I would like to thank the many residents who have contacted me regarding the issue of anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism and the Toronto Police Services Budget. The last several months have been anything but “business as usual”. First the world community has been rocked and challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic as a health crisis and significant cracks in our social and economic safety net appeared quickly. And then in May we awakened to the cries of “I can’t breathe” by George Floyd. Communities’ worldwide including here at home justifiably erupted in outrage. His death brought to the forefront the long-simmering issue of equity for Black and Indigenous people.
These events have served to illuminate the reality of racism in our society in a way we have not seen in generations, but it has also provided the opportunity for momentum to move forward to confront racism and make the changes we so desperately need. We need to re-envision the way we deliver services in our city and that includes with respect to policing. Where, how and by whom these services are being delivered need a big reset.
The City Council meeting at the end of June will provide us the opportunity to discuss the deep and persistent realities of racism in our society and the actions that need to be considered to move forward. These will include difficult and challenging conversations on how we fund our institutions and services including policing where we need to embrace and support more quickly transformative change that will serve all of us more justly, more fairly and more effectively. We are living in a time of unprecedented change and we must ensure that beyond change, we realize actual progress.
I have been listening, I have been learning, I have been speaking with many in our community and across the City, including many colleagues. I look forward to continuing this work and dialogue with you and others over the coming weeks and months as we deeply reassess how we serve our City, fund our institutions and address the issues of racism directly and effectively.
We are halfway through Pride Month this year which we all know is quite different from previous years. I have always been honoured to support this important movement and this annual celebration. While this is a celebration we enjoy each year, it is important to remember the efforts made by the LGBTQ2S+ movement in the past, and that there is more we need to do to fully achieve equality. As noted, while we cannot come together this year, you are able to show your Pride online.
Thank you to everyone who has participated in the important online community meeting on the proposed modular housing site at 150 Harrison Street last night. As a bold new approach to housing, it is vital that we have input from the community. I have been speaking to many people about this project, both in support and those who may have concerns. This is all important feedback, so thank you for taking the time to participate. The next public meeting on this site will take place on Wednesday, June 24th, 2020 starting at 6:30PM. You can learn more about this project and modular housing here.
At yesterday’s TTC Board meeting, a proposal was adopted express the Board’s support to accelerate roll-out of the five bus priority transit corridors identified in the 5-Year Service Plan, including Dufferin Street from Dufferin Gate to Wilson Avenue. This would be implemented to help improve reliability and safety in our transit service. As our communities continue reopening through the COVID-19 pandemic, the bus network will play a critical role in connecting communities. The goal of this motion is to see implementation of bus priority transit by September, in time for people returning to work and school. The measures that are being considered include painting and signing the curb lane for TTC buses only, optimizing signals for transit priority, placing temporary bollards or cones to identify transit-only lanes, and enforcement. It is important that even on an accelerated plan that we work with the local community to identify specific needs and create a transit network that moves people safely, quickly and reliably.
CaféTO aims to provide more outdoor dining areas to help restaurants and bars serve their customers safely. The City has launched a registration form and a guidebook to help them navigate the new approach. As the City continues to advance the CafeTO program, our team has been out with the BIAs conducting site visits to discuss the changes and see how we can implement this important program in our community. I look forward to seeing people enjoying their favourite local restaurants and bars this summer, while still remaining safe through this program.
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].
With more businesses re-opening in some places this weekend and in Toronto very soon, is there a guide being provided to these businesses on how to operate safely?
This weekend there are indeed areas around the GTA that are opening as part of the provincial government's stage two process and Toronto will soon be included in this process. The provincial government has created a "Toolkit" for re-opening businesses that provides detailed information on how to operate their businesses safely for their customers and employees. The link below provides full information on the provincial "Toolkit."
Are City Council meetings taking place again?
Yes, Toronto City Council and standing committee meetings have resumed virtually until it is safe and prudent to meet in person. In fact, Council has met several times and the Planning and Housing Committee I chair met this week, once again virtually. Below is a link to the City's webpage that provides dates and information on upcoming meetings both of Council and committees.
Green Line Public Meeting
Finding new parkland in the built-up downtown core is a challenge. The Hydro corridor that runs from Davenport and Macpherson Ave west and northwest towards Earlscourt Park presents a rare opportunity to create a linear open space amenity within a rapidly intensifying city.
