A Message from Gord – May 14, 2020

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 .

Gord