COVID-19 and Ward 10 Updates - February 4th

Dear friends,

With the UK variant B.1.1.7 now here in Toronto, it's up to all of us to prevent this variant and others from taking hold in our city. That means staying home as much as possible, and keeping your distance from anyone you don't live with.

At the City, we are working to make sure that our congregate settings and essential services are as safe as possible. We’ve now implemented additional protective health and safety measures in Toronto shelters, childcare centres, long-term care homes, paramedic services, and other City Divisions. And yesterday, City Council voted to extend Toronto’s temporary mask bylaws, which were set to expire, until June. The bylaws require people to wear masks or face coverings in all indoor public settings such as businesses, and in common areas in multi-residential buildings such as apartments and condominiums, in order to reduce transmission and keep people safe. 

Keeping new COVID-19 variants under control is critical right now as vaccine supply remains low. We must all continue to stay vigilant, stay home if possible, and take care of one another. That’s how we will get through this. 



In this Edition

  1. Council Calls on Province to Implement 10 Days of Emergency Paid Sick Leave
  2. Toronto Launches Black Community COVID-19 Response Plan 
  3. Updates from Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health 
  4. Watch – Virtual 2021 Budget Town Hall with Councillor Cressy and Councillor Layton
  5. The Esplanade and Mill Street –  New Cycling Infrastructure and Road Safety Improvements
  6. New Park Coming to York Street – Updates
  7. City Opens Second Modular Supportive Housing Building
  8. Queen Street West BIA’s #LoveOnQueen Campaign
  9. Waterfront East LRT Extension – Materials for Community Consultation Meeting
  10. Resources and Webinars for Small Businesses
  11. Winter Edition of The Fife and Drum
  12. City of Toronto COVID-19 Vaccine Website
  13. COVID-19 Information and Resources

Council Calls on Province to Implement 10 Days of Emergency Paid Sick Leave

Yesterday, Toronto City Council voted to call on the Ontario Government to immediately implement 10 days of paid sick leave for workers during a public health emergency like the COVID-19 pandemic.

The recommendation, which was unanimously approved by Toronto's Board of Health last month, was issued by Toronto's Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa. Only 42% of working Canadians currently have access to paid sick leave, and among low-wage and frontline workers the number is estimated to be only 10%. Workers without paid sick leave, particularly essential and frontline workers, continue to feel financial pressure to work even when ill. In Toronto, more than 60% of workplace outbreaks have taken place in frontline warehousing, shipping and distribution, manufacturing, and food processing sectors.

In September the Federal Government launched the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit as part of their COVID response, which provides $500 per week, for up to two weeks. While a significant and important program, the Benefit pays less than a full-time minimum wage job, has processing delays, and does not provide job security for workers seeking to use it. 

We know that we can't beat COVID-19 until we control workplace outbreaks, and we can't do that without paid sick leave. City Council has endorsed the Board of Health's call that the Province must step up and act now to protect essential and frontline workers.

Toronto Launches Black Community COVID-19 Response Plan 

In order to beat COVID, we must address pre-existing inequities that this pandemic has laid bare, especially as they relate to the social determinants of health. Black Torontonians have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic in our city. Black residents, who make up 9% of Toronto, account for 24% of hospitalizations due to COVID and 16% of cases. 

Yesterday, I joined Mayor John Tory and Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson to announce the City of Toronto's new Black Community COVID-19 Response Plan. Through this Plan, the City is investing $6.8 million and has partnered with 12 community agencies to provide COVID-19 health and safety awareness in Black communities, and to work with experts to prepare for and support immunization.

The work with experts includes the development of the Black Scientists Task Force on Vaccine Equity, with the overarching goal of reducing the immediate risk of disease transmission and hospitalization. This Task Force, which is being jointly led by the City and TAIBU Community Health Centre, includes Toronto Public Health staff as well as leading Black scientists involved in key aspects of vaccine development and Black public health experts. 

Community leaders and health experts in the Black community have been leading the call for a response that addresses the concerns of Black residents in Toronto. I'm proud that the City is stepping up and is committed to this important work. You can read more about the Black Community Response Plan and the Black Scientists Task Force on Vaccine Equity here

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.

Yesterday, Dr. de Villa spoke about the Ontario Government’s announcement that schools in Toronto, Peel Region, and York Region, are now scheduled to resume in-person learning on February 16. While this is a Provincial decision, Dr. de Villa noted some of the protections that Toronto Public Health has put in place, including an additional 200 public health staff to support schools, students, staff and families.  

Dr. de Villa noted that when schools reopen, there will be daily screening of staff and students that each school will check each day. If a student or staff has even one mild symptom of COVID-19 they cannot attend school and should go for testing. There are also screening questions so that if someone is sick at home with COVID-19, or isolating at home because they were a close contact of someone with COVID-19, or, if someone recently travelled, a student or staff in that home does not attend school. 

