COVID-19 and Ward 10 Updates - January 21st

Dear friends,

This is a hard winter. The combination of high case counts, COVID fatigue, and a more transmissible variant has created a perfect storm. 

While lockdowns are necessary, we also need to ensure supports are available so people can protect themselves and others. That means paid sick leave, income support for workers and businesses, and making sure essential workplaces that are open are safe for staff. We can't afford to wait any longer.

That’s why the Board of Health has called on the Ontario Government to take immediate action and ensure paid sick leave for all workers, and why it’s more important than ever that all of us who are able to continue to stay home, stay safe, and take care of one another. 

Sincerely, 

Joe


In this Edition

  1. Virtual 2021 Budget Town Hall with Councillor Cressy and Councillor Layton
  2. Toronto Board of Health Calls on Ontario Government to Provide Paid Sick Leave for All Workers
  3. Statement on the Province's Move to Expropriate First Parliament Site Lands
  4. City of Toronto Outlines Plans to Enhance CaféTO Program to Help Local Restaurants
  5. My Opposition to Demolition of Heritage Buildings on the Foundry Lands
  6. Updates from Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health 
  7. Bathurst Street Bridge Rehabilitation Complete
  8. 655 Queen St W Development Application — Meeting Materials 
  9. City of Toronto COVID-19 Vaccine Website
  10. COVID-19 Information and Resources

Virtual 2021 Budget Town Hall with Councillor Cressy and Councillor Layton

Date: Thursday, January 28th, 2021
Time: 7:00pm
RSVP to [email protected] to be sent the meeting link closer to the event date.

The proposed 2021 Budget for the City of Toronto has been presented at the Budget Committee, launching the annual process of deciding how and what city services will be funded for the next year. You can find the presentation and more information at: www.toronto.ca/budget

Since early 2020 when the first cases of COVID-19 were identified in Toronto, our City has been on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19 pandemic. Our tireless staff have been working non-stop for months, ensuring the safety of services like public transit, helping our most vulnerable who are experiencing homelessness and food insecurity, and facilitating contact tracing and pop-up testing to stop the spread of this virus. But this year has tested our city like never before. To come out of this stronger than ever, we need support.

Toronto is facing a significant budget shortfall. Cutting programs and services, at a time when people and businesses need them most, is not an option. That's why we need our partners and the federal and provincial levels to step up and commit to dedicated funding for our city's recovery.

Toronto is an economic engine and our success supports all of Ontario and Canada. The Toronto region alone accounts for nearly 20% of Canada's economy. We have the expertise and ability at the City of Toronto to launch shovel-ready projects in areas including affordable housing, infrastructure, transportation, and climate change mitigation. We have a unique chance now to build a better, stronger, and more resilient city. An investment in Toronto is an investment in the future. But we can't do it alone.

Your voice is a vital part of the 2021 budget, and I want to hear from you about your priorities. I encourage you to join our Budget Town Hall, and learn more about how to formally participate in the process so that the mayor and all councillors hear from you before the final City Council vote in late February.


Toronto Board of Health Calls on Ontario Government to Provide Paid Sick Leave for All Workers


Click to watch video.

We won't beat COVID until we make it possible for workers to stay home and self-isolate when they are ill. Paid sick leave – it's long overdue. 

On Monday, Toronto's Board of Health voted unanimously to urge the Ontario Government to take immediate, additional actions to address rising rates of COVID-19 and mounting pressure on our healthcare system – starting with 10 days of paid sick leave for all workers, as our Medical Officer of Health has recommended.

Toronto's Board of Health is also urging the Province to keep people safe and save lives, by implementing: 

  • Protections for essential and frontline workers
  • Proactive workplace inspections
  • Financial supports for people and businesses
  • Expanded test, trace, and isolate systems

The Board of Health has also asked our Medical Officer of Health to consider and implement any additional public health restrictions under her authority, in order to stop the spread of COVID-19 and save lives in our city.

Click here to view the full Board of Health recommendations


Statement on the Province's Move to Expropriate First Parliament Site Lands

The City has learned that the Province of Ontario has initiated expropriation proceedings for the First Parliament Site lands owned by the City of Toronto. I am deeply concerned by the lack of collaboration by the Province, and the potential risk to this important historical site and city-building project.

Located at the intersection of Front and Parliament Streets, the First Parliament Site is a full city block, bounded on the west by Berkeley Street and on the south by Parliament Square Park. These lands are a site of local, provincial and national significance. 

