COVID-19 and Ward 10 Updates - October 15th
I know that the changes that the Ontario Government announced last Friday regarding enhanced public health measures have not been easy for any of us, especially over the holiday weekend. With everything we have been through this year, it takes a great deal of sacrifice to stay at home and refrain from gathering with friends and family.
None of this is easy, but it's what we need to do to protect our schools, our hospitals, and one another — to limit the spread of this dangerous virus, and to save lives. I want to thank you all for all the sacrifices you’ve made so far, and for continuing to stay vigilant.
Together, we will get through this.
In this Edition
- City of Toronto Winter Plan to Protect People Experiencing Homelessness
- Public Consultation on Next Steps for Quayside
- Weighing in on the Proposed Provincial Changes to Childcare
- Support for Live Music Venues
- Updates from Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health
- MPP Chris Glover’s Ontario Line Town Hall
- Share Your Island Story
- City of Toronto COVID-19 Resource Map
- COVID-19 Information and Resources
City of Toronto Winter Plan to Protect People Experiencing Homelessness
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Toronto already had the largest and most extensive shelter system in Canada. While City staff manage our shelters and administer services to people experiencing homelessness, participation from all levels of government is required to address this crisis.
Last week, the City announced details of its 2020-21 winter service plan to ensure safe and welcoming places for people experiencing homelessness during the coming winter weather.
The winter plan is part of the City’s Interim Shelter Recovery and Infrastructure Implementation Plan, which specifies measures needed over the next 12 months to protect people experiencing homelessness and to continue to provide shelter services safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As part of the response to COVID-19, the City has also opened more than 40 temporary facilities to achieve physical distancing in the shelter system and provide spaces for people to move indoors from encampments. Since April, the City of Toronto has worked around the clock to move over 800 people from at least 55 encampments across the city to inside safe spaces including hotels, shelters, and affordable housing units.
Since mid-March, the City has also successfully relocated more than 1,500 people who were experiencing homelessness from the shelter system and into permanent housing. This is done through a combination of housing allowances and rent-geared-to-income units.
In total, this winter, the shelter system will provide more than 6,700 spaces through the City’s base shelter system and approximately 560 new spaces. Additional space will be activated at Warming Centres during Extreme Cold Weather Alerts (ECWA). The City’s Streets to Homes Program will also provide enhanced street outreach response to help support and encourage those living outside to come indoors.
Yesterday I introduced a motion that was approved at the Economic and Community Development Committee directing staff to develop plans to rapidly scale up the permanent housing and shelter capacity response for the 2020-2021 winter season. The motion also asked staff to continue to deliver an enhanced outreach strategy that focuses on ensuring the safety of those in encampments, and to request that the Provincial Government provide ongoing and sustainable funding for the mental health case management and harm reduction supports needed to support individuals experiencing homelessness with complex needs.
Creating Pathways Out of Homelessness
While an emergency response to homelessness during the pandemic and into the winter months is essential, it is also critical that we turn this emergency response into permanent housing solutions.
The challenge we are facing today did not occur overnight. It was created through years of inadequate funding for social housing, services for people experiencing homelessness, and access to physical and mental health supports from all levels of government.
Earlier this month, Council adopted an action plan for prioritization in the City's Intergovernmental advocacy work on housing and homelessness, which will complement the City's HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan.
The City’s plan to acquire vacant buildings and build new supportive housing would create a direct pathway out of homelessness for 3,000 people. But Toronto can’t do it alone. We need the Federal and Provincial Governments to step up and commit to investing in dedicated funding for stable housing solutions.
View the report to City Council here: Addressing Housing and Homelessness Issues in Toronto through Intergovernmental Partnerships.
Public Consultation on Next Steps for Quayside
Waterfront Toronto is launching a public forum on the next steps for the Quayside project.
Quayside is a central project in Waterfront Toronto’s mission to revitalize and reclaim our city’s waterfront. Since day one, our objective with Quayside has been to develop a new model for how we can build a 21st century neighbourhood – one that is truly affordable, liveable, and sustainable. It is critical that we get it right.
Three years ago, Waterfront Toronto set out to create an ambitious plan for a next-generation sustainable community at Quayside. Through planning work and thoughtful public discussion, Quayside was envisioned as an opportunity to build a neighbourhood that serves everyone, while addressing the urban challenges of housing affordability, active transportation, and climate change. While Sidewalk Labs is no longer pursuing this project, the engagement and feedback received from residents and community organizations has provided a solid framework to build on.
