This week marked the beginning of Black History Month, where we recognize Black Canadians' history, heritage, and contributions to our City, Province and Country. You can learn more about the long and storied history of Black residents of our City through the City's archive website. Let us take the time to learn and celebrate and reflect and work towards a more equitable society.
This week our City's COVID response took an important step towards just that. We know that COVID is not impacting all communities equally. That is why we have developed a plan to provide targeted equity action in communities most impacted, including the Black community. The City has partnered with community agencies to provide COVID-19 health and safety awareness in Black communities and work with experts to support immunization. We have also developed a Black Scientists' Task Force on Vaccine Equity, intending to reduce the immediate risk of disease transmission and hospitalization. To create equity, we have to first recognize the inequities in our society. This is a positive step towards achieving this objective.
Council also formally joined its voice to so many in our City and across the Province to call on the Provincial government to implement better supports for essential frontline workers. If we call on people to stay home when sick, governments need to also provide them with the support they need. Many essential workers do not have paid sick leave and cannot afford to miss a paycheck. Council and our Chief Public Health Officer urged the Ontario Government to take immediate action through several measures, including providing paid sick leave for these workers. These measures will allow workers to recover without enduring significant economic hardships. It will also help our city reduce virus transmission and experience recovery more quickly.
This week, I joined colleagues in calling on the Provincial Government to release the regulations to allow Municipalities to create a Small Business Property Tax Subclass. The impact of high assessment values on our small businesses' property taxes is not a new issue. Undoubtedly, the hardships caused by COVID have only exacerbated the pressures felt by small businesses, particularly those on our main streets. It is then no surprise that we all celebrated back in November when the Provincial Government announced it would allow municipalities to create this subclass. To this day, however, we are still waiting for these regulations, which we need to make this subclass and thus create the much-needed relief to our small business.
I want to bring to your attention two other important issues that were discussed this week at Council:
In the summer, we gave the City Manager direction to develop a non-police led, alternative community safety response model for calls involving Torontonians in crisis. This week we took the first step in that direction by approving four community crisis support service pilots, which will operate in areas of the city with the greatest need. This service will operate as the primary first-responder to mental health crisis calls, marking a fundamental shift in managing crisis calls in Toronto. Two more key motions were moved on this matter. First, we asked the City Manager to immediately begin developing a more extensive and systematic multi-year plan to reassign interventions with vulnerable people from the police to more appropriate local services, and such plan to go beyond mental health crisis calls and include interventions with homeless people, youth engaged in non-criminal, non-violent activities, and other safety. The other was to investigate the feasibility of having 911 as a non-police service. Rethinking community safety and systemic change doesn't come easy or quickly. Still, I truly believe we are taking meaningful and significant steps in that direction. To check progress on other initiatives approved last June, check here.
The other exciting project approved this week at Council was YongeTOmorrow – a reimaging of this iconic street in Toronto with more space for the public realm, pedestrians, cyclists, events and more.
Finally, today the Province announced Toronto students will return to school on February 16, and I am sure you received the news with mixed feelings. We know the importance of our kids attending school in person and the importance of having robust systems in place to help protect them and their teachers, classmates, and families. As in many areas, the City has a supportive role. Toronto Public Health has already announced the increase of their school response team to almost 200 staff. Daily screenings of staff and students will be carried out, and anyone – staff or student – with even a mild symptom cannot attend school and should go for testing. Learn more on the Toronto Public Health site.
Please note that a community pop-up testing centre will be available on February 8 and 22 from 12-6:30 PM at Davenport-Perth Neighbourhood and Community Health Centre, 1900 Davenport Road. Please get tested if you have any symptoms, and stay home if you are unwell other than to get tested.
Our office 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!
- Community Ice Rinks Update!
- TTC 5-Year Fare Policy Engagement and Survey
- Announcing New Affordable and Permanent housing at 389 Church Street
- Eglinton Keelesdale COVID-19 Pop-Up Testing Site
- The Rooster of Barcelos Project
- Cycling Toronto – How Bike Lanes are Built Event
- Darchei Noam’s Addressing Housing Affordability Event
- Federal Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program
- Round Two of the TO360 local map consultation will be live from February 5 to 26, 2021
- Park People Grant
- Development in Proximity to Rail Community Consultation
- Learn about the City's Snow Maintenance Programs
- Beautifying Laneways in Carleton Village
- Lansdowne Station – Entrance Closure for Accessibility Work
- TTC Construction – Dovercourt and Queen
- 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].
My driver's licence will be expiring soon. Is the any accommodations that have been made as a result of the pandemic?
