Yesterday the Province of Ontario announced their plans to privately develop on the nationally significant First Parliament historic site that is majority-owned by the City of Toronto.
Updated as of 3:00PM
Last week, when the province announced their plan to open eligibility up for residents in hot spots between 18-49, they did so before communicating with the city, and without increasing the allocation of vaccines being made available. Toronto Public Health is still working on an implementation plan for that rollout with the Ministry of Health. As soon as we have more details on that, we will share that information.
Vaccine Update - Sunday April 11, 2021
Last week, the Province of Ontario announced that vaccines would be made available to all residents aged 18-49 within specific hotspot postal codes. While we are grateful that there will be wider access for residents, I know this has caused additional stress and confusion as people try to confirm their eligibility, and access appointments.
Over the weekend we hit a number of horrible COVID-19 milestones. There have been more than 350,000 confirmed COVID cases in Ontario and a total of more than 1 million cases across Canada.
Today there are 2,336 new cases of COVID-19 in Ontario, and while the vaccine rollout is underway, this is not the trend we want. We are still in the midst of the third wave of a global pandemic with contagious variant counts rising. It is hard to express the urgency that is needed right now because it has been a year of crisis. I don't want to sound alarmist, but it is important that we recognize the impacts that COVID-19 continues to have. Patients arriving at ICUs in the GTA are having to be transferred across the province to maintain capacity. We are at a critical moment to ensure that we do not lose equitable access to life-saving critical care.
Today I learned of another hate crime on the Ryerson University campus. It pains me to see the rise of Anti-Asian racism across Toronto. We are one of the most diverse cities in the world yet we are not immune to this hate and far from it.
I have spoken to the Superintendent of 51 Division at the Toronto Police Service, who informs me that this new racist graffiti reported at Church Street and Gould Street contains racial slurs directed against the Asian community. This is the second act of racist vandalism reported within four days after a similar one previously reported in the Gerrard Street East and Ontario Street area on Tuesday.
I am angered and disheartened to learn about a recent hate crime against an Asian-Canadian owned business at Gerrard Street East and Ontario Street.
I have spoken to the Superintendent of 51 Division at the Toronto Police Service, who informs me that graffiti vandalism was reported on the side of the building and that it contained racial slurs directed against the Asian community.
On Sunday the City of Toronto marked the anniversary of the first COVID-19 related death in a virtual ceremony of commemoration. Over the course of this past year, we have lost more than 2,750 Torontonians due to COVID-19. I want to extend my heartfelt condolences to those grieving the loss of a loved one. It is never easy to lose someone we care about, and as the pandemic rushes forward, please take care of one another through a phone call, text, or virtual connection.
March 21 is annually observed as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, a day to remember the state-sanctioned police violence in Sharpeville, South Africa that killed 69 people and injured many more peacefully demonstrating against racist apartheid laws.
This week marks one year of COVID-19 dramatically altering our day-to-day existence. It has been a year since my staff and I began teleworking, and I know we aren’t the only ones. Many of us are working from home with roommates, our families with young children, or completely alone, and each situation brings its own unique challenges. It’s been an adjustment for my spouse and I with a growing toddler trying to balance childcare, work, and time for each other.
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.
While the stay-at-home order for the City of Toronto has been lifted, Toronto remains in the Grey-Lockdown of the provincial framework. The biggest change is that now retailers can open, however, they are required to limit their capacity to 25%, and allow curbside pickup. For now, restaurants will continue to offer takeout or drive-through options. Grocery stores, convenience stores, and pharmacies will be permitted to have a capacity of 50%. While this is exciting, and I am ready to support our small businesses through this reopening, please continue to practice physical distancing. There are still many cases of COVID-19 as well as transmission of variants of concern. Dr. de Villa confirmed yesterday that for every new case of COVID-19, 40% are variants of concern.
This afternoon, the Government of Ontario has tried to sneak in new legislation that further undermines local planning and residents. It aims to centralize decision making and power in the province.
Hidden within Bill 257, the “Supporting Broadband and Infrastructure Expansion Act”, is a provision that would give Minister Steven Clark the unilateral power to issue more Municipal Zoning Order’s (MZOs) without consultation and without regard to the Province’s own policies on planning and land use.
I have heard from many residents who are anxiously awaiting their vaccines. Toronto Public Health (TPH), and the City of Toronto are working closely with the Province to help deliver vaccines across the City during Phase 1 and beyond. TPH and the City are subject to the schedule set before us at the province. This phased approach prioritizes our most vulnerable groups such as those living in congregate settings, as well as Indigenous populations.