Message from Gord – June 4, 2020

Posted on June 4, 2020

On Tuesday I had my first virtual town hall. Thank you to everyone that tuned in and asked some important questions on how we recover together. I look forward to having more discussions in the near future and to hear your questions and concerns.

My office has also received your emails, calls and messages regarding the tragic death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, the conduct of the police and our police budget. Thank you for your advocacy on this. Please see my website for more detailed comments. We must continue to do, and demand, better.

For those that have been waiting for this service, I am happy to share that residents can start scheduling curbside pick-up of their reserved materials from Toronto Public Libraries starting June 8. Currently 70 branches across the City are also accepting return of materials through drop boxes. More details on the curbside services can be found online.

The City of Toronto will begin to open some of its approximately 200 parks washrooms this week across the city following the Province of Ontario’s amendments to an order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.
The reopening will occur in two phases. The first phase will have roughly 50 washroom sites opening by June 6, followed by the remaining locations by mid-June.
In High Park, the Chess House & washroom (building #39) will be open. A list of locations washrooms and sanitation services are available on the City’s services webpage. Please read the guidelines on safely using public washrooms.
Due to COVID19 we will not be operating seasonal service on the 30 High Park route into High Park this year.

The City also announced a new quick-start program, CaféTO, that will make it easier for restaurant and bar owners to open patios, to expand them, and to access additional space for physical distancing and for that matter revenue generation during the summer months ahead. More information on this program will be available next week on toronto.ca/cafeto.

If you have any questions on any Ward 4 or City-related matters, please contact my office at councillor_perks@toronto.ca .

For the most updated information from the City, please visit toronto.ca/covid-19 .

Sincerely,

Gord

My comments regarding the conduct of the police and our police budget

Posted on June 4, 2020

Thank you for your emails, calls and messages regarding the tragic death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, the conduct of the police and our police budget.

The SIU investigation is underway.  I will be following the outcomes closely. Her family deserves answers, as do we all.

There are many who question the SIU process and demand reform.

In 2016, I, along with colleagues Councillor Layton and Councillor Wong-Tam, brought a motion to City Council calling for a review of the manner in which police services are provided within the City of Toronto with an anti-black racism and anti-racism lens, and for a review of the mandate, procedures and outcomes of the Special Investigations Unit with respect to the treatment of cases that involve victims from racialized communities.

At the same time, Gerry McNeilly, head of the Office of the Independent Police Review Director was advising a review of the Ontario Police Act for these same reasons,  as well as additional matters province wide.

An independent review led by Justice Tulloch followed in 2017 and resulted in 129 recommendations on ways to transform police oversight.

Unfortunately, while efforts were made to amend the Police Act to enact the bulk of the recommendations, once  elected, Doug Ford proposed legislation (COPS Act) which imposed time-limits on investigations, and a roll-back of efforts to promote independent investigations into public complaints. 

Anti-Black racism is real and pervasive in our City. As a society we must do, and demand, better. 

In the City of Toronto, that means our funding priorities must be centred on a robust system of social supports and services, including ongoing investments in Black and marginalized communities. No budgetary demand of the TPS should ever stand in the way of that system.

Finally, we must take action to invest our resources to address these inequities head-on. The City works to apply an equity lens on every budget decision it makes, which is a good first step, but more must be done and it starts with properly funding City services.

Gord

Join Progress Toronto in calling for a New Deal for Toronto

Posted on June 4, 2020

Progress Toronto has put together a petition urging the Federal and Provincial governments to provide immediate financial relief to cities and commit to a new deal, a new relationship, with our city to help us build a Toronto that works for everyone. https://www.progresstoronto.ca/petition-toronto-in-crisis

Just as so many Torontonians are struggling to pay rent and put food on the table, COVID-19 emergency spending alongside decades of under-funding has pushed City Hall to a financial breaking point and Mayor Tory is ringing the alarm.

If this isn’t solved quickly, the Mayor says he will have to make massive cuts and stop vital services. That means we will be facing increased fares, fees, and devastating losses to services like housing, transit, fire, community centres, libraries, and child care, right when we need these services most and possibly for the long term. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Take action and make your voice heard by signing this petition.

City invites public input on Recovery and Rebuild efforts

Posted on June 4, 2020

The City announced the launch of an outreach and consultation initiative to engage residents, communities and businesses, and to seek their perspectives on how the City can recover, rebuild and emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic even stronger.

Toronto’s recovery and rebuilding in the months to come will be guided by public health considerations and provincial decisions, but will also rely on residents, businesses and others sharing their unique insights on successfully restoring and rebuilding the City’s communities and social and economic infrastructure.

There are several ways to get involved:

  • download a discussion guide
  • provide feedback online or to TORR by June 30, or
  • host a meeting or discussion – sample agendas and resources available online.

More information about the City’s recovery and rebuild efforts, the online survey, and tips and resources to hold a meeting are available at toronto.ca/RecoveryRebuild.

Daily Migration Virtual Art Workshops: Call for Participation

Posted on June 4, 2020

The STEPS Initiative and visual artist Shalak Attack invite you to apply to be part of a unique virtual workshop series that explores the stories and experiences of newcomers in the Parkdale neighbourhood  of Toronto. Up to 20 Participants will have the opportunity to work directly with Shalak Attack, while connecting with others and developing art techniques in watercolour, collage and mixed media approaches. The workshops will culminate with each participant creating a final artwork that will be presented as part of a Daily Migration exhibition in August. Deadline to apply is June 12, 4pm ET.

The applications is available here!

