COVID-19 Questions and Answers

Posted on March 26, 2020

Answers to some of the questions you have asked recently.

I’m an essential worker and I’m also a parent without childcare now that schools and daycares were ordered to close. March Break has ended. I cannot report for work unless I have access to care for my children.

The City of Toronto has received authorization from the Province of Ontario to open licensed child care centres specifically to provide care for children of essential and critical service workers. The centres will be spread across Toronto in existing City-run child care facilities and be operated and staffed by City of Toronto licensed child care workers.

To support essential and critical workers, licensed child care service will be available, at no cost, funded by the Province of Ontario, for children from infant to age 12, and will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week in order to begin to address the unique demands of people who work shifts to keep the city safe and healthy. This is the first time a service of this type has ever been offered by the City of Toronto.

The City is establishing an online system that will be communicated widely once available. The centres will then open as quickly as possible. Essential and critical service workers have been defined by the Province and a list of those services will be made available shortly. In the interim, check www.toronto.ca/covid19 for updates and other important information.

Given physical distancing is not feasible when caring for young children, additional measures will be taken, in consultation with Toronto Public Health and the City’s Occupational Health and Safety program, to maintain a healthy and safe environment. Precautions will include daily screening of children and families prior to admission, increased cleaning, and reduced group sizes.

Will Toronto Hydro or other energy providers adjust time-of-use rates? With all of us home during the day, our power consumption is going to increase despite our best efforts to conserve energy. My workplace is closed because of COVID-19 and I’m not bringing in an income, I cannot afford an increase in my hydro bill.

Below is some information from Toronto Hydro and the Ontario Energy Board on Time-of-Use rates as well as information about payment due date extensions for City utilities (Water/Sewer Service and Solid Waste Management charges where applicable). Time-of-Use rates are set by the Ontario Energy Board and administered by local energy providers including Toronto Hydro. Information about benefits and supports for individuals is available on the Government of Canada’s website at: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/corporate/notices/coronavirus.html.

From Toronto Hydro:
We know the COVID-19 pandemic is putting economic stress on families and businesses, and we’re committed to helping our customers manage their electricity bills during this challenging time. Our Customer Care team is here to help with billing concerns and payment options. To discuss your bill and payment options in more detail, please call us directly at 416-542-8000 or visit https://www.torontohydro.com/covid-19. We’ve received a significant number of questions regarding Time-of-Use (TOU) rates. Please note that TOU rates are set by the Ontario Energy Board (OEB). The OEB is currently looking at programs and policies to best support electricity customers during this difficult time. Any updates regarding TOU rates will be announced by the OEB directly.

From the Ontario Energy Board:
We’ve received many requests about lowering electricity prices during this unprecedented time. The Ontario Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines is looking at programs and policies to support electricity customers during the COVID-19 pandemic. We expect that information will be made available in the coming days. More information: https://www.oeb.ca/newsroom/2020/oeb-covid-19-update.

City utility rates
Utility bills (Water/Sewer Service and Solid Waste Management charges where applicable) are normally due approximately 21 days after the billing date. The City is extending the due date for all utility bills issued to all residents by an additional 60 days, to give utility customers an additional 60 days to make payment, and still take advantage of the early payment discount. More information: https://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/economic-support-recovery/.

Can you clarify public health recommendations on playgrounds and parks? I still see my neighbours gathering in parks and their kids playing on playgrounds. The City should close its playgrounds – signs are not enough!

At this time, the City, is not closing parks and playgrounds. Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, has said that people must practise appropriate physical distancing when out in the community, including in City parks and playgrounds. Watch and listen to Dr. de Villa’s recommendations for parks and playgrounds here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqaRn2_h5Tk.

Play structures are not sanitized and caregivers should take care to help children with good hand hygiene, including washing before and after play, and ensure children remain at least 2 metres (6 feet) away from others.

Signage has started to be erected in parks and near playgrounds reminding the public of the importance of physical distancing, hand hygiene, and that playgrounds are not sanitized.

For the health and safety of our communities, please remember the importance of physical distancing and minimizing contact between people, including in parks and while using amenities in parks. Again, the best thing people can do to help stop the spread of COVID-19 is to stay home and go out only when necessary. Exercise and time outdoors is important, but should not take place where groups of people gather.

Deadline Extended on City Planning Survey – April 19, 2020

Posted on March 26, 2020

Please be advised that the deadline to respond to the City Planning survey of registered Community Associations on neighbourhood housing needs and growth has been extended to April 19.

About this survey

This survey of Toronto’s registered community associations will help better inform the City on neighbourhood perspectives on housing needs and residential growth, and help us plan for well-designed communities that offer transportation choices, meet people’s needs for daily living at all stages of life, and provide convenient access to an appropriate mix of jobs, local services and community infrastructure, including affordable housing, schools, recreation and open space. As we plan for the future, it is vital that we hear from you. With your help, Toronto can build on its success and continue to be an attractive place where all residents can enjoy a good quality of life.

