In just a few weeks, we'll be marking one year since the beginning of the pandemic and associated public health measures began here in Toronto and across the country. It has been a challenging year as we all have worked to remain safe and also as we helped to protect our families, friends and neighbours. Throughout the past year, a global effort launched to develop a vaccine to combat the virus and several successful types have been developed and are now being administered. While there have been challenges at the other levels of government in securing and distributing vaccines, the City is working proactively to ensure that once that supply arrives, we can provide shots in arms as quickly and equitably as possible.
The City has partnered with hospitals, community health centres and pharmacies to provide 344 vaccination clinics, in addition to the nine City operated centres designed for mass inoculations. As of March 1, five of the City's centres were fully prepared to commence operations. We continue preparing the others while also recruiting and training the 1,400 staff required to operate them. These clinics are currently not open to the public, and when operational, only individuals with scheduled appointments will be vaccinated. More information on the precise locations of all clinics will be shared in the coming weeks. In addition to these clinics, the City is preparing for pop-up and mobile vaccination clinics, which will allow us to respond quickly to assist communities with outbreaks or other urgent needs.
While Toronto Public Health has a vital role in vaccine distribution, we will follow the Government of Ontario's prioritization plan. This three-tier plan focuses on high-risk populations first, then transitions to mass vaccinations. The City has been working under these requirements to support those we can vaccinate under Phase 1. We have already made significant progress in vaccinating long-term care residents, seniors in congregate care home settings, frontline health care workers in these and other high-risk settings, and have begun vaccinating people experiencing homelessness in shelters. You can learn more about vaccine eligibility through our website or Toronto's Vaccination Playbook. On March 15, the Ontario Government will begin operating its online registration portal, which will allow individuals under priority eligibility criteria to schedule appointments.
One challenge we also need to address is vaccine hesitancy. The City will be working with 280 community leaders as neighbourhood ambassadors, who will contact specific groups and demonstrate the importance of being vaccinated. These ambassadors will be people deeply rooted and trusted in your community. We will also partner with 140 community agencies, which will go door-to-door and help us target hotspots for our mobile clinics.
The City is continuing to work on finalizing our vaccination processes, and I will be working to communicate any updated news each week through this newsletter. There is a wealth of helpful information on the City's vaccination webpage. You can also watch the City's webinars and learn more about our vaccination timelines.
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!
- Planning and Housing Committee Recap
- Opening of Fatima House
- 299 Campbell Avenue Library Progress
- 181 Sterling Road Online Community Meeting – Minor Variance Application
- Help shape how the City of Toronto engages communities around new shelters and other services for people experiencing homelessness
- York Community Pop-Up Covid Testing Centre
- SafeTO Survey
- Creating Better Parks in Oakwood-St. Clair
- Geary Works – Public Consultation
- Your Arena Board Needs You!
- Aangen's All Dried Up Series
- Watermain Cleaning and Relining on Salem Avenue from Bloor Street West to Southview Ave and Bartlett Avenue from Bloor Street West to Shanly Street
- Watermain Replacement on Benny Start Street
- Watermain Replacement on Lindner St
- Lansdowne Station – Entrance Closure for Accessibility Work
- Infrastructure Improvements at the Intersection of King Street West, Queen Street West, The Queensway and Roncesvalles Avenue (KQQR)
- Metrolinx Caisson Drilling
- Medical Officer of Health implements Section 22 Class Order for workplaces as Province considers moving Toronto into Grey Zone of provincial COVID-19 response framework/a>
- City of Toronto advises residents to avoid contact with raccoons to protect against injury and rabies
- City of Toronto provides updated details of City COVID-19 Vaccination Program and collaboration with health sector partners
- City of Toronto’s Home Energy Loan Program gets funding boost from the Government of Canada and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities
- City of Toronto publishes new data to inform solutions to homelessness
- City of Toronto proclaims Black Mental Health Week in Toronto
- City of Toronto Automated Speed Enforcement devices issued more than 22,000 tickets in December
- City of Toronto, hospital and community health partners to begin vaccinating people experiencing homelessness and other priority populations as part of Phase 1 Community Vaccination Plan
- Mayor Tory encourages people across Toronto to apply now for City of Toronto parks and recreation jobs
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 on changes to city services due to COVID-19 and the provincial lockdown?
