Politics

Council Highlights is a summary of a selection of the decisions that Toronto City Council made at its recent business meeting. The City Clerk’s full, official documentation is available at http://www.toronto.ca/council.

Impact of the provincial budget 
Council supported a motion to request the Province of Ontario to reverse its announced retroactive cuts that result in the loss of about $178 million that was included in the City of Toronto’s balanced budget for 2019 as adopted in March. Council will also convey the willingness of City officials to meet with the province to discuss both governments’ budgets and the impact the province’s retroactive 2019 funding cuts will have on the residents of Toronto. A series of actions approved with this item includes a public information and education campaign.

Funding of Toronto Public Health 
Council voted to express its strong opposition to funding cuts to Toronto Public Health for this year as communicated by the Ontario government, and to urge the province against making the proposed cuts. In addition, Council agreed on using advertising locations to inform Torontonians about the health impacts if the funding cuts to Toronto Public Health proceed.

Ontario government’s Bill 108   
Council adopted a series of recommendations and motions addressing the Ontario government’s Housing Supply Action Plan and proposed Bill 108 (More Homes, More Choice Act). Council is asking the province to extend the June 1 timeline for comments from municipalities and other stakeholders. An initial assessment indicates that changes associated with Bill 108 would significantly affect the City’s finances, its ability to secure parkland and its capacity to provide community facilities, as well as significantly affecting the evaluation process for development applications.

Affordable housing opportunities   
Council asked staff for a report on whether more affordable housing units should be required in future Toronto Community Housing revitalizations, based on a site-by-site evaluation. That is one of several recommendations adopted as part of an agenda item involving an audit that produced recommendations to help achieve broader city-building objectives and improve accountability in Toronto Community Housing’s revitalization projects. 

Adequate housing as a right   
Council agreed to ask the City’s Affordable Housing Office, as part of current public consultation on Toronto’s housing plan, to include a rights-based approach to housing (as advocated by the United Nations) in policy areas that fall within the City’s jurisdiction. Staff are to report on possibly making “adequate housing” a basic right in the Toronto Housing Plan that is now in the works.

Apartment building maintenance 
Council approved amending the Toronto Municipal Code to require building owners/operators, under the RentSafeTO program, to develop an electrical maintenance plan with a licensed, certified electrical contractor and to maintain records showing compliance with that plan. Among several other requirements, building owners/operators will now need to maintain a list of volunteered contact information identifying tenants who may need assistance during building evacuations or temporary shutdowns of vital services.

Ontario Place and Exhibition Place    
Council directed staff to work with the Ontario government on a strategy for the future of Ontario Place and Exhibition Place. The undertaking is to involve consultation with all stakeholders and focus on the original goal for the two sites – that is, providing attractive settings for festivals and other events for all Ontarians. A series of guiding principles that Council adopted for Ontario Place’s revitalization presents the principles in the context of the City’s Central Waterfront Secondary Plan. Work already taking place on a master plan for Exhibition Place continues in line with guidelines and a study framework that Council approved.

Rallies promoting hate  
Council voted to reaffirm its unwavering opposition to hate speech, and directed staff to inform organizers of events that occur in Toronto regularly without a permit of the City’s policies on hate speech and hate activities. In addition, where possible, the City is to issue trespass or trespass warning letters to identifiable participants engaged in hate activities at rallies taking place on City property. The response to such activities also involves the police.

Security at places of worship       
Council voted to ask the Toronto Police Services Board to consider and report back on the feasibility of creating a task force to examine security and public safety in Toronto’s places of worship. The report is to include terms of reference for working with City divisions and agencies as well as with the federal government and the Ontario government on this matter.

Tree planting and maintenance   
Council adopted recommendations aimed at improving contract management, customer service and operational efficiency in the City’s tree planting and tree maintenance programs. A recent audit indicates there is room for improvement, notably in overseeing work carried out by contracted tree service companies. 

Bike lanes on Richmond Street   
Council directed staff to investigate all options to ensure the safety of cyclists along Richmond Street from John Street to Bathurst Street for the duration of watermain reconstruction work along Richmond. Transportation Services was also asked to investigate safe detour routes and improve alternative cycling routes that parallel Richmond Street.

St. Lawrence Market project    
Council approved the awarding of a contract for the construction of the new St. Lawrence Market North building at 92 Front St. The City is redeveloping the property with a new, multi-story building that will include a ground-floor market space, Court Services offices and court rooms, and an underground parking garage. The former one-storey market building at the site has been demolished and an archeological assessment conducted. 

Council Highlights is a summary of a selection of the decisions that Toronto City Council made at its recent business meeting. The City Clerk’s full, official documentation is available at http://www.toronto.ca/council.

