City Manager’s Report, Towards Recovery and Building a Renewed Toronto, to go to Executive Committee October 21

On October 21, a report from Toronto City Manager Chris Murray will go before the City’s Executive Committee. The report outlines the City Manager’s recommendations to best position Toronto for recovery from COVID-19 and its profound health, economic, equity, social and financial impacts on the city.

The report is one in a series of reports to Toronto City Council that outlines actions the City of Toronto has and will undertake to address the challenges of the pandemic, key accomplishments, findings from other jurisdictions, insights from engagements and research, and advice to Council on how the City should move towards recovery and prosperity, amidst this evolving emergency.

The report emphasizes that the City’s continued collaboration with other orders of government to effectively apply taxpayer resources and create the greatest positive impact on shared recovery goals with clear outcomes is essential to recovery. An integrated response to issues, including addressing the social determinants of health, and exploring partnerships with community agencies, academia and the private sector, is also key.

The report offers a path forward towards Toronto’s recovery that includes what the City has learned since the start of the pandemic, with insights from the Toronto Office of Recovery & Rebuild, public health data and advice, engagement findings, financial pressures and sustainability, impacts on equity, intergovernmental relationships, partnerships with the non-profit, private and academic sectors and existing plans, strategies and Council directives.

The Toronto Office of Recovery & Rebuild (TORR) has produced the COVID-19: Impacts and Opportunities report (appended to the City Manager’s report). The COVID-19: Impacts and Opportunities report outlines the results of TORR’s work and provides recommendations to the City Manager to support the recovery and rebuild of Toronto communities, organizations, partners and businesses.

TORR was established in April to coordinate a city-wide approach for recovering and rebuilding from COVID-19, informed by public health advice and best practices. The office was led by Mr. Saäd Rafi as Chief Recovery and Rebuild Officer, supported by a public health strategy led by Dr. David Mowat.

Throughout the spring and summer, TORR undertook a broad engagement of stakeholders, residents, communities, businesses, Indigenous communities and City Council members on what is needed to recover and rebuild. TORR also leveraged the subject matter, service and operational expertise from City divisions, agencies and partners.

The resulting COVID-19: Impacts and Opportunities report from TORR is divided into inter-connected themes including: public health considerations and actions, critical City services; climate change and resilience; equity, vulnerable communities and partnerships; government and financial renewal; business; culture; and inspire Toronto.

The COVID-19: Impacts and Opportunities report, as well as data from Toronto Public Health, demonstrates the disproportionate impacts COVID-19 has had on racialized and other equity-seeking communities and the deepening concerns arising from inequalities across residents, neighbourhoods and communities. The City Manager’s report emphasizes the need for disaggregated data to inform decision-making while calling for strengthening of the City’s equity and reconciliation infrastructure to ensure this divide closes and is not deepened.

The City Manager’s report outlines how the City will continue to take action towards recovery and building a renewed Toronto in the face of unprecedented financial pressures by making difficult decisions about costs, services, service levels, capital projects, and placing staff on emergency leave, among others. It recommends continued evaluation of which services are delivered and how they are delivered, as well as continued partnerships with other governments, community, academic and business partners, while simultaneously funding the services that will be critical to public health, economic growth, and improving equity.

The report from the City Manager to the City’s Executive Committee is available online.