COVID-19 and Ward 10 Updates - April 15

Dear friends,

I know that right now is a very difficult time for many, and that information continues to evolve rapidly. The reality is that right now, we are in a serious third wave in our city, due to COVID-19 variants. While I know it’s not easy to hear yet again, we need to do everything we can to stay home and keep our distance from others during this critical time. 

I also know that not everyone can stay home. At the City, we’ve taken immediate action to make emergency child care available to essential workers, for the third time in the past year. As of this week, free emergency child care services are available for eligible families with school-aged children. More information is available here.  

As of Monday, 1 in 5 Torontonians has had their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. This is good news, but we need to scale up significantly to protect more people in our city. 

The City of Toronto and our hospital and healthcare partners receive our limited vaccine supply from the Province of Ontario. That’s why at this week’s Board of Health meeting, we unanimously passed a motion calling on the Provincial and Federal Governments to increase Toronto’s vaccine supply, so that we can increase vaccinations for people who are most at risk, including essential workers. We also asked the Province to include Early Childhood Educators and child care workers in their vaccination plans for educators in hard-hit neighbourhoods. 

Vaccinate our most vulnerable, as quickly as possible: this continues to be our top priority. 

Together, we can do this.

Joe


In this Edition

  1. All Nine City-run Immunization Clinics Are Now Open
  2. City of Toronto Allocates $5.5 million to Community Groups for Vaccine Outreach and Engagement 
  3. Updates from Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health 
  4. Creating New Affordable and Supportive Housing at 222 Spadina Avenue
  5. Phased Opening of the King-Liberty Pedestrian and Cycling Bridge 
  6. MPP Chris Glover’s Vaccine Registration Assistance at St. Lawrence Market
  7. Ontario Line Virtual Open Houses: Downtown and West Segments
  8. Tonight: Town Hall to Protect the First Parliament Site
  9. Resources and Webinars for Small Businesses
  10. City of Toronto COVID-19 Vaccine Website
  11. COVID-19 Information and Resources

1. All Nine City-run Immunization Clinics Are Now Open

On Monday, the City of Toronto opened three additional City-run immunization clinics, at the following locations: 

  • Cloverdale Mall, 250 The East Mall
  • North Toronto Memorial Community Centre, 200 Eglinton Ave. W.
  • Carmine Stefano Community Centre, 3100 Weston Rd.

These three locations are in addition to the six other immunization clinic sites that were previously open, for a total of nine City-run clinic locations. 

Torontonians age 50 and above (born in 1971 or earlier) *and* who live in hot-spot areas can book vaccination appointments at our City-run clinics online www.toronto.ca/covid-19 or by calling the Provincial Vaccine Information Line at 1-888-999-6488 (TTY 1-866-797-0007).

Torontonians age 60 and above (born in 1961 or earlier) who live anywhere in the city can also book appointments at our City-run clinics, using the same information above. 

People age 55 and above can currently book an appointment to get vaccinated at their local pharmacy, as part of the Province of Ontario’s Pharmacy program. To find a participating pharmacy in your area, please visit: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/vaccine-locations

Our City’s Immunization Task Force and Toronto Public Health will be working with our hospital and health care partners to support a combination of mobile and pop-up clinics for people that live in high-risk areas and are age 18 and over to get vaccinated. I look forward to sharing more details about these mobile and pop-up clinics as this information becomes available. 


2. City of Toronto Allocates $5.5 million to Community Groups for Vaccine Outreach and Engagement 

An effective mass immunization campaign requires connecting with people on the ground, in their communities. On Monday, the City of Toronto announced the 155 community agencies receiving $5.5M in COVID-19 Vaccine Engagement Grants– a key part of our COVID-19 Community Mobilization Plan.

Toronto’s 140 neighbourhoods are divided into geographic clusters, each with a Vaccine Engagement team led by a local community organization. Two additional clusters have been created to focus specifically on Newcomer residents, and Black Resilience outreach. 

155 community organizations, led by on-the-round Engagement teams, doing vaccine outreach and education in 140 neighbourhoods across our city, including mobilizing 280 resident ambassadors. This is how we build trust and support for vaccinations, and ensure access.

In each cluster, the Vaccine Engagement team has partnered with a number of neighbourhood agencies and grassroots, resident-led groups. These local leaders will help reduce barriers for community members to vaccination, and increase uptake among our most vulnerable. Indigenous agencies and groups will receive separate, additional funding of $1 million to self-determine their approach to community engagement and mobilization.

When it comes to vaccines, we need to connect with people where they live, where they worship, where they work and go to school. That's why our Plan is built on partnerships with local leaders and organizations that have deep ties to the people and neighbourhoods that they serve.

See the City of Toronto’s release for additional details. 


3. 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 on Mondays and Wednesdays at 2 pm, and access past updates here.

On Wednesday, Dr. de Villa spoke about how we are now unfortunately in one of the worst periods of the pandemic, and that the demands on our healthcare partners are unprecedented. She also spoke frankly about how vaccine supply for Toronto is limited at the moment. Delivering at current levels of vaccination – or better yet, reaching our maximum capacity to vaccinate – will require more vaccines than is in the pipeline at present, and delivered on a more reliable basis.

