Update From Paula Fletcher – July 4


City Council Highlights and
Staying Cool in the Heat

Dear Friends,

I hope you’re staying cool and doing well. It’s been a busy and hot week.

A Heat Warning is still in effect for Toronto and is expected to last until Sunday. The City has opened 15 Emergency Cooling Centres and extended hours at some outdoor pools – including at Monarch Park Pool. You can find more information on how to stay healthy in hot weather at toronto.ca/keepcool.

City Council met earlier this week and many important issues were discussed. You can find the highlights in the below email.

I’m sure many residents will be visiting our parks and beaches this weekend. 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.

Read the latest statement from Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health.

The City puts out frequent COVID-19 updates and you can find them online athttps://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/.

In this email you can find the following information:

  • City Council Highlights
  • Mandatory Mask or Face Covering Bylaw
  • Emergency Cooling Centres Open During Heat Warning
  • City Pools and Splash Pads
  • Keep our Parks and Beaches Safe and Clean
  • Farmers’ Markets

City Council Highlights

Council Highlights is an informal summary of selected actions taken by Toronto City Council at its business meetings. The complete, formal documentation for this latest meeting is available at http://www.toronto.ca/council.

Mandatory use of masks/face coverings
Council voted unanimously to require masks or face coverings in all enclosed public places to help stop the spread of COVID-19. This measure, effective in Toronto starting July 7, reflects advice from Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health. The result is the enactment of a temporary bylaw requiring businesses and facilities to have a policy that ensures people wear masks or face coverings while in the premises, helping prevent transmission of COVID-19.

CaféTO plan for outdoor dining space
Council adopted a report that will guide the City’s actions in making way for additional safe outdoor dining spaces at restaurants and bars. CaféTO will ensure that accessibility and safety are not compromised while making it easier for many Toronto restaurant and bar owners to open patios, expand them and make use of additional space for physical distancing – in accordance with public health guidelines. Restaurants and bars currently remain closed for indoor dine-in service.

COVID-19 prevention in apartment buildings
Council supported a member motion calling for a municipal code amendment specifying COVID-related health and safety measures to be taken by landlords/operators of multi-residential apartment buildings. The measures include providing alcohol-based hand sanitizer in common-area rooms that remain open (such as laundry rooms), keeping gyms and playrooms closed, and scheduling the cleaning of frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs and elevator buttons.

Homelessness during pandemic
Council adopted a motion to urge the provincial and federal governments to immediately establish an intergovernmental table to create emergency responses to the housing and homelessness crisis in Toronto, a crisis that has been exacerbated by the global COVID-19 pandemic. The motion also addresses related matters such as the need for water and sanitation supports at encampment sites.

Long-term care homes
Council supported recommendations to request the Province of Ontario to immediately provide additional supports for staff and residents of long-term care homes to stem the COVID-19 pandemic. Among specifics of the recommendations is direction for the City’s Seniors Services and Long Term Care division to engage in the province’s investigative process into the COVID-19 pandemic in Ontario’s long-term care homes.

Design of infrastructure projects
Council requested the preparation of a report for September that presents a framework to guide the design of future City infrastructure projects. The focus is on incorporating public health guidelines in architectural design and in the “built form” of infrastructure projects to enhance protection from COVID-19.

Backlog at Committee of Adjustment
A major backlog in the processing of construction applications by the City’s Committee of Adjustment – a problem tied to the pandemic emergency – is addressed by a member motion that Council adopted. The motion sets out steps for the City to take to clear the backlog over the coming months to support the recovery of the construction industry and related employment/economic activity in Toronto. The current building slowdown is also attributed in part to recent disruptions to the supply chain and worksite slowdowns tied to COVID-19 safety protocols.

Further steps in COVID response
A series of recommended steps to assist with pandemic response and recovery were approved by Council. The measures include requesting the Ontario Ministry of Health to create an efficient system of transferring information from laboratories to local public health units and encouraging the ministry to quickly develop a provincial COVID-19 testing strategy.

Changes to policing in Toronto
Council approved a report along with motions about policing in Toronto, with the aim of establishing alternative service delivery models for community safety response and increased accountability. Council’s approval sets the stage for pursuing alternative ways of responding to incidents such as individuals experiencing mental health crises – ways that do not involve police officers attending the scene. In addition, the City will work on realigning its budget priorities to focus more on Toronto’s most marginalized residents.

Training in confronting anti-Black racism
Council adopted a motion asking pertinent City staff to organize training for Council members and their immediate staff in confronting anti-Black racism. In 2017, City Council unanimously adopted the Toronto Action Plan to Confront Anti-Black Racism, with numerous actions/recommendations for City staff to implement. One of the action plan’s priorities is working to shift the municipal government’s culture, addressing anti-Black racism in City practices, policies, hiring and retention strategies, and service delivery.

