Ontario recorded 102 new COVID-19 cases yesterday, the lowest number in the last 16 weeks. Although numbers are up slightly today at 111, this is good news and more evidence that the measures we are taking are saving lives. Most of the new cases are found in Toronto, Peel Region, York Region and Windsor-Essex, which is why most of Ontario will be moving to Stage 3 of the province’s reopening plan, except these regions.
Last week, I had the privilege of hosting an Anti-Racism Town Hall with speakers MPP Laura Mae Lindo, Ontario’s Official Opposition Anti-Racism Critic, Amin Ali, a former student trustee with the Toronto District School Board, Danielle Morrison, a member of Anishinaabeg of Naongashiing and Sean Conway, Curve Lake First Nation Councillor and Indigenous Peoples’ Committee Co-Chair. Click this link to watch our discussion as we answered questions from a live audience submitted via chat, and we discussed how Ontarians can take part in the growing anti-racism movement.
Today, the federal government announced that it will be providing provinces and territories with more than $19 billion in funding with some of that money going to help municipalities that have been hard-hit by this pandemic. This is welcome news following my call along with fellow Toronto MPPs for more federal and provincial funding to help the City of Toronto manage increased costs that arose due to the COVID-19 pandemic. See “Federal News” below.
It is great to see that Ontario Place is being reopened as part of the City’s DriveInTO initiative that will allow for temporary drive-in entertainment experiences across Toronto this summer. The Art Gallery of Ontario will also reopen to the general public. See “Fun Things To Do” for more information.
All the best,
- Most of Ontario will move to Stage 3 of the province’s economic reopening on Friday, with businesses including bars, restaurants, movie theatres and gyms opening up. However, Toronto, York and Peel regions, Durham, Windsor-Essex, Haldimand-Norfolk and Lambton regions will remain in Stage 2.
- While Stage 3 of Ontario’s reopening guidelines will permit movie theatres in much of the province to open this Friday, Cineplex says it will not do so.
- The Official Opposition says Stage 3 should include support from the current government to help fund the costs of businesses’ reopening. They also called for more resources for public health. Problems with testing, contact tracing and isolation are holding some regions back – failing to fix these issues could cause Ontario to take one step forward and two steps back.
- As most regions of Ontario move to Stage 3 on Friday, Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy public health chief says going inside a bar to have a drink with friends remains a high-risk activity in the era of COVID-19. Njoo said any indoor space generally poses a higher risk for transmission than outside, because of relative lack of air circulation. In a bar, where people tend to sit close together, talk loudly, and stay for hours, there is definitely a “higher risk”.
- Ontario announced a new program to promote locally-made products, as the economy reopens. Meanwhile, critics say the current government’s ostensible COVID-19 recovery bill has little to do with the pandemic . The Official Opposition says the bill does nothing to help families, long-term care homes, small businesses, schools, day cares, First Nations and municipalities.
- The Ontario government introduced proposed legislation The Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 to enable the extension of some pandemic emergency orders over the next year. Premier Ford said the legislation would allow the government to extend or amend some emergency orders a month at a time, with the law itself expiring a year after it’s passed. He denied the Official Opposition accusations of government overreach during the COVID-19 crisis.
- The Ontario Council of Hospital Unions opposes the government’s push to extend its emergency powers, saying the emergency order in its current form tramples workplace rights by suspending collective bargaining. The union is planning a series of escalating political and legal actions, including brief work interruptions, in response to the province extending its emergency powers.
- The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) sent an open letter to all Ontario MPPs urging them to vote against the Premier’s COVID-19 recovery bill saying the proposed legislation poses “a significant threat to democratic oversight.”
Long-Term Care Update:
- The Ontario government announced a redesigned funding model that will lead to the building of additional, modern long-term care homes. Over the next five years, the government is investing $1.75 billion in long-term care homes. This is a move the Official Opposition says will potentially put more public dollars into the corporations that have already failed seniors.
- The Ontario government says it will require all new and newly renovated long-term care homes to have air conditioning, and establish a fund to help retrofit older homes. The Official Opposition says private long-term care homes should not receive public money for air conditioning, but should be forced to reinvest their massive profits.
- The Ministry of Long-Term Care published updated visitation guidelines for long-term care homes, including the removal of the requirement for visitors to attest they’ve taken a COVID-19 test within the previous two weeks. Family and friends will be allowed access to these settings beginning June 18. Indoor visits will resume next Wednesday, one week after the release of visitor guidelines. The guidelines should be enforced safely and consistently across homes, and the Official Opposition continues to press the government to invest in hiring more staff.
