Dear Friends and Neighbours,
The federal and provincial governments have launched the Agri-Food Open for E-Business program to help food producers, farmers markets, retailers, garden centres, greenhouses, nurseries and agricultural associations expand online. This initiative will help food producers grow e-business opportunities and provide families with greater access to a variety of foods during this pandemic. To find out more and how you can apply, please click here.
Weston Area Emergency Support (WAES) have provided an update that they are operating at peak capacity, thanks in large part to tremendous support from the community. They have served close to double the number of people in April compared to prior months. This work is being done by fabulous volunteers who have stepped in. WAES has also received monetary and food support from the community and beyond, including a $10,000 cheque from Weston Lions, and also help from Weston Superstore and Pedro’s No Frills. Thank you to WAES for your support during this challenging time and thank you to everyone who has volunteered or donated to support them!
Weston King Neighbourhood Centre (2017 Weston Rd) is offering free takeaway meals on Tuesday evenings for those in need. Details available here.
The provincial government is working to expand existing Meals on Wheels services to reach those in need. This includes delivery of meals and some essentials such as medicine. To identify a Meals on Wheels provider near you and request service, click here. Those without internet access or who require service in another language can dial 2-1-1 or 1-877-330-3213. TTY service is also available by calling 1-888-340-1001.
I cannot stress enough the importance of maintaining our mental health during this difficult time. I have shared many resources throughout my updates and would like to remind residents that several supports are available to you through 211. The City has created a list of mental health resources, available here. The Province has also created a mental health support portal.
The City has introduced a ‘chatbot’ on its website to help businesses and residents with common COVID-19 questions. Head to the City’s COVID-19 website and click on the chat diagram (looks like conversation bubbles) on the bottom-right of the screen and ask away!
I have enjoyed hearing from everyone about some of the positive things that our neighbours and businesses have been doing to help each other through this challenging time. I encourage you to continue sharing your stories with me or to post them to Facebook or Twitter using #YSWcares.
A number of local organizations offering essential services are running out of hand sanitizer. In the spirit of #YSWcares, If you are able to provide hand sanitizer (ideally in a more substantial quantity), please contact my office at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will connect you.
The province has announced that they will extend emergency childcare services to more essential workers. This includes children of employees in the trucking industry, in meat-packing plants, pharmacies and grocery stores. My thoughts are with the families and employees affected by COVID-19 at the Jesse Ketchum Early Learning and Child Care Centre. Please stay strong.
Today I sent a letter to our York South—Weston Member of Parliament and Member of Provincial Parliament urging all levels of government to work together to provide emergency financial support for transit workers. A total of 1200 Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) employees are facing layoffs due to the sharp decline in ridership revenue. They are essential workers who put themselves at risk every day to keep other essential and frontline workers moving to help our City get through this pandemic.
City taking action to fight COVID-19 by providing interim housing to people sleeping in encampments
The new interim housing is located in two vacant apartment buildings in Midtown Toronto. The buildings are being leased by the City from a local developer. This welcome partnership allows the City to provide temporary housing with supports for vulnerable clients for up to six months. The property, owned by the Times Group, is slated for demolition as part of a revitalization project and is available until the issuance of construction permits resumes. The new program is located in two connected, vacant mid-rise apartment buildings. There is a total of 125 furnished units for clients. For more information, please read today's news release.
Implementation plan for up to 250 modular supportive housing units released
Today, Mayor John Tory announced the proposed implementation plan for a modular supportive housing initiative to create 110 modular homes on two City-owned sites. The new modular homes are expected to be ready for occupancy by September 2020 and will provide stable, affordable housing and support services to individuals experiencing homelessness. For more information, please see the news release.
