Toronto City Council met on March 28 and 29, 2017. Council Highlights is an informal summary of a selection of the decisions Toronto City Council made at its recent business meeting. The City Clerk's formal documentation is available at http://www.toronto.ca/council.
Scarborough subway extension
Council approved the McCowan alignment for the extension of the Bloor-Danforth subway (Line 2) from Kennedy Station to Scarborough Centre, and approved an approach to procurement for the subway project. Council also endorsed a concept for a 34-bay bus terminal at the Scarborough Centre station and called for the encouragement of private-sector involvement in that project. In addition, staff were asked to work on a funding plan and construction timetable for the Eglinton East Crosstown Extension as part of the Scarborough network.
Standards for apartment buildings
Council approved the regulation of apartment buildings with the aim of improving tenants' living conditions. The resulting apartment bylaw will apply to rental buildings three or more storeys tall and having 10 or more dwelling units available for rent. It will not apply to co-operative housing, long-term-care facilities or licensed retirement homes.
Council adopted a motion to encourage the passage and implementation of the provincial Rent Protection for All Tenants Act, 2017 for Ontario. Council also affirmed its support for changing the current situation so that tenants living in housing built or occupied after 1991 would have legislated protection to control their rent increases. Many Torontonians now spend more than half of their income on rent.
Strategy on chain stores
Council voted to request a report on creating a retail strategy that addresses the threat chain stores pose to the character of many Toronto neighbourhoods. The motion Council adopted specifies that the envisioned strategy will ensure new retail uses are consistent with the Official Plan's goals and will promote variation in the size and type of new retail spaces on commercial main streets.
Caffeinated energy drinks
Council agreed to amend the City's municipal alcohol policy so as to require the organizers of events held on City property to be familiar with Health Canada’s caution against mixing caffeinated energy drinks with alcohol. Event organizers are to be asked not to sell caffeinated energy drinks with alcohol. In addition, Council supported asking the City's agencies to consider not selling energy drinks to anyone under age 18.
Commitment to a tolerant Toronto
Council supported a motion calling on Council to condemn all forms of racism and discrimination in light of a rise in racially and bias-motivated acts in Toronto.
Federal investment in affordable housing
Council supported a motion for the City to ask the Canadian government to implement the commitments to housing funding made in the 2017 federal budget and to establish a housing funding allocation model for investing funds based on housing need. Council agreed to ask the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development to release the government's proposed national housing strategy.
Gender diversity for suppliers
A motion pertaining to gender diversity in City procurements received Council's support. As a result, staff are to report back later this year on the possibility of establishing a requirement that the board of directors of companies contracting to provide goods and services to the City have at least 30 percent gender diversity.
Making meeting rooms accessible
Council voted to ask staff to pursue interim measures to make sure the council chambers and committee rooms at Toronto City Hall and the civic centres are accessible and comply with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.
Managing City investments
Council established an Investment Board to manage and oversee the City's investment of funds not immediately needed by the City. The board, which will become effective next January, will replace an existing investment advisory committee that has provided advice on investments. This change is tied to a City of Toronto Act financial regulation that takes effect January 1, 2018.
A motion raising the possibility of Toronto bidding to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games, which was on the Council meeting's agenda, was referred to the Economic Development Committee without any discussion of the subject at the Council meeting.
Call for inquest into fire fatality
Council adopted a motion calling on the City to request a public inquest into the February 2017 death of Vernon Belanger, who died as a result of a fire in his unit at the Community Housing building located at 291 George St.
Regulation of dog collars
Council directed staff to undertake public consultation on the use of "prong, choke and slip" dog collars and to report back to the Licensing and Standards Committee. Council approved the repeal of a section of the Animals chapter of the Toronto Municipal Code that banned use of the collars. Information accompanying a motion before Council indicated that organizations such as the Canadian National Institute for the Blind need to be able to use such collars in their training of service dogs, for example.
Council adopted a motion asking Transportation Services to speed up its efforts to remove "ball play prohibited" signs from Toronto streets where they are still posted. In addition, the police board will be urged to educate police officers about the City's lift of the ban on playing hockey and basketball on streets under certain conditions and to end police enforcement of the old prohibition.
Disposal of old computers
Council supported a motion to ask staff to report on the disposal of expired computer equipment at the City, giving priority to providing usable equipment to not-for-profit organizations that have a working or financial relationship with the City. The report will also identify options for distributing computer equipment overseas in support of economic development and city building.
Toronto City Council met on January 31, 2017 Council Highlights is an informal summary of decisions made by Toronto City Council. The City Clerk's formal documentation of all the meeting's decisions is available at http://www.toronto.ca/council.
Waste collection east of Yonge Street
Council considered the matter of curbside waste collection service east of Yonge Street and voted to refer the matter to staff for further study and a later report to the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee. The current curbside collection system is split between contracted collection west of Yonge Street and in-house collection by City workers east of Yonge Street.
Support for arts and heritage spaces
Council adopted a motion to ask the Ontario government to work with municipalities to explore ways to support non-profit arts organizations and incubators, and to help conserve heritage properties through property assessment measures. Background information with the motion says Toronto heritage assets such as the building at 401 Richmond St. W. in the King-Spadina area – and the creative organizations inside it – are under threat from development pressures.
Modernizing Ontario's municipal legislation
Council adopted motions that will be part of the City's input for changes the Ontario government is considering for modernizing its legislation governing municipalities. If passed, Bill 68, Modernizing Ontario's Municipal Legislation Act, 2016, will amend the City of Toronto Act, the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, the Municipal Elections Act and other municipal statutes.
Appointment of Medical Officer of Health
Council approved the appointment of Dr. Eileen de Villa as Toronto’s new Medical Officer of Health, as recommended by the Board of Health. The new Medical Officer of Health is scheduled to start work at the City on March 27. Dr. Barbara Yaffe will continue to serve as the Acting Medical Officer of Health until the end of March.
Appointment of City Solicitor
Council approved the appointment of Wendy Walberg as Toronto’s new City Solicitor, effective February 15. Walberg, a long-time member of the City's Legal Services division, takes over the City Solicitor position from Anna Kinastowski, who retired last year. Brian Haley has served as interim City Solicitor for the past eight months.
Resources for review of development applications
Council asked staff to prepare a report on the City's development approval process, including improvements for identifying buildings of heritage significance that may be under threat of demolition. The City is increasing staff resources to handle increased development applications. Applications in City Planning have increased by 27 per cent over the past three years, with a total of 4,790 applications submitted in 2016.
Sponsorship of Syrian refugees
Council supported asking the federal government to ensure that Syrian refugee families, as well as families from other countries, are processed and travel arrangements made so sponsorship groups ready to host families can welcome them to Canada within three months. Council is also asking the government to reconsider its current cap on the maximum number of privately-sponsored refugees and to review Canada's refugee resettlement plan for 2017.
Toronto as a Sanctuary City
Council voted to re-affirm Toronto as a Sanctuary City where all residents have full rights to access municipal services without fear regardless of their documentation status. The motion that was adopted also urges the federal government to uphold a Canadian immigration and refugee policy that is based on the values of inclusion, acceptance and non-discrimination.
Charter for inclusive communities
Council endorsed the National Council of Canadian Muslims' Charter for Inclusive Communities, which commits signatories to promote inclusive, just and respectful communities. The motion that was before Council said the charter "not only acknowledges that Islamophobia presents real dangers to certain members of our community, it asserts that, as a community, we have a duty to work towards eliminating the hate."
