Today’s big news is that the Province has announced that Toronto will enter phase two of the Framework for Reopening our Province this Wednesday.
I know many people have been looking forward to this day, and the current trend in declining active COVID-19 cases is encouraging, but we must all continue to take public health measures seriously to prevent further loss of life and protect the most vulnerable residents in our city. As always, anytime you are in contact with others, practice physical distancing of 6 feet or 2 metres, wear a mask and wash your hands regularly with soap and water.
Here is what can open in Stage 2, and how the City of Toronto has been preparing to keep residents safe:
- Outdoor dine-in services at restaurants, bars and other establishments, including patios, curbside, parking lots and adjacent properties. The City of Toronto is working hard to launch CaféTO, which aims to provide more outdoor dining areas to help some restaurants and bars create physical distancing for patrons on patios during the summer
- Daycares, with limits on the number of children at each facility. The City of Toronto is beginning a phased approach to reopening City-run licensed child care centres starting on June 29 with the enhanced health and safety measures laid out by the Province of Ontario. Read Toronto Public Health’s Guidance for Child Care Settings for more information.
- Select personal and personal care services, including tattoo parlours, barber shops, hair salons and beauty salons. For more information see Toronto Public Health’s Guidance for Personal Service Settings;Hair Salons and Barber Shops; Nails and Aesthetic Services; Tattooing and Body Piercing
- Water recreational facilities, such as outdoor splash pads and wading pools, and all swimming pools. The City of Toronto recently announced SwimTO to expedite the opening of the City’s beaches, outdoor pools, wading pools and splash pads to prevent heat related-illnesses while continuing to stop the spread of COVID-19.
- Beach access and additional camping at Ontario Parks, The SwimTO plan will see lifeguards return to six of the City’s swimming beaches on June 22. Review the list of lifeguard supervised beaches.
Other business that can begin to open on Wednesday include:
- Shopping malls under existing restrictions, including food services reopening for take-out and outdoor dining only.
- Camping at private campgrounds
- Tour and guide services, such as bike and walking, bus and boat tours, as well as tasting and tours for wineries, breweries and distilleries
- Outdoor-only recreational facilities and training for outdoor team sports, with limits to enable physical distancing
- Drive-in and drive-through venues for theatres, concerts, animal attractions and cultural appreciation, such as art installations.
- Film and television production activities, with limits to enable physical distancing
For more advice for employers to protect employees and customers from COVID-19 in a non-health care workplace or place of business please Read Toronto Public Health’s Guidance for Workplaces/Businesses and Employers and Four Step Public Health Planning Guide for Reopening Toronto Businesses and Workplaces during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Take Immediate Action: Help Rebalance the Police Budget & Reinvest in Community-Led Safety Programs
Unfortunately, COVID-19 isn’t the only crisis that continues to impact our lives. Over the weekend, another person was killed by the police checking on their well-being. Tactical police used K9 unit, tasers, rubber bullets and a gun on a mental health crisis call. This is another tragic reminder that calling the police is not an appropriate response when supporting someone in crisis.
My office continues to receive thousands of emails from residents, demanding that we defund the police budget and reinvest that money into secure, long-term housing for street-involved and unhoused communities, food security programs, public transit, public health, public libraries, and community-led anti-violence programs while creating alternatives to policing. The more we can do to prevent the need for criminal intervention, the safer everyone will be.
These are worthy proposals and deserve to be discussed and debated at City Council. It is important to note that even if a majority of city councillors supported an immediate 50% reduction in the police budget, Toronto City Council does not have the legislative authority to do that. We have no power to determine the level of policing in our communities, or the ability to direct how the money we give them is allocated. Any cut to the police budget is subject to a provincial appeal process. 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.
The motion that Councillor Matlow and I have proposed is the first step in signaling to the Provincial and the Federal governments that Torontonians want greater accountability and control over how Toronto tax dollars are invested in our public safety.
I hope that regardless of whether or not you support an immediate and substantial cut to the police budget you can appreciate that it is an affront to our democratic process that the City has no ability to audit or direct spending on our biggest budget item. This motion asks the Province to give us the same authority over the police budget that we have over every other budget item.
You don’t have to agree with every recommendation in our motion, but I hope you can support the need to have this conversation. That starts by getting this motion passed a City Council on June 29. We need a two-third vote of City Council to agree to have this debate, and I need your help to make that happen.
To learn more about our motion, and how you can support it, please visit www.kristynwongtam.ca/processforprogress. This webpage makes it easy to call Mayor Tory and City Councillors who have not yet committed to supporting this first step in defunding the police.
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 public safety in all our neighbourhoods, and especially for Black, Indigenous and People of Colour communities who have experienced disproportionate harm and violence from the current model of policing.
Thank you for your resilience, it is an honour to represent you.
