COVID-19 and Ward 10 Updates - December 3rd 2021

Dear friends,

In just one week, Team Toronto has vaccinated more than 32,000  five to 11 year olds in our city with their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. That’s 16% of eligible kids. 

While our Team Toronto Kids Vaccination Plan gets underway, we announced an exciting component of the plan — Toronto Kids Vaccine Day at Scotiabank Arena. Part of our work to make vaccine clinics child-friendly, accessible, and fun, Toronto Kids Vaccine Day will be a celebration of our young superheroes who are stepping up to get vaccinated and protect our city. 

With tens of thousands of kids already booked for shots in the weeks ahead – and with our Scotiabank Arena clinic coming up on December 12th – we're off to a great start. Keep going, Toronto.

Sincerely,

Joe


In this Edition

  1. Province Announces Expanded Third Dose Eligibility to 50 Plus
  2. Toronto Kids Vaccine Day at Scotiabank Arena
  3. Building on Successes of Our COVID-19 Response
  4. The Toronto Model – A Comprehensive Health Approach to Ending the Overdose Crisis
  5. St. Andrew’s Playground Revitalization and Expansion — Complete! 
  6. Expanding Toronto’s Cycling Grid — University Avenue and Palmerston-Tecumseth
  7. Corktown Transit Oriented Community Open House
  8. Registration for City of Toronto Winter Programs Opening Soon
  9. Pop-Up COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics in Ward 10
  10. Resources and Webinars for Small Businesses

1. Province Announces Expanded Third Dose Eligibility to 50 Plus

Effective Monday, December 13, the Province will expand the eligibility for a third dose to individuals aged 50 and over who received their second dose approximately six months ago.

This expanded eligibility is in addition to previously announced eligible groups, which includes immunocompromised individuals, health care workers, First Nations, Inuit or Metis peoples, and people who received a complete series of a Viral Vector Vaccine (two doses of AstraZeneca vaccine or one dose of Johnson and Johnson vaccine).

Starting on December 13, at 8 a.m., residents will be able to book appointments to receive their third dose using the Provincial system

Toronto residents will be able to receive their third dose of COVID-19 vaccine at one of more than 450 local pharmacies that are offering this vaccine. Toronto Public Health estimates that pharmacies in the city have the capacity to administer 660,000 vaccine doses per month. 

Residents are asked to call or visit a pharmacy’s website and check if they need an appointment or if walk-in vaccinations are available. Residents can find the pharmacy closest to them that offers COVID-19 vaccines here or here.

In addition, Toronto residents can receive their COVID-19 vaccine at City-run immunization clinics, many doctors’ offices and at other health care partner clinics. The City has made 28,266 appointments available for residents aged 12 plus at City-run immunization clinics for the weeks of December 14 and  December 21. More appointments in future weeks will be made available later this month. More information on where to get vaccinated here.


2. Toronto Kids Vaccine Day at Scotiabank Arena

This week we announced Toronto Kids Vaccine Day, happening Sunday December 12th, at Scotiabank Arena. 

Team Toronto is thrilled to return to Scotiabank Arena but this time, instead of breaking a world record, we will be aiming to create the most fun and positive vaccine clinic experience for Toronto’s kids.

Our Team Toronto Kids campaign is all about making vaccine clinics accessible and fun. Toronto Kids Vaccine Day will be a celebration of our young superheroes who are stepping up to get vaccinated and protect our city.

The special event will include giveaways, music, special guests, and entertainment throughout the day. 

Toronto Kids Vaccine Day
Sunday December 12, 10am to 6pm
Appointments available for children ages five to 11 years old (or turning five by the end of 2021)
Click here to learn more and book an appointment


3. Building on Successes of Our COVID-19 Response

With the rollout of our Team Toronto Kids Vaccination Plan, and expanded eligibility for third doses, we have announced the continuation of successful vaccine engagement strategies, along with a new COVID-19 exposure notification system.

Extending Vaccine Engagement Programs
This week we announced a new investment of $6 million to expand the work of our Vaccine Engagement Teams, comprised of 155 community agencies and 400 community ambassadors. This investment will continue their essential work to help vulnerable residents access first/second doses, booster shots, and families access clinics for kids into July 2022.

Our Vaccine Engagement Teams have been on-the-ground increasing vaccine confidence and access by engaging with over 800,000 Torontonians since April. With this critical program extended, opportunities to increase vaccine uptake and equity will continue. 

Vaccine Engagement Teams will continue to help residents locate vaccine clinics/navigate registration, conduct door-to-door and phone outreach in neighbourhoods with lower vaccination rates, host virtual and in-person public engagement sessions, and provide transportation support to vaccination appointments. Learn more here

The Next Phase of VaxTO
With the Provincial update on expanded eligibility for a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine for those 50 and older, the City is ready to launch the next phase of our VaxTO campaign to inform Torontonians of eligibility, and access appointments and information. 

Since its launch in the spring, VaxTO has helped connect thousands of residents with vaccine appointments and information through a variety of targeted, multilingual outreach methods including broadcast voice messages, direct phone calls, a 24/7 text line, and telephone town halls. 

The VaxTO campaign has always been about connecting residents to resources, encouraging vaccination, and addressing barriers. By reaching out directly, we'll be able to encourage thousands of Torontonians to get their third shot and help to keep themselves, and our city, safe. Learn more here

New COVID-19 Exposure Notification System
Toronto Public Health (TPH) has launched a new page on the City of Toronto’s website that discloses specific locations where community members may have been exposed to COVID-19 in large settings or where individual contact information is not available. It also provides instructions on steps that affected people should take to better protect their health and the health of those around them.