Transit fare inspection and enforcement
The Toronto Municipal Code will be amended allow members of the Toronto Transit Commission's transit enforcement unit to tag and tow vehicles that disrupt transit service. Council approved the measure in the context of a report on a new transit fare inspection and enforcement model recently adopted by the TTC.
Parking options for commuters
Council agreed to direct staff to consult with stakeholders and report back by April on the parking needs of commuters using the Spadina-University subway line in the northern part of the city. The objective is to consider circumstances that have reduced commuter parking in the area and recommend options for more commuter parking.
Safety at electronic dance events
Council voted to ask staff to undertake a review of the City's policies and regulations on the operation of electronic dance music venues, particularly those that attract large crowds. Staff are to report back with a strategy and recommendations on ways to enhance public health and safety at such venues.
Donation of public art and monuments
Council adopted a new policy on donations of public art and monuments to the City, replacing the old policy on donations. The updated policy will help to ensure that works donated to the City clearly show their relationship to Toronto and reflect the diversity of its public spaces. The City currently has about 200 pieces in its public art collection, of which about a third are monuments and other commemorative pieces.
Commemoration - Afghanistan conflict
Council approved accepting a donated monument for Toronto to recognize the contributions and sacrifices of Canadian soldiers during the 2001-2014 Afghanistan conflict. A charitable organization called Canada Company has proposed donating a decommissioned light-armoured vehicle as a monument. Some veterans of the conflict are Toronto residents. Details such as the monument's location still need to be worked out.
College Street Bar
Council adopted a motion calling for actions to address concerns involving the operation of College Street Bar, 574 College St.
Signs at Yonge-Dundas Square
Council authorized Yonge-Dundas Square's board of management to negotiate a 10-year agreement with Outfront Media Canada for a new signage program on the downtown square. Current signs will be replaced by co-ordinated signage for visitors to the City-owned square.
Recognition of family caregivers
Council supported establishing Family Caregiver Day in Toronto, marking the day on the first Tuesday in April each year. The intention is to recognize the social and economic contributions made by family caregivers and offer support as a municipality.
Toronto City Council met on December 13, 14 and 15, 2016. Council Highlights is an informal summary of a selection of the decisions made by Toronto City Council. The City Clerk's formal documentation is available at http://www.toronto.ca/council.
Council adopted measures involving City of Toronto revenues, agreeing to ask the Ontario government to make legislative reforms that will allow the City to implement tolls on roads owned by the City and a tax on hotel and short-term accommodation rentals. Council specified that all revenue collected from road tolls on the Don Valley Parkway and the Gardiner Expressway will be dedicated to transit and transportation initiatives.
Council adopted recommendations that address the City's use of funding from the federal government for Toronto infrastructure, including public transit and water/wastewater projects. Council's authorization allows the City to proceed with related intergovernmental funding agreements.
Rehabilitation of Gardiner Expressway
Council authorized a new approach for the rehabilitation of the F.G. Gardiner Expressway. The new approach involves phasing the rehabilitation based on the expressway's structural condition and, among other measures, incorporates techniques for mitigating traffic congestion during the work. The expressway has been in service for about 60 years and the concrete deck for the elevated section is approaching the end of its design life.
Mid-term committee appointments
Council approved the mid-term appointments of Council members to various committees, agencies and external bodies. Most of the appointments are for the period January 1, 2017 to November 30, 2018 and until successors are appointed. Council's committees consist of the Executive Committee, seven standing committees and six special committees.
Council adopted the 2017 rate-supported budgets for Toronto Water, Solid Waste Management Services and the Toronto Parking Authority. Those budgets are called "rate-supported" because they are funded entirely by users through fees. In 2017, Toronto homeowners will pay an average of five per cent more for water services and two per cent more for waste collection pickup.
Fair Pass transit program
Council voted to establish a Fair Pass program to improve low-income Torontonians' access to public transit once Presto is fully operational, among other measures tied to the Poverty Reduction Strategy. Funding for the program's first phase is to be considered in the City's 2018 operating budget, with an anticipated start date of March 2018. The proposed discount under Fair Pass for those eligible is 33 per cent for an adult TTC Presto fare and 21 per cent for the adult monthly pass.
Municipal election preparations
Council considered recent changes to the Municipal Elections Act and supported taking steps to have new modems and software in place for Toronto's 2018 municipal election. The City will explore establishing a partnership with Elections Ontario to share voting technology in future elections. Council also considered a motion that proposed exploring the possible future use of ranked ballots in Toronto. Council voted against supporting the motion.
Resiliency officer for Toronto
Council approved the recruitment of a chief resiliency officer to help establish and guide implementation of a resiliency strategy for Toronto. The strategy is intended to improve Toronto's ability to adapt and respond to the physical, social and economic challenges of the 21st century. The two-year position is to be funded by a grant from 100 Resilient Cities, an initiative pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation.
Council approved a set of short-term strategies for TransformTO, intended to expand and accelerate existing City programs and policies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The short-term strategy ties in with Council's goal of achieving an 80 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2050.
Council authorized the City to negotiate a new agreement with Metrolinx for the Smart Commute workplace program to update its funding and administration. Smart Commute works to support people in shifting to more sustainable transportation instead of driving to and from work alone. About 300,000 employees in Toronto are currently supported by Smart Commute, which has helped reduce greenhouse gas emissions since 2008.
Council adopted a series of amendments to the Toronto Municipal Code chapter dealing with dangerous dogs – specifically the prevention of dog bites, the risks associated with dangerous dogs and the responsibilities of dog owners. Responsibilities now include muzzling the dog and displaying warning signs on the property, among others. The amendments also address matters of animal welfare.
Ontario Municipal Board review
Council adopted a series of recommendations to provide input for the provincial government's current review of the Ontario Municipal Board's scope and effectiveness. The province's proposed changes are intended to give more weight to local and provincial decisions, support alternative ways to settle disputes and support clearer, more predictable decision-making.
Toronto Hydro and Toronto Parking Authority
Council approved actions to enhance Toronto Hydro Corporation's balance sheet, restoring its capacity to pay dividends, and to enhance the Toronto Parking Authority's ability to generate income. Council's decision follows a recent study on optimization of the City's investments in Toronto Hydro, a City corporation, and the Toronto Parking Authority, a City agency.
George Brown waterfront expansion
Council approved steps to proceed with the sale of a City-owned waterfront property east of Lower Jarvis Street to George Brown College. The college plans to construct an academic building focused on technology and innovation. The property, north of the existing George Brown College academic building, is to include a non-profit child care centre.
Construction and trees
Council voted to ask for a report from Parks, Forestry and Recreation on a plan for proactively and effectively protecting City trees during development projects.
Council approved amendments to the City's Eco-Roof Incentive Program, which was established in 2008 to encourage the installation of green roofs and cool roofs on buildings. The changes adopted are intended to further advance the implementation of eco-roofs in Toronto and include increasing the incentive offered for green roofs, providing financial support for structural assessments and allowing partial cool-roof retrofits.
Improved PATH wayfinding
Council approved funding to help pay for a new sign system to be created for the financial district's underground PATH pedestrian walkway that connects downtown office towers, retail hubs and transit. In recent public consultations, improving wayfinding in the PATH was the top priority identified by people in the financial district.
Accessibility at civic meetings
Council supported increasing the accessibility of the City's public consultations and committee meetings through the inclusion of alternative and visual languages, including audio description, for communication. Staff have been asked to work on accessibility standards for participation at public meetings.
