AstraZeneca Vaccine for People 40+
- The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine will be offered to individuals 40 years old and over in pharmacies and primary care settings starting on Tuesday, April 20. Despite the two cases in Canada of reported blood clots in younger people, Health Canada maintains that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh the risks of getting COVID-19. The agency has approved the use of the vaccine for those 18 years old and over. No word yet as to when AstraZeneca will be made available to those 18+ in Ontario.
COVID-19 Restrictions Update
The Premier announced that the stay-at-home order will be extended for another two weeks and will now remain in effect until at least May 20. People should limit their trips outside of the home to permitted purposes only, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, medical appointments, outdoor exercise, or for work that cannot be done remotely.
New restrictions are effective Saturday, April 17, 2021 at 12:01 am. Government orders include:
- Outdoor social gatherings and organized public events are prohibited, except with members of the same household or one other person from outside that household who lives alone, or a caregiver for any member of the household.
- All non-essential construction will be closed, including construction at shopping malls, hotels, and office towers.
- Reduced capacity limits to 25% in all retail settings where in-store shopping is permitted. This includes supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, indoor farmers' markets, other stores that primarily sell food and pharmacies.
- All outdoor recreational amenities, such as golf courses, basketball courts, soccer fields, and playgrounds with limited exceptions will be closed.
- Police officers and other provincial offences officers will have the authority to require any individual to provide their home address and purpose for not being at their residence and the reason for leaving their home; police will have the ability to stop vehicles to inquire about and reason for people leaving their homes; possible fines of minimum $750.
Effective Monday, April 19 at 12:01 am:
- Checkpoints at interprovincial borders and incoming travellers not meeting a list of prescribed exceptions will be turned back; travellers coming into Ontario for work, medical care, transportation of goods and exercising indigenous treaty rights will be exempted.
- Capacity of weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites or ceremonies to 10 people indoors or outdoors.
- Social gatherings associated with these services such as receptions are prohibited, except for with members of the same household or one other person from outside that household who lives alone.
- Drive-in services will be permitted.
All other public health and workplace safety measures for non-essential retail under the provincewide emergency brake (i.e., curbside pick-up and delivery only), will continue to apply.
- The Ontario government announced it will be dedicating 25% of future vaccine allocations to the 13 public health regions in “hot spot” areas with historic and ongoing high rates of death, hospitalization and COVID-19 transmission. Several postal code hotspots are in the Spadina-Fort York riding. There has also been concern about how COVID-19 postal code hotspots were selected as some postal codes with below average COVID-19 cases had higher rates of vaccine delivery.
- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the federal government is “standing by” to deploy the Canadian Red Cross to help with Ontario’s vaccination efforts and the mobile vaccination teams. Canada will also receive an additional four million doses of the Pfizer vaccine in May, followed by a batch of two million in June and two million in July. At the same time, Canada is expected to get only 650,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine instead of the more than 1.2 million doses that was promised after multiple delays. No mention was made as to how the new doses will be allocated.
Child Care for Frontline Workers and Child Benefit
- The Ontario government announced it will provide eligible health care and other frontline workers with free emergency child care for school-aged children, starting Monday, April 19, 2021. The announcement was made following the province’s decision to move elementary and secondary students across the province to remote learning following the April spring break. Eligible parents and guardians with a school-aged child or children looking to access an emergency child care program should contact their local service system manager for information on availability, program locations and registration. Childcare workers have also been concerned that they were not prioritized while the Government moved educators up the list. While schools moved to remote learning, daycare operations have not changed, with many childcare workers commuting and interacting with kids every day. The NDP and I believe childcare workers should be prioritized during the vaccine rollout and we will continue to advocate for at-risk groups.
- The Ontario COVID-19 Child Benefit provides financial support to families with young learners to help with additional costs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Starting on April 26, the following payments will be issued:
- $400 for each child or youth up to Grade 12
- $500 for each child or youth up to age 21 with special needs
If you received a payment through the Support for Learners program, you do not need to apply for this additional payment.
