This has been a long, emotional week for many people as we are confronted with the harmful impacts of anti-Black racism and deep social inequities. I know the instinct in these moments is to be with our loved ones. We miss our friends, we miss our families, our communities. And while some things are slowly re-opening and restrictions continue to ease, I want to remind everyone that unfortunately in Toronto, we are still seeing approximately 150 people newly diagnosed with COVID-19 each day.
This means we must continue to be vigilant. The threat of infection remains, and so we must all continue to do what we can to protect each other. Remember that getting together in small groups, outside at distance is safer than gathering indoors.
This weekend, vehicle access on Lake Shore Boulevard West (eastbound lanes only) from Windermere Avenue to Stadium Road, Lake Shore Boulevard East (eastbound lanes only) from Leslie Street to just south of Woodbine Avenue (Kew Beach Avenue) and Bayview Avenue from Mill Street to Rosedale Valley Road, and River Street from Gerrard Street East to Bayview Avenue will be closed to provide people with greater space for walking, running and biking.
Quiet Streets for Ward 13: Installation Notice
As part of the City's ActiveTO plan, Quiet Streets have been designed as an opportunity for shared space to allow local residents to maintain physical distancing within their communities. This will be done through the installation of signage and temporary barricades to limit traffic to local vehicle access only.
I am pleased to let you know that this week, the Quiet Streets team has installed routes in both St. Jamestown and Regent Park. These routes include:
- Earl St from Sherbourne St to Bleecker St
- Bleecker St from Howard St to Wellesley St E
- Wellesley St E from Parliament St going east to Wellesley Park
- Spruce St from Sackville St to River St
- Sackville St from Wellesley St E to Queen St E
- Sumach St from Wellesley St E to Gerrard St E
As the Quiet Streets initiative is a fairly new program, we encourage your feedback on these routes. Please provide any comments you may have to transportation staff via [email protected]
ActiveTO Dundas Street East Bike Lane - Installation Update
As part of the City’s Cycling Network Plan, City Council has recently approved the accelerated installation of a temporary separated bicycle lane. Staff will be installing bike lanes along Dundas Street East from Sackville Street to Broadview Avenue. Installation for this bike lane is scheduled for completion on June 5, 2020.
For Regent Park residents, TTC has recently informed our office that in collaboration with City of Toronto transportation staff, the bus stops along Dundas Street East on the north and south end of both Sumach Street and Sackville Street will be removed. These stops will be replaced with a new bus stop at Dundas Street East and Regent Park Boulevard. Changes will coincide with the installation of the bike lanes.
For any questions or concerns on this project, please contact transportation staff at [email protected]
Today also marks World Environment Day, and the theme this year is, “A time for Nature.” It has been amazing to see so many people using our ravines and green spaces, and taking this time to explore the city by foot and by bike. As we gradually return to our day-to-day activities, I hope we can be more mindful about the actions we take not only to protect our physical and mental health, but also the health of our environment. Reducing trips by private vehicles, by walking and cycling are great ways to strive toward this goal.
As Chair of the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee, I also want to acknowledge that this is National AccessAbility Week. We all benefit from a society and an economy without barriers to inclusion. When persons with disabilities can participate in all aspects of society, including accessing employment, resources and services, it enriches Canada’s economy and civic life for everyone.
As we discussed earlier, persons with disabilities face unique and heightened challenges and vulnerabilities in a time of pandemic, and we need to better understand the specific ways people living with disabilities are being impacted. Any recovery effort must include their lived experience, and we must develop a far more robust disaggregated data collection and management system.
I will continue to push for greater reporting across all social determinants of health variables, including gender, sexual orientation, income level, race and disability. This information is critical as we begin to think about what a post-COVID19 recovery looks like.
Which brings me to another issue that I know many of you have been following closely. I want to start by saying thank you for the thousands of emails I have gotten about the Toronto Police Service, and their sizable impact on the City budget. If you haven’t already, I hope you will read my full statement on the growing calls to defund the Toronto Police Service, which you can find on my website.
And finally, before signing off for the weekend, I want to acknowledge that we are seeing an increasing number of businesses downtown boarding up their windows. There have been rumours of protests planned for this weekend that are separate from the peaceful Black Lives Matter or Not Another Black Life protests, but nothing we have been able to substantiate. We believe these businesses are likely just using an abundance of caution, but we have no reason to believe that there is any heightened risk to being downtown this weekend. As always, if you are going to be outside, take all the necessary precautions you would normally. Keep your distance, wear a mask, keep washing your hands clean.
Please be safe, and be kind to yourself and each other.
Thank you for your resilience, it is an honour to represent you.
Today’s Community Care shoutout comes from Dawn Comeau who met some of our frontline health care workers at St. Michaels’ Covid Assessment Unit. Unfortunately, Dawn suspected she had COVID-19 when she awoke with a sore throat and a cough, which worsened throughout the day. She took herself to the COVID-19 Assessment Unit at St Michaels’ Hospital where she was greeted warmly and registered quickly before meeting someone from their assessment team. Thankfully Dawn did not have COVID-19, and was treated for her significant asthma attack. She wanted to publicly express her gratitude for our frontline workers. For their warmth, generosity of spirit and compassion in what was a very scary situation. Thank you today, and everyday for all that our frontline workers, and health care teams do!
Please continue to email my office at [email protected] 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
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
Short-term Rentals Must Continue to Comply with City of Toronto Bylaw as Province of Ontario Lifts Emergency Order
Yesterday, the Province of Ontario announced that short-term rentals would be allowed to resume operations beginning today, following an amendment to an order under the Province of Ontario’s Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act and are now considered an essential business. In Toronto, short-term rentals are regulated by the City’s Zoning By-laws and Licensing and Registration of Short-Term Rentals Bylaw and any resumption of operation must be in accordance with these bylaws.
City of Toronto Launches CaféTO Plan to Help Create More Outdoor Ppace for Local Restaurants and Bars
The City of Toronto has launched CaféTO a quick-start program that will make it easier for restaurant and bar owners to open patios, to expand them, and to access additional space for physical distancing and for that matter revenue generation during the summer months ahead. The program will provide more outdoor dining areas by identifying space in the public right-of-way and expediting the current application and permitting process for sidewalk cafés and parklets.
The Ontario government announced the Premier's Council on Equality of Opportunity, a new advisory group that will provide advice on how young people can overcome social and economic barriers and achieve success. The council will also advise government on long-term actions that can be taken to support youth during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Government of Canada Updates
Prime Minister Announces Supports for Canadians with Disabilities to Address Challenges from COVID-19
The Government of Canada has announced support to help Canadians with disabilities deal with extra expenses during the pandemic. This support includes a special one-time, tax-free payment to individuals who are certificate holders of the Disability Tax Credit as of June 1, 2020.
Combined with the special payments of $300 for Canadians who are eligible for the OAS pension and the additional $200 for those eligible for the GIS, all seniors with a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate will receive a total of $600 in special payments. People who are eligible for this special payment will receive it automatically.
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
Email: [email protected]
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.