Among the next steps for the project, Waterfront Toronto is preparing a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a development partner for Quayside, which will be released this winter and is planned to be awarded by next summer. Waterfront Toronto is now asking for the public to weigh in on the renewed goals for the project- Inclusive, Resilient, Dynamic.
Weighing in on the Proposed Provincial Changes to Childcare
On October 2, the Ontario Government released proposed changes to child-care regulations that would allow operators to group infants and toddlers together, reduce staff-to-child ratios for some age groups, and lower qualification requirements for staff. Further, the province is holding consultations on creating a registry for unlicensed childcare providers, which is a risky proposal given the need for our children to be in safe, licensed spaces.
These changes were announced quietly, on the government’s website in the middle of a pandemic. It’s critical that, as the largest city in the province, we are able to consult with childcare providers, parents, and other stakeholders about the potential impacts of the changes and to have staff report back to Council in time for the City to take a position on the regulations.
This is why Councillor Mike Layton and I brought a motion to the Economic and Community Development Committee, which was approved yesterday. Under the motion, City staff will consult with stakeholders, including parents and child care providers, about the impact of the proposed changes, and develop a submission to the Ontario Ministry of Education in line with the Ontario Government's consultation timeline.
These changes are a move in the wrong direction. Ensuring access to affordable child care creates jobs, reduces inequality, and ensures that working parents are empowered to make decisions about what’s best for their family. Our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic depends on it, and that’s why all levels of government must work together to ensure child care is truly affordable and accessible to all.
Support for Live Music Venues
As part of our ongoing work to support our live music community, the Economic and Community Development Committee approved the Toronto Music Advisory Committee’s recommendation to make property tax relief permanent for live music venues.
The 580+ live music venues in our city have an economic impact of $850 million, and contribute over 10,000 jobs. That's why we're committed to pushing for increased investment and finding new solutions during these tough times, including exploring group insurance options.
Updates from Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health
Our Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, and other City division leaders have been providing twice-weekly updates on the current situation and response to COVID-19 in Toronto. You can view the press conferences live at 2pm, and access past updates here.
Yesterday Dr. de Villa reported that Toronto’s seven day moving average for new COVID-19 cases is 209 cases per day. She noted that this is a significant increase, as the month of September started with a seven day moving average of only 40 cases.
A total of 23,338 cases have been reported since the start of the pandemic. This means that over a quarter of all cases were reported in the last 30 days, and more than 15% of all cases were reported in the last two weeks.
Dr. de Villa confirmed that these numbers illustrate the need for a public health response, such as the temporary actions announced by the Province on Friday.
Although difficult, these actions can help us to protect both our health and our city’s economy going forward. But we can only do so with your active support and your determination to pitch in, every day, by choosing to act in ways that make it harder for COVID-19 to spread.
MPP Chris Glover’s Ontario Line Town Hall
MPP Chris Glover is holding an information session on the new Ontario Line updates for residents on Thursday, October 15, from 7 pm - 8 pm. After registering through this form, you will receive a link to view the webinar and be able to ask questions during the live stream. Visit MPP Glover’s website here for more information.
Share Your Island Story
The Island means something different to everyone. As part of the upcoming Toronto Island Park Master Plan project, the City is reflecting on the unique role the Island plays in the lives of Torontonians of all walks of life – before we collectively reimagine its future.
We want to hear from you! Share a post, send a video, write a story, make some art – whatever feels right. Because every Island story is worth sharing.
City of Toronto COVID-19 Resource Map
The City of Toronto has created a COVID-19 Essential Service Mapping Tool.
This tool has up-to-date service listings across Toronto, including food banks, meal delivery programs, community health services and more. Additional layers and details are being updated daily by 211 Toronto.
COVID-19 Information and Resources
It is important to stay informed through credible sources, and to follow the advice of our public health professionals. Together we can limit the spread of COVID-19.
Please visit the Toronto Public Health COVID-19 website for the up-to-date information and resources: toronto.ca/covid-19
Government COVID-19 websites
Call if you develop symptoms.
Toronto Public Health Hotline
8:30 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Call if you have questions about COVID-19.
Outside City limits: 416-392-2489
Call if you have questions about City services.