As you are likely aware, last week the Province of Ontario extended the stay-at-home order until at least June 2, 2021. While we are seeing positive trends as a result of the public health measures put in place, we cannot afford to let up yet, especially as variants such as B.1.617, which is believed to have originated in India, are increasingly making headlines all over the world including here in Toronto. The Province’s scientific advisors believe it is a realistic possibility the variant is as much as 50 per cent more transmissible than B.1.1.7, which was first identified in the United Kingdom. The infectious new variants are here and we should act as individuals with this knowledge. As vaccinations increase, as we hear of economies opening up in other places, and as our weather improves, the temptation to get ahead of ourselves is very real.
However, it is still not clear how efficient the current vaccines are on the new variant. I don’t want to alarm you, but please remember that if you have received a first dose of the vaccine, you are not fully protected. We must also think about those in our community who have not been vaccinated - either because they are under 18, or have not been eligible until now. Our hard work is not over yet - please get a vaccine as soon as you can, and keep up the diligent practice of the public health steps for self-protection. Keep a safe distance from people you don’t live with, spend as much time as you can outdoors, be mindful of ventilation, and wear your mask when you can’t keep a distance. Learn more about where to get a vaccine in Ward 13 on my website.
Considering this, it is also with great relief that as of this morning, anyone 18+ can now book in one of Toronto’s mass vaccination clinics. To support this expanded eligibility, approximately 40,000 new appointments are now available to book each week for the weeks of June 14, June 21, and June 28. Our wonderful partners at Unity Health have also expanded eligibility at their clinics to anyone 18+. You can get more information about those clinics online.
There is also ongoing support for Toronto’s hot spots. Last week, M5A and M4X were added to the City’s “sprint” strategy which means there will be more resources for pop-ups in these neighbourhoods. If you haven't already, don't forget you can sign up for text updates by sending me an SMS/text message (647) 424-5358 or signing up with your mobile number here.
After 14 months of this pandemic, we are all exhausted and ready to return to our pre-pandemic lives: to hug our friends and families, to visit our favourite restaurants, and to travel, camp - even grocery shop without fear.
Considering this exhaustion and frustration at what has been a difficult vaccine roll out, I want to acknowledge how much farther ahead in our vaccine roll out we are than initially expected. At the end of February, when Gen. Hillier announced the vaccine roll out, the plan was only to start vaccinating people 65+ on June 1st. I am grateful that the vaccine supply has increased as fast as it has, and we are beginning to vaccinate any adult in Toronto who wants one.
I know there are still a lot of questions about the safety and efficacy of vaccines, the waiting period between doses, and how residents who received one shot of AstraZeneca can expect to get a second dose. We were so privileged to have Nicole Welch, Chief Nursing Officer from Toronto Public Health, and Jennifer Bowen from Unity Health answer all these questions and more at our vaccine town hall. If you were unable to attend live, you can watch our Toronto Centre Vaccine Town Hall on YouTube!
Finally, I want to give a huge thank you to all the residents who have called, emailed, and advocated for years to get sidewalk snow clearing downtown. Not that I want to think about snowy sidewalks right now, but I am cautiously optimistic that the City has finally accepted our recommended expansion of this service to downtown Toronto. This will mean 103,626 households will now receive this service – including 91 per cent which would now receive mechanical sidewalk snow clearing and around nine per cent which would be manually cleared due to sidewalk obstructions.
We have known for a long time that sidewalk clearing is an equity and accessibility issue, and I am relieved to see the two year trial was successful and further expansion can finally be made in 2021. The trial coverage of limited legacy Toronto streets was far too limited and there remains significant room for expansion in the 2021/2022 winter maintenance budget. The Staff Report will be considered by the Infrastructure and Environment Committee on May 25 followed by City Council on June 8 and 9. I encourage you to write in your support for the trial project results and to call upon City Council to permanently expand sidewalk snow clearing for the entire downtown this year and to make sure that it is fully funded in future budgets going forward.
Thank you for your resilience, it is an honour to represent you.
What’s In Today’s EBlast?
- It Takes a Village Panel
- TCP- Introduction & Ideation Phase for Corktown OLA
- Stop Asian Hate
- The City Wants to Hear From You: 191–201 Sherbourne Street
- Toronto Intergenerational Partnerships in Community
You’re Invited! It Takes a Village Panel
It Takes a Village promotional graphic
City planning is becoming increasingly important as communities want to protect their local heritage and cultural hubs. As we see development across Toronto and with big planning changes afoot at the Province, how can we remain engaged in community planning? How do we create and support urban spaces that are meaningful to us? Who decides what is meaningful? What makes the Village a village?
It Takes A Village is a campaign to protect and promote cultural and heritage spaces. It explores deep questions about culture and heritage and offers information on the local planning process. We hope the campaign will energize and empower residents to take a more proactive approach in neighbourhood planning.
