My Update on Parental Leave and Plans for this Summer

For every single resident of our city, COVID-19 has forced us to change the way we live. It has also forced many of us to change our work and family plans. That includes me.

My son Jude was born last November, and I had looked forward to taking four months of parental leave in the fall of 2020 to care for him. However, like so many other people, this pandemic has meant that my plans need to change.

I’m deeply committed to my family and to being an engaged parent. I’m also committed to my role as a City Councillor and the Chair of the Board of Health. The truth is, with the current pandemic, there is no perfect way for me to combine all my roles. With the potential for a second wave of COVID-19 in the fall, I have adjusted my plans in order to continue overseeing Toronto Public Health's response and recovery efforts at that time.

With that in mind, I have decided to take a shorter and earlier parental leave, and to continue to chair the Board of Health remotely. Instead of a four-month leave starting in September, I will be taking a two-month leave, beginning in early July, to care for my son. During this time I will step back from my day-to-day duties as a City Councillor as well as the various Boards and Committees on which I sit. My office will remain open during this period and my exceptional staff will continue to respond to issues and concerns during my leave.

However, given the unprecedented times we find ourselves in, I will continue to chair the Board of Health, participate as a member of Mayor Tory's daily COVID-19 Strategic Command Team, and attend City Council to vote on key matters while I am on leave.

I had hoped to take a parental leave that would allow me more time with my family, but like everyone else, I am trying to adapt to the challenges of these difficult times as they arise. I feel a duty and responsibility to be fully present to tackle the second wave of COVID-19 that public health experts are predicting could occur in the fall or winter, and that has been the main factor influencing my decision.

I hope you will understand and respect my choice to take time with my family. I look forward to resuming my role with my usual energy in September, and to continuing to serve you and the Spadina-Fort York community.