- Yesterday afternoon, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services Todd Smith posted updated visitor policies for residential care settings.
TDSB School Reopening Plan:
- The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) says it is preparing for new possibilities when school returns in September that may include no French classes and shortened school days. In a new planning document being considered by the board, the TDSB also says that accommodating some proposed plans for the fall could cost as much as $250 million. The TDSB is meeting today to hold preliminary discussions about what these scenarios could mean for the board and how much they might cost.
- The Official Opposition is putting forth an emergency action plan that would help kids return to class safely, five days a week, come fall. Education critic MPP Marit Stiles tabled a motion that includes hiring additional educators and upgrades to help schools with infection control.
Masks & Premier’s Tour:
- The Ontario government is providing Cambridge-based Eclipse Innovations Inc. with $1,408,475 from the Ontario Together Fund to scale up its operations to manufacture made-in-Ontario N95 masks. The announcement was made by the premier, together with Minister Fedeli, at the Eclipse Innovations facility in Cambridge, and marks the beginning of the premier's “summer tour” of the province that will include visits to 38 ridings in seven regions of Ontario.
Homelessness & Bill 184:
- The City of Toronto has issued an update on moving individuals who experience homelessness from encampments to safe inside spaces.
- The City of Toronto is supporting newcomers experiencing homelessness with an innovative new temporary program as part of the COVID-19 shelter response.
- Toronto Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) is organizing a rally and march against Bill 184 on Wednesday, July 22 at 1:00 p.m. starting at the south-east corner of Bay and College. ACORN members believe the bill attacks low and moderate income communities by speeding up evictions.
Ontario Energy Board & CEAP Funding:
- COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) is a program to support residential customers struggling to pay their energy bills because of the COVID-19 emergency. CEAP provides a one-time, on-bill credit to eligible residential electricity and natural gas customers to help them catch up on their energy bills and resume regular payments. As of July 13, 2020, customers can apply for funding through their electricity and natural gas utilities or unit sub-meter provider (USMP). CEAP funding is limited, and utilities and USMPs will process applications in the order in which they are received. Submitting an application does not guarantee funding. Full program details including eligibility criteria, on-bill credit amounts and application processes is available here.
- The Ontario government is recommending the appointment of a new leadership team at Ontario Energy Board (OEB) which includes Susanna Zagar as the OEB’s new Chief Executive Officer and Lynne Anderson as the OEB’s new Chief Commissioner. This new governance structure would come into effect upon proclamation of the amendments under Schedule 2 of the Fixing the Hydro Mess Act, 2019 in Fall 2020.
- Tarion Warranty Corporation is seeking feedback from stakeholders and the public on implementing recommendations they received from the Auditor General of Ontario. They are also seeking input on increasing the warranty compensation caps on claims related to environmentally harmful substances or hazards, septic systems and condominium common elements and providing compensation to homeowners in instances where they have to relocate while repairs are underway which arose from a warranted item. For information on the proposed improvements, please view the Q&A available here. Deadline to receive comments is August 24, 2020 through the Ontario Regulatory Registry or at [email protected]. The consultation discussion guide is available here.
- The Ontario government is launching consultations in an effort to improve elevator safety, performance, and availability in multi-storey buildings. The province is seeking input on proposed regulatory changes under the Technical Standards and Safety Act (TSSA), 2000. These new rules would help to ensure that elevators are well-maintained and meet updated safety requirements. The government is working with the TSSA to enhance elevator safety and availability, and help consumers, including those with accessibility needs to make more informed choices as homebuyers and renters. Ontarians can share their input online until August 4, 2020.
- Last week, Councillors Joe Cressy and Kristyn Wong-Tam requested that the Province rescind the provincial regulation overriding Toronto’s Construction Noise By-Law. The Garment District Neighbourhood Association (GDNA), along with 13 other downtown resident associations, asked that this regulation be rescinded. The expansion of hours has had a profound effect on residents. Already anxious about COVID-19, stressed about employment/income insecurities, and spending endless hours sheltering in place, this ongoing noise adds an additional stressor without any perceptible benefit. Click on this link to sign our petition.
- Mayor Tory announced that the City’s 119 community centres, including 29 which feature indoor pools, will reopen to the public on July 20. Amenities available for use include lounges, meeting and multipurpose rooms, computer labs, washrooms, lobbies, and indoor pools for drop-in leisure and lane swim.