Transportation

King Street transit 
Council decided to make the features of the King Street Transit Pilot project permanent, with King Street between Bathurst and Jarvis Streets operating as a corridor that gives public transit priority over private vehicles. Ridership on the TTC’s 504 King streetcar during the recent two-year pilot rose significantly, to about 84,000 riders a day, and efficiency increased. Statistics have indicated minimal impact on vehicle travel times on streets paralleling or intersecting with King Street. The repositioned transit stops on King will be kept in place and improvements will be made to street furniture and patios along the corridor.

Transit expansion plans
Council approved staff recommendations addressing Ontario’s recently announced new transit plan for Toronto and region – including four projects that the provincial government identifies as transit priorities. The province’s proposal assumes cost-sharing by the federal government, the City of Toronto and other municipalities and authorities. The recommendations that Council adopted include requesting a detailed assessment of the province’s proposed changes to Toronto’s transit expansion program.

Toronto’s share of gas tax 
A motion concerning the provincial gasoline tax received Council’s unanimous support. The motion requests that the Ontario government reinstate a provincial gas tax commitment made in 2017 that would double municipalities’ share from two cents a litre to four cents a litre. The Toronto Transit Commission relies on the gas tax revenues for its state-of-good-repair expenses. The TTC funding anticipated from the pledged increase amounts to an estimated $1.1 billion over 10 years.

Housing and settlement

Tenants First and seniors housing 
Council adopted recommendations to move ahead promptly with the Tenants First project that is transforming Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC), in part by addressing the work of TCHC’s interim seniors housing unit and the City’s role in delivering services to seniors. A related change approved by Council is the expanded scope of the City’s Long-Term Care Homes and Services division, now to include a seniors housing and services entity. The division’s name becomes Seniors Services and Long-Term Care.

Refugee capacity plan for Toronto 
Council adopted a plan for handling surges in refugee populations arriving in Toronto and needing support services. The plan aims for the seamless, efficient mobilization of the City’s resources when the need for greater capacity arises. Toronto welcomes about 50,000 new permanent residents a year, but the number of refugees and refugee claimants can vary widely from year to year, such as when almost 7,000 Syrian refugees arrived on relatively short notice in 2016.

Health

Public health in Ontario     
Council voted to affirm its support for Toronto Public Health and agreed to ask the Ontario government to stop its planned reduction of Ontario’s public health units from 35 to 10 and its planned budget reduction of $200 million from public health. Council is requesting the province to instead undertake consultations with municipalities and public health agencies on the public health system in Ontario.

Services addressing opioid overdose crisis 
Council supported asking the Ontario government to reinstate funding for supervised consumption services at Toronto’s Street Health and St. Stephen’s Community House and to maintain funding for Toronto Public Health’s The Works. The provincial government announced on March 29 that, under new regulations, funding for supervised injection and overdose prevention was not approved for six Ontario sites, three in Toronto and three in London and Ottawa. Coroner’s statistics indicate that hundreds of people in Toronto have died as a result of opioid overdoses in recent years.

Review of dementia care   
Council requested the preparation of a business case for a multi-year hiring and staffing plan, along with technological enhancements, to address the complex-care needs of people, including those with dementia, who live in the City’s long-term care homes. Staff were also asked for an implementation strategy to ensure that all 10 long-term care homes provide emotion-centred approaches to care. Sixty-nine per cent of the 2,641 residents in the City’s long-term care homes have moderate to severe cognitive impairment and 65 per cent have dementia.

Licensing/standards

Amendments to the noise bylaw 
Council approved amendments to the City’s noise bylaw after a comprehensive review of the standards for noise in Toronto. The changes simplify the bylaw and address specific noise issues such as amplified sound/music and noise from power devices (such as leaf blowers), motor vehicles (including motorcycles) and construction. There is a provision allowing for various exemptions from noise prohibitions and limitations.

Liquor licences/handguns 
Council decided to ask the Ontario government to direct the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario to suspend or revoke liquor licences at any licensed establishment that has been the scene of gun violence, where patrons have been in the possession of handguns, or where the police have found handguns on the premises.

Planning and public realm

Damage from Eglinton LRT work 
In response to a motion that Council adopted, the City will communicate Council’s expectations that Crosslinx and Metrolinx should pay for damage caused to roads by construction work on the Eglinton Crosstown LRT (light rail transit) line. Crosslinx Transit Solutions is a design and construction consortium established to build the Eglinton Crosstown LRT. Ontario agency Metrolinx owns and oversees the project.

Toronto’s street furniture   
Council authorized staff to enter into an amending agreement that will result in changes to the City’s street furniture program, which is delivered as a public-private partnership with Astral Media. With the City’s 20-year agreement with Astral now in its 12th year, various installations are being addressed. One innovation under consideration is providing heaters in selected transit shelters. Increased cleaning of litter bins in business improvement areas is another priority for the City.