Accessibility on bus routes
Council decided to ask the Toronto Transit Commission to review the process for classifying bus stops/routes to help determine ways to improve accessibility at bus stops and along bus routes. Council also wants to make sure TTC bus passengers can be dropped off between bus stops at safe, accessible locations.
Support for community basketball
A basketball development plan intended to build capacity in community basketball through means such as a strengthened network of community basketball program providers received Council's approval. Under the plan, Parks, Forestry and Recreation is to establish an introductory basketball program, among other initiatives.
Rail safety incidents
Council voted to ask staff to review and report on last August's train derailment at Dupont Street and Howland Avenue in the Annex area, with a focus on improving the City's communication with the public during derailments and similar incidents. A motion addressing the subject said that while the derailment in August was contained without drastic effects, the incident created anxiety in the neighbourhood and was a sharp reminder of rail safety risks in the city.
Alternatives to on-street parking
Council supported a motion to ask City staff and the Toronto Parking Authority to prepare a report on options for allowing the regulated use of technology/apps to facilitate sharing or renting private driveways and parking spaces.
Massey Hall revitalization
Council voted to express its support for the Massey Hall revitalization project and encourage the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport to allocate funds to help advance the second phase of the revitalization. A study shows that a revitalized Massey Hall will contribute to long-term growth in jobs and other economic and cultural benefits.
Lost railway stations of West Toronto
Council agreed to indicate its support for replacing the "lost railway stations of West Toronto" by asking Metrolinx to work with area residents on using the architectural template of some of the former railway depots/stations in the area to support design of new stations as part of GO Regional Express Rail and SmartTrack transit services.
Agriculture in Don Valley
Council approved a proposal to look into creating an urban farm in the Lower Don lands, with the feasibility study to be incorporated into current studies of Toronto ravines and the Lower Don area. There is community interest in creating an urban farm similar to Black Creek Community Farm. The envisaged Don Valley agricultural farm would be situated on public lands south of the Brick Works.
Toronto City Council met on November 8th and 9th, 2016. Council Highlights is an informal summary of a selection of decisions made by Toronto City Council. The City Clerk's formal documentation is available at http://www.toronto.ca/council.
Toronto's transit network
Council approved recommendations on negotiated terms for cost sharing and revenue sharing with the Province of Ontario and its transit agency, Metrolinx, and authorized City officials to enter into intergovernmental agreements on a range of transit initiatives. A "Stage Gate" process will be established for the planning, design and delivery of the SmartTrack project. The integrated SmartTrack/Regional Express Rail scenario includes six new stations and the Eglinton West LRT.
Decision on ward boundaries
Council voted in favour of moving from the current 44 wards to 47 wards. The 47-ward structure will achieve an average population of 61,000 people in each ward, with one councillor elected for each ward, reflecting the principle of effective representation. Certain parts of the city have experienced significant population growth since ward boundaries were previously reviewed in 2000. The intention is to have the new ward boundaries in place for the 2018 municipal election.
Filling councillor vacancy in Ward 42
Council decided to hold a byelection to fill the vacancy on Council for Ward 42 Scarborough-Rouge River that resulted from former councillor Raymond Cho's resignation after he was elected to the Ontario legislature. Nominations opened on November 10 and will be accepted until December 30, culminating in the byelection on February 13, 2017.
World Expo bid
Council discussed the possibility of Toronto mounting a bid to host the World Expo 2025 world's fair and decided the City will not develop a bid. Council affirmed that it remains open to considering future Expo bids, including for Expo 2030.
Flood protection for the Port Lands
Council approved plans and the anticipated funding arrangements – involving City, federal and provincial funding – to undertake the Essroc Quay project as a component of flood protection work required for development of Toronto's Port Lands. Flood protection is needed to prepare for possible catastrophic flooding of the Don River. The project will involve the creation of a naturalized mouth of the Don River and other flood protection measures. Proceeding with the work still requires confirmation of federal and provincial funding commitments.
Gender diversity in public appointments
Council supported setting a goal of achieving gender equality in appointments to City corporate boards, such as the boards of Toronto Hydro and Toronto Community Housing, by 2020. Council also asked for an annual report on the gender composition of appointments made on the recommendation of Council's nominating panel for corporations. At present, about 30 per cent of the public members appointed to the corporations' boards are women.
Cold weather services this winter
Council authorized the addition of beds to the emergency shelter system for temporary winter services, as well as new locations and funding as needed to support other measures to help homeless people in Toronto cope with the cold this winter. The City's Shelter, Support and Housing Administration division works with community partners to deliver a range of winter services, including during extreme cold weather alerts.
Aboriginal flags at City Hall
Council voted in favour of installing the flags of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, the Metis peoples, the Haudenasaunee and the Huron-Wendat at Toronto City Hall on a permanent basis, demonstrating the City's support for its First Nations communities. Toronto is situated on the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation and the Metis peoples.
Police car graphics
Council agreed to ask the Toronto Police Services Board to respond to public concerns about the grey-coloured police cruisers Toronto police have started to introduce as a replacement for cars with the long familiar white, red and blue colour scheme. If a review finds that a change from the current look is warranted, Council wants steps taken to make sure the colours and graphics chosen "reflect the City’s values of diversity, inclusiveness and mutual respect."
Response to audits
Council considered reports from the Audit Committee and approved actions to improve the City's management of long-term disability benefits and prescription drug claims under the City's benefits program, as well as actions pertaining to the City’s fair wage policy. The fair wage policy is in place to make sure employees of companies doing business with, or working for, the City of Toronto receive a fair wage.
Licensed childcare in Toronto
Council adopted measures to support the development of a multi-year growth strategy for the City's licensed childcare system, which involves working with the provincial and federal governments to address capacity and affordability. On another agenda item involving childcare in Toronto, Council approved the establishment of a new funding model to support agencies providing home-based licensed childcare under contract with the Children's Services division.
Interim home for Red Door shelter
Council approved a proposal to lease a building at 1430 Gerrard St. E. for about three years as an emergency shelter for women and children while the shelter's Queen Street East site is redeveloped as a mixed-use building that will include a permanent Red Door family shelter. The plan envisages the Gerrard Street site eventually being used to provide transitional housing for families.
Use of service animals
Council endorsed amending the Toronto Municipal Code on the subject of service animals. The changes, which update the definition of service animal and provide exemptions for people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal, are intended to ensure the equitable treatment of people with disabilities who are accompanied by service animals.
Training for servers of alcohol
Council adopted a motion to ask Ontario's alcohol and gaming commission to include in its Smart Serve training program – training for alcoholic beverage servers – instructions on identifying and intervening when incidents of sexual assault, harassment and violence occur involving colleagues or customers. Research has shown that bars, nightclubs and other establishments where alcohol is served have relatively high rates of sexual violence in and around them.
Live music venues in Toronto
A motion calling for the City to devise a strategy for the preservation of live music venues in Toronto received Council's support. There are concerns that gentrification and redevelopment, especially in the downtown core, could have a negative effect on the city's live music industry.
Caribbean Carnival safety
Council adopted a motion calling for staff to meet with Toronto Caribbean Carnival organizers and stakeholders as well as the City's liaison committee to work on a plan addressing safety and security issues during the annual carnival. Next year is the parade's 50th anniversary and more people than usual may attend the popular event. Concerns have been raised about large numbers of "stormers" – spectators who join and disrupt the parade of mas bands.
A motion addressing the matter of Canadian flags on City property received support from Council. As a result, City of Toronto divisions, agencies and corporations will need to create a schedule for inspecting and maintaining their national flags in good condition.
