms and some of their components. The government is continuing to take every step necessary to combat gun violence and keep Canadians and communities safe.
Government of Canada to Invest $100 Million to Support Women Impacted by the pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has magnified systemic and longstanding inequalities, with women and girls disproportionately affected by the crisis. The Government of Canada is taking strong action to prevent the pandemic from rolling back progress or reversing the hard-won gains of women in Canada.