Yes, the provincial government has made changes to the renewal process for the duration of the pandemic. The new protocols make easier to renew driver's licences on line and the procedures also waive some the requirements that are normally in place. Remember you cannot renew your licence more than 180 days prior to the date of expiry. The link below provides additional details.
Community Ice Rinks Update!
Thank you to all organizers and volunteers of the natural ice rinks we have in Davenport this year. Following all public health guidelines, neighbours worked hard to create rinks to the delight of little ones and parents. Their efforts have warmed our hearts in the middle of winter!
Customer and public engagement is central to the development of the TTC's Fare Policy.
The TTC would like your help in shaping 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.
Announcing New Affordable and Permanent housing at 389 Church Street
Today, I joined Mayor John Tory, MPP Parm Gill, Councillor Wong-Tam and Toronto Community Housing and YWCA representatives to virtually officially open an affordable and permanent supportive rental housing building that includes 120 apartments for women at 389 Church Street. These self-contained apartments will create a safe, inclusive and supportive community for Indigenous and non-Indigenous women, gender diverse people, and youth and seniors who have experienced or who are at risk of experiencing homelessness; and will be operated by the YWCA Toronto.
If you have any symptoms, or think you may have been in contact with someone with COVID-19, come and get tested. Bring your OHIP card if you have one, but it is not required. Bring a piece of ID or something with your name on it (bill, passport, etc.). There is no cost.
Call 416-653-5400 extension 3121 to book an appointment.
The Rooster of Barcelos Project
The Rooster of Barcelos Project will be located in Little Portugal at Dundas Street West & Lakeview Avenue (1212 Dundas St. W, at the Lakeview Ave. Parkette). A rooster statue has been gifted by the Municipality of Barcelos, Portugal to the City of Toronto to be designed, painted and displayed in Little Portugal.
Cycling Toronto – How Bike Lanes are Built Event
Today I attended a Cycle Toronto advocacy forum event on how bike lanes get built. It was great to connect with this community and to share the process and let them know how to get involved in cycling projects.
Darchei Noam’s Addressing Housing Affordability Event
Housing affordability is a key challenge we are working to address. On Sunday, Jan 31, I joined a comprehensive discussion with Joe Mihevic – York University Visiting Professor, Alex Borzikovic – Globe and Mail Architecture Critic, and Cheryll Case – founding principal of CP Planning to discuss housing affordability and the missing middle.
Federal Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program
Applications are open for the Federal Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program. This program can help your business with day-to-day operating costs. Applications are open until February 15.
TO360 is the pedestrian wayfinding system that is a 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 Division have 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 who 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 3 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.
Development in Proximity to Rail Community Consultation
Davenport has a lot of land adjacent to rail infrastructure. City Planning is undertaking a Land Use Study, on development in proximity to rail and wants your input. You can join the February 10 community consultation through the link above.
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.
Laneway Park-ing is a project to improve a local laneway in Carleton Village, running from Connolly to Davenport between Osler and Gillespie. It will transform the laneway into a people-friendly space for everyone to use and enjoy - on foot, on bikes and in cars - by adding gardens, public art and lighting to the laneway edges of neighbouring properties, at the request of property owners and in collaboration with community members.
If you live beside the laneway on Osler or Gillespie and would like to request a new mural, garden or light on the laneway edge of your property, let them know! Send an email to [email protected] by February 15 to have your laneway improvement included in the project.
For more project information anytime, visit www.thelanewayproject.ca/carletonvillagepark-ing.
Lansdowne Station – Entrance Closure for Accessibility Work
The main entrance to the Lansdowne TTC 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.
Connections – Helping Immigrants Find Work
Connections is an online skills training program for newcomers to prepare them to get into the work force. They offer an 18 week online training program, which you can register for by emailing [email protected] or calling 416.925.2103 ex.4280.
Metrolinx Caisson Drilling
Metrolinx will be completing caisson drilling over the next five months, beginning on February 1. This involves boring (or drilling) a hole into the ground down to more supportive bedrock, lifting in steel reinforcement (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.
Toronto History Museums launches new virtual Awakenings art projects for Black History Month
Today, Mayor John Tory announced new online content for the Awakenings program at the Toronto History Museums for Black History Month, which includes music, film discussions on the effects of racism on physical and mental health and a new artist mentorship program.
St. Lawrence Market online ordering and home delivery launches with Inabuggy
Beginning today, Toronto residents can now enjoy products from the St. Lawrence Market delivered directly to their homes.
St. Lawrence Market has partnered with Toronto-based online ordering and delivery service Inabuggy to offer customers additional ways to shop with the small business merchants of the Market. The partnership offers consumers access to the freshness and variety of produce, meats, fish, grains and bulk foods, baked goods, dairy products and specialty items that the Market is known for, in as little as one-hour delivery for residents who live within five kilometres of the Market.