Transporting food in the Toronto area
Council voted to support an effort by the transportation industry and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs to move more of the transportation of food off Greater Toronto Area (GTA) roads and onto rail. About a million truckloads of food and packaged goods move through the GTA annually. Greater use of trains would help food manufacturers lower their transportation costs while reducing road congestion and carbon emissions.
High Park Zoo
Council declared the High Park Zoo Master Plan a priority for the City of Toronto. The designation will open grant opportunities from outside organizations and other levels of government to help cover the costs of repairs and upgrades identified through work on the master plan. The zoo has been part of High Park for almost 125 years.
Skateboarding in Toronto
Council approved a skateboard strategy to serve as a guide for the City in creating a network of skateboard facilities and programs in Toronto, including for deciding on the locations of future skatepark facilities. Toronto currently has 14 outdoor skateparks. Council also supported a motion pertaining to informal, do-it-yourself skateboar
Toronto City Council met on October 5, 6 and 7, 2016. Council Highlights is an informal summary of a selection of decisions made by Toronto City Council. The City Clerk's formal documentation is available at http://www.toronto.ca/council.
Work plan for rail deck park
Council approved funding to study the feasibility of a "rail deck" park involving a major park space above the rail corridor between Bathurst Street and Blue Jays Way in Toronto. Staff were asked to report back next year on an implementation strategy that addresses matters such as options for securing air rights above the rail corridor and for project funding with an emphasis on growth-related revenue sources.
Emergency shelter on Runnymede Road
Council approved locating a new emergency men’s shelter at 731 Runnymede Rd. in Ward 11, subject to the City securing a lease on reasonable terms for the location. The City-operated shelter will start with 50 beds. More beds could be added in response to extreme weather conditions and over time as needed. Council also supported undertaking a campaign to increase public awareness of homelessness and of the need for shelters across the city.
Fleet Services review
A detailed implementation plan for Fleet Services' operating strategy received Council's approval. The plan includes contracting out preventive maintenance and repairs of non-specialized Class 1 and 2 vehicles (cars and light-duty trucks) to enhance fleet reliability and availability. The Fleet Services division manages the maintenance and repair of thousands of vehicles and pieces of motorized equipment at garages across Toronto.
Sublease for Beaches restaurant
Council provided direction concerning restaurant and concession operations run by Tuggs Inc. at Woodbine Beach Park and vicinity. As a result, Tuggs can sublease a restaurant (previously operated as Paralia Restaurant) in the building at 1681 Lake Shore Blvd. E. Council authorized staff to start discussions on the City acquiring the remaining term of the agreement between the City and Tuggs, which currently has an end date of 2028.
Club's lease at Exhibition Place
Council approved changes to Muzik nightclub's lease with Exhibition Place, including an amendment that will allow Muzik to host banquets and occasional trade shows. Another amendment will enable Exhibition Place management to move the statues of the Garden of the Greek Gods into public view from within the club's fenced premises.
Support for survivors of domestic violence
Council gave the Shelter, Support and Housing Administration division permission to use funding provided by the Ontario housing ministry to run a pilot program that provides a housing benefit to survivors of domestic violence. Staff estimate that the pilot program will assist about 350 people to secure housing during the next few months.
Bike lanes on Woodbine Avenue
Council approved the installation of northbound and southbound cycle tracks and bicycle lanes on Woodbine Avenue between O'Connor Drive and Queen Street East, as well as an eastbound contra-flow bike lane on Corley Avenue to connect with Woodbine. Sections of several other Toronto streets, including on Sheppard Avenue East and Kingston Road, received Council's approval for bike lane designation or for the conversion of existing bike lanes to cycle tracks.
Cultural Corridor designation
Council supported providing official City of Toronto recognition of Bloor Street between Bay Street and Bathurst Streets as a Cultural Corridor. More than three million people a year attend exhibitions, performances and events along that section of Bloor Street, with its museums, film screenings, art exhibitions, concerts, culture talks, theatre and architecture. A related Bloor Street Cultural Partnership is made up of, and funded by, member arts organizations.
City's relationship with non-profit sector
Council directed staff to take steps to establish a "whole of government" policy direction and actions to guide and modernize the City’s relationship with the community-based, non-profit/voluntary sector service providers in Toronto. A whole-of-government approach refers to working across portfolio and divisional boundaries for an integrated response. The City relies on non-profit organizations to fulfill many civic objectives involving arts and culture, social services and the environment.
Updating tall building setbacks downtown
Council adopted amendments to Toronto's Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw to update the policies and performance standards for tall downtown buildings' setbacks from lot lines. The changes, which result from the TOcore planning study, provide standards for the planning and design of tall buildings, including appropriate separation distances between buildings.
Council asked City staff to consider developing online resources and leveraging current consultation initiatives as ways of providing information about City services and resources available to condominium dwellers.
Guidelines for bedroom design
Council directed staff to work with the Ontario government and other appropriate bodies to obtain greater local authority for interior building design so the City can require that bedrooms have a view to the outdoors. The action comes in response to recent experience with some residential units being built with bedrooms that do not have a window offering an outside view. The City considers an outside view important for quality of life.
Power outages at CityPlace
Council supported a motion to ask Toronto Hydro to review recent power outages in the CityPlace neighbourhood and report back on the matter, including on how to prevent future electrical outages. Residents in the tower community experienced four major power interruptions lasting between three and 18 hours during a three-week period in August and September.
Councillor vacancy in Scarborough ward
Council deferred making a decision until the November meeting of City Council on how to fill the councillor vacancy in Ward 42 Scarborough-Rouge River. The vacancy resulted from the recent election of former councillor Raymond Cho to the Ontario legislative assembly. Council can choose to fill the vacancy either by appointment or by conducting a byelection.
Public tennis courts
Council authorized a pilot project for Parks, Forestry and Recreation to issue permits to individuals or organizations at four designated tennis courts across the city that do not have a community tennis club in place. The four sites selected for the pilot are Jonathan Ashbridge Park, Birchmount Park, Park Lawn Park and Champlain Parkette. Torontonians have expressed interest in the City issuing permits for the use of designated public tennis courts for special events, public play and commercial use.
Managing smokers' litter
Council approved amendments to the Toronto Municipal Code to require restaurants, bars and nightclubs to keep public sidewalks as well as curbs and gutters around their businesses free from littered cigarette butts and related litter from their patrons. In addition, bars and other entertainment businesses in Toronto will be required to provide disposal containers in outside areas where patrons dispose of cigarette butts. This action is tied to the City's broader efforts to reduce litter in public places.
Public food markets
Council supported the City taking steps to establish a Public Food Markets Working Group with broad membership to advise the City on the further development of public markets in Toronto and on the creation of a City strategy for public food markets. Examples of public food markets in Toronto include farmers markets, markets operated by FoodShare, and the Toronto Transit Commission's pop-up markets.
Toronto City Council met on May 3, 4, and 5, 2016. Council Highlights is an informal summary of decisions made by Toronto City Council. The City Clerk provides the formal documentation at http://www.toronto.ca/council.
Regulation of ground transportation
Council approved details for the City's regulation of ground transportation, which covers traditional taxi cabs as well as ridesharing services offered by private transportation companies. The new rules establish regulations for private transportation companies (such as Uber) and modify existing regulations for taxi brokers, owners and drivers, with the intention of giving the taxi industry greater organizational flexibility. Toronto's new ground transportation bylaw is intended to serve the public's interests and provide fairness to the providers of ground transportation/vehicles for hire.
