I hope everyone had a restful Thanksgiving and was able to spend some quality time with your families and loved ones. It’s so important to find opportunities to rest amongst the ever-changing landscape of the pandemic.
On Friday, the Province announced lifting capacity limitations as of Saturday, October 9 at select settings. These include:
- Concert venues, theatres, and cinemas
- Spectator areas of facilities for sports and recreational fitness (would not include gyms, personal training)
- Meeting and event spaces (indoor meeting and event spaces will still need to limit capacity to the number that can maintain physical distancing)
- Horse racing tracks, car racing tracks, and other similar venues
- Commercial film and television productions with studio audiences
It’s surprising to me that restaurants and other small businesses are not on this list considering the broad success of our vaccination efforts. The Premier now allows 20,000 people to pack into a sports or concert venue sitting side by side for hours, while nothing changes for restaurants and bars. Every chance he gets, Premier Ford choses to support big business over small. This is disheartening for our small businesses who have been deeply impacted and jerked around through the pandemic. All the while small business owners still face discrimination and protests outside their restaurants, while the Province does little to create safety zones to protect them from angry mob-like protestors upset about vaccine passports.
It is important to remember that the pandemic is not over for many. The majority of small businesses still need our help. With rising commercial rents and slower economic recovery, the Canadian Federation for Independent Businesses is asking the Federal government to extend wage and rent supplements set to expire near the end of the month. These supports will be critical for our Downtown recovery. I would encourage you to sign our petition to #SaveMainStreetsTO and urge the Federal government to extend supports until the international borders are fully reopened and businesses can once again fully operate at their intended 100% capacity.
On October 5, 2021, the Province announced a new targeted COVID-19 rapid test program in schools and licensed child care settings. The program will support access to voluntary, rapid asymptomatic screening for unvaccinated children and students. Tests will be made available at the discretion of the local medical officer of health, based on local epidemiological circumstances. Parents will be able to choose if their children can participate. The rapid tests will be used only for unvaccinated students with no symptoms who are not high-risk contacts of a case. If students test positive, they’ll need confirmation from an assessment centre or specimen collection centre and isolate until they receive that result.
This strategy is meant to support in-class learning for students across Ontario. As of Tuesday, government figures showed there were 796 out of 4,844 schools in the province with at least one COVID-19 case. Six schools are closed as a result of positive cases. Provincial data says more than 81% of youth aged 12 to 17 have gotten their first vaccine dose, while 73% have received a second one.
As we start to resume our daily activities, as vaccination rates go up, I would encourage you to consider how you get around our City. According to Ben Spurr in the Toronto Star, “Experts warn that if those trends continue as Toronto opens up and more people return to physical workplaces, congestion could become worse than it was before COVID-19, which would have significant negative impacts on the environment, the economy, and residents’ quality of life.”
The City of Toronto is taking this very seriously as we work to invest in alternative methods of travel, including more cycling infrastructure. As a cyclist myself, I’m encouraged to see these new routes as part of expanding our cycling network. On October 17, Toronto Centre will see the construction of Phase One begin in The Esplanade and Mill Street Connection. If you’d like to learn more about the consultations around the project, and to stay involved and up to date, please visit the project website.
The TTC has also created resources, guidelines, and practical steps to help ensure a safe and sustainable reopening and/or return to the workplace. From safe travel and screening techniques to safe building, they have partnered with the Toronto Region Board of Trade to make this transition as smooth as possible. Here is the TTC and Metrolinx guide created to support your commute.
Last week, the province announced a three-year corporate partnership with Shoppers Drug Mart to provide 18 million menstrual products to high schools across the province. This is an enormous advocacy win for the many students and education organizations that have been pushing for menstrual equity in schools for decades. It is important to note that the Provincial government has not made this a permanent and sustainable budget commitment. We need to ensure that they allocate funding for product dispensers and diversity of products permanently in the budget in the same way that we fund toilet paper, hand soap, and other necessities. This should not be a temporary provision, and I look forward to learning more about how the Provincial government intends on making free menstrual products in all elementary and high school washrooms permanent.
Lastly, yesterday was National Coming Out Day, and I want to let each and every one of you know that you are perfect as you are. It can be tremendously difficult to speak your truth to family, friends, and yourself. Sometimes we don’t have the language that fully expresses who we are and there are still many places in the world where it is unsafe to be queer. Please know you are not alone and deeply supported by myself and our community. Love is love is love.
Thank you for your resilience, it is an honour to represent you.
What’s In Today’s EBlast?
- Black Community Wellness Check-Ins and COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic
- Our Plan Toronto Consultation Series
- Getting Ready for Climate Action
- Neighbourhood Climate Action Champions Program
- Tree and Vegetation Maintenance with Hydro One
- Have Your Say! TTC’s Virtual Public Forum on Accessible Transit
- Serve Your City! Moss Park Arena Board
- Optimal Function and Church Wellness Centre
- Toronto Centre Projects
Black Community Wellness Check-Ins and COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic
Black Community Wellness Check-Ins and COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic promotional poster
On Saturday, October 16, our friends in St James Town are hosting a Black Community Wellness Check-In where community members can get their blood pressure checked; find health care providers taking on new patients; connect to mental health supports as well as get your vaccine against COVID-19. No OHIP is required, and this clinic is open to anyone born in 2009 and earlier.
When: Saturday, October 16, 2021
Time: 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: Wellesley Community Centre, 495 Sherbourne Street
They will be hosting a second clinic on November 13, 2021, where residents can get their flu shot as well.
Our Plan Toronto Consultation Series
Our Plan Toronto is hosting a series of upcoming public meetings on key Official Plan policy areas that are currently under review as part of the Our Plan Toronto consultation program. I would encourage you to attend any combination of meetings that interest you. Meeting summaries will be available upon completion. You will also find a link to a survey on expectations for Toronto 2051.