Cigarette butts 
Council agreed to ask for a report from staff on establishing regulations that address the issue of cigarette-butt litter. The regulations will require business owners and operators to ensure that cigarette butts are removed from in front of their premises as a condition of the City issuing a business licence. Staff are also to report on the enforcement of existing regulations that require the installation and maintenance of receptacles for cigarette butts in front of business establishments, including restaurants and bars.

Alternatives to single-use plastics 
Council adopted a motion aimed at having the City of Toronto eliminate single-use plastic waste in all City facilities, as well as at City events and campaigns where feasible and practical. Staff are to report back with a detailed plan. The report will include options for replacing single-use plastic products with reusable and alternative products.

Plans for Don Mills Crossing 
Council approved Don Mills Crossing, a secondary plan that advances a vision of a distinct, complete community that is centred at Don Mills Road and Eglinton Avenue East (situated on the Crosstown LRT). Through implementation, the plan will create a vibrant, mixed-use community, connect new development with the area’s natural heritage, enhance mobility choice and support new community facilities and affordable housing. The Don Mills Crossing study included extensive consultation with the surrounding community and stakeholders.

Miscellaneous

Appointment of a Photo Laureate 
Council officially approved the appointment of Michele Pearson Clarke to the position of City of Toronto Photo Laureate for the three-year term until April 2022, or until a successor is appointed. Toronto’s Photo Laureate, the first and only position of its kind in Canada, began in 2016 when Council appointed Geoffrey James the first Toronto Photo Laureate.

Recruitment of swim instructors 
Council adopted a motion requesting that recreation staff take steps to bolster recruitment to address a shortage of swim instructors for some City aquatic programs. Members of Council also want to make sure there is a process in place for notification when a program is cancelled, including information about options to transfer to other available swimming instruction programs offered by the City.

Support for Rohingya people   
A motion concerning Myanmar and its Rohingya population received Council’s support. Council is urging the Canadian government to invoke the Genocide Convention and, with other governments, engage with the International Court of Justice on holding Myanmar to its obligations. The motion also addresses topics including reparations, the plight of journalists jailed in Myanmar, and the needs of Rohingya refugees who have fled to Bangladesh.

Freedom of religion and expression 
Council voted to reaffirm its support for freedom of religion and expression, and to state its opposition to any legislation that would restrict or prohibit those freedoms. Council’s action comes in the context of the Quebec provincial government’s recent proposal of legislation (Bill 21) that would prohibit public employees from wearing visible religious symbols, including items such as turpans, hijabs and crucifixes, in the workplace.

Council Highlights is a summary of a selection of the decisions Toronto City Council made at its recent business meeting. The City Clerk’s full, official documentation is available at http://www.toronto.ca/council.

Cabbagetown-related information

Appointment of Poet Laureate   
Council voted to appoint Al Moritz ( a resident of Cabbagetown)  the Poet Laureate of Toronto from April 1, 2019 to 2022 or until a successor is appointed. Moritz, who is Toronto’s sixth Poet Laureate, has received national and international honours for his work as a poet/author. As Poet Laureate of Toronto, he is expected to advocate for poetry, language and the arts in general.

Public transit

Toronto’s transit system
Council adopted recommendations and motions that address ongoing discussions between the City and the Ontario government on the management of public transit projects in Toronto. The actions adopted by Council include responding to two letters the City received from the province in late March. The letters name four specific projects as provincial priorities – the Scarborough subway extension, the Eglinton West extension, the downtown relief line and the Yonge subway extension. Discussions are to address responsibilities for undertaking/managing those transit projects.

Public consultation on transit
Council supported proceeding with a joint City/Toronto Transit Commission public information campaign explaining City Council’s position on the transit upload that the Ontario government has announced. The information campaign will detail plans for public consultations and inform Torontonians about matters such as accelerated planning for priority transit expansion projects, integrating transit services and modernizing/enhancing the existing subway system while maintaining it in a state of good repair.

Housing

Updated rules on secondary suites     
Council adopted a recommended zoning bylaw amendment that will support the creation of more secondary suites. The amendment removes a time delay, permits self-contained secondary suites in townhouses (as well as in detached and semi-detached houses), and removes minimum-size and parking requirements. Council also asked staff to review and report on the City’s current policy on development charges pertinent to the construction of secondary suites.   

Location of municipal shelters 
Council agreed to amend the City’s zoning bylaw on locating municipal shelters. The amendment supports having municipal shelters in most areas of the city by removing conditions that had restricted where they may be located. This change will help address the growing demand for shelter services and allow for quick responses to changing circumstances. Shelters are still not permitted in areas zoned for industrial/employment purposes.