Bringing together planners, heritage architects, artists, and culture keepers, this panel will explore the meaning of cultural and heritage spaces to our communities. What they look like, if development disrupts culture and heritage, and how preserving culture happens in actual practice. On May 27, 2021, join Councillor Wong-Tam in discussion with experts and advocates as they discuss protecting and preserving culture and heritage in Toronto. #ItTakesAVillage
When: Thursday, May 27th, 2021
Time: 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm EST
Learn more about our panelists and register here: https://www.kristynwongtam.ca/ittakesavillage_panel
Toronto Centre Projects: Ideation Phase for Corktown Off-Leash Area
Toronto Centre Projects: Ideation Phase for Corktown Off-Leash Area
Featured on our new platform, Toronto Centre Projects, Ward 13 residents have until May 23rd to submit proposals for the proposed off-leash dog area at Lawren Harris Square. Along with City staff, I have shared the survey and residents had the opportunity to provide feedback on the proposed location. Now in the ideation phase of the project, my office is asking you to share your ideas on the types of amenities, equipment, furniture, lighting, surface materials, facilities, and any additional community needs for the off-leash area.
Thank you to all residents who have already submitted their OLA proposals! Register, submit your own proposal or comment on a neighbour’s proposal here until May 23rd.
Stop Asian Hate
Stop Asian Hate mask
Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen a rise in Anti-Asian racism. When we see it, it is important to rise up and speak out against racism. Local Registered Social Worker and Psychotherapist, Vera Cheng, has partnered with local BIPOC artist Nadia Lloyd to create the Stop Asian Hate mask in order to raise awareness of the rise of anti-Asian racism. With each sale, 10% is donated to a non-profit organization, Butterfly. You can read more about Vera’s personal experience with racism on her blog and what inspired her work. Learn more and get involved.
The City Wants to Hear From You: 191–201 Sherbourne Street
The City of Toronto has received an application at 191-201 Sherbourne Street to amend the Official Plan and Zoning By-law to permit the construction of 2 new residential rental buildings, 7 and 15 storeys in height (21.6 and 44.4 metres), in addition to the 2 existing rental apartment buildings on the property.
Join us at the virtual Community Consultation Meeting to learn more about the development proposal, which will include presentations and a Question and Answer portion providing local residents and stakeholders the opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback
When: May 26th, 2021
Time: 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Where: Register to join the meeting online
For further information on this Zoning By-law Amendment application, please view the application submission materials on the Application Information Centre.
If you wish to provide a comment to City Planning before or after the meeting, please contact Leontine Major, Senior Planner, City Planning Division, at [email protected].
Toronto Intergenerational Partnerships in Community
A picture of a lawn mower on grass
Since 1986, Toronto Intergenerational Partnerships in Community (TIGP), a Non-Profit charitable organization, has been a leader in intergenerational programming creating quality relationships with different generations and bridging the gaps in communities through meaningful programs.
Since 1996, The Seniors Assistance Home Maintenance (SAHM) Program has been coordinated by TIGP. Funded in part by the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network (TC LHIN) and the City of Toronto, the program matches brokered workers to provide assistance to older adults or individuals living with disabilities in communities within the City of Toronto who need help to remain independently and safely within their own homes. Their clients can:
- Age in place; maintain their independence while remaining safely in their own homes longer
- Avoid being at-risk of early admission to long-term care facilities as they will access home help services not typically provided by Personal Support Workers (i.e. snow shoveling, grass cutting, household chores, running errands, etc.)
- Not be at-risk of falls; rented apartments or owned property will be maintained during all seasons (which will also provide access for emergency vehicles and postal services)
- Direct their own home maintenance services; being empowered to hire the worker of their choice on a convenient day and time
- Access affordable workers; clients do not have to sign agreements with private contractors
- Decrease isolation; through the relationships developed with intergenerational workers that extend beyond family and acquaintances
Thank you to Toronto Intergenerational Partnerships in Community for all the amazing work you do. Learn more about TGIP and their ongoing work.
COVID-19: 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, 1-888-999-6488.
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;
- 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.
City of Toronto COVID-19 Updates
City of Toronto Opens 120,000 New Vaccination Appointments as Eligibility Expands to Those Age 18 and Older Today
As of this morning, everyone ages 18 and older will be eligible to book a COVID-19 vaccination appointment at a City of Toronto immunization clinic. In the first hour this morning when the age eligibility increased to 18 years and older, 8,926 people booked a vaccine appointment at a City-run clinic.
The City and vaccination partners have now administered at least a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine to 60 per cent of all Toronto adults age 18 or older. Team Toronto has reached this goal thanks to a vaccination network that includes the City, Toronto Public Health, hospitals, pharmacies, Ontario Health Teams, Local Health Integration Networks, community clinics, primary care physicians and community groups – a network of more than 350 vaccination partners.
City staff have recommended the expansion of this service following a successful trial program over the last two winters. This will mean 103,626 households will now receive this service – including 91 per cent which would now receive mechanical sidewalk snow clearing and around nine per cent which would be manually cleared due to sidewalk obstructions.
Province of Ontario Updates
With the new, more contagious variants continuing to pose significant risks, the Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, has extended the Stay-at-Home Order (O. Reg. 265/21) until at least June 2, 2021. All public health and workplace safety measures under the provincewide emergency brake will also remain in effect. During this time, the government will prepare to administer the Pfizer vaccine to youth between the ages of 12 and 17, beginning the week May 31, 2021, as the province also finalizes plans to gradually and safely re-open the province.
As the pace of Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues to accelerate with 2.2 million doses scheduled to arrive this week, the government is extending booking eligibility at mass immunization clinics to individuals aged 18 and over. This high number of doses is due to an early delivery of the week of May 24 shipment, to accommodate the long weekend, and is an opportunity for the province to offer an appointment to receive the vaccine to more Ontarians ahead of schedule.
Government of Canada Updates
All updates from the Government of Canada can be found at the link here.
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
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.
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.