A public meeting will take place on July 7at 6:30PM. Visit http://toronto.ca/greenline to register and for more details.
Cross Canada Isolation Concert Visits a Backyard on St Clarens
On of our neighbours on St Clarens will be hosting a concert in his backyard this Sunday at 3PM and wants you to join him virtually! This concert will be hosted on Facebook Live here. This performance will be put on by clarinetist François Houle, who is conducting a cross-Canada isolation concert to raise awareness and support for cancer research. Learn more about François’ journey here.
Help Shape Toronto’s Recovery
The City’s new Toronto Office of Recovery and Rebuild is asking for your ideas so we all can recover, rebuild and emerge from the pandemic even stronger. Take the survey before June 30.
Support for Live Music Venues
Applications for the Creative Co-Location Facilities Property Tax Subclass Designation are due by 5:00pm tomorrow. If you need support, apply here. Have questions? Email [email protected].
Help Prevent Flooding
Help protect your basement against flooding! Find tips on flood-proofing your home and learn about the City of Toronto's financial assistance program to help you install flood-protection devices: toronto.ca/basementflooding/
City of Toronto records 1,000 deaths due to COVID-19
Sadly, the City of Toronto today announced the 1,000th death due to COVID-19 and we all send our deepest sympathies to the family and friends who have lost a loved one.. This tragic milestone is a reminder that we must all continue our efforts to fight COVID-19 and protect people in our community.
There are 13,661 cases of COVID-19 in the city, an increase of 73 cases since yesterday. There are 276 people hospitalized, with 72 in ICU. In total, 11,501 people have recovered from COVID-19, an increase of 104 cases since yesterday. Case status data can be found on the City’s reporting platform.
Toronto Public Health provides expanded guidance to help prepare more businesses and locations for a safe reopening
Toronto Public Health has expanded the number of guidance documents available to help local businesses and community organizations to prepare for safe reopening when the city receives provincial approval for Stage 2 of the recovery process. These documents will provide guidance on adjusting operations to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Data shows ActiveTO weekend road closures make room for thousands of people to enjoy physical activity along Toronto’s most popular trails
Today, Mayor John Tory announced that data shows ActiveTO major road closures are making room for people to be physically active along Toronto’s busiest and most popular trails. Each weekend, these closures make space for residents to be outside, physically active and practice physical distancing while enhancing their overall wellbeing.
City of Toronto update on emergency food access during COVID-19
Since March, the City of Toronto has been working with a variety of community partners to ensure that Toronto’s food programs stay open during the pandemic and continue to support Toronto’s vulnerable populations. Members of the Food Security Table – which consists of City staff and representatives from Daily Bread Food Bank, FoodShare, North York Harvest Food Bank, Second Harvest, Red Cross, Toronto Public Library, Salvation Army and the United Way Greater Toronto (UWGT) – continue to meet regularly to discuss food access gaps in the community and how they can be filled.
Ontario Enhancing COVID-19 Case and Contact Management
As the province safely and gradually reopens, the Ontario government is enhancing case and contact management to quickly test, trace and isolate cases of COVID-19 to stop the spread of the virus and prepare for any potential future waves. These additional measures include a comprehensive case and contact management strategy, Protecting Ontarians through Enhanced Case and Contact Management, and, in partnership with the federal government, a new made-in-Ontario national app called COVID Alert.
Ontario Pauses Commercial Evictions
Today, the Ontario government passed the Protecting Small Business Act, temporarily halting or reversing evictions of commercial tenants and protecting them from being locked out or having their assets seized during COVID-19. The legislation applies to businesses that are eligible for federal/provincial rent assistance for evictions from May 1, 2020 until August 31, 2020.
Prime Minister announces new mobile app to help notify Canadians of COVID-19 exposure
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today announced the upcoming launch of a new nation-wide mobile app to provide notifications of exposure to COVID-19 across Canada, with beta testing to begin in Ontario.
Prime Minister announces extension of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the government is extending the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) by eight weeks, to ensure Canadians have the help they need as they transition back to work. This extension will make the benefit available to eligible workers for up to a total of 24 weeks.