Bike-lane project on Bloor Street West
Council approved the installation of eastbound and westbound cycle tracks/bike lanes on Bloor Street West from Shaw Street to Avenue Road as a pilot project. The project will provide an opportunity to evaluate the impacts and benefits of cycling infrastructure on Bloor Street. Transportation Services intends to report back on its findings in 2017.
Use of paid-duty police officers
Council agreed to ask the Province of Ontario to amend the Highway Traffic Act to give municipalities the flexibility to opt for alternatives to using paid-duty police officers to direct traffic and close highways. Alternatives could include assigning special constables or peace officers, for example, for those kinds of duties where deemed appropriate. City divisions and agencies use paid-duty police officers to support road maintenance and construction as well as at special events.
Council approved a Toronto social procurement program, with the aim of increasing competition and diversity in the City's supply chain as well as for leveraging employment, apprenticeship and training opportunities through City procurement for people experiencing economic disadvantage, including those in equity-seeking communities. The program is expected to shift the City's procurement culture and make a positive impact on Council's poverty-reduction goals.
Assistance for Ecuador
Council adopted a motion concerning the recent earthquake that devastated Ecuador, killing and injuring thousands of people and destroying or damaging buildings and infrastructure. In addition to urging the Canadian government to expand its relief effort, Council approved direct involvement by the City of Toronto, including support for local fundraising and an offer of technical expertise from City divisions such as Toronto Water.
Council vacancy Ward 2 Etobicoke North
Council declared the office of Councillor, Ward 2 Etobicoke North to be vacant as a result of the recent passing of Councillor Rob Ford. Council chose the option of holding a City of Toronto by-election for Ward 2 voters to fill the vacancy, with nomination day June 10, advance voting on July 16 and 17, and voting day Monday, July 25.
Investment in local child care
Council voted in support of funding the creation of 464 new child care spaces in 10 locations, consistent with Children's Services' capital strategy for 2015-19. Since the implementation of full-day kindergarten in Ontario began in 2010, the Children’s Services division has been working with the province, families, school boards and service providers to realize the vision of an integrated early-years system in Toronto schools for children four to 12 years of age.
Highland Creek wastewater treatment plant
Subject to the completion of the provincial environmental assessment process this spring, Council authorized Toronto Water to proceed with design and construction of new incinerators to replace two old ones for processing biosolids at the Highland Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant in south Scarborough. Several related motions were adopted, including one calling for the use of enhanced emission-scrubbing technologies and one addressing the matter of greenhouse gas emissions at the treatment plant.
Council voted to ask the Province of Ontario to immediately ban the practice of door-to-door sales involving the sale or lease of water heaters, air conditioners, furnaces, water filtration systems and other services/products sold by the home-services sector. Many Torontonians have reported experiencing aggressive door-to-door sales tactics, sometimes by people who misrepresent themselves as government officials or utility inspectors to gain entry to the home.
Toronto Licensing Tribunal proceedings
Council adopted a motion asking for a report on providing opportunities for direct community input – in a less restricted way than presently allowed – in matters that are before the Toronto Licensing Tribunal. Staff are to report the findings to the Executive Committee later this year.
Compensation and benefits
Council approved 2016 salary-range increases representing cost-of-living adjustments for management/non-union staff and accountability officers employed by the City of Toronto. Changes to the benefits plans were adopted, as were several motions, including a request for reports on performance pay, comparisons of employee compensation, and comparisons of staff turnover by cluster (groups of City divisions).
Issue of suicide deaths involving bridges
Council adopted a motion calling for the exploration of options for preventing suicide deaths resulting from people having jumped from bridges. The motion said statistics covering 2005 to 2009 indicate that 22 per cent of suicides in Toronto involved jumping from a high place such as a bridge or balcony. The findings of the research are to be submitted to the Board of Health for consideration.
Standards for maximum indoor temperature
Council supported asking the Province of Ontario to cover the costs of Toronto's public consultations on the implementation of maximum indoor temperature standards for rental multi-unit residential buildings. A health report says new evidence indicates exposure to temperatures above 26 degrees Celsius is associated with increased premature mortality and emergency medical services calls.
Call for ban on use of bullhooks
Council supported a motion calling on the Ontario government to move immediately to ban the use of bullhooks in zoos, circuses and traveling shows in Ontario. A bullhook is a sharp tool shaped like a fireplace poker that trainers have traditionally used to forcefully control animals, particularly elephants, in circuses and zoos. Several jurisdictions in the United States have taken action to ban the use of bullhooks on the grounds of animal cruelty.
World Police and Fire Games
Council voted in favour of requesting a report on the feasibility of Toronto hosting the World Police and Fire Games in 2017. The games are held every other year as a multi-sport event for full-time and retired professional firefighters and law-enforcement officers. In 2011, Toronto lost a bid to host the 2017 games, but the chosen host, Montreal, has cancelled its games. The World Police and Fire Games Federation has approached the City of Toronto about it possibly hosting the event next summer.
Toronto City Council meeting of March 31 and April 1, 2016
Council Highlights is an informal summary of decisions made by Toronto City Council. The City Clerk provides the formal documentation at http://www.toronto.ca/council.
Toronto transit network planning
Council provided a series of requests and directives to guide the planning of Toronto transit network initiatives, including SmartTrack, Scarborough Subway Extension, Relief Line and Waterfront Transit Reset. Among the many recommendations and motions adopted, Council agreed to request the scheduling of a special meeting of the Executive Committee to consider transit network reports and related matters on a date before the Executive Committee's regular business meeting on June 28.
Gardiner Expressway East reconfiguration
Council approved a design called Hybrid Alternative Design 3 to be used in an environmental assessment of the Gardiner East area, which is a 2.4-kilometre segment of the elevated expressway and Lake Shore Boulevard from Lower Jarvis Street to Logan Avenue. A preferred design for a new connection between the east end of the Gardiner and the Don Valley Expressway had to be chosen to allow for the completion and provincial review of the environmental assessment before detailed design and construction work proceeds.
Establishment of Local Appeal Body
Council approved the governance structure and administrative details for establishing a Local Appeal Body that will hear appeals of Committee of Adjustment decisions for minor variance and consent applications in Toronto. Council authorized Court Services to co-ordinate implementation and provide administrative support, and also approved a one-year city-wide pilot project to evaluate the benefits of mediation in resolving disputes related to minor variance and consent applications.
Police services and investigations
Council adopted a motion to ask the provincial government to review, with an "anti-black racism and anti-racism lens," the way police services are provided in Toronto and the Special Investigations Unit's handling of cases that involve members of racialized communities. The motion says a review by the provincial Anti-Racism Directorate and the Ontario Civilian Police Commission, which is to include input from affected communities, will identify changes needed to ensure everyone is treated fairly.
Collection of data on fatalities
Council adopted a motion calling for the City to collect information related to the deaths of homeless individuals for all occurrences in Toronto homeless shelters as well as other locations. The data collected will be shared broadly, including with Ontario government ministries, to help inform decision-making.
Toronto music strategy
Council approved a detailed strategy to support Toronto's music sector. The strategy involves actions that support an environment that is friendly to music creators; encourages the business of music in Toronto; supports music education; promotes Toronto’s music sector locally and internationally; fosters alliances with other music cities around the world; and implements a process for monitoring progress and measuring success.
Advance vote in next election
Council asked the City Clerk to prepare for additional advance voting days in the 2018 Toronto municipal election, and to consider including an advance poll during the Thanksgiving long weekend to allow returning college and university students to vote. During the 2014 municipal election, advance voting was available for six days at a voting place in each of the city's 44 wards, as well as at City Hall for all voters.
