I hope everyone had a relaxing and enjoyable long weekend. I am grateful to have been able to spend some quality time with my family. I’m so proud that over 70% of eligible Toronto residents are fully vaccinated, but there is still some work to do in getting the city across the finish line. I look forward to the Team Toronto Home Stretch Vaccine Push, and its focus on meeting people where they are: neighbourhoods and communities.
As we see the number of COVID cases start to increase, it is critical that the Province start reporting on how many of these cases are unvaccinated individuals. The risk of getting COVID-19 and the Delta variant is 6.4 times higher in unvaccinated people, and this continues to perpetuate the spread. Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer, has already stated that we should expect to see a rise in Delta variant cases over the coming months:
“If we remain at around 20% of the population unvaccinated we won't build a community immunity and you'll get breakthrough infections in those individuals that are vaccinated because not all individuals, especially those that are elderly or vulnerable or immune-suppressed, will get full protection from the vaccine. So the higher the proportion of our population immunized the less we'll have to worry about those vulnerable people getting COVID despite getting vaccinated.” - Dr. Kieran Moore.
The Delta variant is believed to account for more than 90% of all new COVID-19 cases in Ontario.
Ontario residents should be informed about how and where cases are being transmitted, and who is getting sick. This type of reporting will hopefully incentivize anyone who remains hesitant to book their vaccine dose. There are still 1.8 million eligible Ontarians who need a second dose. We are still short of the metrics we need in order to build up a community immunity to COVID-19, and this type of reporting, alongside a vaccine passport or certificate, would help give people that last remaining push to get vaccinated.
I have heard from residents and businesses alike that a vaccine passport or certificate would greatly benefit them, and lower their hesitancy for many activities that are now open. Despite opposition from some political leaders, two-thirds of Canadians are in favour of vaccine passports for large events in their province, according to a new Angus Reid survey released earlier this month. According to this same survey, nearly 40% in every region canvassed across Ontario said that they’d be unlikely to hang out with unvaccinated people. It stands to reason that part of this hesitancy keeps them from fully participating in businesses that are open. As an example, I have heard from many who are still hesitant about indoor dining, opting instead for the patio.
Having clear and transparent information would help benefit everyone. While Ontario is “open for business”, we need to support businesses by providing guidance and structure for safer environments to limit the spread of the Delta variant.
As we work towards recovery, opening businesses, and returning to an office, it is important to consider how we can make each step more equitable. In 2020, employment of women ages 25-54 fell by 293,500 jobs, which is more than twice the decrease we saw for men. As 2021 began, more than 200,000 women had slipped into the ranks of the long-term unemployed, a threefold increase over the pre-pandemic number. There are many reasons for these numbers: Women are far more likely than men to hold one or more part-time jobs, to work precarious hours, and to dominate hospitality jobs at 56%, despite being only 48% of the total workforce.
There are countless stories of women in the workforce who left their careers to take care of their families through virtual school, as women still are expected to shoulder domestic responsibilities in their households. Of course, many men also experienced the choice of career over parenting, and unfortunately, not much has changed in gender roles, even in 2021. Even before the pandemic, women reported 1.5 more hours each day on domestic and caregiving tasks than men and when crisis hit, it fell to women to make a plan.
Last month, the Province announced a ‘She-Covery’ task force, but what is the result of this work? There is still a great divide, and a clear ‘she-cession’. We need an action plan to create opportunities for women to return to the workforce, including robust childcare supports, and other creative strategies. Ford still hasn’t signed the childcare plan the Liberal Federal government put forward which would provide a childcare program for $10/day. This would be a critical step in removing barriers for women to return to the workforce.
We’ve seen other countries, such as Japan, move to a four-day work week in order to offer a better work-life balance. Premier Ford is only about providing a break for his developer friends, and big cuts to social services. He will have to do better in order to ensure an equitable return to the workforce, and help women regain (yet again) ground lost.
Lastly, the City of Toronto has proclaimed August as Emancipation Month recognizing the struggle for human rights by Black people and re-affirms its commitment to eliminate discrimination. Learn more about Emancipation Month.
Thank you for your resilience, it is an honour to represent you.
What’s In Today’s EBlast?
- Toronto Centre Projects- Sign Up and Explore!
- You’re Invited to the Cabbagetown CafeTO Art Walk!
- Call to Artists: George Street Revitalization Project
- Property Tax, Solid Waste and Water Relief Programs Move Online!