If you missed applying for the Support for Learners program, you will have the opportunity to apply. Applications will open from May 3, 2021 to May 17, 2021.
Supportive Housing at 222 Spadina Avenue
The City of Toronto has purchased three floors in the building at 222 Spadina Avenue (formerly the Super 8 Hotel) to provide new homes for approximately 84 people and support their health and well‑being. The new apartments will be:
- Dedicated to women, Indigenous residents, seniors, people with disabilities and people who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness
- Studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments with a bathroom and a kitchen
More information on these new homes is available here.
To provide feedback or questions, contact the Community Liaison at 437-684-5857 or email [email protected].
- The Toronto Transit Commission announced that customers who use the Rocket Man or Transit mobile apps will be able to see real-time passenger counts on TTC buses. Despite measures to reduce the number of passengers on TTC vehicles, many transit riders have expressed concerns about overcrowding on TTC vehicles amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The new partnership will allow customers to better plan their trips around the city. “You’ll be able to see the volume of passengers on vehicles approaching your stop to help you choose which vehicle you’re most comfortable boarding,” the TTC said in a news release. The TTC says the vast majority of buses, about 1,966 of the service's 2,000 vehicles, are equipped with Automatic Passenger Counting (APC) devices that use infrared light at doors to determine how many people board and exit a bus.
New GO Bus Station Open
- A new GO bus station has opened inside the first phase of the CIBC Square on Bay Street. across from Union Station. This ambitious development will have two office towers with a distinctive glass diamond pattern, rising 49 and 50 storeys. Connecting the two will be an elevated park across the railroad tracks. This station replaces the one just south of Front Street. Buses now enter from the Gardiner Expressway via Lakeshore Boulevard and passengers use the entrance on the north side of Lakeshore between Bay Street and Yonge Street.
Toronto Port Authority
- Our office has become aware that the Toronto Port Authority (PortsToronto) is seeking private sector capital and operators to solve its financial difficulties. The Toronto Port Authority has been selling off public assets in recent years in a bid to restructure their finances. The land around their head office has been transacted and rezoned to acquire capital and operating funds, and assets at the airport itself have also been sold as part of this restructuring. We will keep you updated on any information we receive on this and the impact it will have on the airport, the surrounding neighbourhood and waterfront. More information is available here.
Statistics Canada Surveys in the Provinces
- Several household surveys are now being conducted on a range of important topics, such as employment, household spending, mental health, and soon—the 2021 Census. Strong participation rates will allow us to produce high-quality data related to health, the labour market, spending patterns, and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
You may be selected and are encouraged to participate in the following surveys:
- COVID-19 Vaccination Coverage Survey
- Labour Force Survey
- Survey on COVID-19 and Mental Health
- Survey of Household Spending
- 2021 Census of Population
There are several ways to verify that a survey is being conducted by Statistics Canada:
- by looking up the name of the survey in the list of surveys in collection
- by contacting Statistics Canada:
Toll-free: 1-800-263-1136 or TTY: 1-800-363-7629
Email: [email protected]
Workshops and Open Houses
Ontario Line Virtual Open Houses: Downtown and West Segments
- Metrolinx is hosting virtual public open houses for the Downtown and West Segments of the Ontario Line.
Downtown Segment: (Osgoode, Queen, Moss Park and Corktown stations)
Monday, April 26, 6:30 pm Learn more and register here.
West Segment: (Exhibition, King-Bathurst and Queen-Spadina stations)
Thursday, April 29, 6:30 pm Learn more and register here.
Tenant Information Session and Workshop
- Toronto ACORN is presenting these virtual sessions for tenants:
Tenants’ Rights Information Session
Saturday, April 24, 2:00 pm Register here: bit.ly/TenantsRightsInfoSessions
Resist Renovictions Workshop
Monday, April 26, 6:00 pm Register here: bit.ly/ResistRenovictionsWorkshop
For more information email [email protected] or call 416-461-9233.
