I am grateful to the many residents that have contacted me with respect to anti-Black and anti-Indigenous Racism and policing in our City and specifically concerning the Toronto Police Service budget. I sincerely appreciate all the input I have received from the community and from across the City. Many diverse and varied views have been shared and as always I take all of them into consideration. What is very clear to me, and to most of you who have reached out, is that transformative change must occur and that it must take place more quickly than has been our experience to date.
Today, Mayor John Tory added an item to Toronto City Council agenda to be discussed Monday on this issue. I wanted to share it with you as I believe it will be a critical part of what promises to be a full, thorough and long discussion at Monday's Council meeting. And this is exactly the kind of debate we need. But while discussion and debate is an important part of this issue, we must also emerge from our Council meeting with a clear way forward and one that results in action. There will be, most likely, several motions at Council on Monday. I will be considering all motions but will be supporting motions that:
- Create a non-police led response to calls which do not involve weapons or violence, such as those involving individuals experiencing mental health crises and where police response is not necessary.
- Result in the reduction of the Toronto Police Services Budget and that savings or reallocation of funds be invested in community and social services (Note that at this moment City Council does not have actual control over the police budget – I will be also supporting a City's request to the Province for this to change)
- Call for a robust and rigorous community consultation process to inform the criteria for the selection of the next Chief of Police
- Provide for a service and support based approach to policing as part of transformation
- Prioritize de-escalation and address systemic discrimination within Police and within our City
- Invest in initiatives identified from the Combatting Anti-Black Racism Strategy
- Provide for the involvement and monitoring of the approved recommendations of representatives of our Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour and other equity-seeking groups
As noted, I am fully committed to moving transformation forward quickly and in a meaningful way and this includes with respect to police funding and budgeting issues and how these resources are allocated.
Your comments, recommendations and views on this issue have been most helpful and are very important to me. We are at a critical point in our City's history, the pandemic and other issues have demonstrated the need for societal change, and along with you and many others, I am committed to bringing forward and implementing the changes our society needs including but not limited to policing.
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].
Is it true that the City is now issuing marriage licences again?
The City had stopped issuing marriage licences at the beginning of the public health emergency with exception of emergency circumstances. As of today, June 22, the City has resumed the issuance of marriage licences. The link below provides information on how to proceed.
Can I take a driver's licence test again in Ontario or is it still closed?
Yes, the provincial government has begun the process of re-opening Drive Test Centre beginning June 22nd. Not all services will be available at once and services will be offered initially by month of birth to avoid overcrowding as much as possible. The phased in process to the restoration of full services will last from now until the fall. The link below provides detailed information on the process. We encourage you to review it carefully as there have been long lines due to the closure period. We would also encourage you to be fully prepared for any tests you plan to take as not passing a test will require you to begin the process again which will result in having to line-up again and also to unnecessarily adding to the wait times for others.
Watermain Replacement on Lappin Avenue
The City of Toronto is planning to replace the watermain and the City-owned portion of substandard water services on Lappin Avenue from Dufferin Street to Ward Street from June 30, 2020 to June 15, 2021. This work will be conducted by Midome Construction Ltd. The project contact is Michael Lamanna who can be reached at 416-757-2510.
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 be happening on July 7at 6:30PM. Visit http://toronto.ca/greenline to register and for more details.
Gift of Heart Toronto Outdoor Art Fair
The 59th Toronto Outdoor Art Fair, Canada’s largest and longest-running outdoor art fair, has moved online www.torontooutdoor.art to showcase and facilitate the sales of the artwork of 300 visual artists and makers from July 2- 12, 2020. TOAF has launched a fundraising campaign called Gifts of Heart to express their gratitude to frontline essential workers and to support their artists spreading the joy of art.
Giving to Gifts of Heart is simple:
Make a tax-deductible charitable donation (any amount your heart desires) to TOAF that they will convert into gift cards for art purchases (valued at $250 each). The gift cards will be distributed to frontline workers so they can buy beautiful artworks directly from juried artists of TOAF on their website between July 2–12, 2020. TOAF’s delighted artists will then send out the artwork, along with their heartfelt thanks and receive the full value of the gift ($250), when redeemed.
The annual Toronto Outdoor Art Fair at Nathan Phillips Square draws 130,000 loyal followers and avid art lovers who spend over $2 millions on art purchases. TOAF invites their many devoted Fair-goers and extended community to join in doing something truly special for independent artists while honouring those frontline workers to whom we all owe so much during this novel time. Consider being a Gifts of Heart champion by making a gift from your heart.
