This week the Government of Ontario announced that the majority of the province will be progressing to Stage 2 of the re-opening phase. While Toronto is not included in this new phase, other announcements have been made that do impact the City of Toronto.
The first is that the Provincial government has announced its plan to reopen child care centres across the province starting Friday. This means that emergency child care will wind down effective June 26, 2020 as all licensed child care centres are permitted to open province-wide. Families served through emergency child care will be supported by service system managers to return to their previous arrangement or finding new space during the transition back to regular childcare.
Additionally, the province will increase the limit on social gatherings from five to 10 people across the province, regardless of whether a region has moved to Stage 2.
It is critically important to note that while our situation here in Toronto is certainly improving and we have made significant progress, other locations in Ontario with much smaller populations and very different circumstances, are at a different point in their outbreak than we are.
As we begin to ease our public health measures, we will all be living a new normal. Our commitment must continue to be to minimize 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;
- Avoiding crowds and congregations in closed indoor settings;
- Wearing a cloth mask or face covering where physical distancing is difficult to maintain;
- Increased diligence on staying home whenever we are sick for any reason.
A reminder that testing centres have also expanded criteria on who gets tested to now include asymptomatic individuals concerned about exposure and continued routine symptomatic testing at assessment centres. If you are worried about exposure, please get tested. Information about the assessment centres is now easily accessible on Ontario's dedicated COVID-19 website.
Reforming the Toronto Police Budget Process
I want to thank everyone who has written in support of the motion that I tabled with Councillor Josh Matlow and recognize that there is a big process ahead as City Council strives to reform the Toronto Police budget process.
I appreciate that many people do not believe the 10% budget reduction goes far enough.
Defunding, or redirecting police resources to other underfunded social services is about acknowledging that there are many things that police are called on to do that they are not properly trained, or inclined to do. It has been estimated that 50% to 80% of the calls police respond to are in fact non-criminal in nature and are composed of incidents such as alarms, disturbances, domestic disputes, traffic accidents, sick or injured persons, overdoses and mental health-related calls. These calls can have a notable impact on police workload and resources.
Defunding is about re-allocating some of those responsibilities away from the police - and the funding of others to support them - into services where health experts, social workers and those trained to deal with mental-health crises would respond instead. This would better align training and costs, and allow us to invest even more into preventive services such as affordable housing, skills training and youth recreation programming.
Right now Toronto City Council does not have the legislative authority to determine the level of policing in our communities, or the ability to direct how the money we give them is allocated. All those powers are controlled by provincial legislation and if that is to change, then we need Premier Ford and his government to amend the law for Toronto residents. Supporting this motion is the first step as it will signify to the Province that Torontonians want greater accountability and control over how Toronto tax dollars are invested in our public safety. We will have a lot of work to do as a city and as a community about the changing nature of the role of policing.
Please continue to email the Mayor and other members of council - tell them you support this work. We will have more information and ways to get involved in the coming weeks, but having this first conversation at City Council is critical.
I hope you will continue to stay involved in this process. It is not something we can fix overnight, but it is critically important to address community safety in our neighbourhoods, and for Black, Indigenous and People of Colour communities who have experienced harm from the current model of policing.
Thank you for your resilience, it is an honour to represent you.
Today’s community care shoutout goes to our friends at St. Stephen’s Community House. This unique community-based social service located in Kensington Market continues to offer FREE mediation services online across the city, including Ward 13, during this challenging time. If you and your neighbour find yourself in conflict over a shared driveway, parking, property lines, or if you’re having roommate disputes and landlord-tenant disputes which fall outside of the Landlord Tenant Board, you may wish to reach out to St. Stephen’s and utilize their FREE services. Learn more about community mediation here.
Please continue to email my office at email@example.com to share examples of community care in your neighbourhood and ways you are supporting your community at this time. I’ll be happy to promote it, space permitting, in our communication to the residents and business owners in Ward 13. Every bit goes a long way!
Future Possibilities for Kids
Future Possibilities for Kids is running a free, virtual summer program experience called Ready, Set, Connect! for children ages 9 to 12 from communities in Greater Toronto. This 3-week program will connect kids with other kids in a small group environment. Children will learn more about themselves while achieving something good in the community. The program is facilitated by a trained staff member and will involve daily group video conference calls between kids, weekly one-on-one coaching calls and independent work and projects. Register here.
