Mandatory Masks, Canada Day and More!
It’s another busy week and I’d like to share some important updates with you. City Council met virtually again on Monday and Tuesday, and I know many of you have been following certain significant motions.
Last week I shared with you my Statement on Policing in Toronto. As a long-time advocate for reducing and reallocating the police budget towards social and community programs and mental health, I voted in favour of the motion to reduce the Toronto Police Services budget by 10%. This motion lost by a vote of 8 to 16. You can read all of the motions and decisions online. This is disappointing; there is still more work to do. City Council did approve the motion to request the Province to amend the Police Services Act to allow the City to have direct oversight over the budget.
City Council also approved a new temporary bylaw making masks or face coverings mandatory in enclosed public places in Toronto. You can learn more about this in the email below.
I’d like to wish you all a Happy Canada Day and I hope you can celebrate with friends and family either virtually or while physically distancing. You can learn more about the virtual celebrations and how to get involved in the below email.
If you plan on visiting our parks or beaches, please remember that bonfires, the consumption of alcohol and littering are not permitted. Public health measures are also still in place and we must practice physical distancing with others outside our household. Let’s keep our public spaces clean and safe for everyone to enjoy.
In this email you can find the following information:
Canada Day Celebrations
Mandatory Masks and Face Coverings
Fighting Hate in the East End
Permit Parking Renewals Opening and Enforcement Changes
City Pools and Splash Pads
Parks, Beaches, Bon Fires and Fireworks
Don’t Mess with the Don
Canada Day Celebrations
Our Canada Day celebrations have gone virtual this year due to COVID-19. Although we can’t celebrate in person, we can still celebrate together!
East York Canada Day Festival is hosting activities and contests and they are also selling Canadian flag face masks to raise funds for the Red Door Family Shelter and our local food banks. They are also hosting an “out-front” physically distant dinner party tomorrow evening. Visit https://eycdc.ca for more information.
The annual Neighbours Together on Canada Day celebration that takes place in Riverdale Park was cancelled, but they are celebrating in other ways. They have provided face masks to seniors buildings in the ward and they’re putting up signs and flags in the Broadview and Gerrard neighbourhood – take a photo and tag them on Facebook and Instagram (@NeighboursTogetherOnCanadaDay).
The City will also be hosting virtual events on July 1st. There will be livestream programs throughout the day showcasing Toronto’s brightest talent. Enjoy music, dance, comedy, virtual fireworks, the CN Tower Canada Day Light Show and much more. Participate in virtual Canada Day programs from home and download a Celebration Kit with interactive and creative activities for the whole family. Plus, you can nominate a frontline worker for recognition.
City Council voted unanimously in favour of requiring masks or face coverings in all enclosed public places as of July 7 to help stop the spread of COVID-19. The measure heeds advice from Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa – her report is available online.
A growing body of scientific evidence suggests the use of masks and face coverings is an inexpensive, acceptable, and non-invasive measure to help control the spread of COVID-19.
The new bylaw will require businesses to adopt a policy to ensure masks or face coverings are worn in indoor public spaces under their control. The new bylaw will apply to all indoor spaces that are openly accessible to the public, including grocery stores, community centres, libraries, etc.
The bylaw will include exemptions for those who cannot wear a mask for medical reasons, children under the age of two, and other reasonable accommodations. The bylaw will also permit the temporary removal of a mask or face covering when receiving services, having a meal, or engaging in athletic or fitness activity. The bylaw will not apply to apartment buildings and condominiums, child care facilities and schools, and areas that are not enclosed (i.e. restaurant patios).
This new bylaw will expire at 12:01 a.m. on the first day after the completion of the first Council meeting following summer recess (currently scheduled for September 30 and October 1, 2020), unless extended by Council. The Medical Officer of Health will review the recommendations regarding masks and face coverings on a monthly basis and report if any changes are required before September 30.
City of Toronto and Toronto Public Health staff are in the process of creating updated signage and guidelines to support businesses. Initial enforcement of the bylaw will focus on education and otherwise be complaint-based.
Prior to today’s Council decision, the TTC Board had voted to make masks or face coverings on TTC vehicles and premises as of July 2. Mask or face coverings are already mandatory on the City ferry to Toronto Island Park, as well as in certain business settings, like salons and tattoo parlours, as prescribed by orders under the provincial Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.
This past weekend I joined community members for the “United Against Hate Artivism” at the Michael Garron Hospital construction site. The fencing was covered in signs and messages standing up against hate and racism and showing love and support for our community. Thank you to Old’s Cool General Store for organizing.
This was in response to an awful act of racism that took place at the construction site a few weeks ago. I’ve been in touch with our MPP Peter Tabuns and Beaches-East York MPP Rima Berns-McGown, and joined them for a community meeting on Fighting Hate in the East End. I’ve also been in touch with the President and CEO of Michael Garron Hospital and the President and CEO of Ellis Don, as well as our Superintendent at 55 Division.
Thank you to everyone who came out and posted their art, banners and signs. This was truly an act of East End Love and we made it loud and clear that there is no place for hate and racism in our community.
On Monday the CaféTO report, which directs the City to take quick action and make way for additional safe outdoor dining spaces for local restaurants and bars, was unanimously approved with amendments by City Council. The first CaféTO locations will be in place on July 1st – this includes the Riverside BIA along Queen St. East. More CaféTO locations will be installed throughout July.