Sanitation & washroom services for vulnerable persons opening this week
In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the City is opening seven City operated-facilities as Sanitation and Washroom Services locations with showers, washrooms, and drinking water for individuals experiencing homelessness. Two locations are opening on April 29, four locations on April 30, and one location starting operations on May 1. The facilities are:
· Regent Park Community Centre
· Scarborough Village Recreation Centre
· Commander Recreation Centre/Arena
· Malvern Recreation Centre/Arena
· Wallace Emerson Community Centre
· Harrison Pool
· The 519 Community Centre
Ontario Energy Board of scams related to utility bills
The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) is warning about scams attempting to take advantage of consumer uncertainty. The OEB has taken steps to ensure that the power to your home or low-volume small business cannot be disconnected for non-payment by your utility until July 31, 2020. If you receive a message, text or phone call from someone posing as a utility representative and threatening to disconnect your power, do not respond to it - contact your utility directly using the telephone number displayed on your bill.
Consumers with questions or concerns about any suspicious communications claiming to be from their utility are also encouraged to contact the OEB.
Call (Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.): 1-877-632-2727 (toll-free within Ontario) or 416-314-2455 (within Greater Toronto Area)
Text: 1-844-621-9977 (toll-free within Ontario) or 416-544-5190 (within Greater Toronto Area)
Experience virtual cherry blossom bloom during closure of High Park
With the peak bloom period about to begin, the City of Toronto is closing High Park starting tomorrow, Thursday, April 30. During the park closure, residents will be able to enjoy the cherry blossom bloom virtually. Throughout the closure period, the City will provide a continuous livestream of the cherry tree grove in High Park, plus multiple live events and videos featuring virtual walk-throughs of the blossoming Sakura (cherry blossom) trees. BloomCam, the continuous live stream, is now live: toronto.ca/cherryblossoms
Which buildings will receive support for internet access for vulnerable people?
Yesterday, the City announced that is has partnered with technology and telecommunications companies to provide free temporary internet access for low-income neighbourhoods, long-term care homes and shelters. The addresses of participating buildings will be determined on a rolling basis, based on testing technical feasibility, starting in early May. A final list of participating buildings will be provided once they have been identified. Social Development, Finance & Administration and Technology Services are cooperating to shortlist buildings for inclusion in the pilot project based on the criteria below:
· Staff are focused on larger towers with a minimum of 8 storeys.
· Buildings have a prevalence of 40 per cent or more residents at the Low Income Measure After Tax (LIM-AT).
· The building is located in either a City of Toronto designated Neighbourhood Improvement Area, Emerging Neighbourhood or in a Revitalization Area.
· Neighbourhoods were identified as having significant levels of need for internet access among low-income residents based on consultation with the City-wide Community Coordination Table and partner agencies.
· Ease of access to the building through the property manager, and ease of technological implementation (e.g. building has the right power source, wired Ethernet, and ideal outdoor anchor locations).
· Geographical representation across Toronto.
· Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) and not-for-profit buildings are not included, as residents can enroll in Rogers' Connect for Success Program, providing the service for $10 per month to non-profit and subsidized housing providers.
· Buildings that are not receiving high levels of internet access via school boards/Ministry of Education initiatives for online education.
More information can be found on the City's website.
City reports on COVID-19 cases and enforcement initiatives
As of this afternoon, there are 5,360 cases of COVID-19 in Toronto. Cases include 4,845 confirmed cases and 515 probable cases. There are 354 cases hospitalized, with 111 in intensive care units. We continue to see COVID-19 deaths; to date, 347 people in Toronto have died from COVID-19. Case status data can be found on the
City’s reporting platform.
Enforcement of the City's physical distancing bylaw and the Province’s Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act orders is ongoing. Yesterday, the City received 395 complaints involving people using outdoor amenities or not practising physical distancing in parks. Bylaw and police officers issued 18 tickets – bringing the total number of tickets issued since April 3 to 578. Bylaw and police officers have spoken to more than 12,250 people in City parks about the closures and public health measures. The City also received two complaints yesterday related to non-essential businesses remaining open. Since March 24, Municipal Licensing & Standards and Toronto Public Health have issued 79 tickets and 172 notices to non-essential businesses. Residents can report non-compliance online though the City’s website.
For the latest updates from the City of Toronto, please clickhere.
For the latest updates from the Federal Government, please click here.
For the latest updates from the Province of Ontario, please click here.