Anti-Asian Racism, Vaccine Rollout, and COVID-19 Updates

On Sunday the City of Toronto marked the anniversary of the first COVID-19 related death in a virtual ceremony of commemoration. Over the course of this past year, we have lost more than 2,750 Torontonians due to COVID-19. I want to extend my heartfelt condolences to those grieving the loss of a loved one. It is never easy to lose someone we care about, and as the pandemic rushes forward, please take care of one another through a phone call, text, or virtual connection.

March 21 is also annually remembered as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Since the start of the pandemic, we have seen an alarming rise in xenophobia and racism, especially anti-Asian racism targeting women and the elderly. With the recent mass shooting in Atlanta, that killed eight people including six Asian women, I released a statement to mark the day and I welcome you to read it.

Yesterday, the Province of Ontario expanded their vaccine booking system to include individuals over the age of 75. Toronto residents born in 1946 or earlier can book appointments at three open City mass COVID-19 immunization clinics, at two more clinics opening March 29, and one more clinic opening on April 5. Learn more about the COVID-19 immunization program rollout plan and find out where you can register if you are in a different priority group.

In addition to the City’s mass COVID-19 immunization clinics, more and more pharmacies across the City are available for adults aged 60 and older who are accessing the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine. Visit the City of Toronto’s website for a map of pharmacies currently administering vaccines in Ward 13.

As vaccine supply increases and becomes more widely available, I would encourage anyone who wants to get vaccinated to schedule an appointment as soon as possible. It is important to remember that vaccines protect our communities, and ourselves. This is ultimately how we will develop herd immunity. As we celebrate getting our first vaccine dose, please do not post photos of your vaccine slip. It contains personal details which can be used to steal your identity. I know this is a moment of relief for so many, but please use your best judgment when finding ways to commemorate the moment. 

I have also heard the concerns shared by some about different types of vaccines, and their efficacy and side effects. I want to assure you that Health Canada confirms that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh the risk of use in Canada. When you are eligible to receive your vaccine, please accept the first one available to you. In order to facilitate herd immunity, and consistently protect from COVID-19, it is critical that any who are eligible receive their vaccine doses. You can learn more about vaccines, their trials, and efficacy via this Vox Youtube video which includes doctors from the University of Washington and John Hopkins. 

On Friday, the Province of Ontario altered the regulations to the COVID-19 Response Framework and eased restrictions on outdoor dining for health regions under Lockdown. These adjustments include limiting tables for outdoor dining to members of the same household with exemptions for patrons who live alone and caregivers. While indoor dining is still restricted, this weekend I saw many businesses take advantage of the beautiful weather and open their patios. 

The City of Toronto is preparing to launch its CafeTO program to better support patios through the spring and summer. This program includes new guidelines to decrease barriers in the public realm, especially for residents living with disabilities. Chairs, tables, and other patio furniture can unduly create further barriers to residents who are navigating our busier downtown sidewalks. It is essential that while we support businesses, curbside pick up, and patios, we consider all vulnerable users. As the Chair of the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee, the members and I have been offering guidance to our Transportation staff to support a smooth and safe rollout of the enhanced 2021 CafeTO program. 

The beautiful weather coupled with the pop-up of outdoor dining reminded me that soon we will be able to gather once more and enjoy the company of friends and family. Despite holding tight to this certainty, I will continue supporting local restaurants by ordering take-out and urge everyone to proceed with caution when leaving your homes. Cases of COVID-19 continue to rise through the third wave. We are not yet out of the woods. As the Premier eases public health restrictions, even under the Grey zone of the Provincial Framework, please remember that we know how this virus spreads. Prolonged close contact, especially indoors, and when individuals remove their masks. I urge you to continue to follow the guidance of Toronto Public Health and practice physical distancing, stay home when you can and if you’re able, wear a mask. Please consider how you can make safer choices for yourself and your community. 

Lastly, I want to wish all those celebrating, a happy start to Passover which begins this Saturday. This eight-day festival celebrates the freedom of slavery of the Israelites from Ancient Egypt. As each new holiday passes, I know it’s challenging to find new traditions while we cannot gather together. Know that while we are apart, we are not alone. I look forward to the days when we can gather once more in celebration.

