After a beautiful, sunny long weekend, I hope that you were able to get outside and enjoy the sunshine. I was happy to be outside with my family enjoying the parks and other outdoor space our beautiful city has to offer. The sunshine feels like a welcomed change and aligned with the relief many of us are feeling as vaccinations increase.
It was amazing to see so many taking advantage of the City’s pop-up vaccination clinic at Nathan Phillips Square this weekend. Over the Victoria Day long weekend, the City successfully ran the Long Weekend Dose Drive across the network of nine City-run immunization clinics to encourage people to get vaccinated. More than 34,300 people have already been vaccinated on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of the holiday weekend at City-operated clinics.
Additionally, the Province announced that as of Sunday, youth aged 12 and over across Ontario are eligible to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment through the provincial booking system and call centre, as well as at select pharmacies administering the Pfizer vaccine. To book an appointment online, these individuals must already be 12 years old as of the date of their booking.
Individuals who are turning 12 years old after Sunday, May 23, 2021, can book an appointment for a later date through the provincial call centre or directly through public health units that use their own booking system. Currently, The Pfizer vaccine is the only COVID-19 vaccine that has been authorized by Health Canada for use in individuals aged 12 and over. In addition, the Province is encouraging eligible family members who have not received a vaccine to attend these clinics to get youth and their families vaccinated as quickly as possible.
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. Learn more about where to get a vaccine in Ward 13 on my website.
Late last week, the Province announced their Three-Step Roadmap to Safely Re-Open the Province beginning this past weekend with many parks and recreation facilities re-opening including golfing, basketball, tennis, and baseball. Team sports are still prohibited and individuals making use of these facilities will be required to maintain at least two metres of distance, with the exception of members from the same household.
While this is very exciting and a welcomed step for many residents, it is critical that we remember that while many of us have received our first vaccine dose, we are still not immune. We each still must remain vigilant in protecting ourselves and our communities by continuing to follow public health guidance.
Roadmap to Reopen outlines three steps to easing public health measures, guided by the following principles:
- Step One An initial focus on resuming outdoor activities with smaller crowds where the risk of transmission is lower, and permitting retail with restrictions. This includes allowing outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people, outdoor dining with up to four people per table, and non-essential retail at 15 per cent capacity.
- Step Two Further expanding outdoor activities and resuming limited indoor services with small numbers of people where face coverings are worn. This includes outdoor gatherings of up to 25 people, outdoor sports and leagues, overnight camps, personal care services where face coverings can be worn and with capacity limits, as well as indoor religious services, rites or ceremony gatherings at 15 per cent capacity.
- Step Three Expanding access to indoor settings, with restrictions, including where there are larger numbers of people and where face coverings can’t always be worn. This includes indoor sports and recreational fitness; indoor dining, museums, art galleries and libraries, and casinos and bingo halls, with capacity limits.
Each step of the Province’s reopening plan relies on more people getting vaccinated and with that in mind, I would encourage each and every one of you to book your vaccine and take the first opportunity to get your first dose.
The Province will remain in each step for at least 21 days in an effort to evaluate key public health measures and ensure that our ICUs and hospitals are not overwhelmed. Through each step of this new plan, there is no mention of returning to in-person learning for our school-aged children or a robust strategy to support businesses.
The current Stay-At-Home order remains in place until June 2, 2021. Phase one will begin as soon as 60% of all eligible Ontario residents have received their first of two COVID-19 vaccine doses, which is estimated to begin around June 14 based on trends seen in mid-May, as reported by Global News.
While there are three steps to this plan, it is unclear when or how each of these restrictions will be lifted. As evidenced this weekend, the Province has moved ahead with opening some outdoor activities in advance of step one. This cannot be yet another misstep by the Premier. We are too close and have come so far to endure another cycle of lockdown if this reopening is mismanaged.
Like many of you, I await further clarification from our Provincial government.
Thank you for your resilience, it is an honour to represent you.
What’s In Today’s EBlast?
- You’re Invited! It Takes a Village Panel
- Upcoming Event: Virtual Women’s Safety Panel Discussion
- St. James Town Community Conversations
- Let’s Talk About Screen Time!
