February 22, 2019
Councillor Wong-Tam joined menstrual equity advocates at City Hall, on Friday morning, to call for increased access to menstrual hygiene supplies, for low-income menstruators. Represented at the event were staff from Kennedy House Youth Shelter, Sistering, Toronto Drop-In Network, Street Haven, The Period Purse, Windermere United Church, as well as program participants with lived experience.
City administered shelters, drop-in, and respite centres are required to provide menstrual supplies on demand. Service providers, and their program participants made it clear, that the funding they receive for program supplies is simply not enough to cover basic hygiene supplies. Service providers are often forced to fundraise, seek donations, or limit client access to menstrual products
Leviana Coccia for the Period Purse, a non-profit organization that collects and distributes menstrual hygiene supplies to several City-funded facilities stated that, "In 2018, the Period Purse conducted our own survey, which proved that 91% of service providers do not have the resources in place to go out and make purchases for period products to serve the people in need, and within their communities. This contradicts the City's policy that requires services providers to ensure program clients have access to toiletries and hygiene products including menstrual products."
Michelle Cutts from Kennedy House Youth Shelter a 40-bed co-ed facility, in East York, expressed the frustration shared by many providers, struggling to meet the City's shelter standards. "We receive blanket funding to cover all basic needs of our clients. That would include clothing, soap, deodorant, towels, facecloths, as well as food. We are obviously seeing an increase in living expenses in Toronto, and yet our funding is not increasing. So service providers have to make these decisions of what is more important, food or menstrual products."
The City's Budget Committee voted, on February 20, to fund the purchase and installation of washroom dispensers in shelters, drop-in and respite centres, as well as free community centres. However, without adequate products to fill the dispensers, service providers will still face the same concerns.
Priyanka Sheth from Sistering described the problem eloquently, "Dispensaries are not going to solve the issue. The issue comes down to funding. We have many washrooms within every centre, and if we were to supply every washroom with adequate supplies, I don't believe there would be enough funding."
Councillor Wong-Tam is working to address menstrual equity through the 2019 City budget process. "Today we are asking City Council provide each of the 76 service providers an additional $1,350 or $102,600 collectively in 2019, to close the service gap. This quantum represents the additional money raised through fundraising efforts by providers to ensure menstruators using their services are not going to be turned away empty handed. We will still have to find a sustainable solution for next year but for now, it is an acceptable interim resolution."
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November 16, 2018
Councillor Troisi and I are shocked to learn that the management of 650 Parliament St. has said that they will stop paying hotel accommodation for displaced residents of 650 Parliament St. after November 31, 2018.
Both Councillor Troiosi and I expect that Lehman Holdings, the landlord of 650 Parliament, and the property manager they do everything they can to make sure the displaced residents of 650 Parliament are looked after, which includes funding temporary housing and hotel stay.
These residents are homeless through no fault of their own. Many of been displaced for months with the building only reopening earliest May 2019. While many residents have been able to secure temporary housing, landlord-funded apartments and accommodations should be provided until residents are able to move back into their units or find other permanent housing.
November 06, 2018
Yonge Street's small businesses are a vital part of Toronto's commercial mix. These shops and services are often run by locals, many of whom have owned their properties for generations. With a massive tax assessment increase in 2017, many of the businesses and owners faced having to close up shop or sell their properties to the highest bidder.
November 06, 2018
Supervised Injection Services (SIS) are a critical piece in both saving lives and reducing the city-wide impacts of the opioid crisis that is gripping cities across North America, including Toronto. Without SIS, vulnerable users will turn to injecting alone in secluded areas. That risks adding to the thousands of people who have lost their lives to preventable overdoses in Ontario.
August 07, 2018
I stand with Toronto's diverse communities in rejecting hate and division. News of an anti-Islamic event being planned for Nathan Phillips Square on Saturday, August 11 is a disappointing reminder that, as far as we have come as a society, many still cling to violent prejudice. We must continue to come together in the spirit of cooperation and pluralism to show strength and solidarity with those being targeted.
July 27, 2018
Yesterday’s announcement that the Ford government will be unilaterally cutting Toronto’s City Council in half is deeply unsettling. It’s been under two months since the provincial election and already Ford is abusing his powers against Toronto’s democratic structure. It was not part of his campaign platform when he ran to be Premier and I have no doubt that this is only the beginning of his work to reshape Ontario in his own image.
July 23, 2018
Last night, our city was shaken to its core by a cowardly and unspeakable act of violence. My thoughts are with the families of those who are experiencing unimaginable loss, and to those who are in the hospital as a result. I wish them a swift and full recovery. My heartfelt gratitude is with the first responders and their life-saving efforts – Toronto police officers, firefighters and paramedics who rushed as quickly as possible to the scene following this horrific incident. To the medical staff in emergency rooms across Toronto, we too are indebted to your service.
April 03, 2018
Today’s news that the Toronto Police Service has withdrawn its application to march in Pride is a welcome development. The Police relationship with the LGBTQ2S community has been strained over the last two years – most recently around the investigation of missing and murdered men in the Village and the deaths of Alloura Wells and Tess Richey. Chief Saunders has acknowledged the need to overcome the challenges before us and the decision not to march in 2018 is the best evidence I have seen to date that the force is committed to truly prioritizing that work.
March 21, 2018
Today, the Mayor announced a new policy that will force all non-emergency utility work south of Dundas Street in the downtown to take place overnight. This decision was made without any consultation with local residents or Councillors – myself included. Our vibrant downtown neighbourhoods are home to many and we must work to make them more liveable, not less. There are over 240,000 residents who currently live in downtown Toronto and that number is expected to reach 500,000 in the next 25 years.
March 10, 2018