Statement on Ontario Street Parkette Fire

On Sunday I was distressed to learn about a fire at the Ontario Street Parkette in Cabbagetown South. Unfortunately, the fire damage was extensive, and the entire playground has been destroyed. As a parent standing in front of the scorched equipment on Monday, the situation was painful to assess in person.

As some of you will remember, this isn’t the first time the local parkette has been vandalized this way. As the new Councillor who assumed responsibility of this neighbourhood in 2018 after the ward boundaries expanded, I am informed that on two prior occasions, police and firefighters responded to a similar call about a fire at the same playground, the last time being early 2016.

Open Letter to Commercial Landlords in Ward 13 on Saving Small Businesses

As many of you are aware, Ward 13 - Toronto Centre, is the heart of Toronto’s downtown.  We are home to some of Canada’s most iconic business districts and small businesses, from Canada’s largest gay village to the Financial District, to the re-invigorated historical districts such as Yonge Street, Corktown, St Lawrence Market and more.

According to the recent Save Small Business survey, 70% of small businesses will default on their commercial rent in May as a result of the impacts of COVID-19. These numbers are confirmed in a local survey conducted by businesses in the Corktown neighbourhood. They have seen that the mandatory provincial shutdown for non-essential businesses has led to greater than an 80% loss in revenue for 80% of businesses in Corktown. 

Statement on Government of Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan

Yesterday the Government of Canada announced their COVID-19 economic response plan. For those who will qualify, this includes Emergency Care Benefit, Universal EI sickness benefits for COVID-19, ten percent wage supplement for small business owners, deferred student student loan payments for six months, GST credit increase, and a boost in Canada Child Benefits. I commend the Federal Government for providing some much needed relief for residents and I am grateful that this first round of emergency funding was announced so quickly as it helps to alleviate some fears.

Update on Constituentcy Office Availabilty During COVID-19 Outbreak

Following the advice of Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, my staff and I will be working remotely until instructed otherwise. Please email me at [email protected] or call 416-392-7903. We are checking the phones & returning messages regularly. 

If you have a meeting scheduled with us, we will work with you to postpone or move to video or conference calls. We are working with city staff to postpone or move public consultations online. 

Statement on the need for enhanced social supports in response to COVID-19

The COVID-19 situation continues to be incredibly fluid, and is changing rapidly.

I know residents across Toronto and Canada are concerned. Watching the unfolding global crisis closely, I share your concerns, especially the impact to those who are already living precariously housed, under-waged and financially marginalized in the most expensive city in Canada.

I think it is important we are honest about the glaring gaps in our social safety net that COVID-19 have made evermore evidently clear. In times of deep grieving after the Quebec City mosque shooting, Humboldt bus crash or the Van Attack, we have taken great pride in how Canadians take care of one another in times of need. This remains the case but we now need all governments to rise to the challenge and expectations of our citizens, who have worked hard, saved what they can, to now find themselves days or weeks away from the verge of financial collapse.

Statement Regarding ONE Properties Development Proposal

There has been some confusion over the recent news regarding the ONE Properties application at the north-west corner of Church and Wellesley in the Village. 

To date, City Council, City Planning Staff and I have never supported the various development applications from ONE Properties. However, this has not deterred them from submitting yet again another application for the City’s review, even if their prior applications have been appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board or OMB, now called LPAT or the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal. This is the provincially appointed, quasi-judicial body that has final approval over land-use planning matters in Ontario and has routinely overturned local City Council decisions.

Lessons Learned - My Statement on the Coronavirus

As we receive confirmation of the second presumptive case of the novel coronavirus in Toronto,  I want to thank Toronto's Medical Officer of Health, and the full Toronto Public Health (TPH) team for their rapid and comprehensive response. I have full confidence in TPH’s ability to manage the spread of infectious diseases like this one and keep our residents safe and healthy. 

My confidence is not misplaced. The City of Toronto learned a lot about infectious disease management in the aftermath of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003. I am hoping that we have also learned how uninformed fears can perpetuate racist stereotypes and other anti-Chinese discrimination.

Statement on Inglewood Arms Hotel at 295 Jarvis Street

Rooming house tenants, residing at 295 Jarvis Street, are facing pressure to move out of their homes.

While the City of Toronto staff and I are not aware of any formal eviction notices having been filed, there is an ongoing dispute regarding the tenants' right to protection under the Residential Tenancies Act.

This issue will ultimately be decided in March by the Province of Ontario, via the Landlord Tenant Board.

Statement on 650 Parliament Street Re-Occupancy

Residents of 650 Parliament Street have finally been given a timeline to return home.

It has been over 18 months since residents of 650 Parliament were forced to evacuate their homes after a catastrophic electrical failure set fire to their building. 

This has been a long and emotional process for the residents who have had to contend with over a year of uncertainty and growing frustration. 

And so, it is with sincere relief that today, we learned residents have been given a firm re-occupation date starting March 02, 2020.

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