Government of Ontario

Chris Glover

MPP, Spadina–Fort York

Stay in the loop

Latest Update

Published on January 20, 2023

Dear Neighbours,

Happy Lunar New Year to everyone!

This weekend, January 21-22, Chinatown is hosting its annual Lunar New Year celebration. If you’ve never been, it’s definitely worth the trip to Spadina Avenue – music, lion dances, fortune telling, mahjong competition and, of course, delicious food.

For a listing of Lunar New Year events, check out our Fun Things to Do!

At the new year gala hosted by Simon Zhong and the Toronto Community and Culture Centre

Thanks to everyone who joined me at The Bentway for the Skate with Chris event last Friday! It was wonderful to see so many families come out and enjoy an afternoon of skating and hot chocolate. It was especially nice to see so many children trying skating for the first time. The Bentway is offering newcomer skate lessons as well as a host of other activities as part of its First Winter programming. Check for details here

  

Enjoying an afternoon at The Bentway for my Skate with Chris event last Friday

This week the government acknowledged that they intend to privatize our public health care system starting with expanding surgeries in private-for-profit clinics. For years, health care funding has not kept pace with inflation due to an aging population and growing health care costs. The Auditor General has been pointing out for years that Ontario hospitals often have empty hospital beds and operating rooms not functioning at capacity because of underfunding. The Ontario Health Coalition argues that Ontario has the lowest number of hospital beds per capita. 

If health care is an issue of concern for you, please join me on Wednesday, January, 25 at 7:00 pm for our Fighting Health Care Privatization Town Hall. Register here.

Harbourfront has announced that it will not be reopening its iconic skating rink on the lake. This is a loss for our community and for waterfront tourism. I’m investigating to see if there is a way to revive what was the world’s largest outdoor artificial skating rink.

So many people, businesses and organizations work hard to build our community and support our residents. If you know of someone that should be recognized, please nominate them for a Community Recognition Award so we can acknowledge their contributions to our community. Nominate someone today!

I’m looking for more ways to reach more people in the community. If you have an issue you’d like to discuss, or just want to stop by to say hello, please join me for Coffee with Chris at The Roasted Nut on Friday, February 10, 8-10 am. Sign up here.

Stay well,


Latest News

Community Recognition Nominations Open

It’s time to recognize and thank individuals and groups for their outstanding efforts in our community.

This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the amazing things that people are doing to help others and that make the Spadina-Fort York riding such an incredible place to live.

Nominations are for the following categories: 

  • COVID Hero
  • Community Leader
  • Business Leader
  • Youth Leader
  • Arts & Culture Leader
  • Indigenous Leader
  • Disability Advocate
  • Seniors Advocate
  • Environment Advocate

Nominate someone today by clicking here!

Deadline for nominations is Tuesday, January 31, 2023.

Coffee with Chris

Do you have an issue that you would like to discuss? Join me Friday, February 10, 8-10 am to share your concerns, or just drop by to say hello. Sign up here.

Fighting Health Care Privatization Town Hall 

Please join me on Wednesday, January 25 at 7:00 pm for this discussion on the government’s plans to expand surgeries in private-for-profit clinics. Joining me are representatives from the Ontario Nurses’ Association and the Ontario Health Coalition to give their perspectives and take your questions. Register here.

My NDP colleagues and I will use every tool available to protect our publicly funded health care system. Sign my petition here.

I want to hear your story. Have you paid for any health care services at a private clinic? Please share your story here.

Ontario Announces Plan to Expand Private Clinics

Despite opposition from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario and five major health care unions, Health Minister Sylvia Jones and Premier Doug Ford announced that they will be expanding surgeries in privately run clinics. The three-step plan includes:

Step 1 – Surgical and diagnostic centres in Windsor, Kitchener-Waterloo and Ottawa will perform 14,000 additional cataract surgeries each year.

Step 2 – More private clinics will be able to offer MRI and CT imaging, as well as colonoscopies and endoscopies, for non-urgent, low-risk and minimally invasive procedures.

Step 3 – Starting in 2024, hip and knee replacements can be performed at for-profit clinics.

Funding surgeries in private, for-profit clinics is just another step toward a two-tiered health care system in the province. This plan will inevitably see people paying out of pocket for non-OHIP covered services and face longer wait times in our hospitals, driving more health care workers from our public system.

On Thursday, there was another announcement that Ontario will allow health care workers registered in other provinces to start working here right away. But health care workers across Canada are well aware that Ontario has a health care staffing crisis, and they know Bill 124 is making things worse. Unless we enable competitive compensation here in Ontario, nurses will not come here. 

My NDP colleagues and I will use every tool available to protect our publicly funded health care system. Sign my petition here.

I want to hear your story. Have you paid for any health care services at a private clinic? Please share your story here.

Greenbelt Plan Investigated by Integrity Commissioner & Auditor General

As a result of complaints filed by incoming NDP Leader Marit Stiles, both the Auditor General and Integrity Commissioner of Ontario will be opening investigations into the government’s Greenbelt actions.