The City maintains and regularly updates a webpage on City services, how there are impacted, and adjustments to their services.
Planning and Housing Committee Recap
As Chair of Planning and Housing Committee, I wanted to provide a quick update on the number of items we discussed this week, which we will be bringing to the next City Council meeting:
- We approved the planning approval and community engagement process for Phase 2 of our Modular Housing Initiative, which will create over 120 units for occupation this year.
- We advanced a revitalization plan for the Dundas Sherbourne Neighbourhood, which sets a long-term vision for the community while addressing short-term challenges.
- Authorized a lease with Native Men's Residence, for 218 Carleton Street, to provide affordable rental housing for Indigenous men experiencing homelessness. This is in line with our HousingTO strategic action to enhance partnerships with Indigenous Community Partners.
- Approved our Open Door Program applications, which will support up to 971 new affordable rental homes. Eleven of the 15 affordable housing developments are proposed by non-profit housing providers, and of these, three are by Indigenous groups.
- Extended the moratorium on TCHC evictions for non-payment of rent until June 17, with considerations for further extensions.
- Relaxing zoning permissions for outdoor patios, to support restaurants and bars through CafeTO.
- Received an update on our short-term rental regulation implementation, and set further direction to protect Toronto's long-term rental stock.
- Re-established our Subcommittee on the Protection of Affordable Rental Housing, which we established in 2019 and has been working with communities and City staff to keep affordable units available and prevent illegitimate evictions.
To meet these challenges, we must take a comprehensive approach, working with our communities, housing partners and other levels of government. I will continue working with the Committee and Council to move all these initiatives forward, to keep our city affordable for all.
Opening of Fatima House
Fatima House is a newly-renovated, accessible and pet-friendly shelter that will serve as a temporary home for up to 52 women (the current occupancy is reduced due to COVID-19 precautions). The shelter will offer meals, counselling and healthcare services, as well as housing support. Staff onsite will work with the women to help them move on to permanent, affordable housing.
Throughout March, the Bloorcourt BIA will be hosting a marketing and giveaway campaign. Every day they are raffling off a $50 gift card to a local #Bloorcourt business. Learn how to get involved through the above link.
299 Campbell Avenue Library Progress
We secured a bigger new library for the Junction Triangle community to fit the growing need. The library is moving toward completion and we can expect to see it open in 2022.
181 Sterling Road Online Community Meeting – Minor Variance Application
On March 11 at 6:30 PM, the developer of 181 Sterling Road is hosting an online community meeting on their minor variance application. Click here to attend this meeting.
Questions can be directed to Mark Sim, Development Manager at [email protected].
Help shape how the City of Toronto engages communities around new shelters and other services for people experiencing homelessness
The City is currently undertaking a third-party review of its community engagement process for new shelter and other services for people experiencing homelessness. This review will identify what currently works well and what can be improved.
The City wants to hear from a range of perspectives: residents who are new to this issue, residents who have participated in an engagement around a new shelter or live near a site, as well as residents who have participated as representatives of local neighbourhood groups.
There are two ways you can provide input into the Community Engagement Review:
- Participate in an anonymous online survey
- Participate in a virtual focus group
This is an opportunity to influence the way the City engages residents about an issue important to our city.
If you are interested in either of these opportunities to add your voice to the Community Engagement Review, please visit the Welcoming New Shelters web page for more information and instructions on how to participate.
If you have any questions about the Community Engagement Review or how to participate, please contact Amber Krogel, one of the consultants supporting the Community Engagement Review, at [email protected].
York Community Pop-Up Covid Testing Centre
A COVID-19 pop-up facility will be open on March 5, 12, 19 and 26 from 3-7pm at 115 Black Creek Drive. Call 416.653.4500 x3121 to book an appointment if you have symptoms or have been in contact with someone with COVID-19.