Participation in Reaching Home program 
Council authorized the City to enter into an agreement for participation in the new federal government program called Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy, which replaces the Homelessness Partnering Strategy in April. The federal strategy is a national investment over 10 years to support the most vulnerable Canadians with affordable housing and to reduce chronic homelessness.

Housing allowance program   
Council voted to ask staff to report in May on potential measures to expand the City’s housing allowance program. Funding options to be considered are to include, but not be limited to, the creation of a new tier of the municipal land transfer tax for transactions above the current top tier. The housing allowance consists of money provided directly to eligible Toronto households as a monthly benefit to help them cope with their housing challenges.

Review of community housing 
Council adopted a motion that calls for expanding the options to be addressed in a staff report now underway on Toronto Community Housing Corporation’s governance and mandate. As a result, the review will cover various options to improve services for tenants of the Toronto Community Housing Corporation, including the possibility of dissolving the corporation and integrating it into the City as an agency or commission.

New affordable housing project     
Council supported a plan for the City to support the creation of up to 65 affordable rental units at 640 Lansdowne Ave. as part of the Open Door program. The City will provide financial incentives for the company undertaking the project (Magellan Community Charities). This project will result in new housing opportunities for seniors, with good access to public transit. The site is owned by the Toronto Transit Commission, which has designated the site as surplus.

Standards and health

Heat relief – apartments   
Council supported a Board of Health recommendation on steps for the City to take pertaining to excessive heat in many Toronto apartments during periods of hot weather. For example, staff are to look into options for window protection in apartment buildings that balance child safety with the ability to permit air circulation for heat relief, and to explore technology available for monitoring apartment temperatures. City communication with apartment buildings’ landlords is another focus.

Planning and public realm

Site plan review process 
Council agreed to communicate with Ontario’s Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to express concerns about the province considering reducing the scope of municipalities’ review of site plans. Information provided with the motion that Council adopted says the current site plan approval process, which takes place in the context of the Planning Act, serves Toronto well and weakening it would compromise high-quality design.

Co-ordination of work for accessibility   
Council voted to ask for a report on the viability of creating a City program that will encourage businesses and property owners to co-ordinate their property improvements with the City’s public-realm sidewalk construction, utility upgrades and repair work so as to achieve compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

Sidewalk cafés and parklets   
Council agreed to establish a separate chapter of the Toronto Municipal Code for sidewalk cafés, public parklets and marketing displays. The result is a harmonized bylaw that will ensure application standards and fees are consistent across the city. The harmonized bylaw will come into force on September 1. Staff’s preparations for the new bylaw will include providing information about café and marketing permits via the City’s Open Data web portal.

Public realm/sidewalk standards   
A motion calling for a review of enforcement levels and educational efforts currently in place to maintain the City’s public realm and sidewalk standards, along with related actions, received Council’s support. Related actions to be pursued include, among others, educating owners of businesses and properties about their responsibilities/roles in helping to make the city clean and beautiful.

Economy, culture and events

Continuation of Toronto Global   
Council approved the City’s continued participation as a supporter of Toronto Global for the next five years, subject to conditions pertaining to funding and other governments’ commitments. Formally launched in 2017, Toronto Global is an organization that is working to attract foreign investment and support economic development in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area.

Street festivals   
Council adopted a motion calling for staff and the police chief to discuss policing costs and protocols for Toronto’s neighbourhood street festivals, leading to a report for Council on ways to reduce those costs while ensuring public safety at the events. It was noted that some local business groups have expressed concerns about the rising costs of providing paid duty officers at street festivals, which could affect the viability of some of these summer events.

New attraction for Toronto Zoo   
Council approved having the City assist with financial arrangements for the Toronto Zoo’s management board to enter into a contract with the Moment Factory for a “Lumina experience” at the zoo. The interactive exhibit, scheduled to open later this year as a ticketed event promoting conservation, will increase awareness of the zoo as a year-round operation and has the potential to bring economic benefits to the city’s east side in the general vicinity of the zoo.

Council Highlights is a summary of a selection of the decisions that Toronto City Council made at its recent business meeting. The City Clerk’s full, official documentation is available at http://www.toronto.ca/council.

Housing Now     
Council approved the Housing Now plan, which is designed to increase the supply of new affordable rental housing in mixed-income communities by making municipally-owned properties available to non-profit and private organizations. The first phase of Housing Now is expected to deliver about 10,000 new residential homes, including up to 3,700 affordable rental homes with average rents not to exceed 80 per cent of Toronto’s average market rent.

Supportive housing in Toronto   
After discussion and debate, Council voted to have staff convene an urgent meeting with key providers of supportive housing in Toronto to identify ways to increase supportive-housing options that will help people exit homelessness. In addition, Council will ask the federal and provincial governments to commit funding to support the annual creation of 1,800 new units of supportive housing in Toronto to help reduce homelessness.

