COVID-19 and Ward 10 Updates - June 24

Dear friends,

This week we reached another milestone in our city’s vaccine rollout: more than 3 million doses administered.

Thank you to the frontline heroes who made this possible: doctors and nurses, community ambassadors and agencies, paramedics, pharmacists, and every resident who has stepped up. 

While we’re making great progress, there is still much more to do. We won’t stop until every Torontonian, in every part of our city, can be fully vaccinated. 

Our Team Toronto Sprint Strategy 2.0 is continuing to deliver first and second doses of vaccines in neighbourhoods with a high incidence of COVID-19, low vaccine coverage, and where the Delta variant has been identified. 

We have also partnered with the Toronto Youth Cabinet to launch a new youth-led Toronto Youth Vaccine Engagement Strategy focused on reaching vulnerable youth.

Build every bridge and break down every barrier to vaccination – that’s been our goal since Day 1, and together we will get there. 

Sincerely,

Joe


In this Edition

  1. Accelerated Second Dose Eligibility
  2. Update on Trinity Bellwoods Park
  3. Toronto Vaccine Day — Our Winning Shot
  4. Updates from Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health 
  5. Building Affordable Rental Housing at 1117 Dundas Street West
  6. Community Compost Days
  7. Bathurst Quay Neighbourhood Plan Updates
  8. The Bentway Announces a “Summer of Play”
  9. Resources and Webinars for Small Businesses
  10. City of Toronto COVID-19 Vaccine Website
  11. COVID-19 Information and Resources

1. Accelerated Second Dose Eligibility

This week, the Province further expanded eligibility for accelerated second vaccine dose booking. 

The following groups are currently eligible to book an accelerated second dose:

  • People who are 70 years of age and older in 2021
  • People who are 18 years of age and older and received their first dose on or before May 30
  • People who received a first dose of AstraZeneca at least eight weeks ago
  • First Nations, Inuit and Métis individuals, including non-Indigenous partners and household members
  • Certain high-risk health care workers 
  • Certain people with health conditions 
  • People 12 years of age and older who live, work or attend school in certain postal codes are also eligible to receive their second dose at pop-up clinics in their area

More information on vaccine eligibility is available here. 


2. Update on Trinity Bellwoods Park

Ending chronic homelessness, not simply clearing encampments – that must be our collective task. Encampments are not a solution to chronic homelessness. Neither is simply clearing them.

As a city and a community we must continue to work together, to create the conditions, the trust, and the relationships to support people experiencing homelessness to access safe indoor accommodations.

Like so many Torontonians, I was deeply troubled to watch events unfold in Trinity Bellwoods Park. The excessive display of enforcement eroded trust. It eroded trust in the city, and within our community. The heavy enforcement presence on display should concern us all.

Homelessness is a complex issue. So too are the necessary health and housing solutions, because the circumstances are unique and personal for every individual experiencing homelessness. We know that a one-size-fits-all approach does not work. I believe that residents of encampments – my constituents – should be offered a range of safe and secure indoor options.  I have worked hard with City staff and my City Council colleagues over the past 18 months of the pandemic to improve our shelter and shelter hotel system. The City of Toronto is leasing hotels to provide safe indoor spaces in a variety of locations, including downtown. We are also building new modular supportive housing, acquiring private buildings for conversion into supportive housing, and continuing to ensure there are expanded and necessary harm reduction and wrap-around supports available in all shelter programs. All of this work must continue to expand and ramp up.

What we saw in Trinity Bellwoods Park on Tuesday is not the way forward. We must, collectively, work to de-escalate situations and the potential for further conflict around encampment sites in our city. We have to focus, above all else, on the health and welfare of people currently experiencing homelessness who, for diverse and personal reasons, have ended up living in parks instead of accepting available options for indoor accommodation.

As I spoke to and voted for earlier this month at City Council, I believe the way forward is for the City of Toronto to come to the table alongside a third party, City staff, people experiencing homelessness, and organizations that provide supports, to engage in a collaborative approach to providing safe indoor shelter and housing opportunities that ensures safety and dignity. As the Councillor for Spadina-Fort York, I will continue to push for an alternative approach.

I will also continue to push for the acquisition and conversion of more housing options, including vacant TCHC units, surface level parking lots, hotels, and apartment buildings, in order to provide stable, secure, and affordable housing for people experiencing homelessness.

Until we have ended chronic homelessness, and all the residents of our city have a home – until that criteria is met, our collective work must not stop.


