The City of Toronto’s communications office prepares Council Highlights, an informal summary of selected decisions that Toronto City Council made at its recent business meeting. The City Clerk’s formal documentation is available at http://www.toronto.ca/council.
Implementation of Tenants First strategy
Council approved the integration of City programs and services for seniors at more than 80 seniors-designated buildings in the Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) portfolio, as recommended in the Tenants First report. The seniors-designated buildings will be managed by a new entity separate from TCHC. One of several motions that Council adopted with this agenda item directs TCHC not to permanently close any additional housing units in 2018 or 2019.
TransformTO climate action plan
Council unanimously approved recommendations for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Toronto by 80 per cent by the year 2050 as part of TransformTO: Pathway to a Low Carbon Future. TransformTO identifies strategies and goals to transform Toronto’s buildings and energy, transportation and waste systems by 2050. Among related motions that were adopted is one providing direction for the City to undertake community engagement on TransformTO.
King Street pilot project
Council authorized a King Street transit pilot project between Bathurst and Jarvis Streets starting this fall. A motion that Council adopted will give taxis greater freedom of movement than general traffic on King Street from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. and the City will consult with the taxi industry on the matter of taxi-stand spaces. This pilot project is primarily about improving the speed and reliability of public transit on King Street, Toronto’s busiest route for surface transit.
Toronto Parking Authority Board
Council voted to place the Toronto Parking Authority’s board of directors on a leave of absence and to set up an interim governance arrangement while the City Manager assesses the Auditor General’s findings concerning a land acquisition by the parking authority. Council also adopted several related motions, including one by Mayor John Tory that will result in the City reviewing all its major agencies, boards and corporations “on a rolling basis so that agencies are reviewed once per term of office” to ensure consistency with City objectives and practices.
Campaign for infrastructure funding
Council supported a motion for the City to undertake a campaign calling for the Ontario government “to be a committed partner in meeting the unaddressed infrastructure needs of the City of Toronto by committing to increased, long-term and predictable funding to support Toronto’s housing and transit priorities.” Details on implementing the campaign, which will include the participation of City agencies and corporations that choose to be part of it, will be finalized this fall.
Vacant residential units in Toronto
Council decided that the City will undertake consultations and a study on the potential implementation and public policy benefits of a tax on vacant residential units in Toronto. Staff have been directed to report to the Executive Committee in September on the results of that work and provide recommendations on whether (and potentially how) to proceed.
Impacts of spring flooding
A temporary suspension of rent and licence fee collection from Toronto Islands tenants/licensees was authorized by Council as a response to this spring’s flooding of Toronto Island Park and waterfront areas. Staff will prepare a report detailing budget impacts of the spring flooding. On the islands, about 800 residents, 30 businesses and two schools had to adapt to rising waters. Many of Toronto’s waterfront parks and beaches have suffered shoreline erosion, damage and debris accumulation over the past few months.
Planning for children in vertical communities
Council approved the City’s use of the draft Growing Up guidelines in its evaluation of proposals for multi-unit residential developments. The intention is to foster the design of new vertical communities suitable for households with children. Another recommendation that Council adopted as part of the same agenda item calls for prioritizing space for non-profit, licensed child-care facilities in new developments.
Action plan for transgender youth
Council adopted recommendations for establishing an interdivisional working group to consult with the City’s transgender youth advisory group (Trans Youth Advisory) on a trans-inclusive services action plan. Council also decided to expand the age range for members of Trans Youth Advisory to ages 14 to 29. The term transgender refers to people with gender identities and expressions that differ from stereotypical gender norms.
New community advisory committee
Council adopted a motion to establish a Community Advisory Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Two-Spirited Issues. Staff were asked to recommend terms of reference and committee composition this fall. An earlier, similar City of Toronto advisory committee was disassembled in 2006.
Change to lobbying bylaw
Council amended the City’s Lobbying Bylaw, extending the time period for starting a proceeding with the City’s Lobbyist Registrar. As a result, the previous limitation period of no more than six months after an incident has been changed to within two years of an incident.
Winter respite services
Council authorized the Shelter, Support and Housing Administration division to expand winter respite services, particularly for people experiencing homelessness who do not traditionally access shelter beds. Services for the coming fall and winter will be offered from October 15 to April 30. Winter respite services build on year-round homeless-support services, providing safe spaces for people who are otherwise vulnerable to extreme cold and winter-related events.
Nuclear emergency preparedness
Council adopted a motion to ask the Ontario government to extend its current July deadline for comments on its discussion paper about preparedness for a nuclear emergency. Council is asking that the deadline be extended to September 30 “to allow municipalities and citizens to provide meaningful input.”
Support for fashion industry
Council agreed to establish an advisory panel on Toronto’s fashion industry to advise the City on how it can help the local industry deal with challenges. A report says the fashion industry is growing but companies need assistance from the City as support is not provided by the federal or provincial governments. It is expected that the panel will consider matters such as providing additional support for entrepreneurship, labour force development and increased exports by the local fashion industry.
Promotion of major running events
Council voted to ask staff to establish a working group with suitable representation to develop a strategy to strengthen “running tourism” in Toronto. Council was told that Toronto can leverage its growing international reputation for excellent marathons and attract more runners from across North America and globally, contributing to Toronto’s tourism and economic vitality.
‘Spotlight on Toronto’ action plan
Council adopted a strategic action plan called Spotlight on Toronto in support of the Toronto film, television and digital media industry and asked staff to work on an implementation plan. The Toronto industry faces increasing competition from other jurisdictions in North America that have invested heavily in new studio spaces and tax-incentive programs to attract and retain new business.