Expanding supportive housing and services 
Council agreed to request a report from staff on options for an aggressive plan for building supportive and transitional housing in Toronto. Among other components of the adopted motion is a request for a report describing current mental health and addiction supports available in Toronto’s emergency shelters, respites and transitional housing, and identifying opportunities to expand those kinds of support services.

Cycle tracks on Richmond and Adelaide
Council supported making cycle tracks on Richmond and Adelaide Streets permanent, as well as the cycle tracks on Peter and Simcoe Streets. The cycle tracks (separated bike lanes) were installed between 2014 and 2016. The Richmond-Adelaide cycle tracks are the most heavily used in Toronto. During the pilot, the rate of cyclist collisions decreased by 73 per cent and serious motor vehicle collisions decreased by 18 per cent on Richmond and Adelaide, which are key commuter arteries downtown.

Planning heat relief services for 2019
Council provided direction to staff regarding the City’s co-ordinated implementation of heat relief strategies for 2019. A work plan to be developed will include the creation of a bylaw requiring property owners to maintain an up-to-date list that can be used to contact building tenants in extreme weather emergencies. Working with Municipal Licensing and Standards, the work group will consider also consider asking landlords to provide a “cool room” and/or a shade structure on their properties.

St. Jamestown highrise buildings
A motion that Council adopted calls for a review and report on the City’s emergency response to the recent electrical power outage at 260 Wellesley St. E. and last year’s fire-related evacuation at 650 Parliament St. The motion includes a request for a review of building evaluations under the RentSafeTO audit program to make sure there are appropriate building and life-safety audits of all St. Jamestown residential towers.

Accelerating the Tenants First project
Council adopted a motion calling for steps to be taken to accelerate the City’s Tenants First project, an initiative that would see Toronto Community Housing’s seniors housing units managed under a new model that partners with health service institutions to provide services for seniors to age comfortably in place. This approach will allow better service to be provided to seniors while enabling Toronto Community Housing to focus on other tenants, including families and vulnerable persons.

Legal challenge to Bill 5
Council gave instructions to the City Solicitor pertaining to legal matters involving the Ontario government’s Bill 5, the Better Local Government Act, 2018. That legislation included reducing Toronto’s electoral wards to 25 for the 2018 municipal election. The province’s appeal of a related Superior Court decision is scheduled to be heard by the Ontario Court of Appeal this June. Council’s instructions to the City Solicitor include opposing the province’s appeal at the June hearing.

Potential impacts of Ontario’s Bill 66
Council adopted a motion to express Council’s opposition to several of the schedules that are components of the Ontario government’s Bill 66, the Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act. The proposed legislation has significant interest for Toronto and other municipal governments.   

Potential acquisition of Hearn Generating Station
Council adopted a motion for the City to initiate negotiations to buy the decommissioned, now privately owned, Hearn Generating Station site in the Port Lands. The City’s plans for transforming the Port Lands have identified the site for a major public park and include re-use of the Hearn building for community purposes. Previous owner Ontario Power Generation sold the site last year. Council also directed staff to pursue heritage designation of the site.   

Governance of Toronto Parking Authority
Council adopted a recommendation for the recruitment of a new Board of Directors for the Toronto Parking Authority, the City agency that manages parking and the Bike Share program in Toronto. The board, with two members of Council and five public members, will put into place new governance policies and procedures once the board is appointed by Council.

Street parking on New Year’s Eve
Council adopted a motion calling for a report on the feasibility of allowing a grace period for street-parking violations (officially “Park in Permit Parking Location without a Valid Permit”) between 10 p.m. on December 31 and 10 a.m. on January 1 each year.

Advisory committee for Toronto Islands
A motion for Council to continue its Toronto Islands Advisory Committee during the current term of Council was adopted. The advisory committee, initially created in 2014, has focused on strategic planning for the islands as Toronto’s centrepiece park, with the goal of enhancing the islands attractiveness as an accessible, year-round destination.

The City of Toronto is reviewing the following bylaws and wants your feedback: all of these topics affect Cabbagetown.

Clothing Drop Boxes Bylaw Review

February 28, 2019, 6 to 8 p.m. at City Hall, Committee Room 3

The aim of the review is to discuss potential improvements to the Clothing Drop Boxes Bylaw to ensure that clothing drop boxes remain safe and maintained. More information: http://ow.ly/SqGe30nItzE

 Body Rub Parlours and Holistic Centres Bylaw Review

March 4 to March 19, 2019

The aim of the review is to update the licensing bylaw to promote public health and safety, as well as effective oversight and enforcement. There will be four public consultations and five stakeholder meetings. More information: http://ow.ly/zPdw30nGZC8

Vehicle-For Hire Bylaw Review

March 4 to March 19, 2019

The aim of the review is to discuss potential updates to the bylaw for taxicabs, limousines and private transportation companies, such as Facedrive, Lyft and Uber.  There will be nine public consultations, each focused on a specific area of the bylaw. Topics to be discussed include accessibility, vehicle equipment and public safety. More information: toronto.ca/vehicleforhirereview

There are a number of ways you can be involved and help shape policy. Visit the consultation websites for more details on how you can:

– Attend public consultations

– Submit written feedback

– Subscribe to email updates

There are many options in Toronto for paying property tax, with most having a first payment on March 1 on the interim bill (set out before city council sets the tax rate for 2019). However, one option, the 11-payment installment plan, has a first payment of Feb. 15.

