Over the weekend, after Doug Ford announced the additional COVID-19 restrictions I was heartened to see thousands of people speak out against the unfair and unscientific restrictions around closing playgrounds. As a parent to a young child, I am overwhelmingly grateful and relieved that I can still take my son outside to play. Unfortunately, this reversal does not apply to other outdoor amenities. This and the fact that Doug Ford has continued to empower police to enforce these rules remains very concerning to me.
After 30 separate police forces in Ontario, including the Toronto Police Service, said they would refuse to carry out random street checks, Doug Ford’s government changed the regulation so that police no longer can stop people without a reason to suspect them -- which is good -- but the amount of information police can require from people has increased. Essentially, this is still carding and it is still arbitrary, and I believe an infringement on our charter rights. As historically shown, this will undoubtedly and unfairly target BIPOC and LGBTQ2S+ communities which must be strongly opposed. On social media, there have been already reports of individuals being stopped and questioned. I hope you can continue to join me in calling for a full repeal of this regulation.
We should also be very concerned about how these rules are being enforced. This weekend many of us saw another large anti-mask rally downtown, and while Toronto Police were on scene, it doesn't appear any fines or charges were laid. Over the past year and again this weekend, I have reached out to 51 Division to seek an understanding of how they are interpreting the laws and what actually triggers their enforcement. I will work with my colleagues at City Council to get further advice from the City Solicitor on how we can address this inconsistency.
Finally, I have received some calls from residents to say that they have noticed small groups of people outside that you want to report for potentially breaking the outdoor gathering rules. Many of us feel powerless to help right now, and I understand the instinct to try and help by enforcing the rules.
As scientists have informed us, the small gatherings we see outdoors remain infinitely safer than the gatherings we know are happening inside manufacturing factories and distribution centres. If you are feeling like you want to do more to help end this lockdown and slow the rate of COVID-19, please direct that energy by calling 416-325-1941 or emailing the Premier and his ministers. Demand that they:
- Focus on policies that target indoor spaces.
- Close all but truly essential workplaces.
- Support people, so they can stay at home when sick.
- Vaccinate those most at risk.
- Limit contacts and don’t travel.
Closing all non-essential businesses and implementing paid sick leave are two of the most important steps the government can take to protect our communities and help reduce the strain on our health care system. Ford continues to say that we are ‘almost out of options’. This is a lie.
Ford and the Provincial government actively ignore recommendations directly from their science advisory table. There are clear legislative tools that he can implement to slow the spread of COVID-19, and he has not. He repeatedly neglects our most vulnerable residents.
Yesterday, the Federal government announced its 2021 Budget with a projected deficit of $354.2 billion 2020-21. This budget includes extending pandemic supports to residents and businesses, increases the federal minimum wage, and promises $17.6 billion in green investments.
Most notably, the 2021 budget outlines a $12 billion plan to extend key COVID relief programs for businesses and continues to commit to further income supports. Despite being set to expire in June, the wage and rent subsidies will now be available through September including the Canada Recovery Benefit aimed at people who aren’t covered by employment insurance. Even though the program will be extended, support will drop to $300 (not $500) per week after July 17.
The Federal government has additionally committed to:
- Beginning 2022-23, $3 billion over five years to support provinces in creating and upholding high standards of care inside our long-term care facilities;
- Over the next seven years, $2.2 billion invested in the biomedical and life science research sector, in part to increase vaccine development;
- In 2021-22, a $424 million investment in funding further air travel protections and mandatory quarantine measures;
- Over the next three years, $100 million to support projects for mental health interventions to populations disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 (health care and frontline workers); and
- Over six years, starting in 2021, $41.3 million for Statistics Canada to improve data infrastructure and data collection.
In addition to direct COVID-19 response, the Federal Government has acknowledged the critical role women play in our economy and have committed up to $30 billion over the next five years, and $8.3 billion ongoing for Early Learning and Child Care and Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care, with the goal of bringing fees for regulated child care down to $10 per day on average within the next five years. As a parent, this is a life-changing investment, and all Canadians will benefit from the ability of full labour market participation from women. This is a momentous and important announcement for our country.
