We continue to make great progress in our fight to stop the spread of COVID-19. Yesterday, the City of Toronto recorded only 8 new cases. Toronto's cases have continued to decline, as less than 20 new cases have been reported in the region per day over the last three weeks. We have come very far from our highest daily total of 302 cases in mid-April. I encourage you to review the status of COVID-19 cases in Toronto by using this dashboard.
As a new school year approaches, many parents and teachers are sharing their questions and concerns with me about the Province of Ontario’s plans to reopen schools during COVID-19. I can appreciate how difficult this decision is for parents.
It is important that Premier Ford and the Ministry of Education hear from you. I encourage you to contact them directly to share your feedback by email or phone (416) 325-2600.
Yesterday the Province also announced preliminary details on the much needed financial bailout for municipalities. It was announced that the TTC will receive $400 million in emergency funding through the first phase of a federal-provincial COVID-19 aid program. As a reminder, the TTC is facing a $700 million budget shortfall due to COVID-19 and declining revenues. While this goes a long way towards helping ease our budget pressure, more details are needed on how the remaining $1.6 billion in promised funds will be allocated. I will continue to push for that funding to be invested in key safety needs for our neighbourhoods - including immediate housing, addictions, and mental health support.
This week as a part of the safe re-opening, the City is introducing an online reservation option for its indoor drop-in lane swim program as well as weight rooms and fitness centres.
The capacity at indoor pools remains significantly reduced, at 25 percent of regular capacity, to allow for physical distancing as a result of COVID-19. That means a maximum of about six people can attend a drop-in lane swim. The new online tool will allow people to reserve a lane before they arrive. Spaces will continue to be made available for people who walk in or do not have access to a computer. After reserving online, people can pay their drop-in lane swim fees at the pool.
Fitness centres and weight rooms will reopen on August 17, and people will be able to reserve spots online beginning today August 13.
Finding ways to stay active is critical for our physical and mental health, but it must be done safely. When visiting the City’s recreation facilities, people will continue to be required to sign in, complete a health screening, and provide their name and contact information to facilitate Toronto Public Health contact tracing if needed. Masks or other cloth face coverings must be worn in all Toronto indoor public spaces but are not required while people are swimming or exercising.
This has been a very challenging number of months, and on recent walks through the ward with my 14-month toddler, It has been nice to see friends and neighbours outside, enjoying fantastic patios and quiet streets.
While the pandemic is not over, I continue to be grateful and inspired by the way our community has come together.
Thank you for your resilience, it is an honour to represent you.
Senior Poverty & Inequity: The Toronto Experience, co-authored by Social Planning Toronto and Well Living House, draws on data from the 2016 Census and the Indigenous-led Our Health Counts Toronto research study to paint a disturbing picture of senior poverty in our city, particularly among Indigenous, racialized, and immigrant seniors. As the City of Toronto looks forward to our recovery, we must look to address our most vulnerable populations.
While Canada’s retirement income security system is a stride forward in reducing senior poverty, we must continue to address the gaps in our systems who continue to leave behind seniors who are Black, Indigenous, racialized, poor, and immigrants. Toronto has the third-highest rate of senior poverty among large urban centres, with immigrant and racialized seniors being twice as likely to live in poverty. The data collected shows staggering levels of poverty for some racialized groups, including 45% of Korean and West Asian seniors and 90% of Indigenous peoples 55 and older. The result is poverty, chronic unemployment, poor health outcomes, and high levels of unstable housing for Indigenous peoples from childhood through to their senior years. Read the full report here.
This report underscores the need for all levels of government to implement concrete solutions to address senior poverty. In the midst of this global pandemic, which presents a great risk to the lives and well-being of these vulnerable populations, we must ensure that every person has a safe, decent affordable place to live, allowing them to age comfortably and with dignity.
Learn more about Social Planning Toronto.
COVID-19: Ongoing Tips to Reduce Virus Spread
As we begin to ease our public health measures, we will all be living a new normal. 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 indoor, enclosed public spaces or where physical distancing is difficult to maintain; and
- Staying home whenever we are sick for any reason.
When you are unable to keep a six feet/two-metre distance from others, wear a mask or face covering. This includes when you are:
- In any indoor, enclosed public space;
- In elevators, common areas, waiting rooms or shopping;
- Using transit, taxi or rideshare services; and
- Sick and going to a medical appointment.
Be respectful of others who choose not to wear a mask. Some health conditions make it hard to breathe when wearing a face covering.
How to Create a Safe Social Circles
As we continue our shared fight against COVID-19, you can now establish a family or social circle of no more than 10 people who can interact with one another without physical distancing. Social circles are a way to safely expand the number of people with whom you can come in close contact. Think of your social circle as the people you can hug and touch, or those who can become part of your daily and weekly routines.
The City of Toronto was advised yesterday that one participant at the Barbara Frum Community Centre, one of the City of Toronto’s 120 CampTO locations, has tested positive for COVID-19. The camper was sent home from camp with symptoms last week and has been self-isolating since that time.
Out of an abundance of caution, CampTO programs at the Barbara Frum Community Centre and the Glen Long Community Centre will close for the remainder of the week. A small number of children from the CampTO program at Barbara Frum returned to camp at the same location as well as at Glen Long Community Centre. Each centre will undergo a deep cleaning before CampTO resumes on Monday, August 17.
The City of Toronto will perform annual maintenance and improvement activities on the Don Valley Parkway (DVP) this weekend from Friday, August 14 at 11 p.m. until Monday, August 17 at 5 a.m. The closure will extend the entire expressway from Highway 401 to the F.G. Gardiner Expressway. The rain date is planned for Friday, August 21 to Monday, August 24.
Mayor John Tory today announced that starting next week, the City will resume its Forestry Community Stewardship Program. The program involves hands-on work by volunteers to support and encourage native biodiversity in various ecologically sensitive sites across Toronto. Volunteer teams will begin stewardship activities by mid-August.
The Ontario government, in partnership with the federal government, is delivering on its commitment to provide up to $4 billion in urgently needed one-time assistance to Ontario's 444 municipalities. Municipalities will be provided with up to $1.6 billion as part of the first round of emergency funding under the Safe Restart Agreement. This funding will help municipalities protect the health and well-being of the people of Ontario, while continuing to deliver critical public services, such as public transit and shelters, as the province continues down the path of renewal, growth and economic recovery.
By working with Humber River Hospital and Infrastructure Ontario, the province intends to build up to 320 new long-term care beds at this site by the end of next year. The pilot program is part of the government's plan to create new long-term care beds across the province that include features such as air conditioning and private or semi-private rooms, beginning immediately.
As public health authorities and Canadians across the country continue with efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19, we are closely monitoring disease activity indicators such as daily case counts and percentage of people testing positive. Presently, our efforts indicate that we are keeping COVID-19 spread under manageable control but the virus is still circulating in Canada and we must not let down our guard.
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
Email: [email protected]
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. In the past, by diligently reporting criminal activity, residents were able to see our community policing and other service levels increase. You can do your part: see it, report it.