So check your mail, see what kind of plan in which you’ve enrolled, and get that payment date into your calendar.

Read all the details from the city notice:

The City of Toronto has issued its 2019 interim property tax bills – the first of two tax bills mailed annually. The 2019 final tax bill will be mailed in May.

Payment due dates for the interim tax bills under the three-instalment plan are March 1, April 1 and May 1.

For property owners enrolled in the Pre-Authorized Tax Payment (PTP) program, the 2019 interim tax due dates are:
• Two-instalment plan: March 1
• Six-instalment plan: March 1, April 1, May 1
• Eleven-instalment plan: February 15, March 15, April 15, May 15, June 17

Payments can be made through banks or financial institutions, by cheque or in person at the City’s inquiry and payment counters. Locations and hours of operation are available at http://www.toronto.ca/inquirypaymentcounters/. Property owners should pay early to ensure payment reaches the City’s office before the due date.

Residents who have recently purchased a property and pay their property taxes through  pre-authorized payments or their banking or financial institution are reminded to update their account information with the City or with their financial institution to avoid incurring fees from misdirected payments. Property owners can sign up with Canada Post epost™ to receive a digital property tax bill. Visit http://canadapost.ca/epost for details.

Property owners can access their property tax account details by using the online Property Tax Lookup tool available at http://www.toronto.ca/propertytax or by speaking to a customer service representative at 311, available Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Customers outside of city limits can call 416-392-CITY (2489) and TTY users can call 416-392-0719.

Council Highlights is a summary of selected decisions that Toronto City Council has made at its business meetings. The City Clerk’s full, official documentation is available at http://www.toronto.ca/council.

Governance under 26-member Council
Council adopted an interim committee structure that includes four standing committees called Economic and Community Development, General Government and Licensing, Infrastructure and Environment, and Planning and Housing. In addition, Council established a Special Committee on Governance with terms of reference to consider how the reduction in Council’s size from 45 members last term to 26 members this term will impact the City’s governance structures and processes.

Appointments to committees and boards   
Council approved various Council member appointments to committees and City boards such as the Toronto Transit Commission and the Toronto Zoo board. Most of the appointments are for the first two years of the current 2018-22 Council term.

Housing Now action plan
Council adopted recommendations and motions aimed at increasing Toronto’s supply of new, affordable housing – including approval to develop 11 City-owned surplus sites identified for the development of affordable housing in mixed-income, mixed-use, transit-oriented communities. Council approved a set of guiding principles to facilitate delivery of the City’s Housing Now initiative.

Cannabis stores in Toronto   
Council voted in favour of permitting provincially licensed cannabis retail stores to operate in Toronto. The decision is Council’s response to Ontario giving municipalities the option of opting out of having licensed cannabis stores within their boundaries. The City will ask the province to grant it regulatory authority to restrict the specific locations of cannabis stores.

King Street transit pilot project 
Council decided to extend the King Street transit pilot project between Bathurst and Jarvis Streets until July 31, 2019 to provide time to further evaluate the pilot project before deciding whether or not to make it permanent. The goal in undertaking the pilot project a year ago was to improve transit reliability, speed and capacity on Toronto’s busiest surface transit route.

Toronto’s transit system   
Council adopted a series of motions concerning Toronto’s transit system, including noting Council’s support for keeping ownership of the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) with the City of Toronto. The City will pursue negotiating joint terms of reference to guide discussion with the Ontario government on the alignment of transit responsibilities, giving consideration to the City’s guiding principles on transit.

Massey Square bridge         
Council requested the preparation of a City report on a range of issues pertaining to the recent collapse of the pedestrian bridge at Massey Square. The report is to include recommendations on improving safety standards for privately-owned, publicly accessible bridges. Massey Square bridge connects an elementary school and nearby apartments.

Efforts to improve road safety     
Council directed the Budget Committee to consider allocating additional funds to Vision Zero as part of the City’s 2019 budget process to accelerate the rollout of the Vision Zero road safety project. Council’s direction to staff included the implementation of all remaining school safety zones by the end of 2019. The City will have installed 74 senior safety zones, 128 school safety zones and 268 community safety zones by the end of this year (2018).

