As many of you know, beginning today, masks or face coverings are required in all indoor public spaces to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
As the City of Toronto continues to carefully re-open, and more people congregate in public settings, it is critical that we take extra precautions to keep each other safe. This by-law means that wearing a mask or face covering will be required in all indoor public spaces. This includes convenience stores, malls, grocery stores, bakeries, farmers' markets, the TTC and businesses and offices open to the public, just to name a few. You are not required to wear masks at home or while eating on an outdoor restaurant patio and this bylaw also does not apply to child care centres.
I think it is also important to understand that not everyone can wear a mask. If someone is suffering from a medical condition that makes it difficult to breathe or function while wearing a mask, they should not wear one. Children under the age of two also do not have to wear a mask. If you see someone without a mask, I urge you to remember that people are not required to prove that they are exempt. The best thing you can do to encourage mask-wearing is to talk to your friends and family about why it’s important, and set a good example by wearing one in public. When heading out of your home, I encourage you to make sure you have your mask with you.
More information, including a complete list of settings that this bylaw applies to is available on the City of Toronto’s website.
My office continues to push for a stronger action to support people experiencing homelessness and living in abhorrent conditions in city parks. At last week’s meeting, City Council adopted my motion to call on the Provincial and Federal governments to immediately establish an intergovernmental table to create emergency responses to the housing and homelessness crisis in Toronto, including financial help to provide water and sanitation supports at encampment sites until adequate new indoor accommodations are secured.
We still desperately need that help. In the meantime the City of Toronto is working hard to secure interim measures to successfully move people from encampments into supportive indoor housing.
This weekend the encampment at the Church of the Holy Trinity was cleared and more than 27 people have been moved into their new homes. Yesterday and today, City staff have been moving clients from Norman Jewison Park and George Hislop Park into indoor accommodations. If clients are willing to leave, it is anticipated to take at least two to three days to move everyone into these new indoor spaces. Once everyone has been successfully rehoused, Park staff will immediately clean the park and install a fence around the perimeter to allow for the lawns, flower beds and trees to recover from the heavy soil compaction and contamination.
While the City continues its efforts to secure new indoor accommodations, as well as expanding housing opportunities for those staying in encampments, inter-divisional teams will continue to address community safety concerns. This work includes working with willing community partners to increase outreach, engagement and wellness checks in encampments, address public health and sanitary conditions and increasing litter pick up.
I know first hand how difficult this situation is for all involved, as my staff and I have been working non-stop since the State of Emergency was enacted on March 23 to address the social challenges arising from the housing crisis.
I want to thank the City of Toronto staff for all their hard work and perseverance carrying out the task of finding indoor space for the most difficult to house population. I also want to thank residents and business owners for your patience and understanding as the City strives to support the vulnerable people in our communities.
Please keep in mind that the interim housing the City has moved clients into from the encampments is not a permanent solution. In order for us to permanently address the crisis of homelessness, we will need the Provincial and Federal governments to fund and provide resources for supportive housing, mental health support and addiction recovery beds. These are matters that fall squarely into their legislative mandates. Please continue to let Premier Ford and Prime Minister Trudeau know that we expect their governments to work with the City of Toronto to create emergency responses to ending homelessness during the pandemic.
Thank you for your resilience, it is an honour to represent you.
Community Corner in Ward 13
A new section to our eblast! As the city re-opens, lots of neighbourhood projects that had been put on pause are beginning again. Moving forward we will be using this section to highlight neighbourhood updates, starting with the exciting news about the Shuter Street bike lane upgrades!
I am thrilled to report that the long-overdue Shuter Street road and bike lane reconstruction has begun. The reconstruction of Shuter Street, which is required due to the poor condition of the road and pavement, provides the opportunity to upgrade the existing bike lanes. The old school bike lanes will be upgraded to protected bike lanes. I know my shock-absorbing arms will be celebrating once Shuter is re-paved, made beautiful, smooth and safe!
For more information: toronto.ca/shutercycletrack.
Apply to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Two-Spirit (LGBTQ2S+) Council Advisory Body!
In 2017, I initiated the process to re-establish the LGBTQ2S+ community advisory committee at City Hall. I am excited to announce that the City of Toronto has officially launched the public appointment process for the new Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Two-Spirit (LGBTQ2S+) Council Advisory Body. The application opened on June 25th and will stay open until August 7. The City of Toronto is looking to appoint 13 public members comprised of community and policy leaders with lived experience and/or expertise in LGBTQ2S+ issues and reflecting the diversity of the community to join the Advisory Body.
The LGBTQ2S+ Council Advisory Body provides advice to City staff and City Council on identified priority issues to support the elimination of barriers and inequities experienced by LGBTQ2S+ communities in accessing City of Toronto programs and services. The Council Advisory Body will bring government, policy and community leaders to the table to focus on both service level barriers as well as structural and systemic challenges faced by LGBTQ2S+ communities. To learn more and to apply, please visit the City of Toronto’s website.
