Late last week, we saw new cases of COVID-19 rise to 825 new cases. This is not the trend we want. Last Thursday, the Ontario Science Table confirmed that we are indeed in the fourth wave and that an 85% vaccination rate is needed in order to avoid a full lockdown this autumn.
Getting vaccinated is your best protection against the Delta variant. This highly transmissible variant is more likely to result in hospitalizations. According to the Ontario Science Table, “Among the unvaccinated, we do expect to see a rapid increase in the number of seriously ill people needing hospital care as workplaces and education reopen in September.” The fourth wave will impact all age groups and could exceed ICU capacity by October. Unvaccinated residents are 48 times more likely to end up in the ICU. If you have not received one or both doses of a vaccine, I urge you to please do so now. It will help protect you and every resident who is not eligible to get vaccinated. If you need help accessing the vaccines, please reach out to my office by emailing [email protected] and we would be happy to help.
Last week, Premier Ford announced Ontario’s vaccine certificate which will be mandatory as of September 22nd. Fully vaccinated people must show their vaccine receipt with a photo ID (such as health card or driver’s license) to enter spaces where the policy is in effect. Residents can download their vaccine receipts through the provincial booking portal or call the provincial vaccine booking line at 1-833-943-3900. To use the provincial booking portal you will need your health card. If you do not have a health card, please call the booking line, and give them the temporary health card number you were provided when you got your vaccines.
If you received one or both shots out of province, you should document your vaccine in Toronto Public Health’s online portal. People are encouraged to document their COVID-19 vaccines in the case that booster shots are needed in the future and to help public health monitor vaccine coverage.
The government defines “fully vaccinated” as having two doses with the second shot at least 14 days prior. You will not be able to substitute having had COVID-19 or a negative test, but there will be narrow time-limited exceptions for testing. Further details are expected to be released.
On October 22nd, the Province expects to launch an “enhanced vaccine certificate” that will take the form of a unique QR code contained in a new app. It can also be stored in digital wallets. Businesses will have an app to verify your QR code.
You will be required to show proof of vaccination at the following locations:
- Restaurants and bars (excluding outdoor patios, as well as delivery and takeout);
- Nightclubs (including outdoor areas of the establishment);
- Meeting and event spaces, such as banquet halls and conference/convention centres;
- Facilities used for sports and fitness activities and personal fitness training, such as gyms, fitness and recreational facilities with the exception of youth recreational sport;
- Sporting events;
- Casinos, bingo halls, and gaming establishments;
- Concerts, music festivals, theatres, and cinemas;
- Strip clubs, bathhouses, and sex clubs;
- Racing venues (e.g., horse racing).
Outdoor spaces at nightclubs are included because public health officials consider them high risk. The system does not apply to employees in the above-listed settings. The province plans to establish “alternative tools for people with no email, health card or ID” and will release details in the coming weeks. There will be “additional tools” for fully vaccinated people to show verification of vaccination received from outside the province or country.
With the Province's announcement of an enhanced vaccine certificate, I am concerned that without a fulsome review of an equitable and accessible approach, many already vulnerable residents will fall through the cracks of the system.
Residents unable to receive a vaccine require a medical exemption, and there needs to be a clear and equitable way to demonstrate that without being denied services. I have already raised my concerns at the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee meeting on September 2nd, and will continue to work with my colleagues at the Board of Health alongside Toronto Public Health to ensure equity.
As we experienced earlier in the pandemic, I am also concerned that this approach downloads enforcement onto the already harried retail and hospitality staff. Workers who are already precariously employed and underpaid will be forced into uncomfortable confrontations or worse. Businesses downtown already experience protests and picket lines for requiring customers to wear masks or face coverings. When it comes to enforcing a vaccine passport, we are asking too much of frontline businesses and their staff.
As a reminder, if you want to support local businesses in your community, I encourage you to visit www.savemainstreets.to and support our campaign to ensure financial support for businesses until all pandemic restrictions have been lifted by extending the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and the Canadian Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS).
I know we are all frustrated, exhausted, and even scared of the Delta variant, but I urge you to be kind to one another. We are all working hard and doing the best we can in a time of uncertainty. We will overcome this pandemic and get to the other side safely together as a community and City. My family and I look forward to celebrating that day with you.
Thank you for your resilience, it is an honour to represent you.
What’s In Today’s EBlast?
