Davenport Community Briefing - December 17th

Dear Neighbours,

Vaccination and COVID-19 Updates

COVID-19: Omicron Variant Update

The past week has seen a rapid shift in our COVID-19 strategy both in terms of our vaccinations, and how to prevent the spread of the virus. This section will include general information, as well as specific important announcements you should be aware of. 

The Government of Ontario announced a suite of changes on December 10th aimed at reducing the spread of the Omicron Variant, including:

  • Delaying the lifting of proof of vaccination requirements beyond January 17, 2022, aligned with the reopening plan that stipulated that doing so was contingent on the absence of concerning trends.
  • Effective January 4, 2022, requiring the use of the enhanced vaccine certificate with QR code and the Verify Ontario app in settings where proof of vaccination is required. The QR code can be used digitally or by printing a paper copy. Individuals can download their enhanced certificate with QR code by visiting https://covid-19.ontario.ca/book-vaccine/.
  • Strengthening the verification process for medical exemptions and clinical trial exemptions by requiring a certificate with a QR code. Organizations and businesses that are under the provincial proof-of-vaccination system will be advised to no longer accept physician notes as of January 10, 2022.
  • Effective December 20, 2021, requiring proof of vaccination for youth aged 12 to 17 years participating in organized sports at recreational facilities.
  • On the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Ontarians are strongly advised to limit their social gatherings and the number of gatherings they attend over the holiday season. Additional precautions should be taken if all individuals are not fully vaccinated or where vaccination status is unknown. Employers in all industries should make every effort to allow employees to work from home.

On December 15th the province announced significant changes to the Province's COVID-19 response. This included changing the eligibility for booster doses to be all those 18+ who had received their second shot at least 84 days prior, limiting capacity in venues that can hold over 1000 individuals, and the announcement of the distribution of free Rapid Antigen Tests at select LCBO locations as well as pop-ups in high-traffic public spaces.

This afternoon, the Province announced further restrictions to social gatherings. Starting this Sunday, December 19th, indoor social gathering limits will be cut from 25 people down to 10, outdoor social gatherings will be cut from 100 people down to 25. Bars, Restaurants, Gyms, Theatres, and other public settings will be allowed to operate with 50% indoor capacity. Food and drink sales will be prohibited at stadiums, casinos, and concert venues. Full restrictions can be found on the Province's News Release here.

In addition, the City of Toronto has created a new webpage that discloses specific locations where community members may have been exposed to COVID-19 in large settings or where individual contact information is not available. The COVID-19 Exposure Notifications page includes information on potential exposures in situations where one or more cases has been detected in a setting within a defined timeframe and where a contact list is not available. To protect privacy, public reporting of exposures will occur for settings where 20 or more people were present and at locations that are not a single residential address. This approach enables community members to take timely action to protect their health and prevent further virus spread in the community.

Please also be aware that the City has recently extended our COVID-19 Bylaws - including mandatory use of masks in public settings - until the end of the April 2022 City Council meeting in order to continue controlling the ongoing outbreak of the omicron and other variants. A full report can be found here


Rapid Antigen Tests - Information & News

Efficient, effective, and accessible testing is the key to limiting COVID-19 transmission in the coming weeks and months. As a result, provincial public health officials have recognized that access to free rapid testing will allow residents to make safer and more informed decisions about the gatherings they attend over the holidays and beyond.

To begin, Rapid Antigen Tests will be provided at no cost at over 600 LCBO locations, or a variety of pop-up locations beginning within the next week.

The Province has launched a new website, ontario.ca/holidaytesting to help Ontarians navigate where pop-up Rapid Antigen Test distribution would take place. 

These Rapid Antigen Test pop-up distributions will continue to appear in high-traffic public spaces, such as malls, public transit stations, and more. On the Government of Ontario site found here, you can locate other COVID-19 testing locations in and around where you live.


Travel and the Holidays during COVID-19

With the Holiday season here, many of you are planning to travel to see members of your family, to return from a long semester of school, or to get away from the city.

However, due to events of the last few weeks, like last year, the Government of Canada and other public health officials are asking us to only travel when absolutely necessary. Vaccinations work, and all who are travelling by train and airplane are required to be fully vaccinated -- but regardless of this, limiting our contacts is the goal of public health officials and an effective measure to contain widespread community transmission.

Before you plan to travel, please take note of current restrictions from both the Government of Canada as well as the country you intend on visiting, as rules can change quickly. Most countries require some form of testing prior to arrival.

