Yesterday, the federal government announced it has signed agreements with two U.S. drug companies, Novavax and Johnson & Johnson, to secure up to 114 million doses of potential COVID-19 vaccines under development. This is in addition to similar deals that the federal government has signed with other drug companies, including one for at least 20 million doses of a potential vaccine from Pfizer and up to 56 million from Moderna.
This is good news for Canada and our recovery efforts. It is increasingly clear from other jurisdictions that without a vaccination, even the most cautious reopening plan still risks increased infections. However, Toronto Public Health isn’t planning on vaccine availability before the spring of 2021 at the earliest. Until then, we have to find a way to live with COVID-19 in our city.
Dr. Eileen de Villa has now stated unequivocally that there is no question we will see a resurgence. That means we have to keep doing our part. Build one bubble and protect it. For now, a bubble is made of ten people, not many bubbles involving those ten people. Please get a flu shot- this year more than any. Please avoid crowds, closed spaces, and close contact with people outside your bubble.
And as always: wash your hands often, watch your distance, and wear your mask.
Yesterday, Mayor John Tory, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa, City Manager Chris Murray, and the Chair of Toronto Board of Health Councillor Joe Cressy, presented an overview of the City’s COVID-19 Resurgence Plan. This plan outlines potential changes to city services in the event of a resurgence of COVID-19.
While this plan touches on all city services, I will be monitoring plans to support the homeless and under-housed population carefully. As the weather becomes colder, plans will include maintaining additional winter space and enhanced street outreach services to assist in providing access to shelter and housing for people to move indoors from encampments.
I want to make sure that our residents are consulted on these facilities, and that we are investing in adequate services at these shelters to ensure the safety of the people staying there and in the surrounding community.
I will continue to work through the Downtown East action plan to support community agencies coordinating assistance for vulnerable communities and enhance joint planning between the City and community sector.
This has been an incredibly difficult seven months for all of us, and unfortunately, we are not done yet. We need to keep fighting to address the COVID-19 pandemic, but also the concurrent homelessness, addiction, and mental health crises. If you find yourself overwhelmed, please remember that you are not alone. There are services and resources you can access on my website.
I will continue to keep you updated as more details of the City of Toronto’s COVID-19 Resurgence plan are released, but in the meantime, stay healthy and stay safe.
Thank you for your resilience, it is an honour to represent you.
Many residents have been inquiring about a large development application in the Distillery, an affordable housing project at 373 Front Street East and 90 Mill Street. This application was brought to the City of Toronto by the applicant as part of the West Don Lands precinct plan. After a community consultation public meeting in December 2019, I directed city staff to establish a Re-Zoning Working Group as this site’s current use is commercial parking. A Re-Zoning Working Group addresses matters of density (rooms/units), and distance between buildings, etc. Our group, made up of the applicant, community members, multiple city divisions and my office attended 3 sessions of robust discussion. I believe that when the local community comes together with city planning, development applications are improved and have the potential to result in beautiful communities that serve local residents.
If you’d like to learn more about the application, please visit the application centre here. If you have any questions or comments, you may wish to reach out to Henry Tang, the lead City Planner, at Henry.Tang@toronto.ca
Starting next year, streetscape work will finally be underway to transform Wellington Street East into a beautiful and more pedestrian-friendly street to match Berczy Park on the south side.
In advance of this work and in an effort to support local restaurants and cafes, The St. Lawrence Market Neighbourhood Business Improvement Area (BIA) has "painted out" the future sidewalk alignment to improve safety for pedestrians and to improve vehicle operations through the intersection. The coloured dots have been installed to brighten up this temporarily repurposed space. This week the BIA will enhance the space with planters and greenery.
The reconfigured intersection also allowed the CafeTO program to maximize the space for outdoor patios designed to assist restaurants with their recovery. In the future, this painted space will accommodate a wider sidewalk and new trees. While the various disruptions on Wellington Street East have delayed this streetscape work for many years, I look forward to this project being completed as it will be a fantastic new addition to the neighbourhood.