- Vaccine Clinic Extended Through September
- College Station: Overnight Construction Activity Update
- City of Toronto Waste Management Guide and Collection Schedule Changes
- Ryerson University Presidential Standing Strong (Mash Koh Wee Kah Pooh Win) Task Force
- Update: Wellington Streetscape Improvements
- Toronto Centre Candidates Virtual Town Hall
- You Might Be Interested In: Open for Business Virtual Job Market
- Have Your Say: CafeTo Survey
- Unlocking St James Town Community’s Untapped Talent
- Toronto Centre Projects
Vaccine Clinic Extended Through September
The Immigrant, Refugee, and Newcomer Communities team from Sherbourne Health has extended their COVID-19 immunization clinics at Wellesley Community Centre throughout September. Clinics will operate on Thursdays from 12 to 7 p.m., as well as Fridays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4:30 pm.
Time: 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.
When: Fridays and Saturdays
Time: 9 a.m to 4:30 p.m.
The Wellesley Community Centre is located at 495 Sherbourne Street and you may call (416) 392-0227 for directions.
The clinics are currently open to all adults age 12 living in Toronto (with a postal code beginning with “M”. Full clinic details are available here.
Space is being provided by the City through Parks, Forestry, and Recreation. Clinic dates and times are subject to change at the discretion of the organizer or due to vaccine availability.
College Station: Overnight Construction Activity Update
Since August 30, my office has received an overwhelming number of noise complaints from area residents regarding the overnight construction for the Second Exit/Entrance & Easier Access Project at College Station. The overnight construction activity is scheduled to take place every night (except weekends) starting August 30th until September 17, 2021, from 10 pm to 7 pm.
The first round of overnight- construction activity occurred back in June 2021. As with the previous overnight activities, the TTC issued notices that were provided via e-mail as well as hand-delivered to homes and businesses in the area.
The construction activity involves the use of heavy machinery (excavator, hydro vacuum truck, drill rig machine), which is undeniably loud and the impacts are more intensely felt during the night when residents are trying to sleep. I understand and sympathize that the noise level is extremely disruptive.
The Second Exit/Entrance & Easier Access is a critical part of the TTC’s provincially mandated accessibility project to add a second exit/entrance, and elevators to improve customer safety and accessibility at College Station.
Unfortunately, construction is an unavoidable reality and there is never going to be a great time to conduct the activity. Normally, my office does not issue any noise exemptions permits under any circumstances. While there is never a great time for construction, this project creates vital improvements in our public transit infrastructure, which is the lifeline of the City. As the chair of the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee, I am acutely aware of the accessibility challenges at College Station. The design of this station poses numerous barriers for seniors and individuals with disabilities as well as mobility issues. I am pleased that the TTC continues to support the goals of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), 2005, and creating measures to continue to provide equal treatment and equitable benefits of TTC services and facilities that will benefit all riders.
While this work is vital, I am deeply aware of its impacts on the surrounding community. I understand that the TTC has also received several complaints from residents and have flagged these noise concerns with the project team and efforts will be made to reduce the number of overnight work days required as much as possible. In the meantime, I will work with TTC staff to re-evaluate and improve the notification process and reduce the noisiest activity to the day time.
City of Toronto Waste Management Guide and Collection Schedule Changes
Waste Management Collection Schedule
The City of Toronto is changing the way it distributes waste information and collection calendars to residents. Instead of the typical waste calendar, residents will get their 2022 collection schedules as part of their utility bill and a separate and condensed waste management guide will be mailed to your home!
These changes were approved by City Council as part of the 2021 Rate-Supported Budget. They will allow the City to reduce waste and save on printing and postage.
If you are part of a single-family home, you can expect a collection schedule in your next utility bill between September 2021 and January 2022. If you do not receive a utility bill, you will receive it through regular mail. Keep an eye out for the utility bill. There will be a note on the envelope reminding you to expect a calendar.
Everyone in the city will receive a Waste Management Guide. It will include key information on sorting, waste reduction, and the city’s programs and services. It is about half the size of the old calendars, which saves on printing. You can expect a guide by December 31, 2021. Translation in six languages will be at the bottom of some pages in the guide and will direct residents to the website for more information. Residents can hang on to the guide, year after year, reducing waste!
In addition to being provided in print, collection schedules and information about waste sorting, waste reduction, and Drop-off Depots are always available here or by calling 311. You can also download the free TOwaste app for iOs and Android devices. In addition, Waste Wizard is always available to find out what items go where.
The City will monitor the impact of the new education resources on the City’s waste management programs and feedback from residents to help inform future decisions around how this information is distributed and report back to City Council as part of the 2023 Rate-Supported Budget Process. Learn more here.
Ryerson University Presidential Standing Strong (Mash Koh Wee Kah Pooh Win) Task Force
Years of advocacy from Indigenous people and scholars and more recently, students, faculty, and the broader community, have called upon Ryerson University to address the controversial legacy of Egerton Ryerson. The university is named after Ryerson who was considered to be the architect of the horrific and racist residential schools system perpetuated by the Canadian government.