The December 15th travel notice can be found here.

Government of Canada COVID-19 travel information & restrictions can be found here.


Vaccination Clinics - Resources and Information

Now more than ever it is critical that we all receive our COVID-19 vaccination. The most recent public health recommendations heavily encourage us to receive our booster dose as soon as we are able.

Recent changes from the Government of Ontario allow for booster doses to be given to anyone age 18 and over 84 days after their second dose. This rule takes effect on Monday December 20th.

A number of City and community clinics will be undertaking the colossal task of vaccinating our communities across the province, and for that I want to thank all the hard-working healthcare heroes who have continued to ensure our communities are vaccinated, safe, and accessible to all. 

Currently, Team Toronto has capacity to administer hundreds of thousands of doses of COVID-19 vaccine each month. To grow this already substantial capacity, the City will be increasing capacity at the five City-operated immunization clinics by almost double: www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/covid-19-vaccines/covid-19-how-to-get-vaccinated/covid-19-city-immunization-clinics/. The increase in capacity will come from expanded clinic hours as the five City-run clinics resume operating seven days per week with the potential to administer 41,000 doses weekly.

On Monday December 13th, the City opened 100,000 appointments between December 5 and January 19 across City-run clinics. These new appointments and appointments that will be gradually added as capacity expands are available through the provincial vaccine booking system by clicking the blue button on www.toronto.ca/covid-19 or calling 1-833-943-3900.

To book your first, second, pediatric, or booster dose, please visit the Ontario Government's site here.

The Ontario Government also has a Pharmacy locator to assist you with booking vaccination appointments - which can be found here.

My office will continue to keep the community informed on local clinics, and other pop-up vaccination locations as they appear on my social media channels. 


Upcoming Vaccination Clinics 

Community Partners alongside Toronto Public Health are running a number of clinics in and around our Davenport community in the coming weeks. These will take place frequently, with some happening at the same time and day every week. See the poster below for dates and times:


Thank You To Our Community Health Partners

Our community health partners have been the backbone of our public health response to COVID-19 - and especially our Team Toronto vaccination efforts.

This week, my team joined the Abrigo Centre at the Casa das Beiras Community Centre for an evening pop-up vaccine clinic. This was a massive success, with 195 adults and 12 children receiving their vaccines. This is an incredible number, and I want to thank all who made this possible, as well as all who will make further clinics possible in the near future.

I also want to thank our other local health partners - such as the Davenport Perth Neighbourhood and Community Health Centre, South Asian Women's Centre, York-Fairbank Centre for Seniors, and North of Bloor Mutual Aid among many others - for their extraordinary work and dedication to the vaccination effort. Your independent efforts to work with Toronto Public Health and our community have been critical to our successful vaccination efforts, and I am looking forward to working with you all again.

In addition to the many clinics organizations like those above have run and organized, as of today my office has assisted in organizing 13 community clinics - and we cannot wait to help with more!


Local & City Updates

Toronto City Council - December Meeting Updates

TransformTO - Net Zero by 2040

City Council adopted an ambitious strategy to reduce community-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Toronto to net zero by 2040 – 10 years earlier than initially proposed. The City of Toronto is one of only three large cities in North America with this 2040 target.

The Net Zero Strategy triggers new and accelerated implementation actions to drive down community-wide emissions, particularly in the short term, and establishes the trajectory needed to reach net zero by 2040. The Strategy also sets an additional interim GHG emissions reduction target for Toronto: 45 per cent by 2025, from 1990 levels.

A full news release outlining the TransformTO goals can be found here.

Items from City Council related to TransformTO can be found here as well as here

Removal of Parking Minimums in New Developments

City Council has adopted Zoning Bylaw Amendments that will remove most requirements for new developments to provide a minimum number of parking spaces. At the same time, limits on the number of parking spaces will be added. The objective of this policy is to help to build more healthy and sustainable communities. This change recognizes changes in vehicle ownership levels in our City and provide a balance in terms of how much parking is require on site.
The adapted regulations – in alignment with the City’s climate action strategy, TransformTO and the Provincial Policy Statement and the Growth Plan (2019) as amended – moves Toronto forward as it strives to meet strong targets that address environmental sustainability including reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving livability for residents and creating healthier communities.

