I want to start by expressing my concern for the people of Afghanistan as soldiers and democracy workers from the United States and Canada plan to leave after twenty years on the ground in support of the country’s struggling democracy.
With the Taliban taking over major cities and the nation, we have to remember that many Canadians and others supporting the failed democratization efforts are still there, trapped and scared for their lives. We must find a way to protect them and the social progress made for women and girls over the last twenty years. If you need someone to talk to, there is free single session therapy available to Afghan folks 18 years or older living in Ontario. To access this service, you can email [email protected] for availability.
Additionally, I want to express my heartfelt thoughts for the Haitian community. Over the weekend, Haiti experienced a 7.2 magnitude earthquake which has left over 1,400 people dead, and more than 6,900 injured. The country is still recovering from a similar earthquake in 2016. My heart goes out to the many grieving families at home and abroad. If you can, consider donating to Doctors Without Borders or GlobalGiving who are working on disaster relief.
Last week, we saw new cases of COVID-19 almost double from 300 to over 500 new cases. While these numbers aren’t close to some of the peaks we’ve seen, this upward trend is not what we want. The Delta variant is more transmissible and more aggressive than previous COVID variants, and it seems that while we may all be done with COVID-19, it is not yet done with us.
Getting your vaccine is essential in adding another layer of protection against the Delta variant. Please, if you have not yet, I urge you to get vaccinated. This is critical in protecting both yourself and your community. We all need to continue to work together as we navigate the coming months. Toronto Public Health recently reported that 98.7% of hospitalized COVID-19 cases with known vaccination status were not fully vaccinated. This means that some people hospitalized only had one dose, or none at all. We know that residents who are unvaccinated are at greater risk of hospitalization, but without a breakdown of disaggregated data, it is unclear who is most vulnerable. In any case, we know that vaccines are critical for reducing hospitalization and keeping our loved ones and ourselves safe. Please continue to follow public health guidelines, and if you’re able wear your mask.
Getting your vaccine will also facilitate travel at home and abroad as the Federal government recently announced a digital vaccine passport that will be used for international travel. The Federal government is working with individual provinces to develop a proof of vaccines that can help cross-border travel. On Friday, Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra also announced that passengers on commercial planes, inter-provincial trains, and marine vessels will also be required to be vaccinated to come into effect this fall.
Today, Dr. Kieran Moore announced that teachers, doctors, nurses, and other public employees will face a vaccination mandate in order to help support a safer re-opening in those public settings, including our schools. Anyone unable to be vaccinated or unwilling will have to be tested regularly for COVID-19 and undergo a vaccine education program. As reported by the Toronto Star, the deadline for having vaccination systems in place is September 7, 2021.
Until now, Premier Ford has been staunchly against a potential vaccine passport, despite the call to implement a vaccine passport from businesses and the community. Ford instead recently advised that businesses can use the Federal vaccine passport, or download an electronic COVID-19 receipt through the Province, as proof of vaccination for their establishment. This is not sufficient. We’ve already begun to see examples of vaccine passports across the globe, including New York City’s “Key to NYC” strategy wherein your proof of vaccination grants you access to baseball games, concerts, and Broadway shows.
The Ontario Chamber of Commerce has echoed the calls for a vaccine-ID system. It places an undue burden on businesses and their owners to once again enforce a safer work environment for employees and patrons alike. As we near the fourth wave of COVID-19, such a system might prevent another lockdown. The Toronto Region Board of Trade has also advocated for a COVID Safe Pass in an effort to add another layer of protection. This type of incentive might be an effective push to encourage more people to get fully vaccinated if they’re still hesitant.
Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Keiran Moore announced that the province will be putting on a pause on any further reopening of the economy as well as mandate vaccines for hospital and long-term care workers, including anyone ‘patient-facing’. These positions will need a medical exemption if they’ve not yet been vaccinated. This is a good first step in protecting very vulnerable residents including the immunocompromised and the elderly.
On Sunday, the Federal government called an election for September 20, 2021. As Prime Minister Trudeau said, as residents, we all have the civic duty to decide how we want to champion a recovery from COVID-19. This election will look different in the midst of the fourth wave, but the stakes are too high and we need to have a say in these coming years.
In anticipation of this election, I worked with a new coalition of business partners including TABIA, CFIB, ORHMA, and SaveHospitality to launch SaveMainStreets.TO asking all party leaders to commit proportionate resources to save Canada's main streets. Until COVID is behind us and the economy is 100% re-opened, the emergency wage and rent subsidies must stay in order to support Downtown businesses and their recovery.