In her remarks, Dr. de Villa concluded by stressing that what we do in the community greatly impacts how safe schools are. If we are committed to reducing community transmission by staying home as much as possible and not interacting with people we don’t live with, then schools will be safer for children because there will be less community spread. 

Read Dr. de Villa's full update here

Watch – Virtual 2021 Budget Town Hall with Councillor Cressy and Councillor Layton

Thanks to everyone who joined us last week for my joint budget town hall with Councillor Layton. 

If you weren’t able to join, you can view the recording here

The Esplanade and Mill Street – New Cycling Infrastructure and Road Safety Improvements

The Esplanade and Mill Street are two important streets in the east part of downtown Toronto. They connect people to iconic destinations like the St. Lawrence Market and the Distillery District, as well as parks such as Corktown Common, and David Crombie Park.

New cycling infrastructure and traffic safety plans for these important streets are underway. To learn more, and to join the virtual public consultation on February 25, visit: 

New Park Coming to York Street – Updates

I’m pleased to share that the work is moving forward to create our new park on York Street. The open green space formerly encircled by the Gardiner Expressway off-ramp has been re-envisioned, and will soon become a new park to be enjoyed by local residents, workers, and the many visitors to our City’s central waterfront. 

An international design competition was held, and the “Love Park” proposal by Claude Cormier + Associés, Landscape Architects, was selected as the winning submission. The key features of the new open public space include:

  • A large, shallow, heart-shaped pond will lie at the parks centre and both existing and newly planted trees will provide a green canopy to help screen out the surrounding buildings and bustling city streets.
  • A swirling pathway network will provide opportunities for pedestrians to move through the park quickly or stroll and enjoy the respite from the streets.
  • Seating areas and a terrace will be present for casual lunches by employees of the neighbouring offices, for meet-ups, people watching, or just quiet contemplation.
  • A designated Dog Off-Leash Area (DOLA).

Construction is expected to begin in May 2021, with completion expected in Summer 2022. Stay tuned for updates.

Click here to learn more.

City Opens Second Modular Supportive Housing Building

Last week, the City opened a second modular supportive housing building at 321 Dovercourt Road (formerly known as 150 Harrison Street) a part of Phase I of the City’s Modular Housing Initiative. Along with the recently-opened 11 Macey Ave., the two housing properties provide a total of 100 new affordable, supportive homes.

The 44 new homes will house individuals experiencing homelessness and complement the City’s 2020-21 Winter Service Plan by ensuring safe and welcoming places for people experiencing homelessness during the winter.

Modular housing is high-quality, prefabricated housing that is transported to the site for assembly. The building at 321 Dovercourt Road has 44 studio apartments, is three-storeys high and includes a common room, a dining room, program space, administrative offices and a commercial kitchen that can provide on-site meals for residents. Each home is approximately 300 square feet and comes with a built-in kitchen (including a stove top), microwave, and fridge. They are also furnished with a twin bed, a lounge chair, a dining table and chairs and a dresser. Twenty-five per cent of the modular homes are accessible.

Click here to learn more.

Queen Street West BIA’s #LoveOnQueen Campaign

Support local businesses, and enter to win daily prizes by joining the Queen Street West BIA’s #LoveOnQueen campaign. Learn more here:

Waterfront East LRT Extension – Materials for Community Consultation Meeting

Join us for a virtual Community Consultation Meeting and learn more about ongoing work for the Waterfront East Light Rail Transit (LRT) Extension and help plan the future of Toronto’s waterfront community.

Date: February 17, 2021
Time: 7 pm – 8:30 pm
Click here to learn how to join the meeting virtually or by phone

Materials for the virtual Community Consultation are now live. You can view the pre-recorded video presentations from the project team, presentation slides, and a discussion guide. All materials are available on the project website.

In April 2019, City Council approved the streetcar option as the preferred technology for the Union Station to Queens Quay Link, and directed staff to undertake the preliminary design and engineering work for the extension of streetcar service to the East Bayfront from Union Station to Cherry Street. This work is part of the Council-approved Waterfront Transit Network Plan.

Click here to view the full meeting notice
Click here to visit the project website

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 impact of COVID-19 on Toronto businesses. Learn about the current health situation, changes to City services, resources, and economic support. Click here to sign up

Upcoming free webinars:

Ask the Expert: Legal Advice for Business 
Friday, February 5, 9 a.m. to noon – Register

General Small Business Tax Literacy Seminar 
Friday, February 26, 9:30 a.m. to noon – Register

B Corp 101 Workshop: Learning to Measure What Matters
Tuesday, February 16, 10 a.m. to noon – Register

Ask the Expert: Marketing & Sales
Friday, February 19, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. – Register

Winter Edition of The Fife and Drum

The winter edition of The Fife and Drum, a newsletter by Friends of Fort York and Garrison Common, is now available. 

Click here to learn more about The Fife and Drum, and to read past issues.

City of Toronto COVID-19 Vaccine Website

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

Visit 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:

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