How to take part

Survey invitations were sent on February 26 to all community association email contacts registered with the City Clerk and additional organizational email addresses provided by Councillors. Please check your junk mail folders to make sure you are not missing this important opportunity to provide your perspectives on this topic.

If a representative of your association has not received a survey invitation and you would like to participate, please email cityplanning@toronto.ca with:

  • neighbourhood survey” in the subject line;

  • the name of your community association; and

  • an email address that you consent to us providing to the consultant conducting this survey on the City of Toronto’s behalf. This contact information will be securely stored, used for the sole purpose of this survey, and destroyed upon completion of the survey.

City of Toronto to cancel programs and close facilities as COVID-19 precaution

Posted on March 19, 2020

Based on recommendations from Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, to help slow the rate of COVID-19 infection in Toronto and protect vulnerable populations including seniors, people with compromised immune systems, and individuals experiencing homelessness, the City of Toronto is cancelling all programs and closing a number of its facilities.

Impacted programs and facilities:

  • City-operated March Break camps are cancelled
  • All licensed child care centres
  • Community and recreation centres, greenhouses and conservatories, arenas, pools, fitness centres, and ski hills are closed
  • Libraries are closed
  • City-operated museums and galleries are closed
  • Council and Committee meetings are suspended for the current meeting cycle
  • Public consultations are suspended
  • All event permits for City facilities, including civic centres, recreation facilities, and parks are cancelled (wedding ceremony permits for civic centre Wedding Chambers will be honoured)

Reimbursements for cancellations will be processed as soon as possible. The tentative date for services to resume is April 5, 2020.

Emergency and critical services continue unaffected:

  • Emergency response by Toronto Police, Fire Services, and Paramedic Services is not impacted
  • TTC service will continue to operate. The mass gathering recommendation announced today by the provincial government does not include public transit
  • Toronto Water operations continue, including drinking water, wastewater collection and treatment, and stormwater management
  • Garbage, recycling and organics collection continues
  • Shelters, respites, and drop-in centres continue to operate with measures already established
  • Long-term care homes continue to operate with strict visitor restrictions in place
  • Road, sidewalk, and bikeway operations and maintenance, including snow removal, continues
  • City Hall, Metro Hall, and civic centres will remain open.

Dr. de Villa is also strongly encouraging all residents and visitors to self-isolate for 14 days upon arriving in Toronto from any country, including the United States. Public Health Ontario’s guidelines for self-isolation are available online: https://www.publichealthontario.ca/-/media/documents/ncov/factsheet-covid-19-how-to-self-isolate.pdf.

Any outstanding questions about service delivery and program impacts should be directed to 311. 311 is available 24/7 by phone:

  • 311 (within city limits)
  • 416-392-2489 (outside of city limits)
  • 416-338-0889 (TTY)

311 is also available via email at 311@toronto.ca and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/311Toronto. Those contacting 311 should expect longer wait times.

More information on the COVID-19 situation in Toronto and the City response is available at https://www.toronto.ca/coronavirus/. Adding program and facility information to the webpage is underway.

Notice of Intention to Designate 41 Wabash Avenue

Posted on March 17, 2020

NOTICE OF INTENTION TO DESIGNATE

Take notice that Toronto City Council intends to designate the lands and building known municipally as 41 Wabash Avenue under Part IV, Section 29 of the Ontario Heritage Act.

The property at 41 Wabash Avenue is worthy of designation under Part IV, Section 29 of the Ontario Heritage Act for its cultural heritage value, and meets Ontario Regulation 9/06, the provincial criteria prescribed for municipal designation under all three categories of design-physical, historical-associative and contextual value.

National Equipment Company Ltd

Description

Located on the south side of Wabash Avenue, east of Sorauren Avenue, the property at 41 Wabash Avenue is a two-and-a-half storey rectangular-plan, brick-clad volume constructed for the National Equipment Company Ltd. in 1912 in the Roncesvalles neighbourhood.

Statement of Cultural Heritage Value

The building, originally known as the National Equipment Company Ltd. and more recently known as J. S. Addison Plumbing, has physical and design value as a representative of an early twentieth-century, industrial warehouse typology.  This is evident in its location on the north edge of the property with no set back, the simple block massing, brick cladding and regular distribution of window openings which is interrupted to accommodate functional requirements such as loading bays and entrances.  Although an industrial form, the building has architectural refinement in the raising of the parapet into a broad pediment on its principal (north) elevation facing Wabash Avenue and in the arrangement of the window openings in a classical manner which features hierarchy and symmetry presented in the double width of the central window aligned with the pediment and flanked by two windows, half its width on either side at both upper levels.