CaféTO will ensure that accessibility and safety are not compromised while making it easier for many restaurant and bar owners to open patios, expand them and access additional space for physical distancing, in accordance with public health guidelines.
While restaurants and bars remain closed for dine-in service due to provincial orders and public health recommendations, existing outdoor patios began opening last Wednesday, in accordance with public health guidelines as part of the Province of Ontario’s Stage 2 restart plan.
Registration for CaféTO is still available for local restaurant and bar owners. More information is available at toronto.ca/cafeTO.
Permit Parking Renewals Opening and Enforcement Changes
After a long hiatus (since March 17), the Permit Parking Program will be operational as of July 2. In order to maintain the safety of City staff, the office will remain closed to the public, but is accessible by telephone at 416-392-7873 and email email@example.com 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Monday to Friday.
All permits expired May 31. Those expired permit holders will be able to renew their permits online at www.toronto.ca/transportation or via regular mail. Renewal notices will be mailed with all the instructions. Permit holders can apply without their renewal notice by entering the vehicle licence plate in the online renewal system. The renewal period will run from July 2 to August 3.
New applications will be processed via mail and for the duration of the pandemic a telephone option will be available. New applicants should contact the permit parking office before mailing in an application to ensure they have the proper documents.
Parking Enforcement Clarification
During the pandemic there have been inquiries and complaints regarding enforcement. With the permit office closed, the Toronto Police Service, Parking Enforcement unit were honouring expired permits and suspending enforcement activity.
More specifically, they are not enforcing the permit parking bylaw (parking in a permit location without a valid permit). The goal is to accommodate the minority of vehicles unable to apply for a residential permit.
Non permit vehicles are encouraged to park in legal parking spaces (i.e. not blocking a fire hydrant, driveway, too close to a curb, parked in a no stopping, no standing or no parking zone).
On July 2nd the Toronto Police Service will resume enforcement of only the two following offences:
Enforcement of change-over parking in areas where parking regulations require a change from one side of the street to the other
Reminder that the change-over grace period, which allows for automatic cancellation of tickets received on change-over day is still in effect. If you receive a ticket during this time, challenge the ticket and include a reference to the ‘City Council Approved Grace Period’ along with your permit and ticket information. Your ticket should be cancelled.
Enforcement of paid on-street parking regulations
Enforcement of parking without a permit, or parking with an expired permit is expected to resume once the renewal process is completed in early August. Specific dates and details will be shared closer to that date.
City Pools and Splash Pads
Torontonians can cool off at all of the City’s 140 splash pads and 56 outdoor swimming pools that will be open on Canada Day, with the exception of Summerville, Alexandra Park and Kiwanis outdoor pools which are undergoing repairs. The City’s 100 wading pools will begin to open on July 1 on a location-by-location basis.
In order to allow for physical distancing, the capacity at outdoor pools will be significantly reduced to 25 per cent. Swimmers will be limited to 45-minute sessions to allow for cleaning. Full details are available at toronto.ca/swim.
Parks, Beaches, Bonfires and Fireworks
As COVID-19 continues to circulate, residents visiting a beach or park must practise physical distancing and avoid crowding. The Provincial Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act orders and the City bylaw on physical distancing remain in effect.
Residents are reminded that bonfires, the consumption of alcohol and littering are not permitted in parks, beaches or public spaces. Enforcement officers will issue tickets related to the consumption of alcohol and bonfires, with fines of up to $300 and those found littering will face fines up to $500.
If a litter bin is full, residents are asked to take their garbage with them so it can be disposed of properly. Any overflowing bins or litter hot spots should be reported to 311.
Toronto beaches are open, and lifeguards will supervise swim areas from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. The four Toronto Island Park beaches will open for swimming on July 1. Rouge Valley Beach remains closed this season. For more information on the City’s beaches please visit toronto.ca/beaches.
Most amenities in City parks are open. Park amenities that remain closed include playgrounds and outdoor exercise equipment. Individuals are not permitted to play team sports on fields or courts intended for this purpose unless they are members of the same household. For more information please visit the City Services webpage.
Family fireworks can be discharged on your private property without a permit on Canada Day, but must comply with the City of Toronto fireworks bylaws and the requirements to be aware of surroundings. Residents are asked not to discharge fireworks where they may be a nuisance, pose a risk of fire, injury or damage to any person or property. City of Toronto bylaws prohibit members of the public from setting off or selling fireworks in City parks.
Don’t Mess with the Don
A big thank you to Don’t Mess with the Don and all the volunteers who were part of the Don River cleanup last weekend. They collected tons of garbage and plastic, and also helped remove Dog-Strangling Vine (an invasive plant).
Join them July 1st at 9:30 am for another meet up where they will be removing more Dog-Strangling Vine. Check their Facebook page for details. Physical distancing measures will be in place.
Thank you to all of our health care workers and frontline workers, and everyone else who is working to keep us going and keep us safe. And thank you again to everyone for following public health measures. We’re in this together.
I will continue to send out regular updates to keep you informed. Please checktoronto.ca/covid19 for the latest information.
Remember to take care of yourselves and please contact my office if we can be of assistance.
Working for you,
Ward 14, Toronto-Danforth