Mental Health Research Canada Webinars
- Topic: Using a free, online literary curriculum based on Harry Potter to teach coping skills and resilience to middle schoolers
Thursday, April 29, 3:00 pm Register here
Check out www.mhrc.ca/webinar-series for details on future webinars
Webinars for Small Business
- Ask the Expert: Marketing & Sales
Friday, April 16, 9:30 am – 12:30 pm Register here
Marketing your business has never been as important as it is today. This webinar will show you how to successfully market your product or service using easy and affordable sales and marketing tactics.
- B Corp 101 Workshop: Learning to Measure What Matters
Tuesday, April 20, 10 am – 12 pm Register here
Learn how to measure your company’s current impact in the areas of governance, employee relations, community and the environment, and then use these results to guide you forward as a social entrepreneur.
Grants and Programs
Community Building Fund for Non-Profits and Indigenous Communities
- The Ontario government is providing funding to non-profits and Indigenous communities in the community arts and culture, heritage, tourism, sport and recreation sectors to help sustain their operations and create new attractions, experiences and events. Grants are 6 or 12 months in length for amounts of $10,000 to $250,000. Application deadline is April 28, 2021.
Eligible organizations looking for application support can:
- Contact Ontario Trillium Foundation’s Support Centre at [email protected] or 1-800-263-2887
- Attend an information session
- Book a 15-minute coaching call with an OTF Program Manager
Applying for an Ontario Arts Council Grant
Applying for an arts grant can be confusing or overwhelming. This spring, the Ontario Arts Council (OAC) is offering a series of webinars for Ontario-based artists and arts groups to learn the basics of applying for OAC funding. These webinars are for people who:
- have never applied for an arts grant before
- have an idea for an arts project in mind and are wondering how to apply for funding
- have applied for a grant before, but did not receive one
- want to learn more about what makes a successful application
If you already have a project in mind, and you have a specific question about your project, please email [email protected].
Pathways to Success Program for Indigenous Youth
- The Indigenous Professional Association of Canada’s Pathways to Success Program creates new opportunities for internships and summer work experiences for Indigenous youth (17-29) in Toronto, Winnipeg and Edmonton. They are currently looking for employers and Indigencous youth to participate in the program. For more information, visit the Pathways to Success website and signup page.
Hot Spots in Spadina-Fort York
Currently, the "hot spot" postal codes in our riding are:
M5A, M5V, M6K
- People ages 50+ (born 1971 or earlier) living in M5A can book a vaccine at St. Michael's.
- People ages 50+ (born 1971 or earlier) living in M6K can book a vaccine at St. Joseph's.
- People ages 50+ in all hot spot postal codes, can book vaccination appointments at City-run immunization clinics.
- UHN ANNOUNCEMENT: UHN has temporarily paused registration to people ages 18-49 living in M5V due to overwhelming response. Anyone already registered will be contacted by UHN or Ontario Health when an appointment is available.
Vaccine for People 18+ in Hot Spots
There has been some confusion around how the younger age group in hot spot areas can access vaccines. Currently, those 18 years of age and older living in hot spot neighbourhoods can only receive a vaccine at a pop-up or mobile clinic when it is launched. Locations of the clinics will be communicated through local networks in order to try and target just those people who live in the area. We are working with the office of Councillor Joe Cressy to receive local information on mobile clinics. Please note that anyone who goes to a mass immunization clinic without an appointment will be turned away.
Vaccine for People 50+ in Hot Spot Postal Codes
Residents aged 50 or over living in COVID-19 hot spot postal codes can book vaccination appointments at City of Toronto mass immunization clinics through Ontario's online and telephone booking system.
You can access the online booking system here: Ontario.ca/bookvaccine
Hot spot areas are neighbourhoods identified by the Province of Ontario. Below is a chart showing all the hot spot postal codes:
Vaccine for Education Workers / Mobile Units
- All education workers in high-risk neighbourhoods in Toronto and Peel Region, and those who work with students with special needs, are eligible to receive a vaccine.
- Mobile vaccine teams and pop-up clinics are being organized to administer vaccines in high-risk congregate settings, residential buildings, faith-based locations, large employers, and in hot spot neighbourhoods to individuals aged 18 or over.