Community Care in Ward 13
Today’s Community Care shoutout goes to our friends at the Native Women’s Resource Centre located at 191 Gerrard Street East. They offer support programs for families, and women including parenting classes, employment resources and housing supports. Their work is guided by the Seven Sacred teachings: Wisdom, Love, Respect, Bravery, Honesty, Humility, and Truth. Additionally, their one-to-one support services empower women to navigate the child welfare system, and legal systems as well as access further health resources. Their Advocacy program excels at coordinating support across various agencies, presenting workshops, and advocating on your behalf. Thank you for the work that you do today and every day. Learn more about the Native Women’s Resource Centre.
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!
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 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 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.
Step 1: Start with your current circle: anyone you live with or who regularly comes into your household. Be sure to include anyone that would come into regular close contact with you and the people you live with. This may include:
- Family members, including children;
- Another parent to your child(ren) that lives outside the home; and
- Babysitters or caregivers.
If you add people outside of your household to your social circle, be sure to include anyone in their households as well. You may not see them often, but they would still be considered part of your current circle. Remember that everyone in a household must be part of the same social circle.
Step 2: If under 10 people, you can add members to your social circle: including another household, family members or friends. As you add additional members, ask yourself:
- Do they live with, or come into regular close contact with, anyone else? You may never see them, but they would still be considered part of your social circle; and
- What makes the most sense for you or your household? This could include another household with similarly-aged children or family members that you want to spend more time with.
If you live alone, you may want to start with family members or other close friends. People may, or may not, choose to participate in a social circle depending on their unique circumstance. Some people may be at risk of developing complications from COVID-19. For example:
- People over 70;
- People with compromised immune systems; and
- People with underlying medical conditions.
Remember that your social circle can include fewer than 10 people. It’s always best to start slow and safely add more members later.
Step 3: Get agreement from everyone that they will join the social circle: That means they agree to join only one circle, and physically distance with anyone outside the circle.
Essential workers can be part of a social circle, so long as the other members are aware of the risks and agree to them.
Step 4: Keep your social circle safe: take reasonable precautions to minimize the potential spread of COVID-19 for you and your social circle.
To keep the people in your social circle safe:
- Continue to follow public health advice, including frequent hand washing and sneezing and coughing into your sleeve; and
- Continue to physically distance with anyone outside your circle by keeping two-metres or six-feet apart from them.
If someone in your circle feels sick:
- They should immediately inform other members of the circle, self-isolate at home and not come into close contact with anyone, including other members of the social circl;.
- They should get tested. Find an assessment centre to get tested for COVID-19; and,
- Everyone else in the circle should closely monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19. If you believe you have been exposed to COVID-19 you should also be tested.
Step 5: Be true to your social circle: No one should be part of more than one circle.
The City of Toronto is preparing to oversee the safe restart of some services and partial reopening of many businesses following today’s Province of Ontario announcement that Toronto can join the rest of the province in Stage 2 of the provincial reopening on June 24.
As of 11:30 a.m. today, lifeguards are on duty at six of Toronto’s swimming beaches. Lifeguards will supervise swim areas from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. daily. With the hot summer weather and extended closure of indoor public spaces, it’s important for Torontonians to have opportunities to cool down outdoors.
The Ontario government is allowing more businesses and services to open and getting more people back to work by moving the City of Toronto and Peel Region into Stage 2 on Wednesday. This decision was made in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and the local medical officers of health. It is based on positive local trends of key public health indicators, including lower transmission of COVID-19, ongoing hospital capacity, public health capacity to do rapid case and contact management, and a significant increase in testing.
Today, Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce announced the appointment of Bruce Rodrigues to supervise the Peel District School Board (PDSB). The decision to appoint a Supervisor was made following the Minister’s directive to send in reviewers and an investigator, which produced two reports on widespread racism in the PDSB. The formal reviewers’ report and an investigation report outline the PDSB’s inadequate response, lack of action, and commitment to fully counter anti-Black racism, and discrimination against other minority communities and broader equity imperatives.
The Ontario government announced members of the new Indigenous Women's Advisory Council. The Council includes First Nations, Métis, Inuit, and LGBTQ2S leaders on violence prevention who will provide input on issues impacting their communities such as human trafficking and child, youth and family well-being. The Council will be co-chaired by Cora-lee McGuire-Cyrette, Executive Director of the Ontario Native Women's Association. The other co-chair will be selected at the Council's first meeting in early July 2020.
Government of Canada Updates
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, issued the following statement today on National Indigenous Peoples Day:
“On National Indigenous Peoples Day – and throughout National Indigenous History Month – we celebrate the unique heritage, cultures, art, and traditions of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples.On this day, we recognize the contributions of Indigenous peoples to our past, and the important role they will continue to play in building our future. One hundred and fifty years ago, Manitoba joined Confederation as Canada’s fifth province through the leadership of the Métis Nation and Louis Riel. This is one of the many examples of Indigenous peoples’ contributions to Canada. And as we look to the future, we know that we can only move forward together, with a relationship based on respect, partnership, and affirmation of rights. By doing so, we create stronger communities.”
The Government of Canada has announced $93.7 million in funding for sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) to support the efforts of a wide range of partners to help the poorest and most vulnerable people around the world.
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.