Previously, as an initial step to reckon with the history, the university released a statement and installed a commemorative plaque next to Egerton Ryerson’s statue on campus recognizing his racist role in Canada’s residential school system that had devastating impacts and traumatic effects on the Indigenous community. In 2020, the university formed the “Standing Strong (Cree: Mash Koh Wee Kah Pooh Win)” Presidential Task Force aimed to reconcile the problematic history of Egerton Ryerson’s relationship with Indigenous Peoples, education, and residential school systems and recommended actions about a statue erected in Egerton’s memory located in the centre of the campus.
Reconciliation is complex, multifaceted, and critical given the deep-rooted trauma from decades of colonial violence and racist government policies aimed towards the Indigenous Peoples of Canada. On August 26, 2021, the Standing Strong (Mash Koh Wee Kah Pooh Win) Task Force’s final report was presented to Ryerson’s Board of Governors. The Board approved a motion to accept all 22 recommendations, including the recommendation to rename the university.
Over the past ten months, members of the Standing Strong (Mash Koh We Kah Pooh Win) Task Force worked diligently and often under trying circumstances to carefully arrive at the decision.
The report gives clear recommendations on how the university can move forward in the context of the problematic history and create a new progressive chapter in the institution’s history. The Task Force’s 22 recommendations include renaming the institution, sharing materials to recognize the legacy of Egerton Ryerson, and providing more opportunities to learn about Indigenous history and Indigenous and colonial relations.
It is important to highlight that the Task Force recommendations were based on the participation of over 11,000 Ryerson community members. In addition, the Task Force survey generated 22,860 individual responses, over 250 engaged in a community conversation with more than 250 people directly emailing the Task Force.
I deeply value the many contributions of Ryerson University and have always enjoyed our productive working relationship, as they are an important stakeholder and community partner in the downtown and across Toronto. I’m sure many will join me in wishing the campus community well in their efforts to advance meaningful reconciliation at the university. Let us recognize it is not their work alone - it is ours as a nation. More information about the implementation of the report by Ryerson will be provided over the next few weeks.
Update: Wellington Streetscape Improvements
The City continues to work with multiple utility companies, each with their own schedule to advance an improved design that resolves the underground utility conflicts for our Wellington Street project. Businesses and residents on Wellington Street East have been living with construction on what is a relatively short section of the road for four years, and have been informed to expect work to stretch into a fifth year. The construction impacts have been profoundly difficult for businesses and residents on and adjacent to Wellington Street East, even before adding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Facing an even longer construction period and additional costs, the current best-case scenario for our community is to push through until Spring 2022 with an unfinished streetscape, with a construction end anticipated in the early summer. I have spoken with many residents about this project and share their frustration about the complicated delays they experienced. As this project began before my time as the new Councillor in Toronto Centre, I keenly want to know how the design, approval, and construction process manifested into such an uneven schedule resulting in much community frustration. Therefore, in July, City Council supported my motion to invite the City’s Auditor General to comprehensively review this project and to identify workaround improvements that could have mitigated delays. In particular, I’m seeking formal recommendations from the Auditor General on how the City can improve collaboration with utility companies and better coordinate construction management to ensure the timely and cost-effective delivery of future streetscape work in the City of Toronto.
At this month’s Infrastructure and Environment committee, I am also expecting a report from Transportation services on outstanding work to complete on Wellington Street East, including a timeline for resolution for individual pieces of work; and potential options to accelerate outstanding work ahead of June 2022. In the meantime, work on Wellington continues.
In the coming weeks, here is what you can expect to see taking place:
Intersection Work at Wellington/Church/Front
Beginning Tuesday, September 7, Enbridge crews will be working at the intersection of Wellington/Church/Front (southwest and southeast corners). This work is necessary so that they can confirm the exact location of their underground infrastructure.
The work is expected to be completed in one day over approximately 6 hours and involves 'daylighting' small areas near the intersection to expose existing underground conditions.
Small sections of the sidewalk and the eastbound curb lane on Front Street approaching Church Street; and the northbound curb lane on Church approaching Front Street will be temporarily closed to traffic during that time.
Installation of Street Furniture and Planters
The litter bins removed to accommodate construction will be replaced, and planters to cover the exposed light pole bases along Wellington will be installed by mid-September.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to my office at [email protected].
