The last week has been unlike any other. I know many of you have taken the important steps of social distancing. These steps you are taking are critical to help protect those among us who are delivering essential services and cannot isolate the same way. Social distancing is the single most effective way to flatten the curve and save lives. Please share this information widely, as we need all residents across the City to be practicing social distancing!
Yesterday, the City announced that Toronto Public Health is urging residents returning from March Break travel to self-isolate for 14 days as self-isolation is critical to helping mitigate the continued spread of COVID-19. Residents who need essentials should reach out to members of their community or consider online delivery. Shopping upon return is not a part of self-isolation. This is a critical way we can all keep ourselves and others safe.
Together we can limit the spread of COVID-19. Please follow the Toronto Public Health COVID-19 website for the most up-to-date information and resources: toronto.ca/covid-19
Caring for Yourself & Others
During this challenging time, we must remember to take care of ourselves and each other, while practicing safe social distancing. When at home, it helps to get dressed daily and keep a routine. Go for a walk outside but keep your distance from others. Phone a friend or two, especially those who are seniors. Thank local grocery store workers, healthcare professionals, and critical public service workers who continue to work on the front-lines to deliver essential services. We are all in this together!
Calling on a Province-Wide Rent Deferral for April 1
Due to the COVID-19, people across Ontario are facing layoffs, work closures, public health directives to stay home and self-isolate or practice social distancing. This is causing significant financial hardship for working families across the province – and it is only the beginning.
The province of Ontario has taken important steps by banning evictions and enacting legislation to protect the jobs of workers who need to stay home because of COVID-19. But it is not enough. For most people, not working means not earning sufficient income needed to pay for the necessities of life.
Housing represents the single biggest expense in most household budgets. In recognition of these facts, the federal government has announced measures to defer the payment of mortgages for homeowners. We need a similarly comprehensive approach to help renters through these unprecedented times.
Gender-Based Violence and COVID-19
As we ask everyone to stay home, it is critical to remember that home may not necessarily be a safe place for all. Folks experiencing gender-based violence (including but not limited to sexual violence, intimate-partner violence, transphobia, homophobia) are especially vulnerable during this challenging time.
If you are aware of anyone being harmed or you are experiencing gender-based violence yourself know you are not alone. Please reach out to trusted confidential community resources listed below for support. If you are in immediate danger, please call 911.
- Toronto Rape Crisis Centre 24/7): 416-597-8808; www.trccmwar.ca
- Barbara Schlifer Clinic: 416-323-9149 x 234 or fill out the online intake form at: www.schliferclinic.com/intake
- Trans Lifeline (24/7): www.translifeline.org
- The Assaulted Women's Helpline (24/7): Toll-Free 1-866-863-0511; 416-863-0511 for violence against women shelter referal
- LGBT Youth Line (Ontario based support for LGBTQI2S youth): 1-800-268-9688; www.youthline.ca
- Support Service for Male Survivors of Sexual Assault (24/7) (Ontario based support line): 1-866-887-0015
- Kids Help Phone (24/7): mental health service for children and youth text, call, chat: 1-800-668-6868; www.kidshelpphone.ca
- Talk4Healing (24/7) (culturally sensitive crisis counselling, advice and suppport for Indigenious women): 1-855-554-HEAL;www.talk4healing.com
- Good to Talk (24/7) mental health service for all post-secondary students: 1-866-925-5454; www.good2talk.ca/
- Seniors Safety Line: 1-866-299-1011
City of Toronto COVID-19 Updates
Yesterday, the City announced that Toronto Public Health is urging residents returning from March Break travel to self-isolate for 14 days as self-isolation is critical to helping mitigate the continued spread of COVID-19. Residents who need essentials should reach out to members of their community or consider online delivery as shopping upon return is not a part of self-isolation. This is a critical way we can all keep ourselves and others safe.
Childcare for Essential and Critical Service Workers
The City of Toronto has received authorization from the Province of Ontario to open licensed child care centres specifically to provide care for children of essential and critical service workers. The centres will be spread across Toronto in existing City-run child care facilities and be operated and staffed by City of Toronto licensed child care workers.
The City is establishing an online registration system that will be communicated widely once available. The centres will then open as quickly as possible, following registration. Essential and critical service workers have been defined by the Province and a list of those services will be made available shortly.
To support essential and critical workers, licensed child care service will be available, at no cost, funded by the Province of Ontario, for children from infant to age 12, and will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week in order to begin to address the unique demands of people who work shifts to keep the city safe and healthy. This is the first time a service of this type has ever been offered by the City of Toronto.
Given social distancing is not feasible when caring for young children, additional measures will be taken, in consultation with Toronto Public Health and the City's Occupational Health and Safety program, to maintain a healthy and safe environment. Precautions will include daily screening of children and families prior to admission, increased cleaning, and reduced group sizes.
Signage for Parks and Playgrounds
The City is actively developing signage for City parks and playgrounds, advising caregivers that playground and recreation equipment is not sanitized, and reminding everyone to practice social distancing and to wash their hands before and after play. Parks remain open, but people should take every opportunity to avoid interactions with others through social distancing to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Service Delivery Changes
The City of Toronto continues to scale back and/or modify the delivery of all non-essential services. This includes the cancellation of most City-operated programs and closure of many City facilities. Services and facility operations are tentatively scheduled to resume Sunday, April 5.
Examples of continuing services include emergency response by Toronto Police, Fire, and Paramedics, Toronto Water operations, emergency shelters, TTC, waste collection (excluding yard waste collection) and the ongoing response to COVID-19. Summary of affected City services, the full list is available toronto.ca/covid19.
Province of Ontario Updates
Today, the Province announced plans to exempt certain child care centres from the order to close all licensed child care centres pursuant to the state of emergency declared earlier this week.
Yesterday, the Province announced the launch of Ontario Together, a new website that will help businesses and their employees work with the province to meet the challenges of COVID-19. This initiative will remove barriers allowing Ontario's manufacturing sector to redeploy capacity towards the production of essential equipment like ventilators, masks and swabs.
The Province also announced a new order under the March 17, 2020 declaration of emergency to ensure health care resources are available to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. This temporary order would give hospitals the ability through various measures to cancel and postpone services to free-up space and valuable staff, identify staffing priorities, and develop, modify and implement redeployment plans.
The Government of Ontario is tracking the number of positive cases and cases under investigation in the province, these numbers are updated daily online.
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. Please follow the Toronto Public Health COVID-19 website for up-to-date information and resources: toronto.ca/covid-19
Government COVID-19 websites
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.
Thank you for your resilience, it is an honour to represent you.