As we continue to deal with the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, many of our children returned to school this week. While always a challenging as well as an exciting time, this year is clearly unique. I wish all families all the very best as kids return to school either in person or virtually.
Today, the Premier announced important changes to rules around gatherings. Effective, 12:01 am tonight, outdoor gatherings will be limited to 25 people and indoor gatherings to no more than 10 people. These restrictions apply to the City of Toronto, the Region of Peel and the City of Ottawa. While it may seem disheartening to return to smaller gathering sizes, it is important to recognize that the rising case numbers in these areas of Ontario required that these steps be taken at this time. Please note that these new restrictions do not apply to businesses.
In addition, the Premier announced that the Ontario Government will be extending a temporary ban on commercial evictions retroactive to September 1, through to the end of October. This is another important measure to protect businesses which are struggling to pay their rents due to the sharp decrease in sales resulting from the pandemic. The Premier also announced that no rent increases will be permitted through all of next year (2021). While these measures are encouraging, I will continue to advocate for more protection for tenants who are continuing to face unprecedented challenges.
Earlier this week, Mayor John Tory and I also called on the Provincial and Federal governments to provide financial support to create 3,000 affordable and supportive housing units over the next 24 months. These new units could help move more than 3,000 people out of shelters and into permanent housing with supports that will result in cost savings of up to $15 million per month. This fiscally and socially responsible housing recovery plan will create safe, secure and affordable housing.
Earlier this year, I established a Housing Action Team comprised of representatives from various sectors brought together to help identify solutions, and plan for longer term recovery. In June, United Way and the City brought together experts across the sector to discuss our shelter system challenges during COVID and respond to enormous challenges in the next few months. This recovery strategy is based on advice from these two taskforces which is clear: provide stability, build resilience and stimulate economic recovery. We need to respond to the COVID pandemic with a long-term goal in mind. You can learn more about the approach we are taking through the Housing and People Action Plan here. You can also learn more about the joint United Way and City of Toronto report on COVID-19 Interim Shelter Recovery Strategy: Advice from the Homelessness Service System here.
We have a clear choice, resources spent on short-term unsustainable shelters or long-term supportive housing options that are better for those in need of housing and more fiscally responsible for our City. This is something all governments must address together.
Today, I represented the City at the launch of the annual Daily Bread Food Bank’s Thanksgiving food drive. Even before the pandemic, there were over 1 million visits to food banks in Toronto. Daily Bread has seen a 200% increase in new clients since the pandemic began. In these difficult times, it is important that we support each other. The City has been partnering with local food organizations like Daily Bread through the Food Access Coordination table, to ensure that all Toronto families can put food on the table. I encourage everyone to make a donation if they can. Food donations can be dropped off at any Toronto fire station or participating grocery store.
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].
What is the TTC doing in terms of safety measures for children returning to school?
As kids head back to school, it is important you know what the TTC has been doing to make sure our transit system is clean and safe for your children.
- Addition of signs in all stations reminding people to stay home if they are unwell.
- Implemented a mandatory face covering policy at the beginning of July
- Have announcements on all buses and in all stations reminding customers that they are required to wear a face coverings or masks when travelling on the TTC.
- TTC staff is disinfecting and cleaning all stations, buses, streetcars, trains and Wheel-Trans vehicles several times a day, especially focusing on common touch and grab points, such as buttons, railings, handles and straps.
- Installed hand sanitizer dispensers at all stations and on streetcars.
- Signage posted in all stations, including markers on the floor and at the fare gates to help people enter and exit the station
150 Harrison Operator Update
Operators with 81 years of combined experience in providing supportive housing and support services have been named for the first phase of the City of Toronto’s modular housing initiative.
The Neighbourhood Group (TNG) and COTA Health (Cota) are the successful proponents of the Request for Proposal (RFP) to operate the first phase of the City’s modular housing initiative. Together, these two not-for-profit organizations will be operating and providing support services at both at 11 Macey Avenue and 150 Harrison Street for a 35-year term starting this fall.
Toronto is ready to welcome us back. From hitting the patio to supporting local art, restaurants and shops, it’s time to get out and do the things we love.
Experience ActiveTO’s newly expanded cycling network, BigArtTO’s digital art projections. Dine out on countless CafeTO pop-up patios and find hidden gems all over the city with StrollTO’s new exploration guides.
In our community, you can find the “The Elevator to You” installation by Ian Keteku on the south wall of JJP Community Centre from 8pm to 11pm until September 19. On the 19th, be sure to also pop by the Dufferin / St Clair Library between 1-5pm to see Womxn Paint’s artwork in the window. While you’re in the neighbourhood, why not visit some of the amazing local businesses.
Launch of COVID-19 Voluntary Isolation Site
In July, following a recommendation from our Medical Officer of Health, the Toronto Board of Health asked the City of Toronto to enter into an agreement with the federal government to establish a voluntary COVID-19 isolation site. This facility, which is operated and staffed by Toronto Public Health, provides a safe space for people who test positive for COVID-19 but cannot isolate at home without putting their family or other members of their household at risk of transmission. It is the first of its kind in Canada.
The voluntary isolation site is located in a hotel that has a capacity of up to 140 individuals who are isolating for a two-week period. During case and contact tracing follow-up, Toronto Public Health investigators will interview people who would benefit from the use of the isolation site, and seek their voluntary agreement. These people include individuals who have tested positive but are unable to safely isolate at home, due to living in a small space with a large number of household members, or living with family members who are at high-risk for COVID-19.
