Vaccine Certificate, Back-To-School, Voting, and COVID-19 Updates

Today, the Province of Ontario announced clarifying measures and enforcement protocols around the newly implemented vaccine certificate. Starting on September 22, proof of vaccination status will be required to eat indoors at restaurants and bars, to enter a gym, movie theatre, sporting venue, or concert, and to use a large meeting and event space. Ontario residents will need to either print or download their second dose receipt from the government website until an “enhanced” certificate becomes available on October 22. They can also use a receipt signed by an Indigenous health provider or a receipt from “another jurisdiction.” The new rules will not impact children under the age of 12 who are not yet eligible for the vaccine.

This proof will be required upon entrance to any establishment where vaccines are mandatory. Employees are being asked to match the name and date of birth listed on the vaccination receipt with the information on the ID. The receipt must be for the individual’s second dose, and employees should verify that the date of administration was at least 14 days prior.

Examples of identification documents that can be used to confirm vaccine status include a birth certificate, a citizenship card, a driver’s licence, a government-issued identification card, including a health card, an Indian Status Card, or Indigenous Membership Card, a passport or a permanent resident card. A photo is not required. Regular exemptions also apply for those with written notification from a health practitioner stating that they have a medical reason for not getting the shot. There is an FAQ for anyone looking for further clarity.

Any businesses found in non-compliance with these new regulations will be subject to fines under the Reopening Ontario Act

A negative COVID-19 test or recent infection will not entitle a person to enter non-essential settings, although the provincial government said there will be narrow, time-limited exceptions for testing. From September 22 to October 12, a negative test taken within 48 hours will enable a person to enter if they're not fully vaccinated to accommodate for weddings and funerals that have already been planned. After that, proof of vaccination will not be required to attend a wedding or funeral service but will be necessary if attending the reception.

If you have a medical exemption to the COVID-19 vaccine certificate program, you must present identification and a written document. Here is a list of establishments requiring proof of vaccination.

I have seen reports of protests at our hospitals and local businesses against the vaccine certificate program. If businesses or individuals are threatened or harassed, they are to contact Toronto Police Service. I know we are all exhausted by the pandemic. I am too. I urge everyone to use kindness and their best judgment in the coming months. Please continue to follow public health guidelines in order to make our trips, outings, and events as safe as possible in the face of the surging Delta variant. 

As we now have returned to in-person classrooms across Ontario, Toronto Public Health is working closely with local schools to continue supporting a safe (as possible) return to school. I know that in-person learning is essential for the mental and physical well-being of our students. TPH is completing case and contact management for COVID-19 cases to help keep staff, students, and the community as safe as possible as we continue living with COVID-19. 

COVID-19 and the more infectious Delta variant continue to circulate in Toronto. It is not unexpected to have cases related to the school setting, even during the first week of school, as cases in school settings often reflect what is happening in the broader community. 

In keeping with provincial guidance, several public health measures are in place in schools to protect students and staff including masking, and cohorting students. TPH also continues to recommend frequent hand washing, cleaning protocols, and for staff and students to complete TPH’s screening questionnaire or the provincial school screening tool each day, and for schools to confirm the completion of the screen. The Ontario Ministry of Education has also announced a vaccination policy for school staff.

TPH completes an investigation for all laboratory-confirmed cases related to schools. Principals are recommended to follow TPH's COVID-19 Decision Guide for Principals to Dismiss Cohorts to Self-Isolate, which explains when to dismiss affected cohorts while allowing those who are fully vaccinated to continue to attend school as long as they have no symptoms. 

TPH declares an outbreak if there are two or more lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in students and/or staff in a school with an epidemiological link within 14 days. This means that there is at least one case that could have reasonably acquired their infection in school, which includes transportation and before and after school care.  

Active school outbreaks are posted on TPH's Active Outbreaks dashboard, under the "Schools" tab. The dashboard is updated five times per week, from Monday to Friday, except on statutory holidays. TPH will also share school cohort dismissal and outbreaks via Twitter at 5 p.m., from Monday to Friday. 

Last week, Toronto Public Health announced a pause on all extracurricular activities during the month of September. This pause will allow school boards to gradually re-open after months of online learning, and support better contact tracing amidst the more contagious Delta variant. Schools are reintroducing protocols around infection prevention and control as part of health guidelines. This gradual introduction allows students and educators to adapt to these safety measures and ensure a smooth beginning to the school year. The late notice about the change followed new modeling from the province’s science table and talk of the need for fewer interactions to help keep COVID-19 in check, something echoed by Dr. Theresa Tam, the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada.