Already the largest municipal case and contact management operation in the country with more than 900 dedicated staff, this enhanced exposure notification system will bolster our COVID response. 

The COVID-19 Exposure Notifications page includes information on potential exposures in situations where one or more cases has been detected in a setting within a defined timeframe and where a contact list is not available. Learn more here


4. The Toronto Model – A Comprehensive Health Approach to Ending the Overdose Crisis

When it comes to the overdose crisis, the status quo is not working. In fact, business-as-usual is resulting in the deaths of our friends, neighbours, relatives, Torontonians. Perhaps most painful of all, these deaths are preventable.

In 2020, 531 Torontonians died of opioid overdoses. That was 81% higher than 2019, when 293 Torontonians lost their lives. And that was 288% higher still than 2015 when 137 Torontonians lost their lives.

This painful story is not unique to Toronto – far from it. More than 20,000 Canadians have died of an opioid overdose in the last five years. Across our country people are dying, and together, governments have the capacity to stop this.

It is long past time for a new, comprehensive, inter-governmental approach to this crisis. It is time to treat drug use as the health issue that it is: not simply a criminal one.

Now, after years of advocacy and months of work on the ground with a broad range of partners and stakeholders, Toronto's Medical Officer of Health has proposed the Toronto Model – a comprehensive health approach to end the overdose crisis. It's a comprehensive inter-governmental approach to increase treatment and prevention programs, to make harm reduction services more accessible, to provide pathways and referral programs for people who use drugs to access services, and to decriminalize the small possession of drugs. It's an evidence-informed comprehensive approach, and it has my full and complete support.

On Monday, Toronto's Board of Health will meet to consider this report and the proposed Toronto Model. For years, drug use – and the necessary healthcare programs and legal changes necessary to improve health outcomes – was seen as controversial. Not anymore. A broad range of Toronto partners and stakeholders – from hospitals like the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) to enforcement agencies like Toronto Police Services – have now come out in support of the Toronto Model.

At the Board of Health on Monday, I plan to strongly seek our Board's approval of this critical direction. 

For too long residents of our city – our friends, relatives, neighbours and colleagues – have suffered from the overdose crisis. Lives have been lost, families have broken down, and too many have struggled in silence. It's time to treat the overdose crisis like the urgent health issue that it is.


5. St. Andrew’s Playground Revitalization and Expansion — Complete! 

St. Andrew’s Playground has now officially reopened in its new and expanded form! I’d like to thank our incredible City staff and neighbours for all their work and involvement bringing this project to the West Precinct of King-Spadina.

Our newly revitalized park is now home to a new playground, additional plantings, seating areas, as well as a new dog off-leash area. It has also expanded westward into a space previously operating as a parking lot, allowing additional green space for this thriving neighbourhood. 


6. Expanding Toronto’s Cycling Grid — University Avenue and Palmerston-Tecumseth

Creating new cycling infrastructure is critical to improving safety for everyone on our streets, no matter how they get around. 

A year and a half ago the City launched ActiveTO with the commitment to expand our cycling network. Yesterday, we achieved an important step in making some of this critical infrastructure permanent. I’m pleased to share that the Infrastructure and Environment Committee has approved recommendations to make the University Avenue and Bloor/Danforth ActiveTO bike lanes permanent.  

The committee also approved the installation of bike lanes on Tecumseth Street and Palmerston Avenue — key north/south routes for connecting our city's cycling grid. 

Now, let’s continue the work to expand the grid and make our streets safer. 


7. Corktown Transit Oriented Community Open House

On Monday, December 6th, Infrastructure Ontario will host a second virtual open house on the Transit Oriented Development plan for the Corktown station area, which includes the historic First Parliament Site. This meeting is an important opportunity for the community to weigh in on the proposed development and determine if critical parkland and heritage interpretation opportunities at this historic site have been restored after being removed in the initial submission by Infrastructure Ontario.

Corktown Transit Oriented Community Open House
Monday, December 6th, 6:30pm
Click here to register

In January, the City learned that the Province of Ontario had initiated expropriation proceedings for the First Parliament Site lands owned by the City of Toronto, near the planned Corktown Station of the future Ontario Line subway. I am deeply concerned by the potential risk to this important historic site and city-building project. Visit my website to learn more


8. Registration for City of Toronto Winter Programs Opening Soon

Registration for winter recreation programs and March Break CampTO starts December 15 for local and downtown locations.

With over 11,000 registered programs and 2,200 drop-in programs on offer, there’s something for all ages, interests and skill levels this winter. Find out how to sign up online.


9. Pop-Up COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics in Ward 10

Trinity Community Recreation Centre
155 Crawford Street
Every Tuesday until December 14th
Open to residents born in 2009 or older
2 pm - 6:30 pm
View flyer

Scadding Court Community Centre
707 Dundas Street West
Every Wednesday until December 15th
Open to residents born in 2009 or older
5 pm - 7 pm
View flyer

Canoe Landing Community Recreation Centre
45 Fort York Blvd
Every Thursday until December 16th
Open to residents born in 2009 or older
4 pm - 8 pm
View flyer


10. Resources and Webinars for Small Businesses

The City of Toronto continues to provide resources and support programs to help businesses respond to the impact of COVID-19 and support safe reopening and economic growth and recovery.