Lastly, the vaccine rollout across the province continues. Late Sunday, the Province lowered the age requirement for the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to individuals aged 40 and over at pharmacy and primary care settings across the province effective Tuesday. If you qualify, I urge you to go get your vaccine. You can visit my website to find your closest pharmacy to book your appointment. I would also encourage you to read my latest vaccine update for more details.
Thank you for your resilience, it is an honour to represent you.
- Camera Installation at Dundas Street East and Sherbourne
- Cabbagetown Spring Art Walk: A New Beginning
- St James Town Park West Redesign
- 234 -250 King Street East Community Consultation
- Need Help Registering for Your Vaccine?
- Regent Park CHC: COVID-19 Vaccine Town Hall
- Volunteers Available to Support Vaccinations
- COVID-19: Vaccine Information
- COVID-19: Ongoing Tips to Reduce Virus Spread
- City of Toronto COVID-19 Updates
- Province of Ontario COVID-19 Updates
- Government of Canada COVID-19 Updates
- COVID-19 Information and Resources
Camera Installation at Dundas Street East and Sherbourne
For years, I have advocated for community resources across the downtown east to improve community safety. This ongoing work has resulted in the Downtown East Action Plan which includes enhanced resources in our communities, including de-escalation teams, Parks Ambassadors, harm reduction outreach workers, increased park, street and laneway maintenance, private property needle pick up, and more.
In direct response to the safety concerns of the Cabbagetown South community including Toronto Community Housing, the Toronto Police Service and City of Toronto will be installing cameras at the corner of Dundas Street East and Sherbourne Street. These cameras will be installed within the next couple of weeks and will provide Toronto Police Service with additional resources in order to continue to address community safety in the neighbourhood.
I want to thank Toronto Police, Toronto Hydro, Toronto Community Housing, residents and stakeholders for their efforts in advancing this community-led health and safety initiative.
Cabbagetown Spring Art Walk- A New Beginning: Expressions of Hope, Rejuvenation & Community
Through a winter activation grant from the City of Toronto, the Cabbagetown Business Improvement Area (BIA) created "A New Beginning", an art walk across the neighbourhood featuring work from a diverse range of talented, local, and notable artists. Centred on the themes of community, hope, and rejuvenation these beautiful pieces of artwork installed in numerous storefronts across the community and are intended to highlight the sense of community and resilience to help us continue through these difficult times. For the past few weeks, various muralists and artists have been working hard to transform the storefront spaces into brilliant, colourful, and eye-catching works of art.
233 Carlton art walk
In particular, there is a beautiful mural on the window of 233 Carlton Street - the future home of the Adelaide Resource Centre for Women that was painted by multidisciplinary artist and designer, Julia Prajza. This jointly-funded collaboration between the City of Toronto and the Cabbagetown BIA features original new artwork elevating a common storefront with a grand gesture of destination placemaking. It is a great opportunity to integrate the resource centre into the community in an elegant and welcoming manner. Ms. Prajza’s oversized and bright painting of vibrant Spring Flowers is an optimistic and bold addition to the existing streetscape.
Upcoming Community Consultations in Ward 13
St James Town Park West Redesign
St. James Town West park parameters
Tonight, join us for the first public consultation on the redesign for St James Town Park West. Early concept designs have been created and this will be an opportunity to learn more about the project and share your thoughts. There will be an update on the redesign, construction timelines as well as the opportunity to ask questions.
When: Tonight, April 20, 2021
Time: 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Where: Register to join online
If you require accessibility accommodations in order to participate, please contact Laurel Christie at 416-395-0074 or [email protected].
234-250 King Street East
234-250 King St E consultation
The City has received an application to amend the Zoning By-law to allow a 40-storey (123.1metres plus a 9.75-metre mechanical penthouse) mixed-use building with ground-level retail, 488 dwelling units, 113 vehicle parking spaces within an underground garage, and 490 bicycle parking spaces.
Join us at the Virtual Community Consultation Meeting to learn more about the development proposal, which will include presentations and a Question and Answer portion providing local residents and stakeholders the opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback.
When: Monday, April 26, 2021
Time: 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Where: Register to join online
For further information on this Zoning By-law Amendment application, please view the application submission materials on the Application Information Centre.
If you wish to provide a comment to City Planning before or after the meeting, please contact Kevin Friedrich, Senior Planner, City Planning Division, at [email protected].
