Updates on New Restrictions and Vaccine Rollout

Dear friends,

Over the past few days, many residents in our Ward 10 community have reached out to share your feedback on the Government of Ontario’s recent announcements. I want to thank you for sharing your concerns, and to let you know my thoughts on the recent developments.

As Chair of the Toronto Board of Health, I have been committed to working with our colleagues at Toronto Public Health and the City of Toronto to protect our most vulnerable. Right now, we are in a serious third wave in our city, and strong actions must be taken in order to protect our health care system and save lives. 

On Friday, the Ontario Government announced that they are extending the current Provincial stay-at-home order for an additional two weeks, until May 20. This means that residents should remain home at all times with exceptions for essential reasons, such as going to grocery stores and pharmacies, health care services, for essential work, or exercise. More information on the stay at home order and current restrictions is available here. 

Like many others, I was deeply concerned at the Province’s initial announcement of expanded new police measures to stop and question individuals at any time. Over the weekend, these measures were retracted and revised to state that police officers do not have that authority, and can only stop people if they have legitimate reason to believe they are participating in an organized public event or gathering. 

What was missing from the Province’s announcement were the measures that we desperately need to protect essential and frontline workers, and to speed up vaccinations in the areas of our city that have been hardest-hit. Our public health data continues to show that the pandemic is disproportionately impacting residents in our city who are lower-income, identify with a racialized group, and live in certain areas. Many of these people are also essential and frontline workers, or live in a household with someone who is.

The Toronto Board of Health, our Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa, and City Council have all repeatedly called on the Ontario Government to immediately introduce 10 days of paid sick leave for all workers. I will continue to advocate to the Province to implement this recommendation as soon as possible, along with greater protections for workers including ensuring access to PPE, increased inspections and enforcement, and transparent information about workplace outbreaks. 

Decisions around which businesses are considered “essential” at this time, and which amenities and services are allowed to open or close (including recreational facilities like basketball courts, golf courses, etc.) are made by the Ontario Government. The City of Toronto does not have the ability to interfere with a provincial order. It is my position, however, that outdoor, recreational amenities can be enjoyed safely, and I know how important parks and playgrounds are for everyone's mental and physical health, including for families with young children like my own. I will continue to advocate for safe outdoor options and recreational activities for Ward 10 residents. 

When it comes to vaccines, the City of Toronto receives its vaccine supply directly from the Ontario Government, as do our hospital and health care partners. It is critical that we scale up vaccinations in priority neighbourhoods in our city, in order to protect residents who are at greatest risk. 

At the City, we’re actively partnering with our hospital, health care and community partners to roll-out  mobile and pop-up clinics in the highest-risk neighbourhoods. These are the areas that have been hit hardest by COVID-19, and where many frontline and essential workers live, including in Toronto’s northwest. The City has reallocated vaccine supply to support these mobile and pop-up clinics and we'll be scaling up sites in the coming days. By working with community leaders, we aim to get the word out to eligible local residents so people can get their shot in their community.

I will continue to advocate for more vaccine supply for Toronto communities, and will provide regular updates on any mobile and pop-up clinics that are planned for our Ward 10 community. 

I know many of you are frustrated, and I know this is a very hard time. But right now, the severity of this third wave in our city rests in the decisions we make today.

I will continue to fight for paid sick leave, increased protections for essential and frontline workers, outdoor spaces for people to enjoy safely, and a vaccination approach that prioritizes our most vulnerable, as quickly as possible. 

Sincerely,

Joe


In this Edition

  1. Ontario Lowers Age Eligibility for AstraZeneca Vaccine to 40 Years and Older
  2. City of Toronto COVID-19 Vaccine Website
  3. COVID-19 Information and Resources

Ontario Lowers Age Eligibility for AstraZeneca Vaccine to 40 Years and Older

Beginning tomorrow, April 20, select pharmacies across Toronto will begin administering AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines to people who are age 40 and older (or will be turning 40 this year). Some of the participating pharmacies are already booking appointments. 

To find your closest pharmacy and book an appointment to get the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine visit https://covid-19.ontario.ca/vaccine-locations 

All COVID-19 vaccines available in Canada have been shown to prevent serious illness, hospitalization, and death. Adverse reactions are extremely rare. It is strongly recommended that everyone book their appointment as soon as they become eligible.


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. 


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