Community Care in Ward 13
Today’s Community Care shoutout goes to our friends in Regent Park at the Paintbox Bistro who were featured late last week in this Toronto Star article. Since April, they, along with a grocery startup Nibbly, pivoted their restaurant and catering company into a grocery store to support neighbourhood needs. The Nibbly store will be accessible to lower-income residents, particularly Black families, as they are more likely to experience food insecurity in the city. Paintbox opened eight years ago, dubbing itself a social enterprise with the goal to provide job opportunities for neighbourhood residents by operating as a bistro, caterer and event space. Read the full article here. Thank you for the work you do today and everyday to support our communities.
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.
Starting Monday, the City of Toronto’s outdoor sport and multi-use fields are open for team training and permits will be issued to organizations for the remainder of the 2020 summer season. In order to allow for physical distancing and comply with provincial orders restricting gatherings, the capacity at the City’s outdoor sport and multi-use fields will be significantly reduced to 10 people per field. That includes participants and coaches as well as parents and guardians, and no additional spectators are permitted. At this time, scrimmages and games are not permitted, even in the course of training or among teammates. Activities that are likely to result in individuals coming within two metres of each other must not be practised or played on the field.
The City of Toronto’s 50 Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE) cameras began issuing tickets to speeding vehicles on Monday. If a vehicle is detected travelling in excess of the posted speed limit in an ASE-enforced area, the registered owner of the vehicle will receive a ticket regardless of who was driving. ASE camera locations are selected based on data that indicate where speed and collisions have been a problem in Community Safety Zones near schools. Additional selection considerations included planned road work, speed limits changes, obstructions or impediments to the equipment, boulevard space and the nature of the road (e.g. sharp curves or steep hills). Cameras in Ward 13 are located at Prospect Street between Rose Avenue and Ontario Street and Spruce Street between Gifford Street and Nasmith Avenue.
Environment and Climate Change Canada has extended the Heat Warning for Toronto starting Monday, July 6 through the rest of this week. Starting at 11 a.m. Monday the City of Toronto opened 15 Emergency Cooling Centres (ECCs) for the duration of the Heat Warning. An interactive map is available to help those who need to locate an ECC near them.
The ECCs offer a publicly accessible, air-conditioned place for residents to rest indoors and receive a cool drink. Staff who are trained to assist residents affected by the extreme heat are on hand. Strict infection prevention and control measures are in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Today, the Ontario government introduced proposed legislation that, if passed, would give the province the necessary flexibility to address the ongoing risks and effects of the COVID-19 outbreak. Specifically, the legislation would:
- Continue emergency orders in effect under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA) under the new legislation for an initial 30 days;
- Allow the Lieutenant Governor in Council to further extend these orders for up to 30 days at a time, as required to keep Ontarians safe;
Allow the Lieutenant Governor in Council to amend certain emergency orders continued under the EMCPA if the amendment relates to:
- labour redeployment or workplace and management rules;
- closure of places and spaces or regulation of how businesses and establishments can be open to provide goods or services in a safe manner;
- compliance with public health advice; or
- rules related to gatherings and organized public events.
- Not allow new emergency orders to be created; and
- Allow emergency orders to be rescinded when it is safe to do so.
The ability to extend and amend orders under the new legislation would be limited to one year, unless extended by the Ontario legislature.
The Ontario government is helping restaurant and bar owners reopen and safely serve more customers by issuing a new emergency order which will allow municipalities to quickly pass temporary bylaws for the creation and extension of patios and allow covered outdoor dining areas to serve customers.
The government also amended an emergency order to clarify that outdoor dining areas can open if they have a roof, canopy, tent, awning or other covering. At least two full sides of the outdoor dining area must be open to the outdoors and must not be substantially blocked in any way. If the outdoor dining area has a retractable roof, the roof must be fully open and at least one full side must be open to the outdoors and must not be substantially blocked in any way.
The Government of Ontario Proposes Legislation to Accelerate Key Provincial Highway Construction and Priority Transit Projects
The province is proposing to accelerate key provincial highway construction and priority transit projects by establishing an exemption from the Hearing of Necessity process. Provincial Hearings of Necessity occur approximately 5-10 times per year on average for provincial highway projects.
As part of this plan, the government would also enter into new commercial agreements with partners to build transit-oriented communities. This would allow for the development of more housing around transit.
Until there is a vaccine or effective treatment, the virus will continue to circulate in our communities. Restarting social and economic activities in the time of COVID-19 is all about striking a balance — resuming priority activities and services with appropriate controls in place to limit both the health and societal impacts of the pandemic. Jurisdictions across the country are moving slowly and cautiously as they strive for an appropriate balance, keeping a close eye on the local epidemiology of COVID-19.
Final Components of Phase 2 of the COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations Announced
Minister Guilbeault today announced the final details regarding Phase 2 of the disbursement of the $500-million fund, announced earlier this year. This final component helps address some of the gaps that have been identified by the industry across Canada since the fund was first implemented. Thus, the second phase provides support to other organizations, some of which do not normally receive funding from Canadian Heritage, the Canada Council for the Arts, Telefilm Canada or the Canada Media Fund. The goal is still to help maintain jobs and support business continuity for organizations whose viability has been affected.
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.