Vaccination Information for Ward 13
Need Help Registering for Your Vaccine?
There is a lot of confusion around vaccines and vaccine registration and I know that’s been very frustrating. On Wednesday, April 21, 2021, MPP Chris Glover and SPAFY Community Care are partnering to offer support to anyone who needs help registering for their vaccine. Simply drop by 125 The Esplanade, St Lawrence Market South (The Big White Tent), call 647-904-6637, or email [email protected].
Vaccine Registration promotional graphic
When: April 21, 2021
Time: 3 - 7:00 p.m
Where: St Lawrence Market South (The Big White Tent), 125 The Esplanade
If you’re attending in person, please wear a mask if possible and enter through the Market Street doors (west side). Masks will be available should you require them. Don’t forget to bring your OHIP card or a clear copy (front and back).
Regent Park CHC Presents: COVID-19 Vaccine Town Hall
Vaccine town hall registration promotional graphic
On Monday, April 26, 2021, Regent Park CHC will be hosting a COVID-19 Vaccine town hall in both English and Somali to answer questions about vaccines. This will be a great opportunity to learn more about vaccines and how you can get yours. If you are eligible, I urge you to get the first vaccine offered to you. This is a critical step in protecting yourself and your community.
When: April 26, 2021
Time: 11- 12:30 pm
Where: Zoom, 927 7658 2300 (password: 549110)
If you have any questions, please contact [email protected] or call 416-203-4506. If you need to speak to someone in Somali, please call 416-203-4503 (direct line).
Volunteers Available to Support Vaccinations
Volunteer Toronto’s online volunteer recruitment portal is Ontario’s most popular place for volunteers — seeing an average of 30,000 users per month. Additionally, 10,000 individuals have joined Volunteer Toronto’s COVID-19 Volunteer Response Team. When needed, volunteers with specific or transferable skills can be recruited through the portal and from the Team for timely vaccination-related roles.
Hundreds of volunteers with healthcare experience are waiting to be deployed for vaccination efforts and to support appointment booking in Toronto. To engage these skilled volunteers, organizations that are administering vaccinations, including pharmacies, can now access recruitment and role planning support from Volunteer Toronto.
Agencies interested can get in touch with Volunteer Toronto to discuss recruitment and training services for vaccination volunteer engagement efforts:
Email: [email protected]
Phone number: 416-961-6888
COVID-19: Vaccine Information
For updates about Toronto’s vaccination rollout and booking system, please visit my website.
Book an appointment at a City-operated vaccination clinic by phone through the provincial call centre, 1-888-999-6488.
Book an appointment at a City-operated vaccination clinic online at www.toronto.ca/covid-19. For online bookings, you will need:
- Information found on your Government of Ontario photo health card;
- Postal code; and
- Email address or phone number.
The provincial system will verify your eligibility to book an appointment for vaccination based on this information and will then guide you to the scheduling system.
Please do not call 311 or Toronto Public Health to book an appointment. The City 311 contact centre and Toronto Public Health staff do not have access to the booking system.
COVID-19: Ongoing Tips to Reduce Virus Spread
As we begin to again restrengthen our public health measures, we will all continue to live in this new normal. Wearing a mask or a face covering is mandatory in all public indoor spaces and on the TTC. Our commitment must be to continue minimizing the impact of COVID-19, especially on our most vulnerable residents, while reducing negative social, economic, and broader health impacts on our community. In the coming months what this means for our residents is:
- Continuing to work remotely, wherever possible;
- Maintaining physical distance from people outside our household or social circle/bubble;
- Avoiding crowds and congregations in closed indoor settings;
- Wearing a cloth mask or face covering in any public indoor setting, including stores, transit, offices; and where
- physical distancing is difficult to maintain.
- Staying home whenever we are sick for any reason.
Face Masks and Coverings Offer Best Protection
Image description: Informational graphic from Toronto Public Health titled, "Face Masks & Coverings Offer Best Protection." Through visual examples, the graphic shows recommended and not recommended ways of wearing a mask. The recommended way for wearing a mask says, "should cover your nose, mouth, and chin without gaping." The following are not recommended: face shields, masks with exhalation valves, or clear plastic masks.
How to Safely Wear a Mask
Image description: Toronto Public Health infographic about how to safely wear a mask. Information on the infographic is listed below.