Toronto had 3,480 fewer business establishments by the end of 2020 than it did at the beginning of the year. As of March 2021, almost 50,000 jobs have been lost in Toronto due to business closures attributed to COVID-19.
#SaveMainStreetsTO informational poster
Canada’s existing business supports, specifically the commercial rent and wage subsidies, are scheduled to expire in a few weeks on October 23, 2021.
In Toronto, we know that these supports have been a lifeline for our community. According to a survey by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, 62% of Toronto businesses reported using Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy; 46% reported using CERS.
The Federal government and all party leaders need to extend these supports until the economy has fully reopened and they can operate at 100% indoor capacity. I had the opportunity to speak with some business leaders, and our MP Marci Ien, on a walk down Yonge Street. It culminated in a press conference. Watch it here!
Take action now by signing the petition at SaveMainStreets.TO
Thank you for your resilience, it is an honour to represent you.
What’s In Today’s EBlast?
- Toronto Centre Projects
- Meet and Greet the Regent Park Phase 4 and 5 Revitalization Team
- Have Your Say! Small Business Tax Class Consultation
- Calico and Camouflage: Assemble!
- This One’s For the Dogs!
- ActiveTO: Bloor E between Sherbourne Street and Castle Frank Station!
- Mothers of Peace Regent Park - Healing the Leaders Graduation
- Jamii Second Annual Children’s Festival: Wayo!
- Join My Team!
Toronto Centre Projects
Toronto Centre Projects promotional graphic
Toronto Centre Projects is designed to engage community members and crowdsource neighbourhood projects supported by the Councillor's office and your neighbours. Over the next year, my office will be launching consultations for several parks and dog off-leash area revitalizations, public realm improvements, and more.
VOTE! Proposals Now Open for Allan Gardens Dog Off-Leash Area
Allan Gardens OLA TCP promotional graphic
What features, surfacing, fencing, etc would you like to see in a revitalized OLA for Allan Gardens? Submit your proposals or vote on existing ones for the revitalization of the Allan Gardens OLA at www.torontocentreprojects.ca
Next year, Parks staff will be making some interim measures to improve the conditions at Allan Gardens Off-Leash Area such as replacing the surface material. Your input is critical to making this happen.
Have ideas to make our communities more liveable, vibrant, and safe? Submit them at www.TorontoCentreProjects.ca.
Meet and Greet the Regent Park Phase 4 and 5 Revitalization Team
Join me, alongside Toronto Community Housing Corporation, Tridel and the Phase Four and Five Consultation team in the community to learn more about the ongoing revitalization work. This is an opportunity to hear more about the changes in your neighbourhood, how to get involved and to get to know one another. No registration is needed! I look forward to meeting you!
Meet and Greet Sessions
Date: Tuesdays, August 17, and August 24
When: 5 p.m. to 8 p.m
Where: Big Park
Date: Thursdays August 19 and 26
When: 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Where: Athletics Field
Please practice public health guidelines, and if you’re able, wear a mask.
Meet and Greet promotional poster
Have Your Say! Small Business Tax Class Consultation
We know our small businesses have been suffering, especially considering the exorbitant commercial rent and property tax in the downtown core. We need to do everything we can to support our small businesses which in turn uplift our main streets. These businesses are not only a part of the cultural fabric in Toronto but also serve to animate the public realm to help create safer and more inclusive streets.
With the development of a small business property tax class, we can focus on preserving and rebuilding Toronto’s Main Streets; broad tax relief for small businesses, and the need to reduce property taxes for small businesses who have endured increases in property assessments over the last number of years.
A dive into the City’s Lobbyist Registry has revealed that big business and shopping mall owners have teamed up to lobby City Council and staff to stop Toronto’s new small business tax class before we even get it off the ground. Big business has big lobbyists working for them, but there is always strength in numbers. Come out to consultation meetings and have your say.
The next public consultation hosted by the City of Toronto is tomorrow:
When: Wednesday, August 18, 2021
Time: 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Where: Attend the consultation!
City staff will be consulting on how a small business will be defined; how many businesses may be eligible, and what is the total amount to be funded to provide a tax rate reduction; how the tax rate reduction will be funded and how the program will be administered.
I would also encourage any interested residents to complete this survey as soon as you’re able in order to have your say. It is critical that we get this right for the future of our small business community across the city.
Calico and Camouflage: Assemble!
If you've been to Yonge Dundas Square recently, you would see various avatars on the giant screen and pictures of the concrete columns. Through a partnership with Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival, an artwork that will combine digital screen animations with a series of vinyl portraits. The 3D virtual realm that posits Indigenous futures artwork is created by Montreal-based Mohawk artist Skawennati.
