Over the past months, we have seen dramatic events throughout our city, country, and across the globe. I know many of us are watching our American neighbours with anxious anticipation of their Presidential Election. While this is an incredibly important election, Toronto Centre is also in the middle of a Federal by-election brought on by Hon. Bill Morneau’s resignation in August.
Understanding the value of democracy, and with the backdrop of the pandemic, Elections Canada has introduced safety measures that adhere to Toronto Public Health (TPH) guidelines. These guidelines are in an effort to reduce community transmission of COVID-19 and allow voters to exercise their democratic right to vote.
On top of the TPH guidelines, Elections Canada will allow you to bring your own pencil to mark your ballot, enforce one poll worker per desk, and provide sanitizer stations. When you go to vote, you will be required to wear a mask, and practice physical distancing of at least 2m from your fellow voter.
If you’re not aware of who the federal candidates running for Toronto Centre are, you can view them here.
In order to help residents feel more prepared before voting, there is a virtual all candidates meeting tonight from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. with breakout room options from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. This will be broadcast live on Regent Park TV in partnership with Community Civic Engagement Collaborative, a non-partisan grassroots collective of agencies and residents in the Regent Park, Moss Park, and St. James Town neighbourhoods, and the Corktown Resident and Business Association.
Image description: promotional poster for the virtual all-candidates meeting. Event details are provided below.
When: Tonight, October 20th, 2020, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. (breakout rooms from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.)
Where: www.youtube.com/regentparktv/live OR
Direct Zoom Access: https://zoom.us/j/3544985532
Even though the advance polls are now closed, voting day is on October 26th, 2020 from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m EST. I would encourage you to vote and consider who can best represent your values and our riding’s social and economic challenges in Ottawa. Our riding is a collection of dynamic downtown neighbourhoods that need an active and locally engaged MP in our corner. I am keenly interested in working with our new MP to build stronger intergovernmental partnerships to address our housing, mental health and addictions crises. Small businesses such as bars and restaurants and independent contractors including artists and performers in the LGBTQ2S+ communities have been particularly hit hard by the loss of revenue and wages caused by the COVD-19 financial fallout. I look forward to meeting with our new MP immediately after the by-election to address these critical issues and others in our riding.
I know it can be difficult to envision the future in times like these, but know that this is an opportunity to help shape the world you want to see. Find out your October 26th voting location and answers to any other questions by visiting the Elections Canada website.
Yesterday at the City of Toronto’s Board of Health meeting, my colleagues and I adopted motions to better resolve health inequities during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes requesting the Medical Officer of Health to establish a COVID-19 Response Equity Action Plan.
We know there are neighbourhoods in Toronto and even in Ward 13 that have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. We have requested the Province of Ontario increase accessibility and availability of pop-up covid testing centres in neighbourhoods disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Additionally, you can now see maps on the COVID dashboard reflecting test positivity rates in neighbourhoods as well as the testing centres in the neighbourhood. You can see the Neighbourhood Maps now, and they will be updated every Thursday. You can learn more here.
In addition to this new data, we are also calling on the Government of Ontario to reinstate ‘Pandemic Pay’ which ended in early August, despite the continuing risk and sacrifice of frontline workers during this second wave. This will also include exploring options to recognize public health workers who might not be eligible for ‘Pandemic Pay.’ This would be to allow them to receive some form of compensation for additional hours that will be required on an ongoing basis to respond to the pandemic throughout the winter months.
Lastly, the motion once again calls on the Province of Ontario to suspend residential evictions. There is a housing crisis in the City of Toronto, and any evictions during this global pandemic are unnecessary cruelty. Many residents are in a precarious financial situation, and eviction could result in another person in our shelter system or living in the rough outdoors during the upcoming winter months.
My colleagues at the Board of Health and I know that there is much work to be done as we move towards a #RecoveryForAll but are confident in these steps towards addressing health equity.
Thank you for your resilience, it is an honour to represent you.
Community Corner in Ward 13
King-Parliament Secondary Plan and Zoning Review Virtual Open House
Image description: King-Parliament secondary plan boundary zoning map
Join us for an online open house where we will provide an update on the King-Parliament Secondary Plan and Zoning Review. This study began in 2019 to update the planning framework for the King-Parliament area, shown below. Learn more about the updated draft Secondary Plan policies and new zoning requirements for this area. You will also have an opportunity to ask questions and give us your feedback.
What: King-Parliament Secondary Plan and Zoning Review
When: Thursday, October 22, 2020, 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
The live presentation will begin at 7:00 p.m., followed by a question and answer period. This meeting will be online and phone-in only. Please note that this meeting will be recorded.