- Do wash your hands before putting it on and taking it off
- Do make sure it fits to cover your mouth and nose
- Do wash your cloth mask in the laundry
- Do clean surfaces that a dirty mask touches
- Don’t touch your face or mask while using it
- Don’t use masks on children under 2 or those who can’t breathe with them on
- Don’t share your mask with others
- Don’t wear medical masks, keep them for health care workers
- The best protection is to stay home, keep a 6-foot distance, and wash hands often.
City of Toronto COVID-19 Updates
Toronto Public Health Issues Section 22 Class Order to Close Workplaces to Manage COVID-19 Outbreaks
As easily transmitted COVID-19 variants of concern spread quickly throughout Toronto and the GTA, outbreaks are increasingly linked to workplaces, where the virus can spread through close contact between workers.
The City of Toronto has received updated COVID-19 regulations from the Province of Ontario and has modified City services and operations to align with the orders and direction from Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health. Strengthened public health measures are needed to reduce new cases of COVID-19 in Toronto, alleviate the strain on the healthcare system and save lives.
The City of Toronto and its vaccination partners have now administered more than 900,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses.
City of Toronto Conducting Fifth Street Needs Assessment of People Experiencing Homelessness in Toronto
The City of Toronto will conduct Toronto’s fifth Street Needs Assessment (SNA). The SNA is a city-wide, point-in-time count and survey of people experiencing homelessness in Toronto, led by Shelter, Support and Housing Administration, in collaboration with community partners in the homelessness sector. The City has conducted SNAs since 2006 and has done so in 2009, 2013, and 2018. Due to the City’s COVID-19 response, the SNA planned for Spring of 2020 had to be postponed.
City of Toronto Purchases Two Buildings to Create 334 Homes with Support Services for People in Need
Mayor John Tory and the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) announced the first two Toronto locations under the Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI). These sites will provide approximately 334 homes with support services for people in need and will be ready for occupancy later this year.
The City of Toronto is working with its healthcare partners, pharmacies and Toronto Public Health to administer all available COVID-19 vaccines. To date, 804,008 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in Toronto.
Toronto’s Accessibility Task Force on COVID-19 Vaccines to Address Equity Gaps in Vaccine Access for People with Disabilities
Mayor John Tory announced the formation of Toronto’s Accessibility Task Force (ATF) on COVID-19 Vaccines to advise on enhanced support and access to the COVID-19 vaccine for people with disabilities. The ATF was created as part of the City of Toronto’s COVID-19 Immunization Task Force (ITF) outreach efforts and TO Supports: Targeted Equity Action Plan and is a collaboration between the City and community partners. Given the high risks associated with COVID-19 for people with disabilities, the ATF is set to make recommendations to immediately reduce the number of COVID-19 cases and effectively address issues around accessibility.
With the warm spring weather and bud development on the City of Toronto’s cherry blossom trees, the City is making arrangements for Torontonians to experience the bloom of the High Park cherry blossom trees from home again this year. In keeping with the provincial Stay-at-Home order, currently in effect across Toronto and to protect our healthcare system, the City is working to prevent crowding and gathering in High Park by offering a virtual view of the blooms while maintaining local pedestrian and cyclist access to the park for essential fresh air and exercise. To ensure people have ample space to practice physical distancing, the park will be closed to vehicle traffic.
Province of Ontario Updates
The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, is strengthening enforcement of the province's Stay-at-Home order while imposing new travel restrictions and further strengthening public health measures. These urgent actions are targeted at stopping the rapid growth in COVID-19 case rates and relieving mounting pressures on the province's health care system.
Dr. David Williams, Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health, issued the following statement to expand COVID-19 vaccination eligibility at pharmacies and primary care settings to individuals aged 40 and over.
The Ontario government is providing more than $42 million to help 559 non-profit organizations across the province to support staff and volunteers, reimagine programming and renovate facilities as they deal with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Ontario government will begin targeted provincewide inspections of construction sites this Friday, dispatching 200 workplace inspectors, supported by provincial offenses officers, to visit 1,300 construction sites to enforce safety requirements. Officers will also be visiting over 500 workplaces, including big box stores, food processors, manufacturers and warehouses, in Ottawa, Toronto and York Region, which have been identified as hot spots for COVID-19.