These Zoning Bylaw updates encourages residents to use alternatives to the car such as walking, cycling and taking transit, which reduces traffic congestion and creates space to improve conditions for pedestrians, cyclists and transit users.

This more strategic and thoughtful management of the parking supply will contribute to the City’s priorities to address the climate emergency, improve housing affordability by reducing the inclusion of expensive and unnecessary parking spots and its encourages alternative forms of mobility for more people.

The City's Press Release may be found here.

Vacant Home Tax

I am pleased to report that City Council has approved our new Vacant Home Tax, set to take effect this January. I have long advocated for this tool to ensure that properties are used as someone's home and not simply a commodity. This program will be a 1% charge on vacant units across the City. The object of this policy is not to secure revenue but rather ensure that residential properties do not sit idle but are made available for use in a City where the demand for housing is so high. If there is revenue it will be applied to secure or protect more affordable housing in our City including the possibility of support the City's Multi-Unit Residential Acquisition Fund

It is important that this program is designed thoughtfully and considering the realities of our residents that is why we approved some scenarios that will be considered by staff for exemptions. You may read the full report here. You may also read the City's Press Release here.

Cycling Network Plan

This meeting also saw the approval of the 
2021 Cycling Network Plan Update and Fourth Quarter Update and the Future of the 2020 ActiveTO Cycling Network Projects

These projects are part of an ambitious active transportation network in our city - and in Davenport itself! A number of new cycling lanes and upgrades are coming here in Davenport - notably along Havelock Avenue, Bartlett Street, Gladstone Avenue, and Bloor Street West! These are exciting projects that will improve safety for all road users - whether they are pedestrians, cyclists, or drivers.

I will continue to advocate for dedicated cycling infrastructure in addition to safer streets as this implementation plan continues to advance. Stay tuned for Community Consultations on the design of our local cycling routes early in the new year!

Bill 21 - Support for the Legal Challenge

Yesterday, City Council unanimously voted in support of an urgent motion to reaffirm the City of Toronto’s opposition to the Province of Quebec’s Bill 21 and to provide a one-time financial contribution of up to $100,000 to support the joint legal challenge to the Bill being brought by the National Council of Canadian Muslims, the World Sikh Organization, and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

City Council also called on all other Canadian municipalities to affirm their opposition to Bill 21 and provide financial contributions to support the legal challenge.

I seconded and fully supported this motion at City Council to reaffirm our opposition to Quebec's Bill C21, which is contrary to our values and Charter of Rights and Freedoms. When inclusion, diversity and equality is challenged anywhere, it is challenged everywhere.

2022 Rate-Supported Budgets

Toronto City Council approved the 2022 rate-supported operating and capital budgets for Toronto Water, Solid Waste Management Services, and Toronto Parking Authority (TPA). The approved budgets maintain current service levels and make critical investments in infrastructure while approving planned rate increases of three per cent for Toronto Water and Solid Waste Management Services.

The approval process for the City’s 2022 operating and capital budget for all other services and programs will begin at Budget Committee on Thursday, January 13, 2022.

More information about the 2022 rate-supported budget is available on the City’s website.


Office Holiday Hours - Closed from December 24th to January 5th

It has been great to be able to connect with our community in person at my Davenport Community Office located at 1240 Bloor Street West over the past few months after a long COVID-19 related closure. The Community office is open for in-person office hours from Wednesday to Friday from 1pm to 5pm. Due to the Holiday Season we will be closed starting on Friday December 24th, 2021 and re-opening on Wednesday January 5th, 2022 with the same Office Hours and following all the public health guidelines.

Our City Hall office is open daily for non-in person assistance from 8:30am to 4:30pm. We will also be closed for the Holiday Season starting December 24th at noon and resuming our services on January 4th.

If you require immediate assistance, 311 Toronto is remains available over the holiday season - they can be reached by phone at 311, or by email at [email protected]


We're Hiring! - Advisor, Communications and Community Engagement

This is an exciting opportunity to contribute your skills in communications, digital media, and public affairs to one of Toronto’s most diverse and engaged constituencies in Davenport.

This is a fast-paced, highly rewarding role with an equal emphasis on providing strong strategic communications support for the Councillor’s office, ensuring quality customer service, and creating community impact and outreach through consistent, frequent, and engaging content for residents and stakeholders.