Indigenous community-led project
Council supported recommendations calling for staff to report on the implementation of an Indigenous community-led pilot project, overseen by the Toronto Aboriginal Support Services Council and Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre. The pilot project will address community safety, harm reduction, conflict and crisis response, and peacekeeping from an Indigenous-led perspective. This action is part of the City’s response to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

Ratification of agreements with CUPE Local 79
Council ratified five-year agreements with the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 79, the union representing the City’s 24,000 inside workers. Local 79 members have also ratified the agreements. There is an agreement for each of four employee groups that make up CUPE Local 79. The City and the union reached a negotiated settlement in March but emergency COVID-19 response efforts prevented ratification until now.

Progress on Housing Now Initiative
Council adopted a series of recommendations tied to, and furthering work on, the first annual progress report on the Housing Now Initiative for building affordable housing in Toronto. Council’s actions authorize further City investment in new affordable housing units as part of Phase One of the initiative, as well as various enhancements to the initiative. Among various other steps to be taken, the City will work on identifying any smaller City sites that could be used for non-profit housing.

Building modular housing
Council adopted recommendations to further preparatory work for building modular housing at two sites, one in central Toronto and one in Scarborough. Provincial authorization for a zoning amendment is needed to proceed – with a target for completion of the modular units this fall. Modular housing is a type of prefabricated housing built in a factory and assembled on site. Building modular housing is considered a quick, effective way to provide homes along with localized support for those experiencing homelessness.

Support for local music organizations
Council adopted recommendations calling on staff to create terms of a new pilot program enabling DIY (Do-It-Yourself) music organizations to use City-owned spaces at lower than market value. An inventory will be compiled identifying City-owned properties suitable for tenancy by DIY music organizations, and staff will provide a related report to the Toronto Music Advisory Committee. Toronto’s continued growth as a city has created serious financial challenges for many DIY music organizations.

Free-floating car share program
Council authorized making a recent, successful pilot project for free-floating car share a permanent program for Toronto, effective immediately. The Toronto Parking Authority will be asked to explore business arrangements that would allow car-share companies to use municipal parking facilities, by means of permits. The City and car-share providers will pursue efforts together to expand the availability of car-share parking in residential areas.

Mandatory Mask or Face Covering Bylaw

To protect the health and safety of our communities, Toronto 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.

Wearing a mask or face covering is an additional measure we can take to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and keep each other safe. This means that, with some exceptions, all customers or visitors entering an indoor premise that is open to the public are required to wear a mask or face covering while inside.

More information about the bylaw and where it applies is available on the City’s website.

Emergency Cooling Centres Open During Heat Warning

Environment and Climate Change Canada has declared a Heat Warning for Toronto, expected to last through Sunday, July 5. The City has opened 15 Emergency Cooling Centres for the duration of the Heat Warning – including one at the East York Civic Centre. All the centres will operate during Heat Warnings only, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., except Metro Hall, 55 John St., which will run 24 hours during Heat Warnings.

An interactive map is available to help those who need to locate an Emergency Cooling Centre near them. Malvern Recreation Community Centre is closed for the remainder of today, due to air conditioning issues. Starting tomorrow at 11 a.m., the cooling centre will relocate to Burrows Hall Community Centre (1081 Progress Ave, Scarborough) until the issue at is resolved.

City Pools and Splash Pads

You can cool off at all of the City’s 140 splash pads and 56 outdoor swimming pools that are now open, with the exception of Donald D. Summerville, Alexandra Park and Kiwanis outdoor pools which are undergoing repairs. The City’s 100 wading pools continue to open 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.

For the duration of Environment Canada’s Heat Warning, the following six outdoor pools will remain open until 11:45 p.m.:

  • Alex Duff Pool, 779 Crawford St.
  • Earlscourt Park/Giovanni Caboto Pool, 1369 St. Clair Ave. W.
  • Monarch Park, 115 Felstead Ave.
  • Parkway Forest, 55 Forest Manor Rd.
  • Smithfield Park, 175 Mount Olive Dr.
  • Sunnyside Park/Gus Ryder Pool, 1755 Lake Shore Blvd. W.

Keep our Parks and Beaches Safe and Clean

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, including the four Toronto Island Park beaches. Lifeguards supervise swim areas from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. daily. Rouge Valley Beach remains closed this season. For more information on the City’s beaches visit toronto.ca/beaches. Water quality reports for local beaches are available at toronto.ca/health/swimsafe/index.htm.

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.

Farmers’ Markets

The City has been working with our local farmers’ markets to help them reopen safely this summer with public health measures in place. Visit their websites to find out when and how they are operating.

Withrow Park Farmers’ Market

Leslieville Farmers’ Market

East York Farmers’ Market is not open yet – stay tuned for details.

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,

Paula Fletcher
City Councillor
Ward 14, Toronto-Danforth

Copyright © 2020 Councillor Paula Fletcher, All rights reserved.
Councillor Fletcher sends community updates and news from City Hall to interested Torontonians.Our mailing address is:

Councillor Paula Fletcher

100 Queen Street West
Suite C44

Toronto, ON M5H 2N2


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