Council appointed Peter Wallace as Toronto’s City Manager effective July 13. The City Manager, as the most senior official in the City’s administration, is accountable to City Council for the policies and programs delivered by the Toronto Public Service. Wallace succeeds Joe Pennachetti, who retired as City Manager on May 8. Deputy City Manager John Livey will act as City Manager between May 9 and July 12. In addition, Council appointed Giuliana Carbone as a Deputy City Manager (one of three in the organization) effective June 1. Carbone, who has been the City’s Treasurer since 2008, will lead the cluster of divisions that are responsible social, economic and community services.
Toronto’s support for entrepreneurs
Council endorsed a startup strategy to foster the growth of small businesses in Toronto, with the intention of making this city the best place in the world to start and grow a business. This economic development initiative places emphasis on business incubation, which is an established method drawing on the City and other resources to support the growth of small businesses. Toronto already supports business incubation activity for its fashion and food industries and the Toronto Business Development Centre.
Confronting youth unemployment
Council adopted recommendations for actions to address the challenge of youth unemployment in Toronto. The City will pursue opportunities to expand work-based learning initiatives for unemployed youth by leveraging its role as an employer, capitalizing on the City’s connections with employer and sector partners, increasing support to youth entrepreneurs, and supporting youth who are outside the labour market.
Council approved a new set of permit fees and rules covering mobile food vending (food trucks) and ice cream vending. After a one-year review of the bylaw including stakeholder and public consultation, changes were made to further ease restrictions and provide more opportunities for vendors. This bylaw balances the City’s need to manage the competing uses of streets and sidewalks, and improves the public’s access to a wide variety of street food. The City will take steps to address illegal vending and environmental impacts such as vehicle emissions.
Speed limits on Toronto streets
Council approved a series of actions to address traffic speeds on local neighbourhood streets, including a new 30 kilometre-an-hour (km/h) speed limit policy in the absence of traffic calming. In addition, staff will report on the implications for Toronto of an Ontario Ministry of Transportation proposal to lower the current default speed limit of 50 km/h, and will report on school safety zones as part of a road safety plan for Toronto.
Management of the Scarborough subway project
Council adopted recommendations to have staff review different options for project delivery and project procurement for the Scarborough Subway Extension project. Staff are to report back in early 2016 with recommendations on procurement and for project management, delivery and governance.
Development charges to support transit
Council voted to update the City’s development charges bylaw to add the Scarborough Subway Extension project to the list of municipal projects that have their capital costs partly paid from development charges. Revenue from development charges, which are fees collected from new development when the City issues a building permit, are one source of City funding that will be used to pay for the subway project.
New green bin
Council approved a contract for manufacturing, distributing and maintaining the next generation green bin for organic waste collection, and directed staff to work with residents and councillors on related matters such as possible alternative methods of green bin collection. Torontonians are currently using about 500,000 green bins and the bins are reaching the end of their life expectancy.
Child care in Toronto
Council supported a series of position recommendations the City will make to the Ontario provincial government concerning proposed regulatory amendments under the new Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014. Council specified, for example, that the reforms should address the alignment of school board and child care programs.
Children’s services plan
Council approved a five-year plan for the City’s children’s services, which include child care, family-support programs, special-needs services and middle-childhood programs. The 2015-2019 Service Plan, which positions the Children’s Services division to respond to the transformation of Ontario’s early-learning system, has the overall goal of providing a cohesive system of services responding to the needs of Toronto’s children and families.
Review of City’s real estate operations
Council adopted recommendations to study options for co-ordinating and/or consolidating the City’s real estate operations and portfolios across City agencies, corporations and divisions, including activities such as property acquisition and sales for municipal purposes.
Red Door Shelter project
Council approved the City’s investment of funds for a 94-bed shelter to be built at 875 Queen St. E. and operated by the Woodgreen Red Door Family Shelter to provide services to homeless families. The shelter, which will be part of a larger development at the Riverdale site, previously operated in an older building at the same location. The Red Door’s future had been in question as a result of the recent sale and planned development of the property.
Next year’s budget process
Council approved a schedule for the City’s 2016 budget process. The schedule calls for adoption of the 2016 rate-supported budgets (Toronto Water, Solid Waste Management and Toronto Parking Authority) in December 2015 and the tax-supported budgets in February 2016. Council’s approval includes the implementation of multi-year, service-based planning and budgeting, with opportunities for public deputations at the civic centres and information sessions about user fees.
Support for long-form census
As part of its consideration of the Toronto’s Social Development Dashboard, Council agreed to ask the federal government to restore the long-form census for 2016 and beyond. The long-form census has traditionally provided robust, reliable data about the people and communities served by municipalities and their partners. Council joins the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the Big City Mayors Committee and the Ontario Municipal Social Services Association, among other organizations, in advocating for restoration of the long-form census.
Council deferred consideration of Toronto’s taxicab regulations until Council has an opportunity to consider a report from the City Solicitor following a court decision about Uber in Toronto.
Security at City Hall
Council adopted a report from the Ombudsman on an investigation into security operations at Toronto City Hall from 2010 to 2014. The Ombudsman’s recommendations will be implemented by the Toronto Public Service, addressing matters such as policies, procedures, staff resources and training.
Centenary of Armenian Genocide
Council supported the City of Toronto recognizing this year’s 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, which took place between 1915 and 1917, to honour the memory of the men, women and children who died.
Drones over Toronto
Council asked staff to report back on a strategy to govern the use of drones – unmanned aerial vehicles – in Toronto’s outdoor spaces. The strategy will address matters such as public safety and possible restrictions on drone-based photography at parks and other outdoor recreational facilities.
Municipalities and climate change
Council authorized renewing the City’s membership in the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group – a network of the world’s largest cities. Toronto, which has seen its greenhouse gas emissions drop by 25 per cent against 1990 levels, is considered a leading city in the C40 network. The participating cities share information as part of the effort to help address global climate change.
Council voted to support banning the use of microbeads in personal-care products by asking the provincial (Ontario) and federal governments to establish legislation for such a ban. The tiny plastic bits, or microspheres, are used as exfoliating agents in some cosmetic products, for example. When those products are washed down household drains, the microbeads are small enough to pass through sewage treatment, entering rivers and lakes, including Lake Ontario.
Council agreed to ask staff to report on the possible impact of changes to the bottle-return system in Toronto if Ontario decides to permit the sale of liquor, wine and beer in grocery stores. The City wants to ensure that the bottle-return system now in place for LCBO outlets and beer stores will also operate in any other stores authorized to sell beer, wine and liquor.
Craft beer in Toronto
Council supported undertaking an initiative to support the growth of the craft beer sector in Toronto. The City will work to reduce impediments to establishing new craft breweries. Staff and the working group on culinary tourism will consult with small breweries, craft-beer bars and restaurants to create a brewery culinary trail in Toronto. Culinary trails/tours are a trend in tourism.