Meeting information and participation instructions will be posted at: www.toronto.ca/king-parliament
Community Care in Ward 13
The City of Toronto and Waterfront Toronto are looking to hear from you!
Waterfront Toronto Quayside Consultation
Waterfront Toronto is advancing their work on Quayside and is drafting a request for proposals for a development partner. They’re looking for feedback on their updated project goals to ensure that Quayside reflects the values of the community. What matters most to you about where you live, work, and play?
Beginning the week of October 13 – October 23 2020, you can get involved by completing their online survey (closing October 23) and participating in an upcoming public information session on October 21 (tomorrow).
More information can be found online here. Have your voice heard!
Child Care and Early Years Act
The Ministry of Education has released a proposed set of regulatory changes under the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014. Toronto Children's Services is developing a response to the Province on behalf of the City of Toronto and is asking for feedback from parents and families.
The Child Care and Early Years Act provides a framework for the regulation of the provision of child care and the operation of child care and early years programs and services, including licensing and compliance, funding requirements, local planning and implementation, and policy development. Within the regulation, a review of the act is required every five years.
If you have a moment, I would encourage you to complete this survey by October 21, 2020.
Feedback received through these surveys will be incorporated into our response to the Province and considered at this meeting of the Economic and Community Development Committee on November 12, 2020.
For any questions on the proposed changes or the survey for families, please email Shanley.McNamee@toronto.ca.
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.
Face Masks and Coverings Offer Best Protection
Image description: Informational graphic from Toronto Public Health titled, "Face Masks & Coverings Offer Best Protection." Through visual examples, the graphic shows recommended and not recommended ways of wearing a mask. The recommended way for wearing a mask says, "should cover your nose, mouth, and chin without gaping." The following are not recommended: face shields, masks with exhalation valves, or clear plastic masks.
How to Safely Wear a Mask
Image description: Toronto Public Health infographic about how to safely wear a mask. Information on the infographic is listed below.
- Do wash your hands before putting it on and taking it off
- Do make sure it fits to cover your mouth and nose
- Do wash your cloth mask in the laundry
- Do clean surfaces that a dirty mask touches
- Don’t touch your face or mask while using it
- Don’t use masks on children under 2 or those who can’t breathe with them on
- Don’t share your mask with others
- Don’t wear medical masks, keep them for health care workers
- The best protection is to stay home, keep a 6-foot distance, and wash hands often.
City of Toronto COVID-19 Updates
City of Toronto’s Emergency Shelter System and Winter Services Plan for People Experiencing Homelessness
The City of Toronto provides temporary shelter and housing help services for people experiencing homelessness and those at risk of homelessness. Toronto’s emergency shelter system is delivered through a network of City-owned and leased facilities in collaboration with community-based partner agencies.
Mayor John Tory proclaimed October 19 to 25 as Waste Reduction Week in Toronto. Waste Reduction Week in Canada is held every October as a reminder of the ways everyone can reduce the amount of waste going to landfill and to raise awareness about the importance of sustainable consumption.
Mayor John Tory announced that approximately $1.9 million in additional funding will be distributed from the TO Supports Investment Fund to 33 community-based agencies supporting vulnerable populations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This is the second installment of the City’s commitment of 20 per cent towards the provincial Social Services Relief Fund to support non-profit social service agencies during this pandemic.
Toronto Public Health (TPH) is launching the annual online flu vaccine booking system to help residents schedule their appointments for TPH’s annual flu vaccine clinics. This year, in response to local COVID-19 circumstances, TPH flu vaccine clinics will only be available through online appointments to ensure that appropriate physical distancing and infection prevention and control measures can be followed to reduce the potential risk of virus spread and keep residents safer.
Province of Ontario Updates
The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, is extending most orders currently in force under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 (ROA). This extension will be in effect until November 21, 2020 to ensure the government continues to have the necessary tools to contain the spread of COVID-19.
The Ontario government released an action plan to make government services simpler, easier to use, and more convenient and accessible during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Ontario Onwards: Ontario's COVID-19 Action Plan for a People-Focused Government includes more than 30 projects that will improve the way people and businesses interact with the government, saving them both time and money.
Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health, issued the following statement detailing public health advice for Halloween this year.
Government of Canada Updates
The Government of Canada is committed to taking action against online hate and preventing the promotion of racism and violence.
The Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, the Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, and the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services will hold a press conference to speak to the situation in Nova Scotia.
The Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, made the following statement.
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.
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.