A letter was sent to Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk asking for a value-for-money audit and an assessment of the financial and environmental impacts of removing land from the Greenbelt. Approximately 4,500 acres formerly belonged to Duffins Rouge Agricultural Preserve that had easements protecting the land as farmland.

The province maintains that the move was made to build more affordable homes. But prominent developers bought up the land as recently as September – land that had not yet been slated for development.

The Office of the Integrity Commissioner also released a report that determined there was sufficient supporting material provided to conduct an inquiry as to whether Minister Steve Clark contravened sections 2 and 3 of the Members’ Integrity Act with respect to the decision to allow development on lands in the Greenbelt and Duffins Rouge Agricultural Preserve.

MPP Stiles commented: “I am relieved to see that this matter is being treated with the seriousness that it deserves and pleased to see this response from the Integrity Commissioner and the Auditor General. Ontarians are owed answers about the Greenbelt, and I am confident that today is a step in the right direction to understanding what happened. I am hopeful that Ontarians will be able to get answers in a thorough, timely manner because of these investigations.”

2023 Ontario Pre-Budget Consultations

The Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs is now accepting requests to appear in pre-budget consultations. If you are able to travel, consider applying for a hearing outside of Toronto and Ottawa. This will give you a better chance at securing a spot. Sign up here.

Deadline for written submissions is Tuesday, February 14 at 7:00 pm.

5 Actions to Fight for Ontario Place

This will be a pivotal year that determines the fate of Ontario Place. Ontario Place for All has released Five Actions to Fight for Ontario Place:

I am working with Ontario Place for All to ensure we do everything possible to protect Ontario Place and call on the government to be transparent with their redevelopment plans.

Canada Housing Benefit for Low-Income Renters

As part of the federal NDP-Liberal deal, the Canada Housing Benefit has been rolled out as a one-time, tax-free payment of $500 for low-income renters. Renters can get this benefit even if they do not receive the Canada-Ontario Housing Benefit or another housing subsidy.

This benefit does not affect other federal benefits such as the GST Credit, Canada Child Benefit, and the Guaranteed Income Supplement. The Ontario government has not yet confirmed whether the top-up will affect provincial benefits like Ontario Works, the Ontario Disability Support Program, or the Ontario Trillium Benefit.

Applications are now open until March 31, 2023. Click here for details on eligibility and how to apply. 

Harbourfront Rink Permanently Closed

Toronto will certainly miss its iconic Harbourfront rink which has been permanently closed. This is to make way for a new revitalization that includes a new plaza, updates to the main building and to the outdoor concert stage.

Harbourfront Centre says that while the permanent skating rink will no longer exist there will be temporary skating opportunities within the new space in future winter seasons. Construction is set to be completed by this summer. I will be meeting with the Harbourfront team to find out if there is a way to revive this Toronto landmark.

2023 City of Toronto Budget

The 2023 City Budget was officially launched on January 10, 2023. Read the full budget here. Written comments can be submitted to [email protected].

Key items in this year’s budget include:

Police: The 2022 operating budget was $1.1 billion, mainly for salaries and benefits. There will be a $48.3 million increase allocated for hiring 200 more officers, 90 special constables and 20 more 911 operators. The increase is said to be required for a growing city. Advocates and some City councillors have argued that the investment should be put toward other frontline social services, such as mental health crisis workers.

Property Taxes: Homeowners will see an increase of 5.5%, plus a 1.5% levy increase for long-term transit and housing, increasing the bill for the average homeowner this year by $233.

Public Health: Due to lack of funding from senior levels of government, 8 public health programs will be removed from the Toronto Public Health budget including programs to address the opioid poisoning crisis.

Transit: The $2.38 billion proposed budget includes an increase of $50 million from the City and new revenue from a 10 cent fare hike, along with a 5% cut to services, including longer waits for subways during some off-peak times. Ridership is expected to be at 75% of pre-pandemic levels at the end of the year. The TTC hopes the federal and provincial governments will fill the $366 million funding hole, plus the $125 million from last year due to COVID-related impacts.

$5.4 Million in Grants for BIAs and Non-Profits

The City of Toronto and funding partners FedDev Ontario and Metrolinx announced $5.4 million in funding for businesses. Unfortunately, these grants are not open directly to small businesses. The Business Improvement Area (BIA) would have to apply on behalf of the small businesses they represent and the funding be used to benefit the affected area.

Applications are now open for the following grants:

Main Street Innovation Fund

  • Funding from $25,000 to $100,000
  • This program offers funding for BIAs and not-for-profit organizations to test innovative and creative solutions to local challenges and share their findings and results with others. Deadline for applications is Thursday, March 16.

Commercial Space Rehabilitation Grant Program

  • Grants of up to $24,000
  • This program offers matching funding of 50% to commercial business operators and owners of vacant storefronts (or, in certain limited circumstances, at risk of becoming vacant) to undertake interior improvements, assisting businesses to re-lease space impacted by COVID-19. Improvements to meet health regulations and Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) compliance are also included.
  • The maximum grant available is $20,000. Further funding of up to $4,000, for a maximum grant of $24,000, is available for upgrades to meet accessibility standards. Deadline for applications is Tuesday, February 28 or until funds are fully expended, whichever comes first.