- The City of Toronto has released an update on the financial impacts of COVID-19. City staff will be presenting the five-month variance report to the Executive Committee for consideration next week, about the experienced and anticipated financial impacts of COVID-19, including mitigation options. The report notes that the City anticipates a financial impact of $1.9 billion by the end of 2020. Mayor John Tory and Budget Chief Gary Crawford addressed the report on Tuesday morning, highlighting the $513.7 million in mitigation strategies the City is undertaking and stressing the need for emergency financial support for Toronto and other municipalities from the federal and provincial governments.
- The City launched DriveInTO which will allow for temporary drive-in entertainment experiences across Toronto this summer. From films to concerts to sports broadcasts, drive-in entertainment will offer an opportunity for Torontonians to re-engage with their city. DriveInTO locations include Ontario Place and CityView Drive-In at 20 Polson Pier.
- Summer camps across the city started on July 13 as part of the CampTO initiative. CampTO programs will meet health guidelines designed in consultation with Toronto Public Health and in alignment with provincial health guidelines. Guidelines include lower ratios of campers and capacity, physical distancing, mandatory health screening, and enhanced facility cleaning.
- The Toronto Board of Health approved recommendations calling on the Ministry of Health to conduct proactive mobile testing in high-incidence neighbourhoods and for people in high-risk occupations, and asked the province to work with the municipal and federal governments to support voluntary accommodation options in Toronto for people who test positive for the virus but are unable to isolate at home. The letter also asks the Ontario government to work with Toronto to share data on COVID-19 cases, and collaborate to identify which workplaces put employees at elevated risk and what additional protections should be in place for workers in the sales and service, trades and transportation, and manufacturing sectors, which have the highest rates of COVID-19 cases.
- The City of Toronto invites you to attend the Community Safety and Wellbeing Unit’s 5th Annual Community Safety Forum. This year's theme is: Transformative Healing and Recovery. The Forum will occur virtually and be delivered through a variety of online sessions, panel discussions, and workshops. Sessions will occur every Friday from 10:00-11:30 a.m. for the next five weeks. To attend, please register by accessing the following Eventbrite link: virtualsafetyforum.eventbrite.ca
- The Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) has submitted formal input to all levels of government on options for economic recovery initiatives. While TRREB has set out a list of specific policy options, its key message is to use caution in implementing demand-side real estate market stimulus.
- Today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced an agreement with provinces that the federal government will contribute $19 billion in an effort to restart the economy. The money is to help cities hit with soaring expenses and plunging revenues, fund child care, increase contact tracing, and buy personal protective equipment. Municipalities will receive funding for operational costs including transit.
- Trudeau also confirmed that an agreement has been reached to prevent non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border and will be extended by a further 30 days until August 21.
- According to the Canada Border Services Agency, more than 10,000 U.S. citizens have been turned away at the Canadian border during the pandemic — and almost half of them were hoping to enter Canada to shop, go sightseeing or simply for recreation.
- In the span of one week, there have been positive COVID-19 cases confirmed in travellers aboard at least 20 different flights that have either arrived in or departed from Toronto. According to data provided by the federal government, eight of those flights were domestic while the rest were international flights coming into the city from the United States, Mexico, Ethiopia, Germany, Pakistan and Switzerland.
- Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy public health chief, said he was “encouraged” by the first trial of a vaccine in Canada, after Quebec City biopharmaceutical company Medicago began clinical trials on humans on Monday for a plant-derived COVID-19 vaccine, but urged Canadians to consider 2021 as a realistic timeline for the deployment of any effective COVID-19 vaccine.
- Former Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott announced on Twitter yesterday evening that the new Ontario Health Data Platform website is now live, saying “It will expand the breadth, scale & timeliness of research using integrated health data. It will enable advanced research methods & high-performance computing to help combat COVID19 & promote health.”
- The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship has announced additional measures to support international students beginning a new program online this fall with a Canadian learning institution, if their institution is offering the program online, so that they can pursue their education while ensuring everyone’s safety.
Construction & Road Closures:
To advance the Ontario Line project, Metrolinx will be evaluating the underground conditions of the area where the subway will be built. On Queen Street West near University Avenue and Spadina Avenue, work is scheduled to start July 16 between 9:00 pm and 5:00 am, Sunday to Friday, for up to three weeks. What to expect:
- Some lane closures will be required in these areas.
- Work equipment may be left on-site until work is completed.
- Noise caused by a drill rig, trucks and other construction equipment related to this work.
- For more information, sign up for the newsletter at metrolinx.com/OntarioLine, email [email protected] or call 416-202-5100.
GO Expansion construction along the Lakeshore West corridor will continue July 11th to July 18th. This work will take place overnight from 8:00 pm to 5:00 am. What to expect:
- Cable containment from Spadina to York Streets.