For more information on hot spot postal codes, please click here.
When booking an appointment, you will be asked for information from your green Ontario health card, birth date, postal code and email address and/or phone number.
People who still have a red and white health card, or who require assistance with booking, can call and book through the Provincial Vaccine Information Line at 1-888-999-6488.
Vaccine Booking Information
AstraZeneca Pharmacy Vaccine Program
- Residents aged 55 and older can book an appointment to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine at select pharmacies. In order to book, you must have a valid Ontario OHIP card, or other form of valid government-issued identification.
The province is pausing the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine for those under 55, following NACI’s recommendations while it waits for more information on the vaccine and its effects on younger people.
City-Run Mass Vaccination Clinics
- Residents aged 60 and older (born in 1961 or earlier), and those aged 50 and older in hot spot postal codes, can start booking vaccination appointments at City-run immunization clinics.
Or call the Provincial Vaccine Information Line at 1-888-999-6488 (TTY 1-866-797-0007).
Residents with High-Risk Conditions / Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities
- Organ transplant recipients
- Hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients
- People with neurological diseases in which respiratory function may be compromised (for example, motor neuron disease, myasthenia gravis, multiple sclerosis)
- Haematological malignancy diagnosed within the last year
- Kidney disease with estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) under 30
- Obesity (BMI over 40)
- Other treatments causing immunosuppression (for example, chemotherapy, immunity-weakening medications)
- Intellectual or developmental disabilities (for example, Down Syndrome)
Please only book a vaccine appointment if you meet this eligibility criteria. Please note you may be asked for proof of your eligibility when you arrive.
Transportation for Seniors/Vulnerable Residents
- The City of Toronto announced the Vaccine Equity Transportation Plan to help ensure vulnerable residents and seniors can access COVID-19 vaccinations by making it easier to travel to clinics. This program is intended for those who have limited transportation options or who cannot afford transportation to vaccination appointments. This program is available now for limited appointments, but will continue to be expanded over the coming weeks as additional resources and capacity become available.
To book a ride:
- Toronto Ride, torontoride.ca or call 416-481-5250
- iRide, circleofcare.com/vaccinerides or call 1-844-474-3301
- Scarborough Ride, schcontario.ca/scarboroughride.html or call 416-736-9372
People who receive social assistance may be eligible for medical transportation funds to help cover costs of travel to receive their COVID-19 vaccination. Social assistance recipients should contact their caseworker to access transportation funds they may be eligible for.
- For Step-by-Step Instructions on how to book, please click this link.
- People can also call 1-888-385-1910 for assistance to complete pre-registration forms and book appointments at local vaccine clinics operated by participating hospitals and OHTs.
Vaccine Assistance for Seniors and Homebound Persons
Our office is working with the Spadina-Fort York Community Care Program (@spafycc) to set up a system to assist seniors, homebound persons and people without tech access to register for their vaccines. Spafycc is reaching out to residents by phone, but if know someone who needs assistance, please email [email protected].
Volunteers welcome! If you are interested in volunteering to help with this vaccine registration program or our community food program, please sign up at: https://tinyurl.com/spafyccvolunteer.
If you are a homebound person receiving care through a Primary Care Provider, Family Health Team, Home or Community Care or Community Support Services or Agencies, please contact your provider to learn whether they are able to offer in-home vaccination. Many teams are beginning to organize or being supported to offer in-home vaccination and will begin to reach out to their patients and/or clients in the coming weeks. If your provider is not able to offer at-home vaccination, they will place your name onto a list for at-home vaccination.
If you are a homebound person who DOES NOT HAVE a Primary Care Provider, Family Health Team, Home or Community Care or Community Support Services, please contact the Toronto Seniors Helpline. The Toronto Seniors Helpline will be available to support homebound people who are 18-65 years old, as well as seniors. They can be contacted at 416-217-2077 or by web chat following instruction at https://torontoseniorshelpline.ca/web-chat/