COVID-19: Ongoing Tips to Reduce Virus Spread
As we begin to ease our public health measures, we will all be living a new normal. 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 indoor, enclosed public spaces or where physical distancing is difficult to maintain; and
- Staying home whenever we are sick for any reason.
When you are unable to keep a six feet/two-metre distance from others, wear a mask or face covering. This includes when you are:
- In any indoor, enclosed public space;
- In elevators, common areas, waiting rooms or shopping;
- Using transit, taxi or rideshare services; and
- Sick and going to a medical appointment.
Be respectful of others who choose not to wear a mask. Some health conditions make it hard to breathe when wearing a face covering.
How to Create a Safe Social Circles
As we continue our shared fight against COVID-19, you can now establish a family or social circle of no more than 10 people who can interact with one another without physical distancing. Social circles are a way to safely expand the number of people with whom you can come in close contact. Think of your social circle as the people you can hug and touch, or those who can become part of your daily and weekly routines.
The City of Toronto will be holding Community Environment Days at the City’s seven Drop-Off Depots on Sundays throughout September and October. The events begin September 13 and will run until November 1, 2020. The drive-thru events will allow for the safe disposal of household hazardous waste and electronic items and donation of materials such as household goods and clothing for reuse.
Events will be held at the following locations:
- September 13, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., Disco Drop-Off Depot, 120 Disco Rd.
- September 20, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., Scarborough Drop-Off Depot, 1 Transfer Pl.,
- September 27, 9 a.m. – 1.p.m., Ingram Drop-Off Depot, 50 Ingram Dr.
- October 4, 9 a.m. – 1.p.m., Commissioners Drop-Off Depot, 400 Commissioners St.,
- October 18, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., Dufferin Drop-Off Depot, 35 Vanley Cr.
- October 25, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., Victoria Park Drop-Off Depot, 3350 Victoria Park Ave.
- November 1, 1 p.m. – 5 p.m., Bermondsey Drop-Off Depot, 188 Bermondsey Rd.
Mayor John Tory has proclaimed August 31 as Overdose Awareness Day in the City of Toronto. This day is dedicated to raising awareness about the devastating impact of the ongoing opioid poisoning crisis in Toronto, and to help reduce stigma and discrimination against people who use drugs.
Mayor John Tory, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa, City Manager Chris Murray and City Councillor and Chair of Toronto Board of Health Joe Cressy, presented the City’s COVID-19 Resurgence Plan, which outlines priorities and associated actions that the City will implement in the event of a resurgence of COVID-19.
The five priority areas of the City’s response are:
- Implement public health measures
- Support vulnerable populations
- Support City employees
- Mitigate the impact on Toronto’s economy and
- Ensure the resiliency of City services and a coordinated response
The Ontario government is providing $25 million to expand access to the Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program. The funding will be used to support 78 infrastructure projects across the province, including building new dental clinics and renovating existing facilities. The province is also adding eight new mobile dental clinics that will bring services directly to clients, making it easier for vulnerable seniors to access the dental care they need.
The Ontario government is investing $9.3 million in 11 training projects to help approximately 2,000 students and job seekers prepare for auto and advanced manufacturing careers. The funding will support projects from a range of organizations, including auto manufacturers, industry associations, training providers, and public universities and colleges.
Details were provided today by Premier Doug Ford, Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, and members of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association.
As students prepare to head back to school, the Ontario government continues to raise awareness about sexual exploitation and human trafficking among children and youth. Two new educational resources launched today will help prevent human trafficking by teaching kids how to recognize if they are being targeted by a trafficker and making sure they know where to get help. These new tools are part of the province's $307 million comprehensive anti-human trafficking plan.
Canada’s ability to defeat COVID-19 depends on the development, production, and distribution of an effective and proven vaccine. That is why the Government of Canada is working closely with researchers and scientists to better understand the virus and protect the health of Canadians.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced today that agreements in principle have been reached with Johnson & Johnson and Novavax to procure millions of doses of experimental COVID‑19 vaccines. These agreements add to those already reached with Pfizer and Moderna, which were made following the recommendations of the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force.
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
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. In the past, by diligently reporting criminal activity, residents were able to see our community policing and other service levels increase. You can do your part: see it, report it.