Every Halloween, I look forward to dressing up in costume and going out to see friends on Church Street. Like other social traditions this year, we are being asked to adapt and find creative ways to celebrate. Maybe that looks like a candy hunt inside your home, or sitting down to watch a scary movie. Maybe you can dress up at home, and have a virtual costume party.
In the past the Church Street Village has hosted one of the largest Halloween street parties in Canada and due to the pandemic, this ghoulish fun is going online on October 31 at 8 p.m. My son, Kiyan, and I recorded a Halloween video greeting in support of Church Street and the Village businesses. Please watch!
As Dr. de Villa has said, “we can still do many of the things we used to, we just can’t do them in the way we used to do them.” I remain hopeful of our collective efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by washing our hands, practicing physical distancing and only leaving our homes for essential trips.
We are now almost nine months into a global pandemic and I want to take this time to reflect and thank the essential worker for their non-stop work. I’m grateful for the continued sacrifice you make to keep our communities safe through a health crisis of global significance. Our healthcare workers, grocery clerks, teachers and many more industries who work to keep our communities safe and healthy. Thank you for your continued sacrifices and your relentless work keeping our friends, neighbours and loved ones healthy.
At City Council this week, my colleagues and I adopted this motion from the Board of Health. Among its many recommendations, City Council calls on the Government of Ontario to reinstate ‘Pandemic Pay’ for frontline workers, which expired in August 2020 despite a surging second wave. It also requests a streamlined administrative process to deliver this quickly and to recognize other healthcare workers who might not have otherwise qualified for ‘Pandemic Pay’. Ontario’s healthcare workers continue to work tirelessly, putting their own health at risk to keep communities safe.
As part of the Interim Shelter Recovery and Infrastructure Implementation Plan, City Council adopted my motion to review the City’s existing policies and associated costs to ensure the provision of certain “survival” equipment and/or supplies to encampments are available as recommended in the Faulkner report.
To be clear, I see this as an absolute last resort. Even if everyone was outfitted with sleeping bags and other equipment, without washrooms and regular meals, it is too cold and unsustainable for people to live outside safely. A tent is not an adequate home and generators are not a long-term solution as they can still present a very serious fire risk.
In a historic moment for City Council, we adopted an amendment put forth by my friend and colleague Councillor Perks which directed the City Manager to find and use the necessary funds to spend on emergency measures to provide housing, shelter, or respite in the event that Toronto’s Shelter system cannot meet demand. Finally this is an enormous step forward in providing the authority to staff to do what is takes to address the homelessness crisis as it demonstrates the City’s commitment to sheltering and housing our most vulnerable.
I would encourage anyone who wishes to learn more and take action to visit my website.
City Council also adopted my emergency motion to protect public interests after the Province of Ontario unilaterally imposed Ministerial Zoning Orders on three separate sites in the West Don Lands community. In a nutshell, this automatically approves tall buildings on lands without City Council approval or community input. We informed the Province of our displeasure of them sidestepping local planning decision-making. This motion seconded by Councillor Cressy seeks to create a future framework to guide the Province on our position of what City Council believes to be an appropriate use of MZOs. We assert that even though the Province has the legislative authority to issue MZOs, it does not mean they should do so by discarding public consultation, City Council and heritage considerations. The motion also asked the Province to confirm an alternative process for the City to be compensated for any existing or negotiated community benefits, as there is no mention of this in the MZOs. We believe that local planning should remain the hands of the local community, City Planning and City Council. Please read our original statement on this matter issued on Monday.
As we did not finish the formal business of City Council, my colleagues and I will return to our virtual Council Chambers on Friday morning to complete our agenda.
Thank you for your resilience, it is an honour to represent you.
Community Corner in Ward 13
Image description: a picture taken during the day of Clover Hill park
I am thrilled to share that the long-awaited Clover Hill Park is now open to the community! Nestled at St. Joseph Street and Bay Street, this park includes open lawn, picnic tables and sculptures. The park serves as a cultural venue and also provides modern amenities that strengthen the sense of community. Natural existing features have been preserved and enhanced, while respecting the historical context of Clover Hill. The overall vision captures the imagination of the users and enhances recreation, socialization and promotes exploration.
Image description: a picture of a sculpture taken during the day at Clover Hill park
I want to extend my thanks to Parks, Forestry and Recreation staff as well as Saddlebrook Management Consultants Inc for their work in building this beautiful and imaginative park. I know it will be well-loved in the Bay Cloverhill community as they have waited patiently for this park re-opening.
Community Care in Ward 13
As mentioned earlier, we are all finding new ways to celebrate, and have a spooktacular Halloween this weekend. The iconic annual event on Church Street has moved online this year. With a line up for musical acts, and online entertainment, this event is sure to be a memorable one. Hosted by the Church Wellesley Village, you’re sure to see some familiar and ghoulish faces. Be tricked by the unbelievable characters. Be treated to the next-level costumes.
Image description: promotional graphic for The Village's virtual Halloween programming. Event information is listed below
When: Saturday October 31, 2020 at 8 p.m.