As the Federal election swiftly approaches, with advanced polls now closed, please make the time on September 20 to vote. With 84% fewer polls in Toronto Centre, it is critical that every citizen make a plan and follow through. It may take more time than usual, and it can still feel daunting to stand in a long line-up masked, but I urge you to make it happen. At each poll, there is sanitizer, and friendly faces to support you and to ensure all the public health guidelines are followed. 

While it is disappointing to see such a dramatic decrease in polling stations across Ward 13, Elections Canada has said it is prioritizing spaces where voters can physically distance themselves from one another. While fewer stations exist, these larger spaces will be more accommodating to larger groups. 

These past 18 months have been some of the most challenging days we’ve seen, and we were underprepared. We did not have all the social infrastructure in place to support our most vulnerable populations, and we have yet to fully recover. It may take much before we see a return to the life we had with fully occupied office towers, busy tourist epicentres, and thriving local business communities. It is up to each and every one of us to make a choice and have our say in who leads us through to an equitable recovery. 

If you’re unsure of which party to vote for, I would encourage you to take this short quiz on Vote Compass. This easy-to-use tool will help align your values to the most fitting political party. It can be daunting to participate in politics when you don’t feel informed and hopefully this tool helps. 

Finally, I want to address a matter that was heard last week at Toronto East York Community Council meeting about potential traffic changes for a private daycare proposed on Sackville Avenue. The property of interest is part of a judicial order that requires the owner to satisfy eight conditions set out by the Toronto Local Appeal Body in their ruling of January 8, 2021. Some of the conditions have to be addressed through the obtaining of Provincial approvals, which are not in the City's purview. 

City Legal confirmed at Community Council that the traffic changes are not a pre-application requirement for a daycare licence from the Ministry of Education. As of September 8, 2021, it was confirmed that the owner had not secured the Provincial licence mandatory to operate a daycare. In adopting the traffic changes before any Ministry licence is obtained, we would have changed the traffic regulations for naught and would have to revert them back through the enactment of the new bills.

Therefore, Community Council deferred this matter until the applicant can provide proof of Provincial approvals to operate a licensed daycare. At that point, the matter will return to Community Council at the upcoming October or November meeting for consideration.

I hope this information is helpful to those who find interest in this issue.

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

Kristyn


What’s In Today’s EBlast?


Empowering Phụ Nữ Photovoice Project

Empowering Phụ Nữ Photovoice Project posterEmpowering Phụ Nữ Photovoice Project poster

Are you a Vietnamese & womxn-identifying young person (aged 18-29) based in Tkaronto (Toronto)? Are you interested in gaining skills in storytelling, connecting with youth within the Vietnamese Diaspora, and learning from creative artists and community leaders?  

Learn more and apply to the Empowering Phụ Nữ Photovoice Project! The program will engage participants over seven bi-weekly sessions in Photovoice storytelling to discuss cultural identities, gender, and leadership. 

Participants who successfully complete the program will receive a $350 honorarium. Those interested in participating can apply through our Google Form online by 11:59 PM EST, September 30, 2021, here.


Late Night Pop-Up Clinic with Snacks!

Late night pop-up clinic promotional posterLate night pop-up clinic promotional poster

In partnership with Sherbourne Health, The Corner, Ryerson University’s Hue Lab and Flavours from Our Neighbours, our friends in St James Town are hosting a late-night vaccine pop-up clinic with snacks! Anyone born in 2009 or earlier (12+). International students, migrant workers, people without status, or health cards are all welcome. The first and second doses of Pfizer and Moderna are available! Walk-ins are welcome. To pre-register or for more information, call 416-347-0943. Transportation and interpretation support is available to those who need it. 

When: Friday, September 17, 2021
Time: 7:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.
Where: 280 Wellesley Street East (Parliament Street) 

Snacks are provided by the St James Town Catering Collective. Go get vaccinated!


School Immunization Program Update

In addition to the COVID-19 vaccination program, all of the City-run immunization clinics will administer other critical immunization programs. Elementary and secondary school students are required to be immunized against Human Papillomavirus (HPV), Meningitis, and Hepatitis B, unless they have a valid medical, religious, or philosophical exemption. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the regular delivery of this Student Immunization Program. Students in high school who did not receive their vaccines in grades 7 or grade 8 can now also receive these routine vaccines. Toronto Public Health will provide these vaccinations to current grade 7 and grade 9 students who are eligible students this Fall. 