City Seeking Diverse Representation on Boards
The City of Toronto is seeking diverse local residents to become involved in its boards, committees and tribunals. New opportunities have been announced and deadlines are approaching fast. Learn more and apply today to bring your skills and experience to these board and committees.
Dovercourt Road Watermain Replacement and Road Reconstruction – Sudbury Street to College Street
Starting September 21, 2020, the City of Toronto will replace the watermain and the City-owned portion of substandard water services on Dovercourt Road from Queen Street West to College Street. Given that work on both Dovercourt Road and Lisgar Street will happen concurrently, the City's contractor will divide work on Dovercourt Road into two phases. The phasing will allow for distance between the two contracts in an effort to minimize traffic and parking impact. This work is expected to be completed by Summer 2021.
Ossington Avenue Watermain Replacement from Bloor Street to Dupont Street
On September 8, the City of Toronto began the replacement of the watermain and the City-owned portion of substandard water services on Ossinton Avenue from Bloor Street West to Dupont Street.
TTC Accessibility Public Forum
On October 1, 2020, TTC Board members, management and staff, and members of the Advisory Committee on Accessible Transit (ACAT) will host the TTC’s first ever virtual Public Forum on Accessible Transit. This event is held annually to hear from the public about the accessibility of conventional TTC and door-to-door (Wheel-Trans) public transit services in Toronto. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, they will be hosting this event online this year.
50 Years of BIAs
Over the last 50 years, BIAs in Toronto have been leaders and innovators in not only supporting local businesses but improving our communities as well. Toronto now has 84 BIAs, representing 70,000 businesses. To all Davenport and Toronto BIAs, thank you for all your work!
Dovercourt Boys and Girls Club – Champions in our Community
It has been a very busy season for Dovercourt Boys and Girls Club. In addition to running a Summer Camp for over 10 weeks, the Club facilitated many initiatives to support its community and members, including a lunch and breakfast program at Pelham Park, providing backpacks filled with school supplies to kids in need and hosting art classes for people in the community. Thank you for all your amazing work!
Drop off items for reuse, recycling and safe disposal at Community Environment Days
Community Environment Day events begin September 13 and will run on seven weekends until November 1. This year, Community Environment Days will be set up as drive-thru events at the City’s seven Drop-Off Depots. This is a great opportunity to help reduce the amount of reusable or recyclable waste going to landfills and to safely dispose of household hazardous waste.
At the events, you will drive to different stations to drop off clothing, books and unwanted items for donation and to dispose of batteries, old paint and other household hazardous waste. Free bagged compost will be available (limit of two bags per vehicle while supplies last).
A list of event dates and more information is available at http://www.toronto.ca/environment_days.
City of Toronto calls for Federal-Provincial-City partnership to create 3,000 permanent, affordable homes over the next 24 months
The City of Toronto has announced the COVID-19 Housing and Homelessness Recovery Response Plan — an urgent appeal to the federal and provincial governments to create 3,000 permanent, affordable homes, within the next 24 months, for homeless, vulnerable and marginalized residents. These investments will support the Council-approved HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan aimed at helping more than 340,000 households in Toronto over the next 10 years.
BigArtTO turns local landmarks and buildings into art canvases to show love to Toronto
BigArtTO, a City-led ShowLoveTO initiative involving large-scale projections in each of the City of Toronto’s 25 wards.
City of Toronto update on COVID-19 (September 16)
There are 17,028 cases of COVID-19 in the city, an increase of 86 today. There are 20 people hospitalized. In total, 15,089 people have recovered from COVID-19. To date, there have been 1,178 COVID-19 deaths in Toronto. Case status data can be found on the City’s reporting platform.
City of Toronto supporting further action to confront COVID-19 resurgence
Mayor John Tory and other senior members of the City of Toronto COVID-19 response team met with Toronto Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa to discuss what public health measures would be effective in helping push back against the COVID-19 resurgence.
City of Toronto staff report recommends a public consultation and next steps on renaming Dundas Street and other public assets
A City of Toronto staff report going before Executive Committee on September 23 provides recommendations, which includes a public consultation, on the City’s response to the petition to rename Dundas Street and address other civic assets with the Dundas name.
ActiveTO major weekend road closures to expand to Yonge Street on final two Sundays in September
Mayor John Tory announced that the City of Toronto will expand ActiveTO major weekend road closures to include Yonge Street, between Davenport Road and Queen’s Quay, on the final two Sundays in September.
City of Toronto maximizes patio season by allowing portable heaters for CaféTO, streamlining overall restaurant patio heater process
With cooler fall weather approaching, the City of Toronto has announced plans to allow portable heaters to be placed in all outdoor patios, including CaféTO curb lane closures, to help keep outdoor dining spaces open longer and provide additional support for local restaurants.
Ontario Introduces Legislation to Freeze Residential Rent in 2021
The Ontario government has introduced the Helping Tenants and Small Businesses Act that would, if passed, freeze rent in 2021 for most rent-controlled and non-rent-controlled residential units.
Ontario Launches New COVID-19 Screening Tool to Help Protect Students and Staff
The Ontario government launched a new voluntary interactive screening tool to assist parents, students and staff with the daily assessment of COVID-19 symptoms and risk factors that must be reviewed each day before attending school.
Prime Minister announces next steps for Safe Restart Agreement
Through the Agreement, reached earlier this summer, the Government of Canada announced over $19 billion in federal funding to help provinces and territories safely restart the economy. Provinces and territories were asked to outline in a letter how these funds would best be allocated within their jurisdictions, based on their priorities. The premiers have now submitted the letters and the federal funding will be transferred to the provinces and territories.