City of Toronto and Toronto Public Health working to support the province’s safe reopening of schools
Since the start of the pandemic there have now been a total of 87,969 cases of COVID-19 in the city, an increase of 444 new cases today. There are 352 people hospitalized. To date, there have been 2,430 COVID-19 deaths in Toronto. Toronto Public Health continues to migrate to the provincial information system for case and contact management, the central repository for COVID-19 data in Ontario. Data reporting has been affected as a result of the ongoing migration and impacts to reporting may continue in the coming days. The project is expected to be completed by next week with a corresponding return to full reporting. Case status data can be found on the City’s reporting platform: www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/covid-19-latest-city-of-toronto-news/covid-19-status-of-cases-in-toronto/.
Toronto City Council approves the extension of the City’s mask bylaw
Toronto City Council approved the extension of the City of Toronto’s temporary mask bylaws until the end of City Council’s June 8 and 9, 2021 meeting. The Mandatory Mask By-law 541-2020, as amended by By-law 664-2020, were both extended, as these bylaws were set to expire at the end of the February 2 and 3, 2021 City Council meetings.
Wearing a mask as part of physical distancing and other public health measures can reduce the spread of COVID-19. Masks should always be worn when physical distancing is difficult. To continue to protect the health and safety of our communities by reducing the spread of COVID-19, By-law 541-2020 requires everyone to wear masks or face coverings in all indoor public settings such as businesses, and By-law 664-2020 requires mask wearing in common areas in multi-residential buildings such as apartments and condominiums. These bylaws will now be in place until 12:01 a.m. on the first day after the City Council meeting currently scheduled for June 8 and 9, 2021.
Two COVID-19 Cases in Toronto Appear Linked to the B.1.1.7 Variant
The outbreak occurred at a meat production facility, Belmont Meats, in Toronto. Currently, there are 78 confirmed COVID-19 cases linked to this outbreak. Of these confirmed cases, two have screened positive for the B.1.1.7 variant. There is also evidence of secondary transmission of the variant in household member cases associated with an employee of the workplace. At this time, there is no indication that any cases identified in the outbreak had recently travelled or had contact with a person who travelled recently.
Ontario Continues Accelerated Vaccinations of Most Vulnerable Despite Vaccine Delays
Ongoing vaccine delays and reduced shipments have forced the Ontario government to update its goal of completing the administration of first doses of COVID-19 vaccines to residents in each long-term care, high-risk retirement and First Nations elder care homes to February 10. Amidst these delays, vaccination teams will be distributing vaccines in First Nations fly-in communities in the north as part of Operation Remote Immunity, beginning this week.
Ontario Community Support Program Extended until 2022
The Ontario government is extending the Ontario Community Support Program (OCSP) until 2022 to ensure that low-income seniors and people with disabilities have access to food, medicine and other essentials during COVID-19. The program was established in April 2020, and involves an innovative partnership with the Ontario Community Support Association (OCSA) and its large volunteer base in communities across the province. During that period nearly 800,000 deliveries have been made.
Ontario Takes Immediate Action to Stop the Spread of COVID-19 Variants
The Ontario government is taking immediate and decisive action to stop the spread of new COVID-19 variants throughout the province. It is implementing a six-point plan which includes mandatory on-arrival testing of international travellers, enhanced screening and sequencing to identify the new variants, maintaining public health measures to keep people safe, strengthening case and contact management to track the spread of new cases, enhanced protections for vulnerable populations, and leveraging the latest data to inform public health decisions.
New support to produce COVID-19 vaccines and treatments in Canada
Since the beginning of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada has worked quickly to strengthen and expand our capacity to manufacture safe and effective vaccines, treatments, and related supplies across the country. This includes investing in made-in-Canada projects to protect Canadians from COVID-19 and ensure our country is well-positioned to fight future pandemics here at home.
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced the government has signed a memorandum of understanding with Novavax to pursue the production of its COVID-19 vaccine at the National Research Council of Canada’s Biologics Manufacturing Centre in Montréal.
Government of Canada Takes Further Action to Advance Gender Equity for Black Women and Girls in Canada
Black women and girls in Canada are at greater risk of gender-based violence (GBV) and the Government of Canada is working closely with partner organizations, experts, and those with lived experience to address this and ensure access to appropriate, intersectional, and timely support services. Today, the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development, announced up to $2.5 million in federal funding for a new project that will advance gender equity and prevent gender-based violence (GBV) against Black women and girls during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.