Parents and students can now book an appointment to get their vaccines at city-run immunization sites at http://www.TPHbookings.ca. Vaccines are also available from primary care providers.

Updating student immunization records

Parents are required to update their child's immunization record or provide a valid exemption form to TPH. More information about updating student immunization records can be found online


Community Environment Days at City Drop-Off Depots

Environment Day promotional posterEnvironment Day promotional poster

Do your part to reduce the amount of waste going to landfills!  Drop off items for reuse, recycling, and safe disposal at Community Environment Days. 

The City of Toronto will be hosting 14 events at Drop-Off Depots on Sundays beginning September 12 until October 31. At the events, you will be able to drive to different stations to drop off unwanted items for donation and to dispose of batteries, old paint, and other household hazardous waste. Free bagged compost will be available with a limit of two bags per vehicle while supplies last. 

Learn more and discover event dates!


“Dear Everybody” Campaign Launch!

#DearEverybody campaign poster#DearEverybody campaign poster

Our friends at the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital have launched their fifth year of ‘Dear Everybody’ an anti-stigma campaign to #EndAbleism in support of the 400,000 children and youth that live with disabilities in Canada. This year, they’re asking Canadians to initiate conversations about ableism. According to a cross-Canada survey conducted last month with polling firm Leger, only a third of Canadians can define ableism and know that it is “discrimination towards someone based on their abilities and that it can be reflected in actions, words, behaviours, and access issues.”

In real terms, ableism results in staring, name-calling, lower employment opportunities, lower-income, and perhaps worst of all, lower expectations of people living with disabilities. It’s time to talk about how we all can help #EndAbleism in our communities. Learn more at DearEverybody.ca


Steamworks Late Night Vaccine Clinic!

Steamworks late night vaccine clinic promotional graphicSteamworks late night vaccine clinic promotional graphic

On Friday, September 17, 2021, join our friends at Steamworks for a late night pop-up vaccination clinic. In partnership with Sherbourne Health and Maggie’s, both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will be available for anyone looking for first or second doses. 

When: Friday, September 17, 2021
Time: 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Where: Steamworks, 540 Church Street (2nd Floor)

For more information, please call 416-925-1571. Get poked at Steamworks! 


Attend the AIDS Committee of Toronto's Rally for Health

Rally for Health promotional posterRally for Health promotional poster

Recently, the AIDS Committee of Toronto (ACT) and other Community Health Organizations were notified by their federal funding partner, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), that there will be a significant reduction in funding beginning in April 2022, with the funding reduction continuing for five years. These funding cuts come at a time when our community needs these services now more than ever. According to ACT, this funding reduction will create a $216,000 funding gap as of April 1, 2022, and put 600 ACT service users at risk of losing access to the programs and services they rely on. 

Sexual and mental health services are at risk with these funding cuts. Attend ACT's Rally for Health on Sunday September 19 to protest this funding reduction. Details to attend below. 

When: Sunday, September 19, 2021
Time: 2 p.m.
Where: Barbara Hall Park, 519 Church Street (march to Nathan Phillips Square to follow)

Learn more and sign up to attend the Rally for Health on ACT’s website. Let’s ensure no one gets left behind. I look forward to seeing everyone on Sunday.


Toronto Centre Projects

TCP Promotional graphicToronto Centre Projects promotional graphic

On September 9th, the Toronto and East York Community Council adopted my motion to reduce the speed limit on 3.2 kilometers of Church Street between Bloor Street East and Conger Coal Lane to 30km/h. 

In June, community member Shrikant submitted the proposal on Toronto Centre Projects, gathered over 100 signatures online and in-person over the summer, and I then submitted the proposal in the form of a motion to Community Council.

Next Steps: Transportation Engineering Staff will now begin the process of planning and implementing the speed limit reduction which is quite complex. A great deal of work is involved including reprogramming each traffic signal to update the timing, reconfiguring the coordination of the signals with each other to keep vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists moving safely, coordinating with the Toronto Transit Commission and emergency services, as well as installing the new speed limit signage. All of these changes are anticipated to be implemented in 2023.

Thank you, Shrikant! You did an excellent job mobilizing community support to affect change!

Who else wants to be a changemaker? Submit your ideas to make our communities more liveable, vibrant, and safe 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;
  • 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
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.

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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