Thank you for your resilience, it is an honour to represent you.

Kristyn


Community Corner in Ward 13

A picture taken during the day of 405 Sherbourne Street HousingA picture taken during the day of Sherbourne Street

The City of Toronto is hosting a second community consultation on 405 Sherbourne Street Housing Now Initiative to build new affordable housing. Located North of College Street and Sherbourne Street, this site is currently a Green P surface parking lot. In response to the first Community Meeting held on November 23, 2020, an additional review of the building design was considered. The proposal has now been updated to include a 25-storey building with 266 dwelling units, community use space on the ground floor, and a wider, single mid-block connection through the site with even more generous landscaping for pedestrians. 

Join us online or by phone on Thursday, April 1, at 7 p.m. for the second Community Meeting about 405 Sherbourne Street. Learn more about the revised development proposal and be prepared to provide additional feedback to CreateTO and City Planning staff.

When: Thursday, April 1, 2021
Time: 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Where: Register here

Visit www.createto.ca/405sherbourne for more details including how to join and participate in the Community Meeting. 


Community Care in Ward 13

A picture taken of volunteers at Clean Toronto Together DayA group photo taken of volunteers at Clean Toronto Together Day

Clean Toronto Together, the City's annual spring cleanup, which brings together more than 200,000 resident and community groups, schools, and businesses to help clean public spaces, including parks, beaches, and schoolyards has been cancelled due to COVID-19. The City is planning to reschedule Clean Toronto Together in September, subject to public health approvals at that time. Additional details about the September cleanup, including the dates, registration process, and safety measures will be announced at a later date.

Learn more about the Clean Toronto Program here.


COVID-19: Vaccine Information 

Toronto Vaccine information. More info belowToronto Vaccine information

For updates about Toronto’s vaccination rollout and booking system, please visit my website.

Book an appointment at a City-operated vaccination clinic by phone through the provincial call centre, 1-833-943-3900.

Book an appointment at a City-operated vaccination clinic online at www.toronto.ca/covid-19. For online bookings, you will need: 

  • Information found on your Government of Ontario photo health card;
  • Birthdate;
  • Postal code; and
  • Email address or phone number.

The provincial system will verify your eligibility to book an appointment for vaccination based on this information and will then guide you to the scheduling system. 

Please do not call 311 or Toronto Public Health to book an appointment. The City 311 contact centre and Toronto Public Health staff do not have access to the booking system.


COVID-19: Ongoing Tips to Reduce Virus Spread

As we begin to again restrengthen our public health measures, we will all continue to live in this new normal. Wearing a mask or a face covering is mandatory in all public indoor spaces and on the TTC. 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 public indoor setting, including stores, transit, offices; and where
  • physical distancing is difficult to maintain.
  • Staying home whenever we are sick for any reason.

Face Masks and Coverings Offer Best Protection

Image description: Informational graphic from Toronto Public Health titled, "Face Masks & Coverings Offer Best Protection." Through visual examples, the graphic shows recommended and not recommended ways of wearing a mask. The recommended way for wearing a mask says, "should cover your nose, mouth, and chin without gaping." The following are not recommended: face shields, masks with exhalation valves, or clear plastic masks.

How to Safely Wear a Mask

Image description: Toronto Public Health infographic about how to safely wear a mask. Information on the infographic is listed below.

  • Do wash your hands before putting it on and taking it off
  • Do make sure it fits to cover your mouth and nose
  • Do wash your cloth mask in the laundry
  • Do clean surfaces that a dirty mask touches
  • Don’t touch your face or mask while using it
  • Don’t use masks on children under 2 or those who can’t breathe with them on
  • Don’t share your mask with others
  • Don’t wear medical masks, keep them for health care workers
  • The best protection is to stay home, keep a 6-foot distance, and wash hands often.

Thank you for doing your part to slow the spread of COVID-19 and help protect our communities. For more tips on social distancing, please visit the City’s website or download this info sheet.


