Today, the City of Toronto is launching a prioritized program to provide safe indoor accommodation and support for people experiencing homelessness, staying in encampments at Moss Park, Lamport Stadium, Alexandra Park, and Trinity-Bellwoods.
I want to thank everyone who has reached out to my office speaking up for those who are unhoused and living outside in encampments through this pandemic, and most recently in response to the injunction application last Friday. I share your outrage that a year into the pandemic we still have people sleeping outdoors.
On February 17, the Federal Government introduced new legislation that would permit cities to ban handguns — with bylaws that restrict their possession, storage and transportation. While I strongly support actions to reduce the opportunity for dangerous and vulnerable people to access handguns, it has not been demonstrated that a municipal handgun ban would meaningfully address the problem of gun violence.
This morning, Toronto Fire Services were called to Orphan’s Green Park, near Adelaide Street E and Power Street in Corktown, responding to a fire at an encampment in the park. Unfortunately, one person was found deceased on site. When I spoke to Toronto Fire’s Acting Chief Jessop, he advised that the fire burned so quickly that there wasn’t much the firefighters could do. The Fire Marshall has been called to investigate this tragedy.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Toronto has been working hard to protect individuals in the shelter system by creating physical distance to meet the public health protocols.
Despite the substantial effort by the City and residents, the threat of COVID-19 continues, with new strains and outbreaks occurring. It remains essential that we provide physical distancing and supports for the City’s most vulnerable residents. The City of Toronto continues to implement its three-tiered approach to strengthening prevention against COVID-19 in the City’s emergency shelter system.
Late last night on February 2, Toronto Police were called to a parking lot on Oak Street, between Sackville Street and Sumach Street, in Regent Park. Police officers located three male victims with serious injuries. There is an ongoing investigation from Toronto Police Services and anyone with information is asked to contact Toronto Police Service - 51 Division at 416-808-5100 or Toronto Crime Stoppers at 416-222-8477 (TIPS).
I have received a report that the Deputy Chief of Community Risk Reduction at Toronto Fire has issued orders for both properties at 238-240 Berkeley Street to be shut down immediately, effective January 21, 2021.
Yesterday, I was informed by residents of Berkeley Street that a massive fire broke out at 5:15 a.m. at 238 Berkeley Street. The at-risk activities arising from these properties are well known to Toronto Police and City divisional staff as they have a long history of jeopardizing the wellbeing and safety of the community. My office was first informed by the residents of their ongoing struggles, when they brought the properties to my attention in June 2020.
I am deeply saddened to learn of Michael Miceli’s passing on December 22, 2020. Only 40 years old, Michael was a valued leader in the city and member of the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee (TAAC) for over two and a half years. As Chair of this committee, I had the privilege of learning from Michael and working with him on a number of key issues to improve the livability of Toronto for people living with disabilities.