- The City Wants to Hear From You: 191–201 Sherbourne Street
- Menstrual Health Day
- The Bright Spot
- Launch of MyVaccines.ca
You’re Invited! It Takes a Village Panel
It Takes a Village Panel promotional graphic
As Toronto looks to recover from this devastating pandemic, and as more of our communities have second doses of vaccines, we need to consider what recovery looks like. 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 exploring 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 to neighbourhood planning through equitable recovery.
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 27, 2021
Time: 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm EST
Upcoming Event: Virtual Women’s Safety Panel Discussion
Women's Safety Panel Discussion promotional graphic
Many female-identified persons, including Trans people, women, and gender non-binary individuals, residents, and workers have reported feeling increasingly unsafe and vulnerable while engaging in their daily activities and routines across the city and in particular, parts of the downtown. This can be attributed to many things such as fewer people commuting as individuals are working from home and increasing rates of poverty - making the existing mental health and homelessness crises more visible. These issues have been raised during a number of community liaison meetings for the downtown shelter hotel programs operated by service provider Dixon Hall. In order to provide long-term support for individuals in crisis, we need support from all levels of government to address the social determinants of health. I have and continue to advocate for robust services across the Downtown East as well as additional funding from our Provincial government in order to address mental health and addictions. Learn more about my ongoing work.
On Wednesday, June 2, 2021, in partnership with Dixon Hall, I will be hosting a Women’s Safety Panel Discussion to name and bring to light these realities, as well as to provide strategies and resources for female-identified community members. We will have presentations from special guests Susan Davis (Executive Director, Gerstein Crisis Centre), Pauline Larson (Director of Economic and Community Development, Downtown Yonge BIA), Uppala Chandrasekera (Director, Public Policy, Canadian Mental Health Association), and more to be announced. Presentations will be followed by a Q & A. If you wish, please submit your questions in advance of the meeting, you will be asked after RSVPing to enter them.
When: Wednesday, June 2, 2021
Time: 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. EST
Where: RSVP to join
St. James Town Community Conversations
On Thursday, May 27, 2021, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., as part of the St James Town Community Conversation series, Health Access St James Town will be hosting a discussion on social and emotional wellbeing during the pandemic. Focussing on food security, mental health, the opioid crisis, and the wellbeing of 2SLGBTQ+ adults, this discussion will surely be informative.
When: Thursday, May 27, 2021
Time: 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Where: Zoom Link for all sessions
To join the by telephone, dial: 647-374-4685 and enter meeting ID number: 698 9271 0937 followed by #.
Participants will receive free seed packages, and there are games and prizes for each session! This is a grand prize raffle for participants who attend 3 or more sessions, and a free guide to balcony gardening for the first 10 people who register at [email protected].
Let’s Talk About Screen Time!
Families Connect promotional image- an illustration of a group of people holding hands
Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen an increase in screen time. Whether it’s our computers, tv, phones, or tablets, our lives have become virtual. Partnering with numerous community organizations including CAPC St James Town, and Ryerson University, Sick Kids will be hosting a workshop for families with young children to discuss this important topic.
When: Wednesday, May 26, 2021
Time: 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Where: Zoom, click to join
Learn more here. I'm Looking forward to an exciting and informative discussion.
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 26, 2021
Time: 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
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].
Menstrual Health Day
This Friday, May 28, 2021, is Menstrual Health Day (MHD), an international celebration that helps to bring attention to Menstrual Health especially in understanding that period poverty is an issue here in Canada that has been exacerbated by the pandemic.
As we keep talking about periods, we continue to reduce the stigma but also understand periods don’t stop even for the pandemic. In 2020, The Period Purse donated 17,000 free monthly supplies of period products and in the first four months of 2021, they’ve donated over 30,000! Additionally, the Toronto Food Bank and its partners have reported a 100-300% increase in demand for period products.
A picture of a bin with the Period Purse logo on the front, full of menstrual products
In response, The Period Purse is “lighting up the country”! On May 27, 2021, The Period Purse flag will be raised at City Hall and the CN Tower alongside the 3D Toronto sign will be lit in red.
The Bright Spot
Promotional image for YWCA's Bright Spot program. Pictured: elderly person on a laptop.