Major Responsibilities:

  • Develop and implement communications and public outreach strategies
  • Create content, oversee the design layout and production of the newsletters, e-newsletters and notices to the community
  • Create content and oversee website design
  • Monitor and manage social media accounts, identify key issues, concerns and make recommendations as well as flag questions – generate daily social media plans – includes Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
  • Design graphics and edits videos to ensure social media is engaging and accessible
  • Creative writing, be the lead for crafting press releases, announcements and letters
  • Respond to calls, emails and queries from the public on major policy issues
  • Other responsibilities would include leading initiatives within assigned policy portfolios and project manage key initiatives in the Ward

Job Requirements:

  • experience in a communications and/or public relations role, ideally in a  policy or government setting.
  • experience developing and managing digital media for an organization, ideally in a policy or government context.
  • Being an exceptional writer with an ability to adapt your style to the Councillor’s voice and key messages, and to tailor content style for different media and audiences.
  • Experience with digital media tools
  • Having a desire to translate knowledge to make City Hall more accessible and interesting to the community, particularly on big policy debates and issues of importance to Ward 9, Davenport.
  • Bringing a strong customer service orientation, with a desire to connect with communities, develop dialogue, and grow engagement and outreach.
  • Offering an ability to thrive in a self-driven, fast-paced environment with multiple stakeholders, changing priorities and limited daily direction.
  • Existing network of media contacts a bonus.

Further Expectations:

  • Work requires evening and weekend availability.
  • The work environment is fast-paced and reflects the frequently reactive or shifting priorities typical within political life.
  • Our team has high expectations for attention to the small things as well as the big – in a public facing role, each interaction with residents and non-residents matters.

What this means to you:

  • An opportunity to produce compelling content to engage residents in the issues that matter most to them while honing your skills as a communicator and creator.
  • Experiencing the ins and outs of municipal government and City Hall politics.
  • Exposure to a wide range of issues affecting the City of Toronto, Canada’s largest city and seventh largest government.
  • A supportive culture that encourages training and learning opportunities, with a growth-oriented feedback culture.
  • Flexible work schedule with advance notice, including ability for occasional work from home.
  • Three weeks’ vacation after probation period ends.

How to apply:

Using the subject line “Application – Advisor, Communications and Community Engagement”, please email your resume, cover letter and a short portfolio of your work to:

Michael Giles, Chief of Staff

[email protected]


Dufferin Grove Park Update

As we head into the winter season and a New Year, I wanted to provide you with some exciting updates regarding Dufferin Grove Park, the north-west corner and clubhouse.

In November we saw a number of improvements and milestones achieved:

  • Clubhouse roof reinforced and below-grade plumbing installed.
  • The foundations for the new Zamboni garage are underway.
  • The contractor is now installing the light poles for the rink and is preparing the site for the new basketball court.

Overall, work continues to progress on schedule and in accordance with the project timeline.

The rink will be under construction for the 2021-2022 skating season. During the season, the City of Toronto will work with the community to operate a natural ice rink starting in January with hopefully the weather cooperating in terms of temperatures. In the coming weeks you will see the rink, located to the east of the field house, start to take shape with the boards going up. 

The new rink will be open for the following 2022-2023 skating season with all planned construction work to be completed by February 2023.

To learn more about the project including maps, drawings, updates, or to stay connected please visit: Dufferin Grove Park North-West Corner Improvements – City of Toronto.

Other park activations such as the Dufferin Grove Farmers Market, recreational "try-it" programs, community picnics, fire pits, gardening programs, and Adventure Playground are all under development and renewal for the 2022 season. Stay tuned.

With each passing day, we're all pleased to see the transformation of the park taking place. Dufferin Grove Park has always been a centrepiece of our community and with these new and improved facilities along with opportunities for programming it will become even better for families and neighbours in the community.


City of Toronto Winter Snow Removal

The City has a comprehensive and highly coordinated snow and ice clearing plan that prioritizes the safety and movement of everyone above all else. The winter service program is based on winter contract commitments, long-term weather patterns/average snowfall data, and more. Snow clearing takes place at different intervals, seen in the chart below:

Bike lanes and cycle tracks are salted and/or plowed at about the same time as the adjacent road, based on the levels of service. There is also a priority network of bike lanes and cycle tracks in the downtown core that will receive enhanced winter services to improve safety for cyclists. 