City of Toronto COVID-19 Updates

City of Toronto and East Toronto Health Partners Opening COVID-19 Mass Immunization Clinic in Thorncliffe Park Community Hub

On Wednesday, March 24, the City of Toronto and East Toronto Health Partners (ETHP), the Ontario Health Team serving East Toronto, will open a mass immunization clinic at the Thorncliffe Park Community Hub located in the East York Town Centre. The new Thorncliffe Park Community Hub clinic expects to administer approximately 1,200 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine on its first day of operations on Wednesday.

City of Toronto Continuing COVID-19 Vaccine Outreach to Seniors

The City of Toronto continues to respond to COVID-19. Mayor John Tory, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa and Fire Chief and General Manager of the Office of Emergency Management Matthew Pegg provided an update on the City’s measures to prevent the spread of the virus, support Toronto’s seniors and vaccinate all Torontonians in accordance with the Province of Ontario’s vaccine rollout.

City of Toronto Opens Three City-Operated Vaccination Clinics for Seniors Age 80 and Over with Confirmed Appointments

The City of Toronto opened three City-operated COVID-19 vaccination clinics to vaccinate eligible residents born in 1941 or earlier who have confirmed appointments. All three clinics – Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Scarborough Town Centre and Toronto Congress Centre – are booked to capacity today and expected to vaccinate 450 eligible seniors per location.

City of Toronto Launches Public Engagement Process for the Toronto Island Park Master Plan

The City of Toronto launched the start of the public engagement process that will inform the Master Plan and shape the future of this significant waterfront destination.

City of Toronto Requests Modified Grey Zone to Open Additional Businesses and Amenities

The City of Toronto continues to respond to COVID-19. Mayor John Tory, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa and Fire Chief and General Manager of the Office of Emergency Management Matthew Pegg provided an update on the City’s measures to prevent the spread of the virus and vaccinate Torontonians in accordance with the Province of Ontario’s vaccine rollout.

On Monday Seniors Age 75 and Older Can Book a COVID-19 Vaccination Appointment at City of Toronto Clinics

The City of Toronto has received direction from the Province of Ontario to expand COVID-19 vaccine availability to individuals born in 1946 and earlier as of Monday, March 22. The City’s three operating mass immunization clinics are prepared to welcome newly-eligible seniors once they have made confirmed appointments in the provincial booking system.

More information on affected City services & facilities.

More updates from the City of Toronto.


Province of Ontario Updates

Ontario Supporting Hospitals with Additional Funding During COVID-19

The Ontario government is providing over $1.2 billion to help Ontario's public hospitals recover from financial pressures created and worsened by COVID-19. This investment will ensure hospitals can continue to provide the high-quality patient care Ontarians need and deserve.

Ontario Taking Further Steps to Support Integrated Patient Care

The Ontario government is taking further steps to build an integrated, connected health care system centred around the needs of patients. Today, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, issued orders under the Connecting Care Act, 2019 to transfer the Trillium Gift of Life Network (TGLN) and non-patient care functions from the Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) to Ontario Health. The transfers will take effect on April 1, 2021.

Ontario Making it Easier to Administer Rapid COVID-19 Testing in the Workplace

The Ontario government is making it easier for businesses to test for COVID-19 in the workplace by providing guidance to employees who want to self-swab for a rapid antigen point-of-care test on a voluntary basis under the supervision of a trained individual. Based on the success of the initial deployment of rapid antigen testing, the government is also expanding the program to more sectors including first responders, emergency medical services, trucking and transportation, wastewater management, and post-secondary institutions.

Ontario Businesses Making Workplaces Safer

The Ontario government is seeing a greater number of small businesses complying with COVID-19 safety requirements. During follow-up visits for educational workplace safety campaigns, provincial offences officers found that approximately 73 %  of businesses were in compliance with public health measures and compliance increased by 20 per cent.

Ontario Making Historic Investment to Modernize Long-Term Care

The Ontario government is investing $933 million in 80 new long-term care projects, which will lead to thousands of additional new and upgraded long-term care spaces across the province. Today's announcement moves the government a step closer to fulfilling its commitment to add 30,000 much-needed long-term care spaces over ten years.