Dr. de Villa mentioned that while we are asking for increases to our vaccine supply, we also can’t simply vaccinate our way out of this third wave. We need to continue to practice physical distancing, wearing our masks, staying home, and physically depriving the virus of the ability to spread until such time as vaccinations reach a level in the population where they provide a strong firewall against COVID-19.

You can read her full remarks here. 


4. Creating New Affordable and Supportive Housing at 222 Spadina Avenue


We can't solve Toronto's affordable housing shortage with half-measures. We need bold steps – like acquiring a private hotel in our downtown core and turning it into permanent affordable housing with fully-integrated supports for people in our community.

With support from the Federal Government, we're turning 222 Spadina in downtown Toronto – formerly the Super 8 Hotel – into deeply affordable studio, 1-bed, and 2-bed apartments for 84 people, with on-site health and social supports. These units will be ready for people to move in this year.

Today's announcement about 222 Spadina also includes the City and Federal Government's partnership in purchasing 877 Yonge, a 15-storey former retirement residence that will provide new affordable, supportive homes for 250 people.

These are significant, long-term investments in deeply affordable housing. Both buildings will provide affordable units for a minimum of 99 years and prioritize housing for women, Indigenous residents, seniors, people with disabilities, and people at risk of homelessness.

This is how we tackle affordable housing: we invest in our residents, our community, and our city. I want to thank the Federal Government for their investment, and all our partners for this announcement today.

Visit my website to learn more.


5. Phased Opening of the King-Liberty Pedestrian and Cycling Bridge 

Our new King-Liberty Pedestrian and Cyclist Bridge will provide a much-needed accessible connection for pedestrians and cyclists over the rail corridor between Western Battery Road and King Street West/Douro Street. Construction of the bridge is now in the final stages. 

Given the arrival of warmer weather and the need for people to safely spend time outdoors for exercise and fresh air, I have requested that City staff open the bridge through a phased approach. 

While work continues on the elevator and security system, the bridge will open with pedestrian access only available via the stairs.The opening of stair access is anticipated for next week, on April 19. 

Please note that while the bridge will be open to the public, it will not be fully accessible to all users until elevator installations and inspections have been completed. Contractors are onsite this week in preparation of opening the bridge to the public. 

Construction on the elevators will continue into the spring and summer months after the bridge has opened. Fences, hoarding, and signs will be installed to protect the public while contractors complete the remaining works. Minor soft landscaping work, including restoration of the adjacent dog park, will be completed later in 2021.

Thank you for your patience during the construction of this much-needed local infrastructure project that will be enjoyed by the community for years to come. 


6. MPP Chris Glover’s Vaccine Registration Assistance at St. Lawrence Market


Call 647-904-6637 or email [email protected] for more information.


7. Ontario Line Virtual Open Houses: Downtown and West Segments

Metrolinx is hosting virtual public open houses for the Downtown and West Segments of the Ontario Line.

Downtown Segment:
(Osgoode, Queen, Moss Park and Corktown stations)
Monday, April 26 at 6:30 p.m.
Learn more and register here.

West Segment:
(Exhibition, King-Bathurst and Queen-Spadina stations)
Thursday, April 29 at 6:30 p.m.
Learn more and register here.


8. Tonight: Town Hall to Protect the First Parliament Site

In January, we learned that the Metrolinx had initiated expropriation proceedings for the First Parliament Site lands, which are owned by the City. A public meeting on the Master Plan for this historic site was postponed while the City sought clarification from Provincial agencies.

This week, the Province announced plans for a major development hub at the First Parliament Site along with the new Ontario Line Corktown station.

Tonight, April 15, join the virtual town hall with Councillor Wong-Tam, CreateTO, City staff, and invited guests Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario. The Town Hall will include presentations on plans for the site, and a public Q&A session.

Date: April 15, 2021
Time: 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Location: Zoom Webinar – Register here: https://www.firstparliament.to/townhall

Visit my website to learn more.


9. Resources and Webinars for Small Businesses

Sign up for BusinessTO News, a weekly newsletter that focuses on available resources and supports to help mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on Toronto businesses. Learn about the current health situation, changes to City services, resources, and economic support. 

Upcoming free webinars:

Ask the Expert: Marketing & Sales
Marketing your business has never been as important as it is today. This webinar will show you how to successfully market your product or service using easy and affordable sales and marketing tactics.
Friday, April 16, 9:30am – 12:30pm
Register 

B Corp 101 Workshop: Learning to Measure What Matters
Learn how to measure your company’s current impact in the areas of governance, employee relations, community and the environment, and then use these results to guide you forward as a social entrepreneur.
Tuesday, April 20, 10am – 12pm
Register 

Click here for more upcoming webinars


10. City of Toronto COVID-19 Vaccine Website

Protect yourself and others, get the COVID-19 vaccine when it’s your turn.

Visit toronto.ca/covid19vaccine for up-to-date eligibility information. 


11. 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

City of Toronto
Province of Ontario
Government of Canada

Telehealth Ontario
Call if you develop symptoms.
Telephone: 1-866-797-0000

Toronto Public Health Hotline
8:30 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Call if you have questions about COVID-19.
Telephone: 416-338-7600
TTY: 416-392-0658
Email: [email protected]

311 Toronto
Outside City limits: 416-392-2489
Call if you have questions about City services.
Telephone: 311
TTY: 416-338-0889