Calico & Camouflage: Assemble! in YD Square
Calico & Camouflage: Assemble! is a new site-responsive installation, cyberpunk activist avatars reinforce the inseparability of personal fashion and protest. Mixing and matching two unique patterns and two articles of clothing which are tangled with the history of colonization on Turtle Island. The position of these protesters in this urban setting amongst symbols of aggressive capitalism (massive advertisements) symbolizes the role of activism to fight against systems of oppression.
Calico & Camouflage: Assemble! in YD Square
This One’s For the Dogs!
Pet food pop-up poster
Presented in partnership, join Toronto Community Housing and Through Ruff Times, in Moss Park to pick up some free goodies for your animal companion! On Thursday, August 19, TCHC will be offering free pet food in Moss Park. You’ll get to meet some Humane Society volunteers and pick up some treats.
When: Thursday, August 19, 2021
Time: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Where: Moss Park, 285 Shuter Street.
You can book a spot by emailing [email protected], but walk-ins are also welcome! Please practice public health guidelines, and if you’re able, wear a mask.
ActiveTO: Bloor E Between Sherbourne and Castle Frank!
ActiveTO: Bloor E between Sherbourne and Castle Frank
I’m excited to announce a brand new pilot as part of the ActiveTO delivery! Through ActiveTO, temporary cycle tracks were installed on Bloor Street between Sherbourne Street and Avenue Road to fill a key gap in the Bloor/Danforth bikeway.
Since the installation of the new Bloor Street cycle tracks, cycling volumes have nearly doubled. In August 2021, the existing Bloor Street bike lanes between Sherbourne Street and Castle Frank Road will be upgraded to improve safety, increase cycling comfort, and normalize motor vehicle movement through construction areas. Through the use of traffic volume and travel time data collected in 2020 and 2021, Bloor Street East has seen an increase in cycling traffic and a decrease in motor vehicle traffic with minimal impacts to travel time.
With multiple construction projects through the area in the coming years, these circumstances have provided an unique opportunity to pilot a new temporary configuration on Bloor Street between Sherbourne Street and Castle Frank Road that will improve safety, increase cycling comfort, and normalize motor vehicle movement through construction areas.
Thank you to staff, and the local community for your feedback and advocacy. I look forward to taking a ride through the area once it’s completed! Learn more about the changes.
Learn more about ActiveTO at toronto.ca/activeTO!
Mothers of Peace Regent Park- Healing the Leaders Graduation
Healing the Leaders Graduation photo
On July 28, Mothers of Peace Regent Park in collaboration with program partners hosted the ‘Healing the Leaders’ graduation ceremony. Mother Healing the Leaders (HTL) Project worked with Community Leaders who are of African descent, representing various aspects of life, from youth to seniors. Participants of the program were pre-selected, reflecting different lived experiences (professionals, community leaders, entrepreneurs, students, retirees etc). This pilot program sought to provide additional support to participants who have already been doing incredible work in their own neighbourhoods and communities. The goal of the project is for those leaders to go back to their community and continue what they have learned to share it with others.
Congratulations to all the participants and organizers of Healing the Leaders! I was excited to donate to their graduation gift baskets and look forward to hearing about all the amazing things the leaders will continue to do across the city!
Jamii Second Annual Children’s Festival: Wayo!
Designed as a mesmerizing parkour through the Berkeley Castle & Berkeley Theatre, Wayo promises a series of delightful performances for children of all ages. Join us on August 19th, 20th or 21st, between 5pm and 7pm, for a free, accessible family experience, presented in partnership with Canadian Stage and Berkeley Castle.
When: August 19, 20 or 21, 2021
Time: 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Where: 250 The Esplanade
The 2021 artists line-up includes “Les moutons” by award-winning company CORPUS; Henna artist Fathia Hassen; lollilop lyra acrobatics artists Eman Hillawy & Alexandra Legendre with live music by Saraphina Violin, West African dancer Lua Shayenne and drummer Cécé Haba, Indigenous drummer Sue Croweagle, opera singer Jonelle Sills, flamenco dancer Carmen Romero, as well as street theatre artist Kristi Heath!
Book free tickets for you and your family/group (up to 7 people) for timed-entry experience that will awaken imaginations and touch souls: www.jamii.ca/wayo.
Jamii Second Annual Children’s Festival: Wayo promotional poster
Join My Team!
We're Hiring! promotional graphic
We are looking for a dynamic self-starter to join our Ward 13 - Toronto Centre team!