Protecting vulnerable road users
Council voted to express its support to the Province of Ontario with respect to Bill 62, the Protecting Vulnerable Road Users Act. The bill, if passed, will allow for more serious consequences for drivers involved in collisions that seriously injure or kill a vulnerable road user. The term vulnerable road users generally refers to seniors, children, people with limited mobility and cyclists.

Funding for cycling infrastructure
Council decided to ask the federal government to fund the shortfall created by the cancellation of provincial financial contributions to support cycling infrastructure in Toronto over the next three years. In addition, the City will request the federal government to create a long-term strategy for investment in walking and cycling infrastructure in cities and communities across Canada.

Safety of vehicles for hire
Council agreed to ask staff to include recommendations to increase the training requirements of private transportation companies and other vehicles-for-hire in Toronto for the sake of public safety. Council’s decision on this item also calls for the establishment of a new public reporting process on the safety records/performance of private transportation companies and licence holders.

Appointment of Deputy City Manager   
Council appointed Tracey Cook as the City’s Deputy City Manager, Infrastructure and Development Services. Cook, who has been Toronto’s executive director of Municipal Licensing and Standards since 2012, is scheduled to start work in her new role at the end of January.

Collective agreement with firefighters 
Council approved a memorandum of agreement between the City and the Toronto Professional Fire Fighters, Local 3888 for a five-year collective agreement that takes effect January 1, 2019. The parties resolved 23 operational and non-monetary items during negotiations this fall, leading to an agreement in principle on December 4 and the signing of the agreement on December 5.

Future of Ontario Place
Council agreed to ask the Ontario government to work with the City on any potential future redevelopment of the Ontario Place site on the Toronto waterfront. In addition, Council will request the province to conduct an open consultation process on the site’s possible redevelopment. The province recently announced the dissolution of the governing body of Ontario Place and indicated an interest in redevelopment of the lands.

Council’s meeting schedule for 2019
Council adopted a meeting schedule for City Council and its committees in 2019. Twelve meetings of Council will be held, generally with two days designated for each meeting. The meetings will normally run from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2 to 6 p.m. Committee meetings routinely include evening hours, from 7:30 to 10 p.m.

The community in Corktown got off to an early start with an Oct. 2 all-candidates’ meeting at the Cherry Street YMCA for the 19 individuals running to be the new councillor for Ward 13, which follows the boundaries of the provincial Toronto Centre riding – a change imposed by the provincial government, which cut the number of city wards in Toronto from 47 to 25 the day before nominations closed in the summer.

We’ve received notice of two more Ward 13 candidates’ meetings – if you know of another one, please append it in the comments section to this post!

Date: Thursday, October 11, 2018 
Time: 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
5:30 p.m. Screening of Politalks videos and meet-and-greet
6:30 pm. to 8:30 p.m.: Panel and questions
Location: 246 Sackville Street, Regent Park
Hosted By: Community Civic Engagement Collaborative (CCEC)

Date: Tuesday, October 16, 2018 
Time: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Location: 349 Ontario Street, Central Neighbourhood House (CNH)
Hosted By: Cabbagetown South Residents Association and CNH
More Info: cabbagetownsouth.com

Registered candidates for city councillor have been invited to come share their vision with Cabbagetown South residents for our New Ward 13. Each candidate will have a maximum 5 minutes to introduce themselves and their platform. The balance of the meeting will be questions and answers from the residents for the candidates.

Background:

On September 19, 2018, the Court of Appeal for Ontario stayed the Superior Court of Justice decision of September 10, 2018, which had quashed the provincial ward-boundary change legislation, and reinstated Bill 5 – Better Local Government Act, 2018 requiring the October 22, 2018 election to proceed on the basis of 25 wards.

As a result of the Court of Appeal’s decision and in order to conduct a municipal election in October 2018, the nomination period reopened for the offices of councillor and school board trustee on Thursday, September 20 and Friday, September 21. Nominations are now closed. You can view the final list of candidates though MyVote or the List of Candidates / Third Parties  web applications.

Cabbagetown, which used to be in Ward 28, would have been Ward 23 under the new 47-ward system and now is part of a massive downtown Ward 13. (Under the old system, Ward 13 was Parkdale-High Park area.)

Council Highlights is an informal summary of some of the decisions Toronto City Council made at its recent business meetings. The City Clerk’s formal documentation is available at http://www.toronto.ca/council.

Response to proposed reduction of Council’s size   
Council voted to convey its opposition to the Ontario government’s stated intention to legislate a reduction in the size of Toronto City Council and supported various motions, including to ask the province to conduct a binding referendum on the number and boundaries of Toronto’s wards before proceeding with any such legislation. It was decided that if the provincial government does not conduct the referendum, Council will seek permission for the City to include a question about wards and councillors on Toronto’s 2018 election ballot. The City Solicitor was asked to prepare an options report and be ready provide advice to Council at a special meeting to be held August 20.