Ontario Investing in Wastewater Testing System to Detect COVID-19

The Ontario government is investing more than $12 million in a new initiative to detect COVID-19 in wastewater. The province is partnering with 13 academic and research institutions to create a surveillance network to test wastewater samples taken from communities across Ontario. This will enhance the ability of local public health units to identify, monitor and manage potential COVID-19 outbreaks.

Ontario Extending Temporary Wage Enhancement for Personal Support Workers

The Ontario government is investing $239 million to extend temporary wage enhancements for personal support workers and direct support workers in publicly funded home and community care, long-term care, public hospitals, and social services sectors. These temporary wage enhancements will continue until June 30, 2021 and will help stabilize, attract and retain the workforce needed to provide a high level of care, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ontario's Booking System to Expand to Individuals Aged 75 and Older as Vaccine Rollout Accelerates

With over 50 per cent of Ontario residents aged 80 and over having received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, the Ontario government is expanding appointments through its online booking system to individuals aged 75 and over, effective Monday, March 22, 2021, ahead of schedule.

Ontario Supports Colleges and Universities Impacted by COVID-19

The Ontario government is providing $106.4 million to help publicly assisted colleges and universities address the financial impacts of COVID-19. This investment will support the sustainability of the postsecondary sector and ensure students continue to get the skills and education they need for the in-demand jobs of today and tomorrow.

Ontario Launches Innovative Strategy to Combat Homelessness

The Ontario government is directing municipal service managers to begin collecting detailed, up-to-date information from individuals experiencing homelessness and use a strategy called by-name lists. This innovative approach is being launched across Ontario following significant consultation, and will help connect people with local housing and homelessness supports that better respond to their needs.

More updates from the Province of Ontario.


Government of Canada Updates

Government Announces Extension of Canada Emergency Business Account to Help Small Businesses

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, and the Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, the Honourable Mary Ng, announced that the deadline for new Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) applications is being extended from March 31 to June 30, 2021.

Government of Canada Increases Funding for Alternate Format Materials for Persons with Print Disabilities

The Government of Canada continues to take important and decisive action to ensure that all Canadians are supported during the COVID-19 pandemic. We know Canadians living with disabilities are facing significant challenges during this difficult time and that long-standing barriers to inclusion have been heightened. As we work together to restart the economy, we must continue to protect health and safety, and ensure the right supports are in place for all Canadians.

Government of Canada Welcomes Interim Report from the COVID Alert Advisory Council

the Minister of Health, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, the Minister of Digital Government, the Honourable Joyce Murray, and the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, the Honourable Francois-Philippe Champagne, welcomed the Council’s Interim report on the Social and Economic Determinants of App Adoption, Retention and Use.

Government of Canada Officials to Hold a Technical Briefing on COVID-19 Vaccines in Canada

On March 18, 2021, Government of Canada officials will hold a technical briefing to provide an overview on the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines.

Support to Workers and Families Increases With the Passage of EI Legislation and the Coming into Effect of Recovery Benefit Regulations

The Government of Canada continues to help and support Canadian families and workers struggling to make ends meet because of the COVID 19 pandemic. Over the past year, this support has included the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, the Canada Emergency Student Benefit, three recovery benefits and a more flexible and accessible Employment Insurance (EI) program.

Health Canada Confirms that the Benefits of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine Continue to Outweigh the Risks for Use in Canada

Health Canada confirms that the benefits of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in protecting Canadians from COVID-19 continue to outweigh the risks, and encourages Canadians to get immunized with any of the COVID-19 vaccines that are authorized in Canada.

More updates from the Government of Canada.


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

Telehealth Ontario
Call if you develop symptoms!
Telephone: 1-866-797-0000

Toronto Public Health Hotline
8:30 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Call if you have questions about COVID-19.
Telephone: 416-338-7600
TTY: 416-392-0658
Email: [email protected]

311 Toronto
Outside City limits: 416-392-2489
Call if you have questions about City services, or to report people
Telephone: 311 (The City is only accepting 311 requests through phone)

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.

Toronto Police

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. 

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