Applications open for CampTO
CampTO is a new creative camp experience that offers outdoor and physical activities, active and quiet games, arts and crafts, and nature-based activities. This camp features additional staff for smaller camper to leader ratios to help maintain physical distancing in camp and ensure safe supervision of campers. CampTO is designed for maximum fun and safety for campers 6 – 12 years of age. You can register your kids for CampTO here. There are number of camps operating in our community, which you can see on the interactive map here.
CafeTO Information Sessions
The City will host an online information session on Tuesday, June 30 from 1:30-3:30pm to provide an overview of CaféTO as well as guidelines to participate. There will also be updates on permitting and licencing, education and enforcement strategy for 2020, and updates from Toronto Public Health as they relate to patios.
Local business operators who are interested in the program can pre-register now.
Decision on Short-Term Rentals
Today, the Ontario Divisional Court denied the appeal of the LPAT decision upholding the City’s short-term rental bylaws. This decision cements the City’s bylaws which take a balanced approach to protect valuable rental stock in our city, while allowing homeowners flexibility to use their homes for short-term rentals when they choose. I am pleased to see this decision which is a positive and important step in addressing housing affordability in our city.
City of Toronto child care centres set to reopen beginning June 29
Beginning June 29, 11 of the 47 City of Toronto-operated Toronto Early Learning & Child Care Centres (TELCCC) will reopen to support parents returning to work and to help with the restart of the economy. The Province of Ontario announced that licensed child care services could begin to operate as of June 12 as part of the Province’s reopening plan.
City of Toronto launches recovery advisory group to obtain expert advice for Toronto’s rebuild and recovery from COVID-19
The advisory group will provide objective advice to help establish how the City can best support businesses and cultural organizations to recover from the impacts of the pandemic and the resulting recession.
City of Toronto enters Stage 2 of the Province’s reopening
The City of Toronto has entered Stage 2 of reopening, following Monday’s announcement by the Province of Ontario. This means the safe restart of some services and businesses including restaurants and bars with patios, personal care services, shopping malls and select recreational spaces such as splash pads and pools.
City of Toronto registration for CampTO programs begins tomorrow
Registration for City of Toronto CampTO programs has begun for Etobicoke/York and Scarborough districts and now has started for remaining districts. The City is offering summer camps across Toronto beginning July 13 as part of its CampTO initiative, following the Province of Ontario announcement that summer day camps can operate during the Province’s Stage 2 reopening.
City of Toronto offering assistance to pet owners struggling to care for their pets due to COVID-19 thanks to community donations
Funded by PetSmart Charities® of Canada and donations from Toronto residents, the City of Toronto is providing assistance to pet owners in under-resourced communities and those facing homelessness, who are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. A $30,040 grant from PetSmart Charities of Canada has provided 240 pet owners with gift cards to purchase pet food and supplies, such as cat litter and pee pads for dogs.
City of Toronto announces funds for community services to do more for vulnerable populations
Mayor John Tory has announced that approximately $4.97 million will be distributed from the TO Supports Investment Fund to community-based agencies supporting vulnerable populations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
City of Toronto update on COVID-19
There are 14,094 cases of COVID-19 in the city, an increase of 65 cases since yesterday. There are 249 people hospitalized, with 62 in ICU. In total 12,127 people have recovered from COVID-19, an increase of 66 cases since yesterday. To date, there have been 1,070 COVID-19 deaths in Toronto. Case status data can be found on the City’s reporting platform.
Ontario Helping Youth Pursue New Opportunities
The Ontario government is investing more than $13 million to support community- driven and youth-led projects to improve the well-being of children, youth, and families facing economic and social barriers. The funding will flow through the 2020 Youth Opportunities Fund, a province-wide initiative that creates opportunities for young people and empowers and supports parents, guardians and caregivers.
Prime Minister announces support for students serving their communities and opportunities to gain paid work experience
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has announced the launch of the Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG), which will support post-secondary students and recent graduates as they volunteer to serve in their communities’ COVID-19 response and gain valuable experience at the same time. The CSSG will provide these volunteers with a one-time payment of between $1,000 and $5,000 based on the number of hours they serve. To find not-for-profit organizations looking for help during the pandemic, post-secondary students and recent graduates can use the new I Want to Help platform, which also launched today.