COVID Information, Vaccines for Kids, and COVID-19 Updates

Last week, you may have seen my op-ed published in the Toronto Sun, hoping to promote dialogue and civility in an increasingly polarized debate over public health measures during the pandemic. I shared a deeply personal story about my parents who originally refused their vaccine when their turn came up. In the process, I, unfortunately, made an honest mistake with information I shared from an August 2021 memo from the Chief Medical Officer of Health. That memo is outdated and the context in which I shared it was misleading and left the wrong impression.

I know some people were disappointed and confused about that error, so I do want to take some time today to clarify. I believe the scientific evidence is clear: vaccinations are an essential tool in ending the pandemic. Everyone who is able should get their shot. The more vaccinated people we have, the less transmission we have. I regret that this information distracted from my main reason for writing the article.

For the past twenty months, my staff and I have worked hard to convey public health information to you and your family in a timely and accessible manner. This included daily and weekly COVID newsletter updates, our own Ward 13 SMS/Text-to-phone notification system when vaccines were scarce during the early rollout, door-to-door vaccine campaigns in TCH seniors buildings, and ward specific town halls with sign language interpretation and closed captioning, to list a few of our accomplishments. With your encouragement and support, this work will continue and I look forward to doing it with you.

Finally, on a personal note I have decided not to extend my reappointment to the vice-chair position when my tenure ends in December. While this was something I was already contemplating, I made this final decision in order to not distract from the very good and important work of the Board of Health. You can read my full statement here.

This morning, the City of Toronto opened 20,000 vaccination appointments between November 25th to December 5th for kids aged 5-11 year old with extended clinic hours. All Toronto children, regardless of their neighbourhood, who are turning five years old by the end of 2021 (born in 2016) are eligible to book an appointment. Appointments can be booked by visiting the City of Toronto COVID-19 page and clicking the blue button or by calling the provincial vaccine booking line at 1-833-943-3900. Learn more and book here.

Team Toronto Kids vaccine promotional graphicTeam Toronto Kids vaccine promotional graphic

Parents and guardians seeking to vaccinate their child have a number of vaccination opportunities available across the city. These opportunities include clinics run by Team Toronto hospital or healthcare partners, at local pharmacies and through participating primary care providers or pediatricians. A full list of COVID-19 vaccination clinic options for five to 11 year-olds can be found online here.

This week, the Planning and Housing Committee, which I sit on, will be debating many long-awaited city building initiatives, including a Review of Laneway Suites, Parking Requirements for New Development, HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan - 2021 Annual Progress Update. All of these initiatives continue our work to increase affordability and housing options in the City of Toronto. This is an opportunity to depute at the Committee and have your voice heard on housing and other land-use policies at City Hall. I hope to hear from you!

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

Kristyn


What’s In Today’s EBlast?


Toronto Centre Projects Software Update

Toronto Centre Projects promotional graphicToronto Centre Projects promotional graphic

I’m excited to announce that last week we launched an updated Toronto Centre Projects website which will improve your experience accessing and using the platform. This is a popular service designed in our office exclusively for Ward 13 residents.

Here are a few of the notable changes:

Instant Verification

Previously, verification to ensure participants had addresses in Ward 13 - Toronto Centre was done manually by our office at 10am and 7pm daily. We know that this caused delays and barriers to participation. Moving forward, as soon as someone signs up, the system will verify your address instantly and automatically.

Easier to post proposals and vote/comment

Previously, it was a 4-stage process to post a proposal and, while you could post a supportive or unsupportive comment, it was not intuitive that official votes of support were further up the page near the top. Now, posting a proposal is a 1-stage process; you can also upload an image. You can also now comment and vote at the same time.

Comments and Votes

We have transferred proposals that were posted as well as the votes associated. For transparency purposes, votes (aka "signatures") that were transferred from our old system or are manually added due to hand-written petitions being submitted will display the number of supporters beside a pencil icon separated from the online vote tally.

Unfortunately, we couldn't transfer any comments to the new platform. There were not a lot of comments, however, there were some important discussions that some of you were having and we wanted to let you know that this was a technical limitation beyond our control. We welcome you to repost your comments on the new platform to continue to have those important conversations.

Thank you for being part of this new online community. It has been steadily growing and we've already had two successful proposals, with more gaining traction. We are also busy preparing new content so that you can see all of the projects we are engaged in across Ward 13 - Toronto Centre and can check in regularly for progress updates.

Let's work together to continue building healthier, safer, more accessible, and vibrant communities! Browse our new platform now! www.torontocentreprojects.ca


Net Zero Strategy by 2040 and TransformTO

Illustration of Toronto's skylineIllustration of Toronto's skyline

In response to the Toronto City Council's Climate Emergency Declaration, the City has developed the Transform TO Net Zero Strategy that will be considered by the Infrastructure and Environment Committee on December 2, 2021.

The staff report, Net Zero Strategy and attachments will be posted publicly on the IEC webpage on November 25. If you are interested in following the progress of the report and strategy or making a deputation to the Infrastructure and Environment Committee, please visit the IEC webpage or contact the Secretariat at [email protected] or call 416 397 4592.

This report and strategy have been developed to respond to Council’s 2019 climate emergency declaration and commitment to accelerate climate actions that will put Toronto on a path to achieving net zero by 2050, or sooner. The report and strategy build on the initial TransformTO plan, updated technical modelling, international best practices, and the results of public consultations held between 2018 and 2021, to realign the existing climate strategy with the new net zero target . The updated strategy includes climate actions in key sectors such as buildings, energy, transportation, sustainable consumption and waste, natural systems and equitable decision making. For more information on the history of TransformTO, previous public consultations, and the City's Greenhouse Gas Inventory, please visit toronto.ca/transformto.