If you are a parent or guardian, share the experiences of you and your children during these difficult times. Your voice matters! Future Possibilities for Kids is collecting information to guide future programming and to share with other community partners about what parents, children and families need right now. Please fill out this brief survey here to add your voice! Fill out the survey here.
COVID-19: Ongoing Tips to Reduce Virus Spread
The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed. If you are sick, even with mild symptoms, stay home and self-isolate.
As we slowly return to some sense of normalcy, we need to continue physical distancing to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Everyone has a role to play. The actions you take will help protect you and everyone in our community.
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 elevators, common areas, waiting rooms or shopping;
- using transit, taxi or rideshare services; and
- sick and going for 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 mask.
City of Toronto COVID-19 Updates
Bike Share Toronto Announces Program Expansion Which Will Bring Bike Sharing to 20 of Toronto’s 25 Wards
The 2020 expansion will add a total of 1,850 new bicycles, 160 stations and 3,615 docking points to the already expansive network. After today’s announcement, the system will grow to a total of 6,850 bikes, 625 stations, 12,000 docking points.
In an effort to prioritize health and safety, Bike Share Toronto has ramped up its cleaning program during the COVID-19 crisis. As bikes are regularly in use and exposed to the environment, Bike Share continues to strongly recommend that riders continue to take the steps outlined in the City of Toronto’s COVID-19 Health Advisory when using the system. The best way to prevent infection is to follow the recommended personal hygiene measures by cleaning your bike before use.
Mayor John Tory announced today that the City of Toronto, through ActiveTO, has now delivered 65 kilometres of Quiet Streets along 32 neighbourhood routes across Toronto.
Quiet Streets are shared space to allow residents to maintain physical distancing, while getting around on neighbourhood streets. Signage and temporary barricades are placed at intersections to encourage slow, local vehicle access only so the roadway can be a shared space that welcomes people who walk, run or bike as an alternative to riding transit. Parking and drop off areas are not impacted and City services, such as waste collection and emergency access, continue as normal. Quiet Street locations were prioritized based on several factors including population density, equity and access, access to greenspace, nearby attractions, traffic volumes and other considerations.
The Ontario government announced its plan to reopen child care centres across the province to support the next stage of the province's reopening framework. Developed in consultation with Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health and medical leaders at The Hospital for Sick Children, the plan will require child care operators to follow strict health protocols to ensure the safety of child care staff and children.
Starting in July 2020, limited in-person education and training may restart for students who were not able to graduate due to COVID-19 closures. This first phase will allow institutions to reopen to provide in-person instruction to students in essential, frontline, and high labour market demand areas, such as nursing, personal support workers, engineering, and other critical professions. Thousands of students across the province could benefit from this summer's reopening.
As part of the Ontario government's Stage 2 reopening plan, more facilities and services will be available at provincial parks in certain regions beginning on June 12, 2020. Gradually over the next several weeks, Ontario Parks will start opening campgrounds, providing more washrooms and drinking water, along with roofed accommodations, park store and rental operations, visitor centres, and sports fields. It's important to check what facilities and services are available before visiting a provincial park.
Government of Canada Updates
Government of Canada Creates a Hub for Organizations Looking to Find Resources on Buying and Supplying Personal Protective Equipment
Today, the Government of Canada launched a new web hub to bring together available resources for organizations buying and selling personal protective equipment (PPE). As organizations re-open for business, they need reliable information on how to buy and sell the necessary supplies required to keep themselves and others safe.
The Supply Hub connects Canadian organizations from coast to coast to coast with federal, provincial, territorial and other resources and information about PPE, including consumer guidance. Buyers will find PPE supplier lists, in addition to guidance to help plan their PPE purchases. As Public Services and Procurement Canada continues to engage with our partners and advisory groups, the hub will evolve to include additional resources.
Minister Ng Announces Government Partnership with Private Sector Campaign to Help Businesses Reopen Safely Amid COVID-19
Today, the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, announced that the Government of Canada has partnered with the People Outside Safely Together (POST) Promise program, an initiative launched by Canadian private sector organizations to help businesses across the country reopen safely.
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.