The building has historic value as it is associated with the industrial development of area which was encouraged by location of the railways to the east of this section of the Roncesvalles neighbourhood.  The purchase and development of the property at 41 Wabash Avenue in 1911 by the National Equipment Company followed several other industries which located between Sorauren Avenue and the railway line in the triangular area just south of Dundas Street West including the Canada Linseed Oil Mills Ltd on the north side of Wabash Avenue. These industries provided employment for the Roncesvalles neighbourhood to the west and south and to Brockton village to the east.

Contextually, with its century-old materials, composition and form, this industrial block has heritage value as it maintains the industrial character of this eastern section of the historic Roncesvalles neighbourhood. Located to the south-east of Dundas Street West and the railway lines, the neighbourhood has had a continuous mix of low-rise industrial and residential buildings for over 110 years.  The addition of Sorauren Park and the smaller Charles G. Williams Park has added important amenity to the area which will be enhanced by the adaptive re-use of the Canada Linseed Oil building on the north side of Wabash Avenue as a community centre.  The integration of heritage and its adaptive re-use will build on and enhance the richness and variety of the sense of place in this historic and evolving neighbourhood.

Heritage Attributes

The heritage attributes of the property at 41 Wabash Avenue are:

  • The setback, placement and orientation of the industrial warehouse building on the south side of Wabash Avenue
  • The scale, form and massing of the two-and-a-half-storey building including the raised parapet with it gable form on the north elevation
  • The materials including the brick cladding, the stone lintels over the loading bays, the bush-hammered stone sills, the stone blocks set as the top masonry course beneath the top of the windows on the north elevation, and projecting wood window hoods over the second storey windows on the north elevation
  • On the north elevation the arrangement of openings including the wide window openings flanked by two narrower windows at the upper levels, the door at grade and the adjacent opening presumably originally used for loading and now filled in with blocks
  • On the west elevation, at all three levels, the three pairs of long narrow window openings with segmental-arched headers towards the south end (one of the openings has been extended to floor level) and the loading dock opening at the lower level at the north end (filled in) with a single narrow, segmental-arched headed opening above at the upper level
  • The brick clad east elevation and remaining visible window openings

The rear, metal-clad, single-storey addition is not included in the heritage attributes.  The south elevation is not included in the heritage attributes as it has been overclad in metal siding.

Notice of an objection to the proposed designation may be served on the City Clerk, Attention:  Ellen Devlin, Administrator, Toronto and East York Community Council, Toronto City Hall, 100 Queen Street West, 2nd floor, Toronto, Ontario, M5H 2N2, within thirty days of March 13, 2020, which is April 14, 2020. The notice of objection must set out the reason(s) for the objection, and all relevant facts.

Dated at Toronto this 13th day of March, 2020

Prescribed burn High Park and South Humber Park Cancelled

Posted on March 12, 2020

UPDATE — The prescribed burns are cancelled for the year 2020 due to the current situation with COVID-19 —

Prescribed burns are part of The City’s long-term management plan to restore and protect Toronto’s rare black oak woodlands and savannahs. A prescribed burn is a deliberately set and carefully controlled fire that burns low to the ground and consumes dried leaves, small twigs and grass stems, but does not harm larger trees.

City staff and burn consultants are monitoring the weather and on-site ground conditions to determine the optimal time window for the prescribed burn. Once ideal weather conditions are achieved and a burn date has been selected, a Media Advisory will be issued to notify the public, a minimum of 24 hours before ignition.

Prior to European settlement, controlled burns were used by Indigenous Peoples to manage and maintain this fire-dependent ecosystem.Fire-dependant ecosystems like black oak savannahs, contain prairie plants that respond positively to prescribed burning and grow more vigorously than they would in the absence of fire.

Under ideal weather conditions, the smoke from the prescribed burn will rise without impacting the surrounding neighbourhoods. It is possible however that weather conditions could change and that smoke from burning vegetation reach residential areas near the park.

Individuals with asthma and high sensitivity to poison ivy should limit their exposure by staying inside and keeping their windows closed. Some individuals may choose to leave the park during the burn if they are concerned about any potential sensitivity to smoke.

The red shaded area on the map below shows the planned burn zones.

For more information about the prescribed burn program and ongoing forest management, please visit www.toronto.ca/urban-forest-management.

King – Queen- The Queensway- Roncesvalles (KQQR) Intersection Update

Posted on March 5, 2020

A report will be presented at the Infrastructure and Environment Committee pertaining to the road reconstruction work that will be taking place at the King – Queen – The Queensway – Roncesvalles intersection in 2021:

https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2020/ie/bgrd/backgroundfile-146573.pdf

This is the result of many years of work by the community.