Where: RSVP to attend
Join in on the Halloween spirit! Share a video or picture of yourself in your Halloween costume for a chance to win awesome prizes from businesses in The Village. These videos and pictures may be shared during Halloween online.
1st Prize: Gift basket with items worth $500
2nd Prize: Gift basket with items worth $300
Third Prize: $100 Gift card
PLUS 10 runner up prizes worth $50 each!
Make sure you are following The Village and that you tag the picture. Your photo will be shared! You can even create a virtual community by sharing messages of kindness and safety.
Here are some guidelines they’ve included for the event:
- You have to RSVP as going to this event
- Your picture or video must be posted in this event
- Live in Toronto & The GTA [or be able to pick up from our location]
- All posts must be entered by October 31
- A friendly reminder that someone else’s culture is not a costume.
- We won’t accept contest entries that are racist, homophobic, or transphobic.
#HalloweenOnChurch promises to be a scary good time! Stay home and stay safe.
Making Cents: Talking City Budgets with Councillor Wong-Tam
Image content: promotional poster for Making Cents Budget Series panel event with Councillor Wong-Tam
In 2019 we successfully campaigned for the creation of an Intersectional Gender Equity Strategy and Gender Equality Office, which was finally approved and funded as part of this year's budget. The Gender Equity Strategy and Gender Equality Office participates in our City budget process by analyzing and evaluating the budget through an intersectional budget lens. This work is important, but there is more we can do to ensure our city works for everyone. Throughout the pandemic we have received report after report after report which shows that marginalized and oppressed communities are experiencing the brunt of the issues related to COVID. When all members of our communities aren’t adequately supported, we all suffer.
Join us virtually on Monday, November 9th from 3:00pm- 4:00pm EST to learn more about how and why it is important to apply an equity lens to our municipal budget, and where our municipal budget can address gaps in equity planning in our city. Joined by experts in the field and panelists with lived experience, we will ask what an equity lens is and how it can be applied to our municipal budget, why an equity lens is critical to the budgeting process, and where our current funding gaps exist in the system and how we can fix it.
When: Monday, November 9th from 3:00 pm - 4:00pm EST
Where: Registrants will receive a link to watch
Special Guests Include:
Anjum Sultana, National Director of Public Policy and Strategic Communications at YWCA
Liv Mendelsohn, Director of Accessibility and Inclusion at the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre
Prabha Khosla, Gender Justice and Municipal Advocate
Sarah Blackstock, Manager of Social Policy for the City of Toronto in the Social Development, Finance & Administration division
Jessica Ketwaroo-Green, Principal Consultant, Racism and Gender Inequity
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
Toronto City Council has unanimously approved Mayor John Tory’s key item that will extend its winter patio program to provide more outdoor dining options to support local restaurants this winter and into the spring.
Toronto Public Health (TPH) is launching a fourth community flu vaccine clinic on October 31 at the Scarborough Town Centre, Exterior Unit D3, located at 410 Progress Avenue. The clinic is operated by appointment only.
City Council Unanimously Approves Motion to Request the Province to Temporarily Cap Commissions for Food Service Deliveries
Toronto City Council unanimously approved Councillor Michael Ford’s (Etobicoke North) motion to request the Province of Ontario to implement a temporary cap on commissions for food service delivery companies.
City of Toronto Launches MoveTO Action Plan to Help Manage Congestion and Build a More Resilient and Safer Transportation System
Mayor John Tory launched MoveTO – a City staff action plan to help manage congestion and build a more resilient, modern and safe transportation system. The plan, which will be considered at the Infrastructure and Environment Committee meeting on Thursday, November 5, proposes five key measures that will help make the City’s transportation system more resilient in response to the effects of COVID-19 on Toronto’s overall transportation network.
Province of Ontario Updates
The Ministry of Long-Term Care has issued a Mandatory Management Order requiring the Millennium Trail Manor long-term care home in Niagara Falls, Ontario to retain the Niagara Health System to temporarily manage the home. This order was issued to the home as it has an increasing number of confirmed COVID-19 cases among residents and staff.
The Ontario government is providing municipalities and Indigenous community partners with over $241 million to help more than 110,000 Ontarians affected by COVID-19, including those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
The Ontario government is providing up to $1.05 billion in combined federal-provincial funding through the new COVID-19 Resilience infrastructure stream to build or renovate health and safety-related projects in long-term care, education and municipalities.
Government of Canada Updates
Government of Canada Supports Innovation and Entrepreneurship With the Launch of the Lab2Market Program
Fostering a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation is essential to creating good jobs for Canadians and helping our economy recover from the impact of COVID-19. Andy Fillmore, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities and Member of Parliament for Halifax, on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, announced support for innovation and entrepreneurship with the official launch of the Lab2Market (L2M) program.
The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) is striving to create an environment free from sexual misconduct, where all people are treated with dignity and respect. The CAF released The Path to Dignity and Respect: The CAF Sexual Misconduct Response Strategy. This comprehensive strategy focuses on aligning organizational culture to prevent and address sexual misconduct, and improve support for affected persons.
The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is helping prepare Canada's space industry for future missions to the Moon. The CSA is awarding $3.3 million in contributions to support the demonstration of two lunar technology payloads and their launch to the Moon.
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.