The YMCA has been keeping connected with older community members of the phone, and has identified several needs and wants. In response to the challenges of connecting with friends and loved ones, maintaining routines, and getting groceries, the YMCA has created The Bright Spot. By adding a little structure and a ton of fun to the days, they have been working to make this “new normal” feel a whole lot more comfortable.
This online community offers everything from exercise classes and small online group discussions to trivia night and mindfulness tutorials - all provided free of charge by the YMCA of Greater Toronto. A full list of activities is available here!
The Bright Spot has no residence requirement. I have heard from several residents that their programming is very high quality and perfect for anyone who might be feeling isolated and looking to stay connected. Learn more about The Bright Spot here.
Launch of MyVaccines
Illustration of a doctor giving a vaccine to a patient
Partnering with Immunize Canada, MyVaccines.ca has launched to make vaccinations easy and improve equitable access to vaccines to vulnerable communities across Canada.
MyVaccines uses the online healthcare locator service of EMPOWER Health, in operation since 2012 with additional search filters built-in for Vaccinations, in particular, Covid-19 vaccinations today, flu shots in the fall, and all other vaccines. This follows the successful pilot of MyFluShot.ca last year.
Patients use a map-based search to find healthcare providers nearby and filter them by vaccination status, and inventory availability. Healthcare providers can keep their inventory status up to date, and help patients find a place to book a vaccination. Participating providers can even enable booking directly through the platform.
Patients can also search by the language the provider offers their service in, helping those newer to Canada or visiting Canada. Learn more about MyVaccines.ca!
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
Mayor John Tory announced that the City of Toronto and Team Toronto vaccination partners have now administered at least a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine to 65 percent of all Toronto adults age 18 or older. This milestone has been achieved a week earlier than the Province of Ontario’s end of the month target of reaching 65 percent vaccine coverage.
Thousands of Toronto Residents Getting Vaccinated During Long Weekend Dose Drive, Victoria Day Appointments Available
The City of Toronto and vaccination partners are working to vaccinate as many people as possible as quickly as possible. This Victoria Day long weekend, the City has been successfully running the Long Weekend Dose Drive across the network of nine City-run immunization clinics to encourage people to get vaccinated and make sure appointments are available. More than 34,300 people have already been vaccinated on Friday, Saturday and Sunday of this holiday weekend at City-operated clinics.
The Toronto Fire Service responded to reports of screaming, explosions and a fire involving three tents and one wooden structure at an encampment at Lamport Stadium on King Street West. There were no reports of injuries. Toronto Police Service are investigating the fire with the assistance of Toronto Fire.
Toronto Public Health (TPH) and The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) along with vaccination partners, are leading the effort in Toronto to ensure all youth 12 to 17 years of age have the opportunity to receive their COVID-19 vaccinations as soon as possible.
Province of Ontario Updates
The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, has released its Roadmap to Reopen, a three-step plan to safely and cautiously reopen the province and gradually lift public health measures based on the province-wide vaccination rate and improvements in key public health and health care indicators. In response to recent improvements to these indicators, Ontario will allow more outdoor recreational amenities to reopen, with restrictions in place, effective May 22, 2021 at 12:01 a.m.
The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other public health experts, is proceeding with second dose administration of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, beginning with those who received their first dose of the vaccine between March 10 and March 19, 2021.
In response to improvements in key public health care indicators, Ontario is pleased to announce that friends and family can now visit long-term care homes to see residents for an outdoor visit. The changes take effect Saturday, May 22.
Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues to expand, with youth aged 12 and over eligible to book their appointment to receive a COVID-19 vaccine beginning this weekend.
Government of Canada Updates
To address delays in disbursement caused by COVID-19, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, has authorized a one-year extension for the Minister of Natural Resources to disburse 2019-20 federal price on pollution proceeds in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and New Brunswick. The Minister of Natural Resources now has until the end of the 2021-22 fiscal year to invest in eligible energy efficiency projects at schools, hospitals, small- and medium-sized businesses, colleges, universities, municipalities, not-for-profit organizations, or in Indigenous communities in those provinces.
The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, announced a one-year extension of draft regulations, initially released on July 2, 2020, to help employers who sponsor a registered pension plan (RPP) or deferred salary leave plan (DSLP) manage and maintain benefits for their employees through the COVID-19 pandemic.
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.