King – Queen- The Queensway- Roncesvalles Reconstruction: Sewer, Watermain, TTC Streetcar Track Replacement and Intersection Improvements starting in 2021

This is a joint project by the TTC, Toronto’s Transportation Services and Water Division.


Overall Scope of work

·         As part of the state of good repair work, the aging sewer and track around the intersection needs to be replaced

·         Relocating the eastbound centre platform streetcar stop to the far side of the intersection

·         Realigning the King Street West leg to create a better intersection angle and increase green space

·         Modifying / constructing street car platforms at Glendale Avenue

·         Continue the bump-out treatment on Roncesvalles at this intersection

As part of the Sunnyside Community Association area traffic study that was completed in 2008, the city will also be:

·         Modifying the signal at Glendale Avenue and Queensway

·         Adding dedicated eastbound – left – turn lanes at Sunnyside Avenue, Glendale Avenue, and The Queensway

·         Signalizing intersection at Sunnyside and The Queensway

·         Modifying the streetcar track vertical alignment (slope at Claude Avenue that will visually and physically enhance the existing right-in / right-out at Claude Avenue)

We will be sure to provide information related to the time and stages of work as we approach get closer to the 2021 construction period.

Registration for City of Toronto’s summer camps and spring/summer recreation programs begins this weekend

Posted on March 5, 2020

Initial registration for summer camps as well as spring and summer recreation programs begins on March 7 and continues until March 11. The City is Toronto’s largest provider of safe, fun and high-quality recreation programs for people of all ages, skill levels and interests, with more than one million recreation program hours offered annually.

Summer camps range from basic activity camps to specialty camps including outdoor nature, arts, drama, dance, sports and more. Recreation programs range from beginner swim to lifesaving classes, fitness and general interest as well as adapted and inclusive programs for people with special needs/disabilities.

Residents can prepare for registration with extended customer service hours at 416-396-7378 from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on March 4, 5, 6 and 9. Registering online at https://efun.toronto.ca/ is the fastest and easiest way to register.

Registration starts at 7 a.m. on the following four dates:

  • Saturday, March 7 – Etobicoke/York
  • Sunday, March 8 – Scarborough
  • Tuesday, March 10 – North York
  • Wednesday, March 11 – Toronto/East York and West Toronto/York

The registration day for some locations has changed as a result of ward realignments. The locations affected are listed in the online Fun Guide at https://www.toronto.ca/data/parks/funguide/districtchanges.html#.

Residents can get tips for registration, browse available programs, create wish lists, and learn more about available programs at https://www.toronto.ca/rec. Information on free programs and subsidies for recreation programs is available at http://www.toronto.ca/lowcostrecreation.

Survey on Draft Recommendations on Existing Dogs Off-Leash Areas

Posted on February 11, 2020

With the number of people and dogs in Toronto growing, the use of dogs off-leash areas (OLAs) continues to increase. The Parks & Recreation Facilities Master Plan (2017) recommended the City develop criteria for improving existing dogs off-leash areas.

This survey is part of the City-Wide Study of Existing Dogs Off-Leash Areas. The goals of the study overall are to:

  • Improve existing off-leash areas through better design, maintenance, and operation
  • Encourage healthy relationships between dog owners and non-dog owners
  • Elevate off-leash areas as spaces that provide a healthy, safe, accessible, and sustainable environment
  • Develop guidelines to ensure consistent maintenance and operation across Toronto
  • Develop design recommendations that can be applied to all existing off-leash areas
  • Improve community involvement and develop future ongoing partnerships

The survey is available here and it will be available until February 18, 2020.

Sidewalk Snow Clearing Trial

Posted on February 6, 2020

This winter, Transportation Services will begin a trial that will mechanically clear sidewalks of snow and ice in some areas where this service is currently not provided by the City. The trial will evaluate new, smaller equipment, which will be tested in areas of the city with a high number of households enrolled
in a program where Transportation provides sidewalk snow clearing services for seniors or persons with disabilities, in areas that do not receive mechanical clearing. As part of the trial, a full assessment and inventory of sidewalk widths, obstructions and other obstacles, such as utility poles, planters, retaining walls and areas with on-street parking adjacent to the sidewalk, will be completed by staff this year to determine the feasibility of providing mechanical clearing to unserved sidewalks in the city.

The bulletin below will provide more information on the trial.

TS_Sidewalk Snow Clearing Trial Bulletin

Below are the maps of the sidewalks that are included in this trial in Ward 4.

Sidewalk Trial Maps

Flip through the City’s Transportation Services Newsletter to read about their Vision Zero Updates, Street Maintenance, Street Art and opportunities for Public Feedback and Consultations.

2020 Budget Town Hall – Presentation

Posted on February 6, 2020

Following is the digital copy of the presentation at Councillor Perk’s Town Hall on the City’s 2020 Budget.

Budget Meeting Presentation

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