The City clears snow from sidewalks in most areas of the City, where it is physically possible to clear snow mechanically (i.e. using a small plow).  Sidewalk plowing takes place when there is 2 cm of snow accumulation and the snow has stopped falling, or when icy conditions dictate. Sidewalks with high pedestrian volume (arterial roads, school zones, transit areas, and accessibility locations) will be cleared first. Sidewalk clearing after a snowfall takes approximately 13 hours to complete and, depending on the storm severity, may occur more than once. Sidewalk clearing can continue up to 72 hours after the snow has stopped falling.

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For additional information, the City provides comprehensive webpages outlining all winter services:

Visit Toronto.ca/snow for a comprehensive overview on snow clearing and winter management plans.

Visit Toronto.ca/PlowTO to track real-time locations of plows, sidewalk plows and salt trucks and identify which roads have been serviced by winter snow clearing vehicles and crews.

Visit Toronto.ca/salt for information on Toronto's Salt Management Plan - and how we use, store, and transport road salt.


Winter Community Holiday Skating Party & Vaccine Clinic

On December 5th, I was delighted to join with the community for my Davenport Winter Community Holiday Skating Party. It was amazing to see so many of you come out and join the community for an afternoon of holiday festivities and skating. I want to thank our community partners - the Friends of Earlscourt Park, Earlscourt BBQ, The Good Son Restaurant, and Mia MacDonald for providing food, hot drinks, music, and loaner skates for our community to enjoy!

In addition to our holiday fun, I was glad to hear that roughly 150 individuals - both adults and kids aged 5-11 were able to receive their vaccines. Our community has shown great uptake in our local clinics, and I will continue to work for more accessible and local clinics in the New Year.


Property Standards Bylaw Review - Public Survey (Until December 20th)

The City of Toronto is reviewing the property standards bylaw to ensure that all properties are safe and well maintained and that the rules under the bylaw are clear and consistent. Take the survey to share your opinions, ideas and concerns.  Your feedback will be used to help inform a staff report that is expected at the Planning and Housing Committee in early 2022. Phase 2 of the property standards review will address long-term directives and will aim to align regulations with City strategies such as the Resilience Strategy, Biodiversity Strategy and Toronto Green Standard.

For more information on the Property Standards Bylaw & Review, visit here


Expanding Housing Options in Neighbourhoods Public Survey - (Until December 31st)

From now and until December 31st 2021, the City is looking for your feedback on expanding permissions for multiplexes across the city. Fill out a short survey and have your say!

Expanding Housing Options in Neighbourhoods is a City of Toronto initiative I have supported to facilitate more low-rise housing in residential neighbourhoods to meet the needs of our growing city. The City is working to expand opportunities for “missing middle” housing forms in Toronto, ranging from duplexes to low-rise walk-up apartments. All of these housing types can be found in many parts of Toronto today, but they are also limited in where they can be newly built. Expanding Housing Options in Neighbourhoods is one solution among a range of City initiatives to increase housing choice and access and create a more equitable, sustainable city.

 


Upcoming Local Events:

Christmas All Over the World with Isabel M (December 23rd)

Join us for an evening of Holiday Music as we gather…ON ZOOM and share songs and stories with friends and neighbours.

Thursday, December 23rd, 2021 @ 8:00 p.m.

A WONDERFUL TRADITION FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY... Do you have a favourite Christmas Carol that brings back memories? Come share it with the community!

ZOOM LINK:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82532060656

Admission is free! All are welcome.

To Register, click below or just use the Zoom Link above and join:

Christmas Around the World Tickets, Thu, 23 Dec 2021 at 8:00 PM | Eventbrite

 


Davenport Construction Notices

Toronto Hydro Overhead & Underground Electrical Work Eglinton Avenue West & Gilbert Avenue

Toronto Hydro is planning to relocate the overhead and underground electrical system in our community to accommodate City of Toronto’s storm sewer rehabilitation. This relocation includes relocating overhead and underground electrical cables as well as temporarily relocating hydro poles on city-owned property.

The boundaries for the project include Eglinton Avenue West (North), Caledonia Road (East), Keith Avenue (South), and Croham Road (West). We expect the work to begin December 2021.

Expected timeline - December 2021 to March 2022.

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City Hall Address:

Toronto City Hall
100 Queen Street West, Suite C42
Toronto, ON M5H 2N2

Open: Monday - Friday 8:30AM - 4:30PM

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 416-392-7012

Fax: 416-392-7957

Constituency Office:

1240 Bloor Street West
Toronto, ON M6H 1N5

Open: Wednesday, Thursday and Friday
1pm - 6pm

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