On Monday it was announced that Toronto would not be moving into phase three of the Province of Ontario’s framework for re-opening. This is welcome news. I support Mayor Tory and Dr. Eileen de Villa’s request to Premier Ford for additional restrictions to phase three to protect staff and patrons in indoor bars and restaurants.
Cities who were a few weeks ahead of us in their outbreaks, and have since reopened, are now seeing new increases in COVID-19 activity linked to reopening of restaurants and bars. In some cases, cities that previously had very low or no COVID-19 activity are now seeing a surge of new cases linked to these settings.
I know that business owners and residents are eager to resume in-door dining. I want this to happen too. We all miss our local restaurants and cafes, and business owners have faced incredible financial pressure for months.
The reality is indoor public settings such as bars and restaurants present a higher level of risk because they involve the three C's of COVID-19 transmission: crowds, close contact, and closed spaces. It takes only one person with COVID-19 in this type of setting to potentially infect many others. This is why Toronto Public Health is recommending seating and customer logs, mandatory masking, capacity limits, and staff screening.
Ontario has seen a continuous uptick in new cases since the beginning of July- a return to the day-over-day increases seen in March. Today, Ontario surpassed 200 new cases for the first time in three weeks. Loosening restrictions means we must be more vigilant, not less. I remind everyone to continue to follow public health advice: maintain only one social circle of 10 people, physically distance with anyone outside of it and wear a face-covering inside any indoor public space or where it is difficult to maintain physical distancing.
I am increasingly concerned about what it means to prioritize re-opening non-essential services over a comprehensive and safe plan for children to return to school or childcare.
A new study from the Royal Bank of Canada shows 1.5 million Canadian women lost their jobs in the first two months of the pandemic and says women accounted for about 45 per cent of the decline in hours worked over the downturn, but will only make up 35 per cent of the recovery.
We know women are more likely to be employed in service industries that were most affected by closures, and are some of the last to reopen. It is also increasingly clear that women continue to shoulder a higher childcare responsibility, and that without a strong plan to reopen schools, we risk losing even more economic participation from women.
More and more parents, but especially mothers, are indicating that working from home, homeschooling, and parenting full time is not tenable long term. Our children have a right to education, and the Provincial government has a duty to present a plan and funding that creates a safe environment for our children and educators to return to school.
Without proper support for our public school system, we also risk creating a situation where affluent parents opt out of the public school system and hire private educators, leaving poorer families with no choice but to send their children to school in unsafe conditions or continue with subpar online education. We cannot risk the standard of universal public education in Ontario.
This is a problem that can be solved. The Premier needs to prioritize our children, and the mostly mothers who are risking their careers to care for them.
Thank you for your resilience, it is an honour to represent you.
Community Corner in Ward 13
As part of the City's ActiveTO plan, the City’s Cycling Network plan has been expedited. ActiveTO was designed as an opportunity for shared space to allow local residents to maintain physical distancing within their communities. As part of the City’s Cycling Network Plan, City Council has recently approved the accelerated installation of a temporary separated bicycle lane. As part of this network plan, transportation staff have installed protected bike lanes along Dundas Street from Sackville Street to Broadview Avenue. Installation for this bike lane was completed on June 5th, 2020.
I am pleased to see this project move forward. As part of the City’s response to COVID-19, improving different modes of transportation has been a priority. From increasing bus-only lanes to installing bike lanes, the City has been working hard to get people moving safely. The bike lanes along Dundas Street are temporary. Please continue to provide feedback on how this recent installation has impacted you and your families. Feedback can be sent to: active_TO@toronto.ca
Corktown Residents and Business Association Survey
Your neighbours in Corktown would like to hear from residents and businesses in and adjacent to Corktown. They’re looking to know more about the folks who make up their vibrant community. If you have the opportunity, please consider filling out this survey, and sharing your voice. Learn more about the Corktown Residents and Business Association here.
Resident Feedback on Recovery and Rebuild
A reminder that the City has established a temporary Toronto Office of Recovery and Rebuild (TORR). TORR's role is to coordinate engagement and research to inform city-wide recommendations for rebuilding and reimagining how the City delivers programs and services. TORR will submit a final report with recommendations to City Council by September 2020.