Payday lending operators
Council voted to ask staff to report on an appropriate approach to regulating new payday lenders, instalment lenders, title lenders, cheque-cashing operations and cash-for-gold operations in Toronto. Council also agreed to ask the Ontario government to set rules for lenders, including increasing the fee for lender licences and capping the annual interest rate at 35 per cent.
Affordable housing initiative
Council approved funding and incentives for 50 new affordable rental homes and 50 affordable ownership homes at 36 Tippett Rd. in Ward 10 York Centre. This project, developed in collaboration with Build Toronto and a developer, will contribute to achieving the City's 10-year targets for new affordable rental and ownership homes serving lower-income people, women, seniors, persons with disabilities, Aboriginal people, individuals with mental health issues and other vulnerable groups.
Leslie Nymark housing revitalization
Council approved plans for the revitalization of Toronto Community Housing Corporation's Leslie Nymark community in North York. The plan includes the replacement of 121 existing social housing units and the creation of up to 540 new market units. The Leslie Nymark community is located off Leslie Street, north of Sheppard Avenue East.
Residential construction in neighbourhoods
Council approved a strategy to minimize the impact of residential infill construction activity on Toronto neighbourhoods. The process of demolishing a house and constructing a new building creates challenges for both builders and the neighbourhood, and residential infill construction activity in Toronto has more than doubled over the past five years. In creating the strategy, Toronto Building pursued a collaborative approach that took into account the perspectives of builders as well as residents.
Expansion of Bike Share
Council voted to give the Toronto Parking Authority responsibility to expand the Bike Share Toronto program outside the geographical boundaries of Toronto, subject to the relevant municipalities' consent. Metrolinx has provided funds to buy up to $4.9 million worth of bikes and docking stations for the parking authority to expand the Bike Share Toronto network. New bike-share stations will be situated in high-demand areas and near public transit stations, mostly in Toronto but also in other willing host municipalities in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.
Appointment of Toronto Photo Laureate
Council appointed Geoffrey James as the City of Toronto's Photo Laureate for the term 2016 to 2019. James is a Toronto-based photographer who is recognized internationally as a master of landscape and urban photography. As the City's first Photo Laureate, he will advocate for photography and the visual arts, using his perspective to foster dialogue.
Recognition of women in war efforts
Council supported asking the federal government to create a memorial recognizing the contributions Canadian women have made during major war efforts in which Canada has been engaged. The United Kingdom has built a monument to women of the Second World War. The City of Toronto recently recognized the contribution of Canadian women who spent the Second World War producing ammunition at plants in Scarborough.
Commitment on climate change
Council endorsed the Government of Canada's commitment made at the 21st session of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) to limit global temperature increase to less than two degrees Celsius and to try to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees. The City's goals for reducing Toronto's greenhouse gas emissions, adopted in 2007 and reaffirmed last year, are in line with that target.
Support for Saving the Girl Next Door Act
Council adopted a motion to support Bill 158, the Saving the Girl Next Door Act, 2016, which enacts the Human Trafficking Awareness Day Act and the Child Sexual Exploitation and Human Trafficking Act, and amends Christopher’s Law (sex offender registry). Earlier this year, the Ontario legislative assembly unanimously supported Private Member's Bill 158 – Saving the Girl Next Door – to take steps against human trafficking in Ontario.
Crossing guards on local roads
Council agreed to ask the Toronto Police Services Board to report on the criteria/policy used for decisions on placing and removing crossing guards on the city's streets. The report is to include proposals that will help address the increasing number of requests City councillors are receiving for crossing guards at locations in their wards.
Tennis club operations
Council amended the policy for outdoor community tennis club operations to place more emphasis on accessible, affordable tennis that makes the most of the City-owned tennis courts as municipal assets. Parks, Forestry and Recreation currently issues tennis court permits to 62 outdoor community-based clubs across the city, with a total membership of about 22,000 tennis enthusiasts.
North American Indigenous Games in 2017
Council directed staff to work with the Aboriginal Sport and Wellness Council of Ontario and consult with relevant divisions and agencies on ways the City of Toronto can support the 2017 North American Indigenous Games, which will be held in Toronto. The Games, a multi-sport event involving indigenous North American youth athletes 16 to 25 years of age, will also promote indigenous cultural activities.
Toronto's NXNE festival
Council agreed to ask City divisions and agencies to assist organizers of the North by Northeast (NXNE) festival to help ensure the realization of the festival's next stage of development. This year, NXNE plans to transform a Port Lands venue into a festival site that is expected to draw about 10,000 people for two days in June.
Bee City certification
Council adopted a resolution to designate Toronto a Bee City – one of the required steps in the certification process for the international Bee City program. Since the Bee City program was launched in the United States three years ago, involving a set of commitments for creating sustainable habitats for pollinators, 15 American cities have achieved Bee City certification. Toronto's certification would be the first by a Canadian city.
Toronto City Council meeting of February 3 and 4, 2016
Council Highlights is an informal summary of decisions made by Toronto City Council. The City Clerk provides the formal documentation at http://www.toronto.ca/council.
Union Station revitalization
Council authorized funding for design and construction enhancements to help make Union Station a destination for dining, retail, events and culture. The new design will include facilities for special events in the Great Hall and the west wing, as well as improved lighting and finishes, a reconfigured food court and a fresh-food market. The enhancements are intended to contribute to making Union Station a major attraction in the downtown core.
Internet prices in Toronto
Council voted to support the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) decision of July 2015 directing the large telecommunication companies to make their fibre-optic networks available to small competitors at wholesale prices. Bell has asked the federal government to overrule the CRTC's position. The motion that Council adopted states that the CRTC ruling is consistent with the ideal of competitive, affordable Internet prices for Toronto residents.
Unlicensed providers of ground transportation
Council directed the City Solicitor and the Executive Director of Municipal Licensing and Standards to return to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice "under the appropriate circumstances" to seek an injunction against Uber and individual UberX drivers based on the updated Toronto Municipal Code regulations that Council approved last year. Any vehicle used for hire in Toronto must hold a municipal licence.
Council adopted a motion to renew the City's call for the Government of Canada to improve rail safety in Canada. Council is asking for increased government regulation of the transport of dangerous substances by rail, as well as a provision for municipal input into railway risk assessments, among other actions. Documentation with the motion said there have been improvements to rail safety lately but more needs to be done, specifically concerning rail safety in urban areas.
Spadina subway project
Council agreed to increase the City's share of funding to build the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension. The Toronto Transit Commission recently identified additional project costs of about $400 million, bringing the total project budget to $3.184 billion. York Region and the Ontario and federal governments are also contributing funding for the transit project.
St. Lawrence Market North
Council authorized demolition of the St. Lawrence Market's current north building at 92 Front St. to allow for completion of an archeological assessment at the site before construction of a new building. The multi-storey building will include courtrooms and Court Services administrative offices, a market hall on the ground floor, and a multi-level underground public parking garage.
New emergency shelter
Council approved locating a new, 80-bed men's emergency shelter at 29 Leslie St. The shelter, to be operated by the Salvation Army, will replace capacity in the shelter system that was lost when the Salvation Army closed its HOPE shelter last year. A community liaison committee including local stakeholders will be established by the Salvation Army to support the integration of the shelter into the local community and address any issues that arise.