The First Parliament site was to be developed for a mix of public uses in partnership with the Ontario Heritage Trust. The First Parliament Project team has engaged stakeholders and the public, completed a Heritage Interpretation Strategy, and is leading a Master Plan process to develop an implementation framework for the vision. City Council has approved a new district library for the site. New public open space, commemoration of the heritage of the site, and new public use opportunities are being explored.

The notice of expropriation by the Province to take permanent ownership of the site now raises serious concerns for the planned public uses for the site, including critical community facilities such as the district library. Successful city-building requires collaboration between government partners, working together on shared objectives. I will continue to work with Councillor Wong-Tam, stakeholders, and the public to secure the goals that our community and leaders like former Mayor Deputy McConnell have envisioned for this important site.

Read my full statement here


City of Toronto Outlines Plans to Enhance CaféTO Program to Help Local Restaurants

A new City of Toronto report recommends an expanded CaféTO program, starting this spring, to help Toronto’s main street restaurants and bars during the ongoing pandemic.

The report, which will be considered at Executive Committee on January 27, includes details about the CaféTO – a quick-start pandemic response program launched last summer – and outlines key findings along with recommendations on how to ensure the program is bigger and better this year.

During the summer of 2020 when outdoor dining was permitted, CaféTO helped hundreds of restaurant and bar operators by making it easier to open patios in curb lanes and along sidewalks, expand them, and access additional space for physical distancing. 

Click here for more details on the report


My Opposition to Demolition of Heritage Buildings on the Foundry Lands

This past Monday, despite multiple requests from the local community, the Chief Planner, the Mayor and Councillor Wong-Tam (the local Councillor) to cease any further activity, the Province’s contractors began demolition on the Foundry lands at 153-185 Eastern Avenue.

Precedents in the West Don Lands and Distillery District prove that redevelopment and heritage repurposing can go hand-in-hand. Demolition of the Dominion Foundry Complex should stop now.

Please visit local Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam's website to learn more and stay up to date

Sign the petition: Save The Foundry - Respect Local Planning.


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.

At today’s briefing, Dr. de Villa provided an update on Toronto Public Health data on race and income and COVID-19 cases in our city. The updated data continues to show the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on people who live on a low-income and people that identify with a racialized group in our city. People that identify with a racialized group accounted for 79% of COVID-19 cases (though comprising just over half of the city's population), and individuals living in low-income households accounted for 49% of cases (despite being less than a third of residents). Toronto Public Health has also begun analyzing data on hospitalizations, and found that 71% of people who have been hospitalized due to COVID-19 identify with a racialized group, while low-income individuals are 2.7 times more likely to be hospitalized due to COVID-19, when compared to the rest of the population – making it clear that COVID continues to prey on existing inequities in our city. 

I joined the City’s press conference today in order to share an update on our COVID-19 Equity Action Plan work. Through the Plan, we're working to expand access to COVID testing, address community concerns through outreach and education, and support people so they can safely isolate at home.  One of the ways we’re doing this is through door-to-door and on-site testing in certain high-risk Toronto Community Housing buildings. With 13 pop-up clinics and five door-to-door programs at seniors' buildings, TCHC has brought COVID testing directly to over 1,380 residents. 

After testing, outreach staff follow-up with wellness checks and to provide additional support. It's clear that just ordering people to stay home, or go get tested, isn't enough. Many people need support to be able to do so. That's why this innovative testing and outreach model works: it provides wrap-around assistance to help people stay home and stay safe during this difficult time.


Bathurst Street Bridge Rehabilitation Complete

The rehabilitation of the Bathurst Street Bridge, one of the oldest bridges in the city, is now complete! Constructed in 1903, it has been in its current location since 1916. 


655 Queen St W Development Application — Meeting Materials 

On January 19, the City hosted a virtual public meeting on the development application for 655-663 Queen Street West and 178 Bathurst Street. Thank you to everyone who took the time to join us and share feedback and comments. 

You can view the PDF presentation here

You can view the recording of the meeting here

For further information on the planning application at 655 - 663 Queen Street West and 178 Bathurst Street, please refer to the contact information below or view the application documents at the Application Information Centre: www.toronto.ca/655QueenStW


City of Toronto COVID-19 Vaccine Website

The City has launched a website to keep residents up to date on COVID-19 vaccines. 

Visit toronto.ca/covid19vaccine for real time and updated information. 


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