Join them for a city-wide conversation about the most pressing issues facing our city as we grow!
Getting Ready for Climate Action
Getting Ready for Climate Action event poster
On October 14 and October 26, join Community Climate Action in St James Town for virtual Climate Solutions Discovery workshops.
This workshop is part of a broader initiative to address climate change in St James Town. Driven by the vision of a more inclusive, healthy, and resilient multi-residential community, the Community Climate Action (CCA) project is designed to provide a broad platform for residents, landlords, and other people in the St. James Town community to voice their thoughts and discover actionable solutions to some of the key social, economic, and environmental impacts of climate change. The focus of this workshop is about scalable solutions to climate challenges that affect food, shelter, jobs, energy, emergency preparedness, health, and social capital.
When: October 14 and October 26, 2021
Time: 2 p.m.—5:30 p.m
Who: St James Town residents, organizations, community stakeholders, and partners
For more details visit www.communityclimateaction.org
Neighbourhood Climate Action Champions Program
Cover photo with the words "live green" and pictures of gardening gloves and grass
The City is inviting residents and community leaders to help inspire climate action in Toronto by becoming Neighbourhood Climate Action Champions! Participants will receive training and support to empower them to support residents in developing innovative climate action projects that reflect the needs and values of their communities. Participants must commit four to five hours per month (minimum 50 hours per year) to engage their community in neighbourhood-based projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Participants will receive an honorarium of $500.
Priority will be given to applications from community leaders and residents from communities experiencing social, economic, and other barriers, including people of colour, newcomers, 2SLGBTQ+ persons, women, Indigenous peoples, and people with disabilities.
Tree and Vegetation Maintenance with Hydro One
Hydro One is working in your community to ensure a safe and continued supply of power to the City of Toronto. To keep the power on, their crews are required to ensure a safe distance exists between power lines, trees, and other vegetation in the high-voltage transmission corridor. This important work keeps the corridor safe for public use and gives their crews access to the power lines for routine and/or emergency repairs.
Every corridor is unique, and Hydro One will aim to stage the trimming and removal of hazardous vegetation in this corridor where possible. They understand greenspace is important, and as vegetation continues to grow, their approach will balance the work required this year, while ensuring a reliable supply of electricity and that the corridor is safe for public use.
Learn more and attend a virtual meeting:
When: Thursday, October 28, 2021
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Register to attend
Tree and vegetation maintenance information poster
Tree and vegetation maintenance map
Have Your Say! TTC’s Virtual Public Forum on Accessible Transit
TTC Virtual Forum promotional poster
On October 21, 2021, TTC Board members, management and staff, and members of the Advisory Committee on Accessible Transit (ACAT) will host the TTC’s Virtual Public Forum on Accessible Transit. This event is held annually to hear from the public about the accessibility of conventional TTC and door-to-door (Wheel-Trans) public transit services in Toronto. Register for the 2021 Virtual Public Forum on Accessible Transit.
When: Thursday, October 21, 2021
Time: 7 p.m. to 9 p.m
Register to attend
You may also participate by phone by calling 416-764-8646. The Public Forum on Accessible Transit will include captioning and ASL interpreters. Once you register for the event, you can login and submit questions through the portal in advance.
The open Public Forum will provide the opportunity for customers to ask questions, share their experiences, provide feedback, concerns and other comments directly to a panel which will include: the virtual event will be hosted by Keisha Campbell, Chief Diversity and Culture Officer and will include a welcome message from TTC Chair, Jaye Robinson. Feedback gathered through the virtual event will be used to inform the TTC’s accessibility planning activities.
Serve Your City! Moss Park Arena Board
Moss Park Arena is one of eight indoor ice arenas operated by a board of management. These City boards were established between the early 1950s and early 1970s by the former City of Toronto and Borough of East York as a means of engaging the local community in the decision-making for managing these facilities.
Do you have experience in marketing, web design, or financial management? Are you passionate about amateur and children's sports development in the community? The City of Toronto is looking for local residents to join the Moss Park Arena Board. Learn more and apply by October 15, 2021!
Optimal Function and Church Wellness Centre
A picture of Councillor Wong-Tam with owners and operators of Optimal Function and Church Wellness Centre
The Church Wellesley Village BIA has been hosting a series of events for their members in Barbara Hall Park. A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting the owners/operators of Optimal Function and Church Wellness Centre.
The pandemic has been harsh on not only our mental health but also our physical health and wellbeing. Optimal Function provides cutting-edge physiotherapy so that you can move well and live better. If you have low back pain, shoulder pain, neck pain, headache, and discomfort in arms and legs, the Church Wellness Centre has experienced Ontario registered acupuncturists and osteopaths who can relieve your pain and stress. Let's support our local businesses.
Toronto Centre Projects
Allan Gardens Dog Off-Leash Area (OLA) has been identified and submitted by Councillor Wong-Tam based on the feedback received from OLA users and local residents over the past few years.
Allan Gardens in Ward 13’s largest OLA. As a destination OLA, it is one of the most used in Toronto. It features separated areas for small dogs and large dogs, iron fencing, a dog water fountain in the large dog area, and is accessible. We are currently accepting revitalization proposals for this important OLA. Learn more and get involved!
Toronto Centre Projects promotional graphic
Toronto Centre Projects is designed to engage community members and crowdsource neighbourhood projects supported by the Councillor's office and your neighbours. Over the next year, my office will be launching consultations for several parks and dog off-leash area revitalizations, public realm improvements, and more.
Have ideas to make our communities more liveable, vibrant, and safe? Submit them at www.TorontoCentreProjects.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.
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.
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.