The City is developing an updated Community Safety and Wellbeing Plan called SafeTO. This plan will guide how social systems that serve Torontonians work together to meet community needs by changing how we think about safety. Provide your feedback through the link above until March 15.
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 – Public Consultation
The third consultation on Geary Works was held yesterday evening. Geary Works is a locally-led effort to keep Geary vibrant. We need to ensure that the residents, artists and businesses that made Geary great can continue to do so and keep the area serving local needs.
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!
Watermain Cleaning and Relining on Salem Avenue from Bloor Street West to Southview Ave and Bartlett Avenue from Bloor Street West to Shanly Street
The City of Toronto will be cleaning and structurally relining the watermain in your area in Spring 2021. During this process, the City will also replace the City-owned portion of any substandard water service pipes. This work will be taking place from Spring 2021 to Fall 2021.
More information is available at Toronto.ca/davenport. The Field ambassador can be contacted at 647.923.3430 or [email protected].
From March 15 until August 21, the City of Toronto plans to replace the watermain and the City-owned portion of substandard water services on Benny Stark Street. The water service is the underground pipe that brings water to your water meter and is owned by local residents and by the City.
his project is part of the Council-approved 2021 Capital Works Program to renew our aging infrastructure, improve water distribution and reduce the risk of watermain breaks.
Watermain Replacement on Linder St
From March 15 until September 3, the City of Toronto plans to replace the watermain and the City-owned portion of substandard water services on Lindner Street. The water service is the underground pipe that brings water to your water meter and is owned by you and by the City. The part you own is from your house to the end of your property, the part the City owns is from the end of your property to the watermain.
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.
Infrastructure Improvements at the Intersection of King Street West, Queen Street West, The Queensway and Roncesvalles Avenue (KQQR)
Work crews have begun 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.
Medical Officer of Health implements Section 22 Class Order for workplaces as Province considers moving Toronto into Grey Zone of provincial COVID-19 response framework
The Province of Ontario is considering moving Toronto into the Grey Zone of the Lockdown Regulation under Ontario’s COVID-19 response framework as of 12:01 a.m. on Monday, March 8 and has consulted with the Medical Officer of Health. The Medical Officer of Health has also implemented a Section 22 Class Order, effective immediately, under the Health Protection and Promotion Act for workplaces with an active COVID-19 outbreak to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and variants of concern. Additional Information.
Since the start of the pandemic there have been a total of 98,192 cases of COVID-19 in the city, an increase of 290 new cases today. Toronto Public Health is reporting 126 cases that have been confirmed as variants of concern following laboratory testing, with 1,468 cases screened positive as likely variants – more than double the number of screened positive cases last week. There are 285 people hospitalized. To date, there have been 2,665 COVID-19 deaths in Toronto. In total, 91,837 people have recovered. Case status data can be found on the City’s reporting platform.
City of Toronto advises residents to avoid contact with raccoons to protect against injury and rabies
The City of Toronto advises residents to avoid physical contact with raccoons, and all other wild animals, due to a significant increase in the number of sick and injured raccoons and in the number of reported cases of raccoon bites and scratches. Physical contact includes feeding or petting raccoons and other wild animals, and other interactions which may be otherwise avoidable. Residents who may have had physical contact with a raccoon or another wild animal should see a healthcare provider immediately to be assessed.
City of Toronto provides updated details of City COVID-19 Vaccination Program and collaboration with health sector partners
In alignment with the Province of Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan, the City and Toronto Public Health have built a robust program for the administration of vaccines in Toronto. The City’s COVID-19 Vaccination Program is founded on public health and clinical expertise and is informed by engagement and collaboration with partners and diverse populations and communities, including the health sector and Indigenous and Black communities. The program builds on Toronto Public Health’s 2016 Mass Immunization Clinic Plan, which was tested during the 2017 emergency exercise EpicTO, and Toronto Public Health’s longstanding success in delivering immunization clinics and supporting internal and external partners to deliver vaccinations within their communities.