Toronto Centre Candidates Virtual Town Hall
On Monday, September 13 from 5:30 to 8 p.m., there will be a virtual town hall forum with federal candidates running for election in Toronto Centre, hosted by the Community Civic Engagement Collaborative (CCEC), a partnership between St. James Town, Regent Park, and the Corktown BIA. The forum will be an opportunity to hear from the candidates and their respective platforms as well as an opportunity for casual breakout rooms. I encourage you to attend and ask your questions as well as raise relevant issues in your neighbourhoods. The format will be similar to the forum that was hosted for the by-election last year.
Date: Monday, September 13, 2021
Time: 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Please include any accessibility or translation accommodations you may need for this event on the above form.
You can submit questions in advance through the RSVP form above, or by emailing [email protected] by Wednesday, September 8, 2021, at 5 p.m. The Toronto Drop-In Network has created a convenient toolkit for drop-in centres to facilitate voting for those without fixed addresses that can be downloaded here. You can also apply to vote by mail here.
Voting in the Toronto Centre Federal Election during COVID-19 info poster
You Might Be Interested In: Open for Business Virtual Job Market
Achēv virtual job market promotional poster
On September 23rd from 10 am- 2 pm, our friends at Achēv are hosting a free virtual hiring event! You’ll be able to discover over 200 new job opportunities, meet with employers, present your resume, network with others and participate in on-the-spot interviews.
Job openings include positions in IT, Banking, Finance, Administration, Human Resources, Education, Retail, Construction, Customer Service, E-Commerce, Hospitality, Manufacturing, Warehousing, Travel and Tourism, Airport Operations, Sales, Project Management, Child Care and more.
In addition to your free admission, one of Achēv’s career and staffing experts will connect directly with you to find out how they can help you prepare for the virtual event, present yourself to employers hiring, and succeed in your search for a new career opportunity.
Register to attend: https://achev.vfairs.com/
Have Your Say: CafeTO Survey
The City of Toronto wants to hear from you! CaféTO is supporting nearly 1,200 restaurants this season with expanded outdoor dining space in curb lanes and on sidewalks. A new survey has been launched, which will help the City to better support the recovery of the restaurant industry, enhance understanding of the appropriate use of public sidewalks and curb lanes, and identify the effects of expanded patios on private properties. The survey is now open and closes on September 19, 2021. Have your say today!
All local restaurant operators, CaféTO diners, and members of the public are encouraged to complete the survey to help shape the City's outdoor dining programs and the future of Toronto's streets. The results of the survey will be used to guide the future of CaféTO and outdoor dining. Learn more about CafeTO!
Unlocking St James Town Community’s Untapped Talent
Talent in St James Town logo
As part of Rethink Sustainability Initiatives’ (RSI) climate action project in St James Town, they have connected with hundreds of talented and highly credentialed leaders and experts from a multitude of disciplines and sectors who are seeking business mentors, employment, advice on launching their own business enterprise, and opportunities to present best practice products and solutions to prospective investors.
With this in mind, they’re hosting two webinars to educate and engage with leadership in St James Town!
Leadership Frame of Mind: Different ways of leading in today’s changing climate
With a Leadership Frame of Mind, effective leaders are not only able to connect with individuals to increase engagement and retention, but they are also able to build loyalty and gain commitment from their employees.
Featuring key speaker Darla Campbell, RSI Board Chair and Sustainability and Asset Management Lead, Dillon Consulting Limited, there will be a presentation with facilitated breakout rooms. Participants will learn about:
- Five myths of leadership
- Key behaviours of an effective leader
- Tips to enhance inclusiveness in your team and your organization
- Identify subtle acts of exclusion that hold you back from an inclusive culture
- How to apply a Leadership Frame of Mind to increase your effectiveness as a leader in today’s changing climate.
Participants will self-select which topic to engage in and explore further in an interactive small group setting.
When: Thursday, September 9, 2021
Time: 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Where: Register to attend here.
Lessons Learned from Purpose Driven Entrepreneurs
If you are seeking advice on what inspires people to become entrepreneurs, how to create, transform or grow a business, this workshop is a good place to start. Collectively, the expert panelists have worked in over ten countries as both entrepreneurs and employees/advisors to private, public, and non-profit organizations and communities, with a common focus on Doing Business to drive social and environmental purposes.
Participants will learn more about the entrepreneur mindset; why people become entrepreneurs, lessons learned from business professionals, and receive a follow-up summary report!
This webinar will be a facilitated exchange of insights from panelists: Paola Ruiz Founder and CEO Strategy Advisory Solutions Inc; Wen Li Co-founder, SustainED Group; Patrick Gossage RSI Board Secretary and Co-founder, Good Energy Partners, and Yasmin Glanville RSI Founder, CCA-SJT lead and President, Chief Strategist, CTR Inc.
When: Wednesday, September 15, 2021
Time: 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Where: Register to attend here.
Toronto Centre Projects
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.