Transit Expansion Construction Mitigation Grant Program

  • Grants of up to $50,000
  • In partnership with FedDev Ontario and Metrolinx, the City has launched this program for BIAs, non-profit organizations and charities demonstrating a strong local business involvement. This grant will provide funding for community-driven projects that address the unintended effects that transit construction can have on local businesses.
  • These grants can be used for various initiatives, such as business engagement, area marketing and branding, creative event activations, research and needs assessment and beautification. Deadline for applications is Thursday, March 2 or until funds are fully expended, whichever comes first.

Toronto Vacant Home Tax

You may have recently received a notice in the mail from the City of Toronto asking you to declare the status of your property. This is regarding Toronto’s new annual tax that will be placed on vacant Toronto residences beginning in 2023. Details available here.

A property is considered vacant if it was not used as the principal residence by the owner(s) or any permitted occupant(s), or was unoccupied for a total of 6 months or more during the previous calendar year. Properties may also be deemed (or considered to be) vacant if an owner fails to make a declaration of occupancy status as outlined in the bylaw.

The goal of the Vacant Home Tax is to increase the supply of housing by discouraging owners from leaving their residential properties unoccupied. Homeowners who choose to keep their properties vacant will be subject to this tax. Revenues collected from the Vacant Home Tax will be allocated towards affordable housing initiatives.

Declarations are due February 2, 2023. Submit your declaration here.

Hotel Victoria Shelter to Close in February

On February 28, 2023, the City of Toronto will be shutting down another emergency shelter operating out of Hotel Victoria at 76 Yonge Street. The property owner has confirmed their intention to resume hotel operations.

Dixon Hall, which operates the shelter service, says they will be working with the city to devote significant resources to achieving successful transitions and housing outcomes for the residents living at the shelter. This is the second hotel shelter that has shut down during the winter months – Novotel shut its doors in December. 

With the city’s decision to also limit the opening of its warming centres, there have been several deaths since December. Toronto’s Board of Health has urged the city to keep its warming centres open 24/7 for the remainder of the winter season.

On January 10, I attended and spoke at the Homeless Memorial at Trinity Square. Homeless deaths have soared to 4.3 deaths per week, or roughly one person every 39 hours. Ontario needs to address the homelessness crisis now. Sign my petition here.

Under Gardiner Public Realm Plan Open House

Join The Bentway and the City of Toronto for a drop-in Open House to learn about the latest ideas for the land under the Gardiner Expressway. Taking place Tuesdays from January 17 to February 7 at The Bentway Studio, 55 Fort York Blvd. RSVP here.

Waterfront Toronto Confirms Quayside Development

Waterfront Toronto has approved the agreement with Dream Unlimited Corp. and Great Gulf Group, known as Quayside Impact Limited Partnership. The development of the 12-acre site at Parliament and Queens Quay is said to be Canada’s largest all-electric, zero-carbon community and will include: 

  • 800+ affordable housing units, with more than half the units being 2+ bedroom
  • Affordable housing units built in each phase of the development 
  • 3.5 acres of public space, including a car-free green space from Parliament Street to Bonnycastle Street, that will connect projects further west towards Jarvis Street
  • Innovative low-carbon development, including Canada’s largest tall-timber structure

MPP Scrolls for Special Occasions

Turning 30, 40, 80, 90 or 100? Celebrate a significant birthday with a certificate from my office.

Is there a new addition to your family? Send the name of your baby, the parents’ names and other relevant information and we’ll send a “Welcome to the World” certificate to celebrate this special event.


Chris in the House

Below are some of my recent statements at Queen’s Park:

Bill 39: Red Tape Reduction and Democracy

  • Is it not possible to build housing while still respecting the outcomes of our recent municipal elections? Watch my question here.

Debate on Bill 26: Misogyny in Post-Secondary Institutions

  • Statistics show that 1 in 5 women have experienced sexual assault on campuses. It’s a difficult discussion we need to have to raise awareness so we can change the culture. Watch my statement here.

The Impact of Interest Hikes on Student Loans

  • Ontario students have the highest debt rate and the lowest per-student funding in the country. We need to eliminate interest on student debt. Watch my question here.

Double ODSP Rates & Improve the Homelessness Crisis

  • CTV recently reported that at least two Ontarians with disabilities are choosing to die through Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) because they could not pay for housing that would reduce their suffering from their disability. Current monthly ODSP payments are 47.5 per cent short of the municipal poverty line in Toronto and 30 per cent below the province's poverty line. It is not possible to survive on these amounts in Ontario and many on ODSP are ending up homeless. I asked the Ford government to double ODSP rates. Watch my statement here.

Affordable Housing

  • Rents in Toronto rose 14.5% in 2021. Those in non-rent-controlled buildings are facing rent increases of $500/month. To say that housing under the Ford government is unaffordable is a huge understatement. Watch my statement here.

Environment

  • In January, my daughter gave birth to a beautiful baby boy! Becoming a grandparent has further put into perspective how urgently we need to act on the climate crisis so future generations can have a sustainable world to live in. Watch my statement here.

Ukraine

  • We need to do everything we can to support the people of Ukraine in these incredibly difficult times. Watch my statement here.