Kristyn Wong-Tam is the City Councillor for Ward 13 - Toronto Centre: a fast-paced, high-intensity and always evolving downtown ward with over 120,000 residents, 14 dynamic neighbourhoods, and five Business Improvement Areas.
This position is ideally suited for an energetic self-starter who is keenly interested in municipal government and politics and understands the importance of using a social justice and equity lens to city building.
We are looking for someone who likes working directly with community members, who likes to solve problems, and who is well organized. Learn more about the role.
Please send your resume and cover letter to [email protected] using the subject line “Application: Constituency Assistant” outlining why you are interested in the position as well as highlighting your relevant experiences.
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.
Vaccinated Against COVID-19? What Does It Mean For Me?
By getting vaccinated, you benefit from the protection you get against COVID-19 and the easing of restrictive measures in your community. You still need to follow local public health advice in public settings (e.g. workplaces, public transit). Their advice considers community risk levels.
A majority of people in Canada have now had their first shot and many will soon be fully vaccinated. Below is a handy chart created by Public Health Canada to inform your actions depending on your vaccination status. This advice is based on the current state and will be updated as vaccination rates continue to increase and cases decrease.
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.
City of Toronto COVID-19 Updates
Toronto Public Health Reporting More than 98% of Hospitalized COVID-19 Patients Not Fully Vaccinated
Toronto Public Health is reporting that, since May 1, 98.7% of hospitalized COVID-19 cases with known vaccination status were not fully vaccinated. Fully vaccinated people have greater protection against COVID-19 than unvaccinated people, including against the Delta variant.
City of Toronto Mitchell Field Vaccination Clinic to Remain Open, Ensuring Vaccine Access in North York
On July 28, Toronto Public Health (TPH) announced that the City of Toronto operated COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Mitchell Field Community Centre (CC) would be closing as of August 22 as a part of the next phase in TPH’s vaccination strategy. Given new information and the current vaccination situation in Toronto, TPH has made the decision to continue to run a smaller fixed-site clinic at Mitchell Field CC. The clinic will serve as a key site for both COVID-19 vaccination and other vaccination programs operated by TPH.
With students returning to in-person learning in four weeks, Toronto Public Health (TPH) continues to urge youth to initiate COVID-19 vaccination by getting their first dose or complete their vaccination with a second dose. Getting both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine is the best defense against the virus, including the Delta variant, and will provide the opportunity for students to return to school as safely as possible. As of August 9, approximately 78% of youth ages 12 to 17 have initiated vaccination, with approximately 62% having now received both doses.
Province of Ontario Updates
The Ontario government is working with public health units and publicly funded school boards to plan and host vaccination clinics in or nearby schools to continue to fight COVID-19. Clinics are expected to run before school starts and during the first few weeks of school. The program is part of the province’s last mile strategy to target those who have yet to receive a first or second dose and will provide accessible and convenient access to vaccines for eligible students and their families, as well as educators and school staff who are returning to school this fall.
The Ontario government is providing an additional $307 million to help municipalities and Indigenous community partners deliver critical services, create longer-term housing solutions and keep people safe. This investment builds upon the $765 million dollars of Social Services Relief Funding (SSRF) announced in 2020- 2021, for a total support to communities of over $1 billion.
The Ontario government is investing $240 million over four years to increase access to critical rehabilitation services for children and youth with special needs and help them live happier and healthier lives. This investment is part of the 2021 Budget, Ontario’s Action Plan: Protecting People’s Health and Our Economy.
Jane McKenna, Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues, released the following statement on steps taken to modernize Ontario’s child welfare system.
Government of Canada Updates
The Honourable Anita Anand, Minister of Public Services and Procurement, announced that Canada has entered into an agreement with Moderna for additional supply of its COVID-19 vaccine for 2022 and 2023, with an option to extend into 2024.
The COVID-19 pandemic has placed an immense strain on retail-oriented main street businesses and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) over the past 16 months.
Canada and Ontario Invest More than $1.6 Million in Municipal Infrastructure to Respond to the Impacts of COVID-19
The Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development and Member of Parliament for Peterborough-Kawartha, on behalf of the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities; the Honourable Kinga Surma, Ontario’s Minister of Infrastructure; and Dave Smith, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry, and Member of Provincial Parliament for Peterborough—Kawartha, announced joint support to improve recreational facilities, municipal buildings, and a shoreline rehabilitation project.
The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister for Intergovernmental Affairs, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, Minister of Transport, and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health, Jennifer O’Connell, will hold a press conference to announce new developments related to COVID-19 vaccination.
All updates from the Government of Canada can be found at the link here.
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]ronto.ca
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.