This work can be disruptive to nearby residents who can expect noise in the area caused by construction equipment. If you have any questions, call: 416-202-6911 or email [email protected].
The City of Toronto is planning to deliver a number of construction projects on Bathurst Street between Fort York Boulevard and Dundas Street West in 2020. The projects include:
- Bridge rehabilitation between Fort York Boulevard and Front Street West (May to December 2020)
- Watermain replacement between Front Street West and Queen Street West (June to November 2020)
- TTC track replacement between Wolseley Street and Dundas Street West (September to October 2020)
Due to the nature of the work taking place on the bridge, Bathurst Street will be CLOSED to ALL vehicles between Front Street West and Fort York Boulevard. This closure will take place from mid-May to December 2020.
Fun Things To Do
- Art in the Park: Local arts organization, Jamii, invites you to create portraits of friends and loved ones in a park setting. Portrait creation sessions will be held from 3:00 - 6:00 pm followed by live musical performances on Friday, July 17 at Crombie Park (Princess and The Esplanade) and Saturday, July 18 at St. James Park (by the playground).
- Art Gallery of Ontario: The AGO will reopen to the public and you can now start booking single tickets for visits starting July 23. New hours are Thursdays to Sundays from 10:30 am to 5:00 pm. Everyone over the age of four entering the museum will be required to wear a face mask and only a limited number of tickets will be available for each 30-minute timeslot. Physical distancing measures will also be in effect.
- CityView Drive-In: CityView is an entirely contactless experience in the parking lot at 20 Polson Street. From the safety of your own vehicle, capture world class talent on a massive 238-foot stage with the Toronto skyline in the background.
- Curbside Collective BBQ Series: Curbside Collective will be hosting a mini farmers market from 9:00 am - 12:00 pm and street food pop-up from 1:00 pm - 6:00 pm. Saturdays at 852 King St. W.
- Food Truck’N Weekend: Come join 9 amazing food trucks in front of the Liberty Grand, 25 British Columbia Rd. on Saturday and Sunday from 3:00 - 9:00 pm for Toronto’s only socially-distanced food truck event. Admission is free.
- Hot Yoga & Fitness in a Bubble: Lmnts Outdoor Studio presents this pop-up at Hotel X Toronto, 111 Princes’ Blvd. Open 7 days a week, the experience will take place in 50 outdoor private, clear, frameless domes, allowing for a personal and relaxing experience – all while maintaining a safe social distance.
- Kensington Flea & Artisan Market: This mainstay of Toronto’s outdoor summer markets, Kensington Flea is back on Saturdays and Sundays 11:00 am - 7:00 pm. 216 Augusta Ave.
- Ontario Place Drive-In: Enjoy great comedy, live music and feature films on a 60-foot screen in a safe and family-friendly setting at the water’s edge of Ontario Place. Presented by Toronto Shines. 955 Lake Shore Blvd. W.
- The University of Toronto Trash Team has teamed up with Cafeteria Culture for a free viewing of their award-winning documentary, Microplastic Madness, featuring a story of fifth graders in Brooklyn who led a plastic-free movement in their community. This event includes a link to view the documentary and join the community conversation. Before joining the community conversation, you will receive access to a private and timed link to view the movie from the comfort of your home, at any of the following times. Register here.
CALL TO LOCAL ARTISTS! Social distancing measures during this pandemic have caused increased levels of isolation from friends and family for seniors in long-term care homes. The Canadian Art in Isolation Project is a community art initiative that connects local artists with seniors in publicly funded long-term care homes through original artworks. They are currently accepting artwork for residents of care homes in Oakville, Kingston and Ottawa. Our riding is home to a wealth of artists! If you or an artist you know would like to donate a ready-to-hang piece, please visit the website or email [email protected].
Facts and Figures
As of 4:00 pm July 14:
Wednesday July 15
102 – 0.3% increase
Tests completed in the previous 24 hours
Backlog – waiting to be processed
Total tests completed
- Hospitalized: 115 (-22)
- ICU: 31 (+1)
- Ventilated: 22 (+1)
Chief Medical Officer of Health:
- 53.0% of cases are female
- 34.8% are aged 60+
- 6,265 (+41) healthcare workers total have tested positive (16.9% of total cases)
Congregate Settings Summary:
Long Term Care Homes
- Retirement Homes: 15 (=) active outbreaks, and 155 (=) outbreaks in total
- Hospitals: 5 (=) active outbreaks, and 95 (=) outbreaks in total