State of Emergency Extended, ActiveTO & COVID-19 Updates

Today’s big news is that the provincial legislature voted in favour of extending the declared state of emergency until June 2. Ontario has been under a declaration of emergency since Premier Ford first announced it on March 17. 

This extended state of emergency is part of the Government of Ontario’s plan for a cautious re-opening of the economy, and cautious easing of physical distancing rules. In the early phase of our outbreak, the number of new cases in Toronto was doubling approximately every four days. Now the number of cases in Toronto is doubling every seven days. We should derive comfort in this because it is another sign that our work together is slowing down this epidemic. 

We also saw the Board of Directors for The Canadian National Exhibition has officially cancelled the 2020 fair. This should give us some indication that our responsibility to each other is not over, and that we are still many months away from returning to our former way of life.

As I said yesterday, in order to keep protecting our friends, families and neighbours we must continue to be vigilant, and keep up physical distancing. This is going to be especially important as some businesses are given permission to re-open, and more people come out to use the streets. 

To allow for better physical distancing outside, last week the City of Toronto announced the launch of ActiveTO to give more space on roads to cyclists and pedestrians. While roads are not being closed entirely to vehicles, streets will be calmed through the installation of signage and temporary barricades to encourage slow, local vehicle access only.

Locations are being identified and prioritized by several factors including: population density, equity, access to greenspace, car ownership rates and traffic volumes. Network connectivity was also reviewed and routes were selected to support safe cycling and walking connections on essential trip routes, particularly along tower renewal corridors and within neighbourhood improvement areas.

The list of initial ActiveTO locations in Ward 13 include:

  • Scott St from Colborne St to The Esplanade;
  • Sackville St from Shuter St to Gerrard St E;
  • Sumach St from King St E to Wellesley St E;
  • Howard St from Parliament St to Sherbourne St;
  • Earl St / St. James Ave from Parliament St to Sherbourne St;
  • The Esplanade from Yonge St to Berkeley St; and,
  • Mill St from Parliament St to Bayview Ave.

While there was no consultation on this first round of recommended streets, I have confirmed that additional locations will be considered based on established prioritization criteria and Councillor feedback.  

Your feedback is important too. If there are locations in your neighbourhood that would benefit from traffic calming measures as part of ActiveTO, please email my office at councillor_wongtam@toronto.ca and in addition, send your recommendations to active_TO@toronto.ca.

 


Community Care in Ward 13

This week marks National Nursing Week and so today’s Community Care shout out goes to the nurses who help our communities and keep us safe every day. This Nursing Week is unique as we continue to fight our battle with Covid-19. This has been especially challenging for our nurses and other frontline workers, as safe working conditions aren’t guaranteed. This year is also International Year of the Nurse and Midwife with special recognition of Florence Nightingale. Nightingale was the founder of modern nursing and a pioneer in infection control. She campaigned tirelessly for universal access to health care, regardless of the ability to pay. Learn more about National Nursing Week. 

FlorenceNightingale.jpgPlease continue to email my office at councillor_wongtam@toronto.ca 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!


Keep Practising Physical Distance!

As the City of Toronto evokes these new measures for public health, please remember to keep practising social distancing. I know it’s challenging, and I thank you for your continued hard work. Please remember to stay off of closed parks amenities and facilities, or you may be subjected to a fine. If you must leave your home, please stay at least 6 feet (2 metres) away from others on the streets. These measures are crucial to protect the greater public health.

Physical Distance

The single best way for Torontonians to support each other right now is to stay home and practise physical distancing to prevent COVID-19 spread. 

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 www.toronto.ca/covid-19.


City of Toronto COVID-19 Updates 

ShopHERE Launches to Help Local Businesses and Artists 

Yesterday, Mayor John Tory announced the launch of ShopHERE, a new initiative to help Toronto’s independent businesses and artists set-up their online stores with the help of volunteer web developers, business students and corporate partners. The free program provides businesses one-on-one support with building an online store to start selling their goods and services right away. The ShopHERE program is open to any business or artist that meets the eligibility requirements

Read the full news release here.

As of yesterday, all retail stores with a street entrance can begin to offer curbside pickup and delivery. Hardware stores, safety supply stores, garden centres and nurseries are already permitted to be open for in-store payment and purchases and are operating under the same guidelines that grocery stores and pharmacies have been following. For more information, including examples of how business owners can help keep employees and customers safe, please read the news release here.

 

More information on affected City services & facilities.

More updates from the City of Toronto.


Province of Ontario Updates

Declaration of Emergency Extended

The Ontario government is extending the Declaration of Emergency under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. This additional time is intended to provide the province the necessary tools and health care capacity to contain COVID-19, while gradually reopening businesses, services and amenities safely.

This Declaration of Emergency has been extended until June 2, and will allow Ontario to continue to enforce current emergency orders, such as restricting retirement and long-term care home employees from working in more than one facility and prohibiting events and gatherings of more than five people.

The House also passed the COVID-19 Response and Reforms to Modernize Ontario Act, 2020, which is intended to help people conduct business while practising physical distancing by:

  • Providing authority to address in-person attendance rules for school board trustees' meetings in regulation. This would provide the flexibility in certain emergency situations to allow trustees to meet virtually during school closures;
  • Enabling corporations to call and hold meetings virtually, as applicable, and extending the time period in which annual meetings must be held in specific circumstances;
  • Allowing designations of a beneficiary to be provided electronically for Retirement Savings Plans, Retirement Income Funds, Locked-in Retirement Accounts, Life Income Funds and Tax-Free Savings Accounts;
  • Allowing electronic filing of business registration documents, and the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services to accept copies of business registration documents and e-signatures;
  • Allowing for regulations to set out the parameters for remotely commissioning or notarizing a document; and,
  • Extending, on a one-time basis for 2020, the legislated four-year period during which a Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) election is mandated to be held to give more time to support remote voting.

You can find the government’s full update here.

 

Update on Student Graduations 

In response to growing questions and concerns from students and families, the Minister of Education is encouraging school boards to move ahead with celebrations subject to health and safety limitations. In many cases, this will mean rescheduling graduation ceremonies until it is safe to do so.

As restrictions begin to lift, the Province will be providing updates and direction to the school boards on how to proceed with reopening safely. The provincial government is expected to provide a fulsome update on the status of schools in the next couple of days.

 

More updates from the Province of Ontario.


Government of Canada Updates

The federal government will be providing seniors $2.5 billion in one-time assistance to help manage extra costs associated with COVID-19. Seniors who receive old age security (OAS) will get a payment of $300, while those who receive guaranteed income supplement (GIS) will get $200

This is a one time payment and will be tax-free. In addition, seniors who do not file their taxes on time will not risk the suspension of either OAS or GIS. This measure is expected to assist 6.5 million seniors in Canada. 

Changes are also being made for many temporary workers who may have lost their jobs this spring. Under existing rules, to change jobs temporary workers need to apply and wait for a new work permit to be issued before starting to work at their new job. With ongoing labour needs, some sectors such as agriculture and health care are in urgent need of employees. 

Effective immediately, a new temporary policy has been enacted that will make it easier for a temporary worker to get approval to start working in a new job, cutting what is typically a 10 week process to an estimated 10 days or less. Please read the news release for more information.

International travel continues to be reviewed, with the federal government noting it will be cautious about reopening the borders. Canada will continue to review its own and other countries' public health measures to contain the virus before foreign travel is allowed again.

 

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: 1-866-797-000

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: PublicHealth@toronto.ca

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)

Phone: 416-392-7903
Constituency Office: 100 Queen St W A5, Toronto, ON, M5H 2N2