3. Toronto Vaccine Day — Our Winning Shot

25,000 people have now booked Toronto Vaccine Day COVID-19 vaccination appointments at the “Our Winning Shot” clinic taking place this Sunday, June 27 at Scotiabank Arena. 

Fully booked with 25,000 appointments, Toronto Vaccine Day has more than doubled the current Canadian record for most people vaccinated at a one-day clinic and is on track to potentially set a new North America-wide single-day clinic record.

The North American single-dose clinic record is 17,003 doses set at the Texas Motor Speedway. Toronto, we’re about to crush it. 

Follow along on social media: #TorontoVaccineDay

Learn more here


4. 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.

In her update on Wednesday, Dr. de Villa spoke about the importance of completing two-dose vaccination, and to get the vaccine available to you when you are eligible.

This is because, the more people we have fully vaccinated the harder it gets for variants like Delta to spread. The more people we have who are unvaccinated, the likelier it becomes that a new variant will develop – potentially with the ability to threaten the protection we’ve got against COVID-19 – and all the progress we’re making towards reopening.

Dr. de villa also spoke about how although the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines have different names and different manufacturers, they are built on the exact same foundation. 

While new to use, mRNA vaccines have been in study and development for 30 years. Dr. de Villa shared that mRNA is to vaccination and to medical researchers what smartphones are to cellphones and to you and me – researchers have taken something we’re familiar with and made it better – as a result of imagination, development and careful, rigorous testing.

As we approach the next phase on the province's roadmap to reopening, it is important to get vaccinated as soon as you are eligible. 

Read Dr. de Villa’s full statement here.


5. Building Affordable Rental Housing at 1117 Dundas Street West

I have written to the City's Planning and Housing Committee to begin work on transforming the City-owned surface parking lot at 1117 Dundas Street West into new affordable rental units.

We desperately need more rental housing in our city that people at all income levels can afford. By leveraging City-owned parking lots like this one (near the intersection of Dundas and Ossington), we can create new housing that can be fully affordable and operated in partnership with a local non-profit organization.

If approved, my recommendations will call on the Housing Secretariat and CreateTO to report back this fall with an update and work plan on how to activate this site for 100% affordable housing, and issue a call for proposals to identify a non-profit housing operator.

Creating new affordable rental housing in our communities is how we ensure that they are vibrant, diverse, and accessible. You can read my letter to the Committee here.

I look forward to providing updates on this initiative as they become available. There will be public meetings to discuss a planning proposal once work advances to that stage of detail. 


6. Community Compost Days


2017 Community Compost Day

The City is providing free compost for pick up. The compost provided comes from your leaf and yard waste that the City collects as part of the waste reduction and recycling program.

Please note the following when coming to pick up your free compost:

  • COVID-19 public health guidelines should be followed including; maintaining physical distancing, wearing a mask when collecting from the compost pile, and staying home if you have any COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Please bring your own shovel and container. No staff will be available onsite to assist. 

Upcoming compost days:

Stanley Park
Saturday, July 3rd, 12pm 

Little Norway Park
Sunday, July 4th, 10am

More locations and dates will be provided as they are confirmed. 


7. Bathurst Quay Neighbourhood Plan Updates

Bathurst Quay is a dynamic waterfront neighbourhood. With a new waterfront promenade, pedestrian streetscape improvements, a new Canada Ireland Foundation arts and cultural centre under construction, and plans for a new waterfront plaza, the Bathurst Quay revitalization is underway and thriving.

On June 16th we held a virtual community consultation on plans for the new waterfront plaza, a public space on the Canada Malting property.

Watch the recording of the June 16 presentation here.

Complete the survey (until Wednesday, June 30) here.

For more background of the Bathurst Quay Neighbourhood Plan, visit the City’s project webpage here.


8. The Bentway Announces a “Summer of Play”

The Bentway has announced Playing in Public - a collection of outdoor and online projects that invite you to rediscover “play” in the city this summer. From under the Gardiner, to Canoe Landing Park, to the Waterfront, our summer season includes eight new art installations, a connective Play Path, roaming and audio experiences, and more.

Learn more here.


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:

Pushing the Potential of Food Entrepreneurs
Learn about Venture Labs Kitchen, a non-profit food incubator helping Canadian entrepreneurs commercialize food innovation at their production facility in Toronto and through nationwide support and mentorship programs.
Friday, June 25, 1 – 2 p.m.
Register 

eCommerce 101: What, Why, How
More consumers than ever before are turning to online shopping for greater convenience, safety and variety. In this webinar, you will learn the basic steps to set up an online store.
Tuesday, June 29, 10 – 11:30 a.m.
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