Review of health system
Council adopted recommendations in response to Patients First, a recent working paper from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. The paper includes discussion about improving the integration of public health with primary care for a greater prevention focus and to better address inequities. Council's actions include asking the ministry to maintain the independent governance of the local public health sector by boards of health and to continue the funding of public health units directly funded by the province rather than through local health integration networks.
Council decided to ask the City's Chief Planner to determine appropriate actions and conditions to amend the Official Plan for buildings on the lands designated Parks/Open Space on the Exhibition Place grounds to permit leases in excess of 21 years. Council also asked for the preparation of a report that addresses the preservation of heritage properties, public space, event accommodation and public enjoyment of the area, along with a public consultation strategy. The City is continuing a joint planning process with the province for Exhibition Place and Ontario Place.
Street murals at community events
Council voted to permit, on a pilot basis, the installation of up to four street murals on low-traffic local streets during community street events with permitted road closures this summer. Street murals are large murals painted directly onto the asphalt road surface, often in chalk, to beautify a street or intersection and encourage participation in a street party or festival.
Toronto City Council meeting of December 9 and 10, 2015
Council Highlights is an informal summary of decisions made by Toronto City Council. The City Clerk provides the formal documentation at http://www.toronto.ca/council.
Syrian refugee settlement in Toronto
Council endorsed the actions of staff in support of Syrian refugee resettlement, including efforts to address local xenophobia and provide financial and organizational support to groups sponsoring refugee agencies such as Lifeline Syria. Staff received authorization to enter into agreements with community partners and use City resources to implement Toronto's refugee resettlement program. Council designated Councillors Joe Cressy and Joe Mihevc as Newcomer Advocates, a role that entails promoting the inclusion of refugees in the civic, economic and cultural life of the city.
Open Door for affordable housing
Council approved the overall direction of the Open Door Program to improve the City's capacity to work with non-profit and private-housing sectors and create affordable housing in Toronto at a faster pace. Staff are to report back on the implementation of various Open Door initiatives. Open Door aims to kick-start construction by means that include designating surplus public land for affordable housing and fast-tracking planning approvals.
Two new housing projects
Council directed the Affordable Housing Office to issue a request for proposals (RFP) to build affordable housing on a surplus City site in the Railway Lands area of downtown Toronto using the Open Door approach. Council also supported the City taking steps to pursue an affordable-housing opportunity in the east downtown area.
Private donation for park under the Gardiner
Council authorized the City's acceptance of a $25-million donation from the Judy and Wilmot Matthews Foundation to improve the public realm under the elevated Gardiner Expressway between Strachan and Spadina Avenues. The project is intended to transform 10 acres of vacant space with public art, landscape improvements, space for festivals and markets, and a pedestrian and cycling trail. The City and Waterfront Toronto will manage the project.
Action on intimate partner violence
Council supported taking a series of steps to address intimate partner violence against women, in response to a report from the Medical Officer of Health and recommendations by the Toronto Board of Health. In Canada, one in three women has experienced abuse at some point in her life. Toronto police data indicate 4,695 women were victims of intimate partner violence in Toronto in 2013. Toronto Public Health (TPH) has created an action plan to guide the City in the prevention and early identification of, and response to, intimate partner violence.
Council called for the creation of an internship strategy giving aboriginal youth experience working in councillors' offices as part of the City's strategy supporting aboriginal employment. Staff were also asked to consider making the hiring of people who identify as aboriginal part of the City's Social Procurement Policy requirements. In addition, Council endorsed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's calls to action and directed staff to work with the Aboriginal Affairs Committee on implementing those calls to action in the municipal government context.
Review of accountability offices
Council adopted several recommendations pertaining to Toronto's accountability officers – Auditor General, Ombudsman, Integrity Commissioner and Lobbyist Registrar. Actions are to include consideration of a general hotline that would function as a central tip line for reporting allegations of all forms of local government wrongdoing. A recent external review affirmed that the City of Toronto's accountability framework is the leading structure of municipal government oversight in Canada.
Davenport Road rail project
Council agreed to communicate to Metrolinx that the City opposes construction of a rail overpass Metrolinx is proposing in the Davenport community as part of a plan for expanded GO transit rail service on the Barrie GO line, and voted to inform Metrolinx the City supports a tunnel option. Several related actions were also approved by Council, including direct communication with the Ontario Premier. Metrolinx's preliminary design involves an eight-metre-tall structure about 1.4 kilometres long extending from Bloor Street West to Davenport Road.
Water rate and garbage bin fee for 2016
Council approved Toronto Water's capital and operating budgets for 2016, including an eight per cent increase in the municipal water rate for flat-rate consumers. A three per cent increase in the fee for garbage bins was approved with Council's adoption of the 2016 capital and operating budgets for Solid Waste Management. A third rate-supported budget – that of the Toronto Parking Authority – also received Council's approval.
Right to a healthy environment
Council approved a Right to a Healthy Environment declaration for Toronto. The declaration is an expression of support for a campaign led by the David Suzuki Foundation to obtain municipal declarations as a way of encouraging actions by provincial and federal governments to strengthen their environmental rights legislation. The campaign's ultimate goal is to see environmental rights enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Acquisition of property for shelter
Council authorized the purchase of a property at 3306 Kingston Rd. for temporary and transitional shelter programs. The building, currently a motel, will replace the leased premises of the nearby Birchmount Residence, a 56-bed transitional shelter for senior men, and provide space for additional transitional and temporary shelter along with supportive programming.
Weston community/cultural hub
Council approved a funding model for the Weston community/cultural hub and 26 affordable artist live/work rental units that Toronto Artscape Inc. is developing as part of the revitalization of the Weston-Mount Dennis community. The City is using an innovative funding approach for this Artscape project. The community hub will serve as a catalyst supporting the social, cultural and economic renewal of the local community, as well as contributing to broader city-building objectives.
Winter use of Grenadier Pond
Council supported introducing an ice-monitoring program at High Park's Grenadier Pond to test ice thickness and quality in a designated area, with signs to inform the public of the risks. Use of Grenadier Pond during the winter months is currently prohibited for safety reasons but skating and other winter activities on the pond remain popular.
TOcore planning initiative
Council approved a series of actions for City divisions to pursue as the second phase of TOcore, an interdivisional initiative led by City Planning. TOcore is intended to ensure that ongoing growth of the city's core contributes to making the downtown a great place to live, work, learn, play and invest. The resulting secondary plan for downtown, expected to be completed before the end of 2016, will provide policy direction to shape future growth linked to the provision of the needed infrastructure investments.
Heritage designation for St. Lawrence Neighbourhood
Council designated the St. Lawrence Neighbourhood as a heritage conservation district in accordance with the Ontario Heritage Act. The district is generally within the boundary of Adelaide Street East to the north, Yonge/Victoria Streets to the west, the Esplanade/ Front Street East to the south, and Parliament Street to the east. Related planning guidelines are intended to conserve the heritage attributes of the district and ensure that development maintains or complements the area's unique character.
Legacy of Glenn Gould
Council endorsed supporting the efforts of the Glenn Gould Foundation to increase the visibility of the Glenn Gould Prize and promote Toronto as a centre of artistic excellence, innovation and arts-based humanitarian endeavours. Glenn Gould (1932-82), who lived in Toronto and was one of Canada's greatest musicians, was renowned as a pianist, composer and seminal interpreter of the music of J.S. Bach. Recipients of the Glenn Gould Prize have included Philip Glass, Robert Lepage, Leonard Cohen, Yo-Yo Ma and Oscar Peterson.