STEPS Daily Migration Virtual Art Workshops_ Call for Participation

ActiveTO road closures this weekend

Posted on June 4, 2020

The City will close sections of three major roads this weekend, in total making more than 10 kilometres of roadway available for walking, running and biking, as part of ActiveTO. This weekend, the closure on Lake Shore Boulevard West will return and the Lake Shore Boulevard East closure will be extended east to Leslie Street.

ActiveTO provides residents with more space to physically distance while getting exercise outdoors, which helps stop the spread of COVID-19.

The following three major road closures are planned this weekend from Saturday, June 6 at 6 a.m. until Sunday, June 7 at 11 p.m.:

  • Lake Shore Boulevard West (eastbound lanes only) from Windermere Avenue to Stadium Road. As a result, the eastbound Gardiner Expressway off-ramp to Lake Shore Boulevard West (exit #146) will also be closed
  • Lake Shore Boulevard East (eastbound lanes only) from Leslie Street to just south of Woodbine Avenue (Kew Beach Avenue)
  • Bayview Avenue from Mill Street to Rosedale Valley Road, and River Street from Gerrard Street East to Bayview Avenue.

Vehicle access on these sections of major roads will be closed to provide people with greater space for walking, running and biking. The City will actively manage traffic during these closures through signal timing adjustments on adjacent routes, as well as roadway signage to alert drivers. Motorists who normally travel these roads on weekends should plan alternate routes. Those expecting to use the major road closures to walk, run or cycle should access them as a pedestrian or by bike, since nearby parking is limited and site parking is not provided.

These major road closures have been planned adjacent to City trails to make more space for people, alleviate weekend and holiday crowding, and ensure there is room to be physically active and support physical distancing. These closures will happen on a trial basis and staff will monitor nearby routes and adjust the closures as necessary.

Along with the major road closures, ActiveTO includes installation of Quiet Streets across the city. To date, a total of 50 kilometres of Quiet Street routes have been installed in 24 spots across the city, with more routes planned.

Quiet Streets are neighbourhood streets where traffic calming measures, such as signage and temporary barricades, are placed at intersections to encourage slow, local vehicle access only so that the roadway can be a shared space that also welcomes people who walk, run and bike. Parking and drop off areas are not impacted, and City services, such as waste collection and emergency access, continue as normal.

Toronto City Council has also approved the ActiveTO cycling network plan. This is the largest expansion of Toronto’s on-street bike network ever in one year and will include about 40 kilometres of new cycling routes for 2020. The cycling network will be expanded quickly through temporary installations by repurposing curb lanes along several key corridors. The first temporary bikeway is expected to be in place soon.

The ActiveTO program was developed by Toronto Public Health and Transportation Services to provide more space for people to be physically active and improve physical distancing as part of the City’s restart and recovery in the wake of COVID-19. At the April 30 Council meeting, staff were requested to look at more active transportation as a crucial part of the restart and recovery and in anticipation of changes in traffic patterns in the coming weeks and months.

While the City of Toronto remains focused on fighting COVID-19 and continuing to provide the essential and critical services that residents and businesses rely on, the City is also looking ahead to the restart and recovery period.

More information and details about ActiveTO are available at http://www.toronto.ca/activeTO

The CurbTO program continues to roll out to immediately address locations where there is sidewalk crowding and temporary parking concerns around businesses. More businesses are permitted to offer pick-up, take-out and delivery services and have created store access line-ups to maintain physical distancing requirements, as recommended by Toronto Public Health.

Details about CurbTO, including a new map, as well as links to the business application are at http://www.toronto.ca/curbTO

 

City working with large downtown employers to extend working from home efforts

Posted on June 4, 2020

City of Toronto and a number of the city’s other major downtown employers, as well as Toronto’s post-secondary institutions, will continue to support employees, where possible, to work from home until September at the earliest.

This effort is part of the work the City is doing to keep pressure off the TTC and Metrolinx as we move into the restart and recovery period, along with the ActiveTO plan to build up Toronto’s bike network and the strong recommendation for all people who travel on transit to wear a mask.

Telecommuting, and a commitment to phasing-in the return of employees to work and staggering start times where possible, will help businesses maintain physical distancing and reduce pressure on public transit as more businesses resume operations. The City of Toronto, as a major downtown employer, will also continue to prioritize working remotely and will encourage all staff who are able to continue to work from home as the city continues to deal with COVID-19.

The new Toronto Office of Recovery and Rebuild (TORR) has been reaching out to finance and insurance companies, universities and colleges, and other large employers to request that they return employees to the workplace in a safe and gradual way while adhering to public health guidelines. Finance and insurance employees account for approximately 12 per cent of all public transit commuters in Toronto – more than 57,000 use transit as their main mode of commuting. Over half of students at Toronto’s universities and colleges also commute by transit including to downtown campuses.

The City has received commitments from several major employers to support a gradual and proactive approach to reopening and to help the City work safely towards recovery and rebuilding:

  • Bank of Montreal
  • Canada Life
  • Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce
  • Centennial College
  • Deloitte Canada
  • EY Canada
  • George Brown College
  • Humber College
  • KPMG Canada
  • Manulife
  • National Bank
  • OCAD University
  • PwC Canada
  • Rogers Communications
  • Royal Bank of Canada
  • Ryerson University
  • Scotiabank
  • Seneca College
  • Sun Life Financial
  • TD Bank
  • University of Toronto
  • Yamana Gold Inc.
  • York University
  • Zurich Canada

The City is encouraging all large employers to adopt similar measures and to work with their facilities management to assess floor layouts and access to workplaces (such as use of elevators), determine how to safely meet with customers, adjust work shifts and business hours and review practices and procedures being implemented by other employers.

 

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