City of Toronto’s Home Energy Loan Program gets funding boost from the Government of Canada and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities
The Government of Canada and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) announced funding of up to $14.6 million to support the City of Toronto’s Home Energy Loan Program (HELP).
Through FCM’s Community Efficiency Financing initiative, which is funded by the federal government, the City is eligible for a loan of up to $9,712,000 and a grant of up to $4,856,000. The funding will help Toronto homeowners undertake home energy efficiency retrofits and support the local economy.
City of Toronto publishes new data to inform solutions to homelessness
The City of Toronto released a new dashboard with data on how people enter and exit the shelter system, known as Shelter System Flow, that will be used to inform ongoing efforts to develop permanent solutions to address homelessness.
City of Toronto proclaims Black Mental Health Week in Toronto
Mayor John Tory proclaimed March 1 to 5 as Black Mental Health Week in Toronto. Throughout the week, various events planned by community groups and agencies will focus on the impact that anti-Black racism has on mental health. The week is also a call to action for more support and access to culturally-responsive mental health services and programs for Black residents.
City of Toronto Automated Speed Enforcement devices issued more than 22,000 tickets in December
The City of Toronto’s 50 Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE) devices issued a total of 22,180 tickets in December 2020, the first month of enforcement at the second round of locations.
City of Toronto, hospital and community health partners to begin vaccinating people experiencing homelessness and other priority populations as part of Phase 1 Community Vaccination Plan
The City of Toronto, through Toronto Public Health (TPH) and Toronto’s health care partners, including local hospitals, Ontario Health Teams, Local Health Integration Networks, family doctors and community-based health care service providers will begin vaccinating people experiencing homelessness in Toronto’s shelter system starting this week. This effort is part of several vaccination efforts being undertaken in Toronto ahead of the arrival of larger amounts of COVID-19 vaccine.
Mayor Tory encourages people across Toronto to apply now for City of Toronto parks and recreation jobs
Mayor John Tory kicked off the annual hiring campaign for summer parks and recreation jobs at the City of Toronto. While it’s too early to know what safe and fun activities will be offered this spring and summer, the City is preparing for a safe resumption of parks and recreation services by hiring spring and summer parks and recreation workers.
Ontario Provides More Than $1 Billion In Support for Small Business
The Ontario government has to-date provided more than $1 billion through the Ontario Small Business Support Grant to help eligible business owners affected by the COVID-19 restrictions. The grant provides a minimum of $10,000 to a maximum of $20,000 and can be used in whatever way makes the most sense for individual businesses; from paying employee wages, to offsetting the cost of rent, to purchasing inventory.
Ontario Provides Additional Support for Municipalities During COVID-19
The Ontario government is providing an additional $500 million to help the province's 444 municipalities address ongoing COVID-19 operating costs. The new financial relief will help ensure the delivery of critical services and keep capital projects on track.
Ontario Supporting Tourism and Culture in the GTA
The Ontario government is providing a one-time investment of up to $27 million to support the continued operation, maintenance and capital needs of six major tourism and cultural institutions in the Greater Toronto Area. This funding will protect jobs while ensuring their financial stability during the COVID-19 pandemic.
New investments to support research and science across Canada
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced an investment to support more than 100 research projects and almost 1,000 researchers across the country. This investment of more than $518 million will ensure these researchers have the facilities and tools they need, and will fund projects that help us beat the pandemic and build a more resilient Canada.
Government of Canada supports recovery and growth of women-led businesses across Ontario amid COVID-19 pandemic
Canadian women entrepreneurs are critical to the economic success of communities across the country. At the same time, they often face unique barriers when starting and growing their businesses and have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Government of Canada has long supported women entrepreneurs, and is committed to making the necessary investments to position them for success in the future.
Today, the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, announced the 16 recipients of the $4.8 million in top-up funding the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) Ecosystem Fund in Ontario to support women entrepreneurs to navigate this crisis. This investment represents a top-up to the over $32 million in WES funding previously provided to these organizations.