The City launched ShopHERE, a program to help Toronto independent businesses and artists open a free online store to minimize the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The online store will be built and launched for free in just a matter of days. Hands-on support will be provided throughout the entire process from volunteer website developers and marketing and business students.
Toronto independent businesses and artists can sign up for their free online store at digitalmainstreet.ca/shophere.
For those who are home and looking for new challenges, the new City of Toronto Stay, Play and Learn At Home webpage, has a list of free virtual programming and activities to help residents stay active, stay engaged, have fun and learn new things while practicing physical distancing or self-isolating at home. This includes dance, fitness, art activities, science, book clubs, live music, museum tours and so much more. There’s something in the listing for every age group. It includes links to virtual programs from EarlyON centres for children, as well as from Seniors Active Living Centres.
This past week, the Province announced funding for childcare centres to cover their fixed operating costs and waiving licencing application and renewal fees. While the City is supportive of the Provincial and the Federal government subsidies and benefits to small businesses and individuals, there has been no direct funding for municipalities.
Due to the pandemic, the City is losing $65 million a week in revenue and facing financial uncertainty. Years of tax cuts on the provincial and federal levels have been paid for by downloading services onto municipalities and made municipalities reliant on user fees. It’s the collapse of user-fee revenue that is will cause the collapse of municipally delivered services.
Community stakeholders, activists, governments and academics have been putting their mind to how we protect and grow our municipally delivered services to lead our City into a robust recovery.
To stay updated on the City’s response to COVID-19, visit toronto.ca/covid-19 .
As of this week, all Toronto Building permitting and inspection services are being offered. Some of the services are modified with new applications being accepted electronically only and in-person inspection protocols have been established to ensure health and safety. Some staff have been reassigned to permitting in order to improve response times to permit requests. At this time, staff are focusing their efforts on permits that were received prior to the service disruption. As of April 29, 92 per cent of all active building applications received prior to the service disruption have been reviewed and processed, meaning the permits have been issued; are pending issuance; or a deficiency notice has been issued. New building permit applications are being accepted
Committee of Adjustment:
After clearing a number of regulatory, logistic and technology hurdles, the Committee of Adjustment has scheduled its first hearing on June 3 with subsequent hearings now being pre-booked to July 31. The meetings will be held virtually. Notices will start being sent to applicants for the first hearing next week. Initial meetings will have no more than 20 items on the agenda. Initially, staff will triage and schedule minor variance applications based on a ‘first come, first served’ principle (based on those received by March 16), and files that are ready now. We will be starting with less complex cases and where the applicants have agreed to the virtual format. Given the current backlog created by the scale back of all non-essential services and the limited capacity in which we are able to move forward, we anticipate managing the backlog well into the year.
Below are the status of a list of services:
Staff are continuing to evaluate the processes and abilities to move forward with full service resumption including the acceptance of new Official Plan and Zoning By-law Amendments Draft Plan of Subdivision.
Throughout the course of the pandemic and as we move into recovery, the City is committed to continuing to work with the development industry to ensure service delivery is maintained and in fact service transformation is accelerated. Very soon staff will be providing additional information on the next steps in how this transformation of the development review process is advancing.
For more information, please contact:
Gregg Lintern (Gregg.Lintern@toronto.ca), Chief Planner & Executive Director, City Planning
Will Johnston (Will.Johnston@toronto.ca), Chief Building Official & Executive Director, Toronto Building
Or visit the City’s website on affected services
Mutual Aid Parkdale is a neighbourhood group organized on the core principle of practicing solidarity in times of crisis. In responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, they have been safely reaching out to hundreds of neighbours and checking in on them to see what material and social support they need by sharing what they have, purchasing and delivering food and medicine, and providing emotional and mental health support. They are building trust, care, and commitment with zero judgement. To support this effort, they have set up an online donation portal for their Solidarity Fund which will help them purchase basic necessities for the community. Learn more about their story here.
Small businesses are especially affected during this pandemic. That is why we encourage you to shop local, from small independent businesses. As curbside pick up becomes available for many retail stores, please continue to follow Public Health advice and maintain physical distancing.
Click below on individual BIAs for updates on businesses in their area.