The Ontario government is proposing new red tape and burden reduction measures intended to minimize existing barriers on businesses and support a long-term recovery plan. Today, Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction, announced Ontario's Spring Red Tape Reduction Package and introduced the Supporting Recovery and Competitiveness Act.
To slow the spread of the virus and protect communities with the highest rates of transmission, Ontario is rolling out vaccines to "hot spot" regions across the province as part of Phase Two of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan. Through this initiative, 114 highly impacted neighbourhoods, as identified by postal code, will be reached through mass immunization clinics, mobile teams and pop-up clinics.
The governments of Canada and Ontario announced $656.5 million in funding to provide critical infrastructure upgrades to protect students and staff from COVID-19 in the province's schools.
The Ontario government has launched a 90-day consultation to obtain feedback on how to strengthen municipal codes of conduct. With the support of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO), the province is working to better ensure that municipalities, councillors and heads of council maintain a safe and respectful workplace.
Government of Canada Updates
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, released Budget 2021: A Recovery Plan for Jobs, Growth, and Resilience, the Government of Canada’s plan to finish the fight against COVID-19 and ensure a robust economic recovery that brings all Canadians along.
In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government acted swiftly to provide support to protect Canadians and support people and businesses, adapting its response as the pandemic evolved. The government’s broad suite of support measures has helped families, protected jobs, and supported businesses across Canada. More than eight of every ten dollars spent to fight COVID-19 and support Canadians continues to come from the federal government.
A long-term plan for a faster-growing Canadian economy must include housing that is affordable for working Canadians, especially young families. Stable housing is critical for communities and for a strong middle class.
The pandemic has made access to early learning and child care a universal issue that is resonating across sectors, regions, and income brackets. School and child care centre closures have been difficult for parents. Some have had to leave their jobs, or reduce their hours significantly. Without access to child care, parents cannot fully participate in our economy.
Government of Canada Assists Ontario with COVID-19 Response Through Extension of Mobile Health Units
Throughout the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic response, the Government of Canada has collaborated with provinces and territories to ensure they have the equipment and supplies needed to carry on the fight against COVID-19.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how much we rely on our connections. Now more than ever, Canadians across the country need access to reliable high-speed Internet as many of us are working, learning, and staying in touch with friends and family from home. Right now, too many Canadians living in rural and remote communities lack access to high-speed Internet. Through the Universal Broadband Fund (UBF) Rapid Response Stream, the Government of Canada is taking immediate action to get Canadians connected to the high-speed Internet they need.
Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth and Member of Parliament for Waterloo, announced a FedDev Ontario repayable contribution of over $1.9 million for Swenco Ltd., one of North America’s leading manufacturers and distributors of components for the safety footwear industry, to expand operations for the full-time production of COVID-19-related PPE.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the everyday lives of Canadians, particularly young people who are facing unprecedented challenges, with fewer jobs, disruptions in their studies and overall uncertainty of the future.
The governments of Canada and Ontario announced $656.5 million in funding to provide critical infrastructure upgrades to protect students and staff from COVID-19 in the province’s schools.
COVID-19 Information and Resources
Now is the time 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.
Phone lines for telehealth, TPH and 311 continue to experience very high volumes. Please help keep the phones lines open for people who are sick by visiting the Toronto Public Health COVID-19 website for up-to-date information and resources: toronto.ca/covid-19
Call if you develop symptoms!
Toronto Public Health Hotline
8:30 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Call if you have questions about COVID-19.
Email: [email protected]
Outside City limits: 416-392-2489
Call if you have questions about City services, or to report people
Telephone: 311 (The City is only accepting 311 requests through phone)
Support for People Living with Homelessness
If you see someone living with homelessness and in need of support you can call Streets to Homes at 416-338-4766. For mental health support, the Gerstein Crisis Centre is a valuable 24-hours a day, seven days a week service in our community and they have crisis workers on standby at 416-929-5200. More resources, including additional how to report information, are available on my website at kristynwongtam.ca.
If you or someone else is confronted with life-threatening danger, please call 911 immediately. Alternatively, the Toronto Police request that online reports be submitted at torontopolice.on.ca/core or to torontopolice.on.ca/community-complaints. You can also call their non-emergency line at 416-808-2222.