Facility naming to honour George Chuvalo
Council approved the name George Chuvalo Neighbourhood Centre for a new community centre to be built in the Junction area. A Torontonian famous for his boxing matches against heavyweight greats like Muhammad Ali and Floyd Patterson in the 1960s and 1970s, George Chuvalo was Canadian heavyweight champion for many years and challenged for the world heavyweight title. He still travels extensively to teach youth about the benefits of a healthy mind, body and life. Chuvalo is a member of the Boxing Hall of Fame and the Order of Canada.
Heritage oak tree
Council directed staff to look into having a third-party organization take responsibility for raising funds to acquire a property in North York that is the site of a 250-year-old tree thought to be the oldest red oak in Toronto. The tree, situated at 76 Coral Dr., has been recognized as a heritage tree under Forests Ontario Heritage Tree program.
Toronto City Council meeting of November 3 and 4, 2015
Poverty reduction strategy
Council adopted the vision, objectives, recommendations and actions for a poverty reduction strategy called TO Prosperity, with a work plan for 2016 that includes 75 City initiatives, many of them involving partnerships. Almost one in five adults between the ages of 18 and 64 in Toronto and more than one-quarter of the city's children below the age of six are living in low-income households, according to Statistics Canada.
Cold weather protocol
Council authorized funding for the provision of cold weather drop-in services 24-hours-a-day in Toronto for this January and February. In addition, Council directed that the City must be prepared to offer the 24-hour cold weather drop-in services if needed in November and December. The City issues an Extreme Cold Weather Alert, with related services, when Environment Canada forecasts a temperature of -15 degrees C or colder or a wind chill of -20 degrees or colder. Council also addressed the City's shelter capacity during cold weather, as noted in the next item.
Council approved financial allocations to shelter providers to expand existing, or create new, emergency shelter capacity in Toronto. Specifically, a new permanent shelter program will be established on Bloor Street West in Ward 19 and seven existing programs at various locations will expand. In addition, more beds will be made available for temporary winter services. Toronto's shelter system includes 10 shelters directly operated by the City and another 49 shelter sites operated by community not-for-profit agencies under contract with the City.
George Street revitalization
Council authorized next steps for the revitalization of George Street in the east downtown area through the co-location of long-term care, assisted living, affordable housing, emergency shelter and other community services in a new facility that will replace the current Seaton House on George Street. Council also requested reports on the transition plan for shelter clients during demolition of Seaton House and construction of the new Seaton House facility, and on the project's impact on the City's overall shelter capacity.
Ban on use of hookahs
Council approved prohibiting the use of hookahs/waterpipes in City-licensed establishments effective next April. The prohibition follows Toronto Public Health's confirmation of the need for a legislative approach to address the significant health risks associated with this alternative form of smoking. Council also agreed to ask the Ontario government to enact legislation prohibiting the use of hookahs/waterpipes in restaurants, bars, entertainment establishments and patios.
Updated plan for managing traffic congestion
Council endorsed a Congestion Management Plan for 2016-20. The plan is an update/enhancement of the 2014-18 plan that Council adopted in 2013, which has improved the management of traffic congestion on Toronto's streets and expressways through technology and operational improvements along with increased enforcement and information sharing.
Waterfront transit reset
Council called for a review of waterfront transit initiatives and options in response to the observation that waterfront transit planning has been incremental, lacking a comprehensive plan for a transit network that can respond to the rapid transformation of the entire Toronto waterfront extending east from Etobicoke. According to a report considered by Council, the absence of a comprehensive plan has resulted in little progress in securing funding for new transit infrastructure on the waterfront.
Capital renewal of long-term care homes
Council approved a plan for renewing five of Toronto's long-term care homes run by Long-Term Care Homes and Services, including one that is part of the broader George Street revitalization project. The other four are Castleview-Wychwood Towers, Lakeshore Lodge, Oriole Yard/Esther Shiner Boulevard and Seven Oaks. The renewal is taking place in the context of Ontario's strategy for long-term care home renewal.
Long-term care homes' service plan
A service plan covering the Long-Term Care Homes and Services division's operations from 2016-20 received Council's approval. Work on the plan involved gathering information from many sources and engaging a wide range of stakeholders in the process. The City of Toronto operates 10 long-term care homes that provide 24-hour care and service.
Internet connectivity in Toronto
Council voted to ask for a study assessing Toronto's current internet connectivity and broadband capacity, especially as it relates to economic development objectives and the City's strategy for reducing poverty in the context of the digital divide. The term digital divide refers to economic and social inequality in people's access to, and use of, information and communication technologies that connect to the Internet.
Replacement of lead water service pipes
Council voted to direct Toronto Water to take steps to support the ongoing replacement of residential lead water-service pipes across the city. Among the steps specified, staff were asked to approach local financial institutions about the feasibility of low-interest or easily accessible loans to homeowners for replacing the private-side pipes on their properties. At present, about 1,500 residential property owners a year replace their private-side lead water service pipes with copper piping, done in conjunction with the City's ongoing efforts to reduce exposure to lead in drinking water by replacing corroded lead water pipes.
Uber in Toronto
Council adopted a motion calling for the City to provide additional information to the public about the current status of Uber in Toronto, including the risks associated with using the UberX ride service. The City is engaged in ongoing communications with representatives of Uber Canada about the City's taxicab broker application process and Uber's continued non-compliance with the Toronto Municipal Code, Chapter 545, Licensing.
Revitalization of distressed retail areas
Council directed staff to establish a pilot Capacity Building Program in two neighbourhood improvement areas as part of a broader economic revitalization program to assist distressed retail areas. The revitalization program involves working with local business communities in distressed commercial areas so they are better positioned to address the economic challenges particular to the neighbourhood.
Appointment of interim Ombudsman
Council appointed Kwame Addo of the Office of the Ombudsman as interim Toronto Ombudsman effective November 17. The current Ombudsman's term concludes on November 16. The appointment of an interim Ombudsman is required pending the outcome of an external review of the City's accountability offices that Council requested earlier this year. The Toronto Ombudsman investigates public complaints about decisions, actions or recommendations made or omitted in the course of implementing City policies and administering City services.
Appointment of new Poet Laureate
Council approved the appointment of Anne Michaels as Toronto's Poet Laureate for a three-year term beginning December 1. Michaels, who is the successor to current Poet Laureate George Elliott Clarke, is a Toronto poet and novelist who has received major literary awards. The role of the Poet Laureate includes serving as Toronto’s literary ambassador at events promoting the literary arts and creating a legacy project for the people of Toronto.
Aga Khan Museum
Council confirmed its support of the Aga Khan Foundation Canada in its efforts to obtain provincial legislation that would enable Toronto City Council to exempt the Ismaili Centre Toronto, Aga Khan Museum and Aga Khan Park at 49 and 77 Wynford Dr. from having to pay property taxes.
Future use of Old City Hall
Council voted to notify the Province of Ontario that its lease of the Old City Hall building at 60 Queen St. W. will not be extended/renewed beyond 2021. Council requested a feasibility study for museums and complementary public uses of the building, which currently houses provincial and municipal court operations. Staff have identified criteria to be considered in determining the best future use and tenant fit for the historic building.
Toronto's oldest red oak tree
Council took steps to protect a 250-year-old oak tree that stands on a residential property at 76 Coral Gable Dr. in North York. The tree is thought to be the largest and oldest red oak in Toronto. Council directed staff to report on the feasibility of establishing a fund dedicated to contributions received for the maintenance of the tree and the cost of possibly acquiring the property at 76 Coral Gable Dr.