- You’re Invited to Learn More about iPHARE
- TTC Service Changes for 121 Fort York-Esplanade
- Pam McConnell Aquatic Centre Unveiling
Toronto Centre Projects- Sign Up and Explore!
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. Read about new and ongoing proposals and projects below:
Proposals Now Open for Allan Gardens Dog Off-Leash Area
Allan Gardens OLA 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.
Featured this week are two proposals:
TCP add a traffic light promotion
One proposal by community member, Jeff advocates for installing a traffic signal at Yonge Street and Grenville Street/Wood Street. Read the proposal and vote now on the Toronto Centre Projects website.
TCP re-imagining Wood St promotion
One proposal by community member, Ian advocates for reimagining Wood Street from Church Street to Mutual Street to turn the space into space for people. Read the proposal and vote now on the Toronto Centre Projects website.
You’re Invited to the Cabbagetown CafeTO Art Walk!
Cabbagetown CafeTO Art Walk
Are you looking to love our local neighbourhoods? The Cabbagetown CafeTO Art Walk is a fun, free and safe way to explore the vibrant Cabbagetown neighbourhood as it showcases the latest work by ten notable Toronto artists!
Enjoy everything Cabbagetown has to offer as you check out art installations, support small businesses and dine at local restaurants in the area. There are two parklettes as well as custom-built patios provided by the BIA to support local businesses.
Cabbagetown CafeTO Art Walk
Where: Cabbagetown (see map and the full list of participating locations)
When: Now until November 10, 2021
Shop small and explore local businesses!
Call to Artists: George Street Revitalization Project
View of George Street Revitalization Project. Courtesy of Montgomery Sisam
The City of Toronto invites professional artists (including artist teams) to submit their Expression of Interest to the first stage of a two-stage competition to develop artwork as part of the George Street Revitalization Project (GSRP).
The revitalization project combines community, social and health supports and housing services in one connected city block. The proposed facility will replace the Seaton House emergency shelter and renew some vacant heritage residential sites such as the historically-significant Fegan House, with a new facility that will contain a City-operated long-term care home, transitional housing with supports, a transitional shelter for women and men, an emergency shelter for men, and a community hub for residents and neighbours. Construction is anticipated to start in summer 2022 and end in 2026.
Stage 1: Request for Expression of Interest: July 19 – August 30, 2021
Stage 1 is an open call to artists, requesting an Expression of Interest (EOI) submission as outlined in the full EOI document. A shortlist of approximately five (5) artists will be selected for each art opportunity, based on artistic excellence and demonstrated or perceived ability to create and execute an engaging public artwork that considers the site and context.
Online information sessions will be scheduled in late July and mid-August (dates to be confirmed) and will be open to all prospective artists. The deadline for submission is August 31, 2021 at 4:00 p.m.
Property Tax, Solid Waste and Water Relief Programs Move Online!
The City of Toronto continues to modernize as it launches the new online portal to receive and process applications for property tax, solid waste, and water relief programs. Applicants can use this secure portal to enter personal information, and they are instantly pre-screened and can apply for all eligible programs at once! Household income verification is done directly through Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA) highly secure server with encrypted data exchange. Applicants will receive a relief program(s) enrolment confirmation email within 14 to 28 business days. Get step-by-step instructions on how to apply.
Tips for the application process:
- Applicants should have access to a printer, scanner (preferred), and email address
- Applicants must be able to acquire authorization and signed consent from all property owners
- Applicants must have received their 2020 Notice of Assessment or Notice of Re-assessment to use the portal. If not, applicants may still apply by downloading and submitting the paper-based application by the October 29, 2021 deadline.
- The portal is compatible using a mobile device, tablet and laptop and can be accessed 24/7. For the best experience, applicants should ensure their browser has the most recent updates. Recommended browsers include Google Chrome, Edge and Firefox.
Customers may call 311, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to have an application mailed to them, or download a paper-based application.
You’re Invited to Learn More About iPHARE
iPHARE is the integrated prevention and harm reduction initiative planned by Toronto Public Health and the City’s Shelter, Support and Housing Administration Division to address opioid-related overdoses in City shelters. Over the course of the pandemic, there has been an increase in opioid related deaths, and iPHARE has created a brand new toolkit which significantly advances recent recommendations approved by the Toronto Board of Health at its November 16, 2020 meeting, and supports the City's Integrated Prevention and Harm Reduction Initiative (iPHARE). It also expands on the City's response to one of the recommendations from the 2018 Coroner's Inquest into the overdose death of a shelter resident.