As part of this work, the City has engaged Social Planning Toronto (SPT) as a partner to coordinate a grassroots and community sector engagement plan. SPT is working in direct partnership with the Toronto Aboriginal Support Services Council (TASSC) to ensure Indigenous representation in this consultation process.
Find the group consultation form here.
For more information about the consultations, please see here.
There is still time to make your voices heard. The deadline is coming up: July 24th, 5:00pm.
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.
City of Toronto to Shift Gardiner Expressway Lane Reductions Between Jarvis and Cherry Streets for Final Phase of Project
The City of Toronto has achieved a construction milestone in the Strategic Rehabilitation of the Gardiner Expressway between Jarvis and Cherry Streets. Crews have replaced the concrete deck and steel girders on the north half of the expressway, the westbound off-ramp to Sherbourne Street and repaired the westbound off-ramp to Yonge-Bay-York Streets, and will now transition to renew the south half of the expressway for the final phase of work.
City of Toronto Launches ParksPlayTO and Summer in the 6IX to Provide Free Outdoor Programs for Children and Youth in Toronto
Mayor John Tory joined by Councillor Anthony Perruzza (Ward 7 Humber River-Black Creek) and Tanya Mruck, Executive Director of MLSE Foundation and MLSE LaunchPad, and City recreation staff launched two new outdoor recreation initiatives for Toronto children and youth. ParksPlayTO and Summer in the 6IX will engage Toronto youth, children, and their families and help animate up to 100 local Toronto parks and outdoor spaces this summer.
The Ontario government is allowing seven more regions to enter Stage 3 on Friday, increasing the number of businesses and public spaces that will reopen across the province. This decision was made in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and is based on positive local trends of key public health indicators, including lower or low transmission of COVID-19, ongoing hospital capacity, public health capacity to conduct rapid case and contact management, and a significant increase in testing.
The Ontario government is providing Ontario Place with $2 million to support on-site activities, including several innovative festivals and events that give people the opportunity to safely reengage in arts and culture experiences. As the province safely and gradually reopens, these initiatives will help with the economic recovery of the arts, entertainment, and hospitality sectors in Ontario.
Government Introduces Legislation to Support Canadian Workers, Businesses and Persons with Disabilities
Finance Minister Bill Morneau introduced in Parliament Bill C-20, An Act respecting further COVID-19 measures. Upon receiving Royal Assent, this legislation would make the CEWS more targeted, expand eligibility, and help more workers get back to their jobs as the economy continues to reopen. Specifically, the changes proposed in Bill C-20 would:
- Allow the extension of the CEWS until December 19, 2020, including redesigned program details until November 21, 2020.
- Make the subsidy more accessible to a broader range of employers by providing a gradually decreasing base subsidy to all eligible employers that are experiencing a decline in revenues.
- Introduce a top-up subsidy of up to an additional 25 per cent for employers that have been most adversely affected by the COVID-19 crisis. This would be particularly helpful to employers in industries that are recovering more slowly.
- Provide certainty to employers that have already made business decisions for July and August by ensuring they would not receive a subsidy rate lower than they would have under the previous rules.
Government of Canada Provides Emergency COVID-19 Funds to Nearly 1,000 Organizations Delivering Essential Frontline Supports to Those Fleeing Violence and Abuse
As part of the COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, $50 million was allocated to support organizations providing services to women and their families fleeing violence, $40 million of which is flowing through Women and Gender Equality Canada. As previously announced, $30 million of this funding has already been directly delivered to nearly 700 women’s shelters and organizations serving survivors of sexual assault.
Yesterday, the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development announced that $10 million in announced funding is being distributed to other organizations that provide important services to those experiencing gender-based violence. This funding began to flow in June as part of the second phase of the Government’s collaborative response to increased demands from frontline organizations working to heal and support women and children fleeing abuse.
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.
Outside City limits: 416-392-2489
Call if you have questions about City services, or to report people
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.