The Distillery Winter Village is Here!

Image of the Distillery Winter VillageImage of the Distillery Winter Village

Last Thursday, the Distillery Winter Village launched with a successful tree lighting event to a sold out venue! While we are very excited for the return of exciting winter festivities, it is important to note that COVID protocols remain in place throughout the duration of the event. This includes sanitizing stations, reduced guest capacity, and social distancing. All guests 12+ will be asked to show proof of double vaccination and government-issued ID at entry points.

A reminder to all that parking is very limited. The best way to get to The Distillery Winter Village is to take public transit, walk, rideshare, or use Bike Share Toronto. For more information about how to get to the Winter Village, read here.

As wonderful as the Winter Village is each year, concerns about parking and traffic for local residents and pedestrian safety are always top of mind. That’s why my office has been working hard to address these concerns proactively, despite challenges posed by the COVID pandemic. At the Toronto and East York Community Council meeting this week, I will be presenting a motion that improves access to parking for surrounding permit parking residents. My office has also worked closely with Distillery and city staff to create other temporary parking and driving regulations, added street signage, pedestrian safety improvements, and more. 

The Winter Village is taking place from November 18 to December 31, 2021. Learn more about the Winter Village and purchase tickets on their website. I can’t wait to see you there!


Ryerson Renaming Community Survey 

On August 26, 2021, the university’s Board of Governors accepted the 22 recommendations put forward by the Standing Strong (Mash Koh Wee Kah Pooh Win) Task Force to guide commemoration at the university and to address the legacy of Egerton Ryerson. One of the recommendations was to rename the university through a process that engaged with community members.

This survey invites all community members, regardless of their affiliation with the university, to share ideas, opinions and perspectives on the name change. It will take approximately 10 minutes to complete. All questions are optional. All of your responses are anonymous.

The survey findings will help the University Renaming Advisory Committee (URAC) with the development of a shortlist of possible names. High-level findings and participation statistics will be shared through a community update from the URAC in January 2022. Fill out the survey here.


Join your Community in a Celebration of Inner Strength

In remembrance and honour of Anne Marie D'Amico, who was tragically killed on April 23rd, 2018, during the Toronto Van Attack, Anne Marie’s family created the Anne Marie D'Amico Foundation. On Friday, December 3rd, 2021, the foundation will host the "Turtle Project", their pinnacle event to support their vision for women and children to live free of violence. 

The Turtle Project will be an evening of live entertainment for all ages and is the pinnacle fundraising event for the Anne Marie D’Amico Foundation. Inspired by Anne Marie’s character and in remembrance of her spirit, The Turtle Project will be held annually on December 3rd, and be a culmination of the foundation’s fundraising and awareness efforts while commemorating Anne Marie’s birthday.

When: December 3, 2021
Time: 7 p.m.
Where: Meridian Hall
Tickets

This year's theme is A Celebration of Inner Strength. Attend the event to applaud Toronto's collective inner strength in these challenging COVID times. Visit their website to learn more.


Rosedale Valley Road Multi-Use Trail Reconstruction

Map of the Rosedale Valley Road Multi-Use Trail ReconstructionMap of the Rosedale Valley Road Multi-Use Trail Reconstruction

The Rosedale Valley Road Multi-Use Trail has been selected as part of the City’s Transportation Capital Program, State of Good Repair (SOGR) to extend the useful life and improve the user experience by repairing, resurfacing, and upgrading the trail. It is one of a number of trail projects in the City’s Cycling Network Plan that will help make green spaces more accessible.

The existing trail extends from Bayview Avenue to Park Road, and connects St. James Cemetery, Wellesley Park, Toronto Necropolis Park, Rekai Family Parkette, and Lawren Harris Park. Some of the existing issues on the trail include: limited and inaccessible access, drainage issues and poor lighting and pavement conditions.

The City has partnered with the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) to complete the trail redesign. Tender and construction is anticipated for late 2022 or early 2023.

View the conceptual design map and more information about this reconstruction project here.


19th Annual Regent Park Film Festival 

19th Annual Regent Park Film Festival promotional image19th Annual Regent Park Film Festival promotional image

The 19th Annual Regent Park Film Festival (RPFF) is taking place online again this year (plus one in-person screening)! RPFF is Toronto’s longest-running community film festival and supports BIPOC filmmakers and audiences through their programming. 

Their programming is free to stream between November 25th at 6pm and December 2nd. You can view the entire festival lineup in their program book and at this link: rpff.ca/2021. There’s a lot to look forward to online, including local and international features and shorts, industry panels and workshops, and more! RPFF will also be hosting one in-person outdoor screening for their Family Day on November 27. 

If you’ve watched their online content before, you can login at watch.regentparkfilmfestival.com to watch the festival or subscribe for free access at rpff.ca/2021


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;
  • 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.


Vaccinated Against COVID-19? What Does It Mean For Me?

By getting vaccinated, you benefit from the protection you get against COVID-19 and the easing of restrictive measures in your community. You still need to follow local public health advice in public settings (e.g. workplaces, public transit). Their advice considers community risk levels. 

A majority of people in Canada have now had their first shot and many will soon be fully vaccinated. Below is a handy chart created by Public Health Canada to inform your actions depending on your vaccination status. This advice is based on the current state and will be updated as vaccination rates continue to increase and cases decrease.


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.

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.


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
311 provides residents, businesses and visitors with easy access to non-emergency City services, programs and information 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 311 can offer assistance in more than 180 languages.
Telephone: 311
Website 
Outside City limits: 416-392-2489

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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