You’re invited to attend public information meetings on Monday, August 9 and Monday, September 20 at 7 p.m. which will highlight the importance and elements of the toolkit and iPHARE.
When: August 9, 2021 or September 20, 2021
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Where: Register to attend
TTC Service Changes for 121 Fort York-Esplanade
As part of TTC’s 2021 Annual Service Plan, the 121 Fort York -Esplanade route is changing. Current service on the 121 connects the Distillery District and St Lawrence neighbourhood with Union Station, and further west to Fort York and the Exhibition. With this service change, bus service west of Union Station will be cancelled.
121 Fort York -Esplanade route map
This travel plan maintains current service who want to connect at Union Station for Line 1. The few customers who travel beyond Union Station will need to transfer to the streetcar network (509 Harbourfront, 510 Spadina) to travel farther west. Additionally, the routing along The Esplanade will also change with its conversion to one-way traffic in some portions.
The buses and service hours saved from elimination of service on Fort York Boulevard will be reallocated to provide new service to Corktown Commons and Regent Park, providing new connections for transit customers to destinations in Regent Park and to Bridgepoint Hospital.
The TTC held public consultations in the summer of 2020, through an online survey and meetings with community stakeholders. This change has been approved under the 2021 Annual Service Plan, and is planned to be implemented for October 10th, 2021.
Pam McConnell Aquatic Centre Unveiling
Unveiling a new sign for the renamed Pam McConnell Aquatic Centre in Regent Park, a picture with attendees
On July 23rd, 2021, I was joined by Mayor Tory, fellow Councillors, and members of Pam McConnell’s family to honour the legacy of the late Deputy Mayor Pam McConnell and officially unveil a new sign for the renamed Pam McConnell Aquatic Centre in Regent Park. To honour her life and work, Council voted in 2018 to rename the aquatic centre in Regent Park and commission a commemorative artwork and bench.
A picture of Councillor Wong-Tam speaking at the unveiling of a new sign for the renamed Pam McConnell Aquatic Centre
Thank you to the community, staff, and all those involved in this process. I am honoured to continue the work of Pam McConnell, a mentor, friend, trailblazer, and an incredible community advocate. Pam helped to make Regent Park a great place to live, and I’m happy that the community has an incredible space to gather and commemorate her legacy.
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
The City of Toronto continues to work with all Team Toronto partners to make getting vaccinated against COVID-19 as easy as possible.
City of Toronto Marks the Completion of the Union Station Revitalization Project and Opening of the New Bay Concourse
Mayor John Tory, along with James Maloney, Member of Parliament for Etobicoke-Lakeshore, Government of Canada; The Honourable Stan Cho, Associate Ontario Minister of Transportation (Transit-Oriented Communities); and Phil Verster, President & Chief Executive Officer of Metrolinx, reopened the revitalized Bay Concourse at Union Station, marking the completion of the Union Station Revitalization Project (USRP).
Mayor John Tory announced the City of Toronto will begin the safe and gradual re-opening of City buildings to visitors with the phased reopening of select in-person counter services at City Hall and civic centres on Monday, August 9 in alignment with the provincial reopening plan and in accordance with public health guidelines
Mayor John Tory proclaimed August as Emancipation Month in Toronto and raised the Black Liberation flag at Toronto City Hall. The month is an opportunity to acknowledge the legacy and history of slavery in Canada while celebrating the rich contributions that people of African descent have made to our city and country.
Province of Ontario Updates
The Ontario government has announced details of its plan to revitalize Ontario Place into a world-class destination. Three successful participants from the 2019 Call for Development process Therme Group, Live Nation and Écorécréo Group will help deliver an exciting, inclusive and family friendly experience that will play a key role in the province’s post-pandemic recovery, both as a tourism destination and as a display of Ontario’s strong cultural identity. The government also outlined the next phase of consultations with stakeholders and community members.
The Ontario government is investing more than $62 million this year to build capacity among service providers to deliver high quality clinical services for children and youth receiving support through the needs-based Ontario Autism Program (OAP).
Government of Canada Updates
The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, announced two new projects receiving funding through the Immunization Partnership Fund (IPF) to support vaccination efforts across Canada.
The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, and the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, announced the extension of crucial COVID-19 support measures for Canadians and Canadian businesses in recognition that uneven economic reopening across regions and sectors means workers and businesses continue to need support.
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]
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.