Actions addressing gun violence   
Council adopted a report with recommendations to address Toronto’s problem with gun violence, specifying actions by the City and requesting other orders of government to help address the problem of gun violence in Toronto. The report’s recommendations include expanding current City and Toronto Police Service initiatives for youth and undertaking other initiatives such as policing technology known as ShotSpotter. Increased funding for several specified programs received Council’s authorization.

Seizure of illegal guns   
A motion that Council adopted will result in a request for the Toronto Police Services Board, the Ontario Provincial Police and the Province of Ontario each to adopt and implement a seize-and-destroy procedure for disposing of illegal guns and ammunition seized and confiscated by law-enforcement agencies.

Safety inspections – City buildings   
Council approved a series of recommendations to ensure that City buildings are in compliance with fire code regulations and to ensure that inspections are carried out by qualified, reputable contractors. The action follows an investigation by the City’s Auditor General.

Construction of affordable housing     
Council approved City funding and financial incentives for 893 affordable rental homes across the city to support the provision of affordable housing through the Open Door Program. An additional 422 mid-range rental homes were approved through the provincial Development Charges Rebate Program. Council also agreed to review the definition of “affordability” under the Official Plan.

Construction staging   
Council adopted a motion calling for the City to consult with the development industry on eliminating its practice of occupying the public right-of-way for construction purposes. In addition, staff were asked to report on possibly requiring developers to provide construction plans with their rezoning applications to demonstrate they can build what they are proposing without negatively affecting the community. Use of traffic lanes to stage construction causes traffic bottlenecks and can create unsafe conditions for pedestrians and cyclists.

Disturbing images in public places   
Council agreed to ask staff to review and enforce current City bylaws designed to protect members of the public from harm, including provisions for keeping streets and sidewalks unobstructed. The motion that Council adopted came in response to public complaints about a group displaying large posters with “extremely graphic, disturbing” images that children and other captive audiences are confronted with when using the sidewalks where the posters are displayed.

Dust from residential construction     
Council supported establishing a bylaw aimed at minimizing dust from the construction of residential properties, with fines for non-compliance. The bylaw identifies various procedures and technologies that can be used to minimize dust. Residential properties for the purpose of this bylaw do not include multi-residential buildings.

Midtown in Focus report  
Council adopted the final Midtown in Focus report as a comprehensive new planning framework for the Yonge-Eglinton area in Midtown Toronto, with related amendments to the Official Plan and a new Yonge-Eglinton Secondary Plan. Midtown in Focus provides policy direction for ensuring that the area develops as a complete, diverse community. Council also endorsed a related plan for parks/public realm and a strategy for community services/facilities.

Changes to development incentive program   
Council approved a new city-wide Community Improvement Plan that implements changes to the Imagination, Manufacturing, Innovation and Technology incentive program. The program, introduced in 2008, provides tax incentives to encourage the renovation or construction of buildings in targeted employment sectors and fosters brownfield remediation by way of development grants or property-tax cancellation.

Appointment of chief financial officer
Council approved the appointment of Heather Taylor as the City’s new Chief Financial Officer (CFO). She will assume the role on September 4, joining the three Deputy City Managers who work closely with the City Manager. The CFO is responsible for setting the City’s overall strategic and financial direction by establishing objectives aligned with Council’s priorities.

Phasing out plastic straws   
Council supported calling for the establishment of a City policy restricting the use of plastic straws in Toronto as part of a broader effort addressing single-use products/packaging and blue-box contamination. The Solid Waste Management Services division was asked to accelerate its planning for the reduced use of single-use or “takeaway” packaging and products, and to undertake public/stakeholder consultation this fall for a report in early 2019.

Organic waste processing     
Council authorized staff to negotiate and enter into agreements necessary to operate, maintain or make capital improvements to the Disco Road organics processing facility so the City can continue using it to process source-separated organics in the years ahead. Council also supported taking steps at the appropriate time to assess potentially having City staff operate the facility rather than using external, contracted services. Solid Waste Management Services expects to collect about 170,600 tonnes of organic waste this year. 

Promotion of community ice skating   
Council agreed to direct staff, working with local councillors, to implement pilot skate-exchange events before the coming outdoor skating season. Priority will be given to holding such events in neighbourhood improvement areas. In addition, Council asked Parks, Forestry and Recreation to formalize a skate-lending program based on a program piloted last winter, with community groups across the city to provide skate-lending this winter using equipment provided by the City.

Honouring Pam McConnell     
Council approved naming the City’s aquatic centre in Regent Park in honour of the late Deputy Mayor Pam McConnell, making it the Pam McConnell Aquatic Centre. July was the one-year anniversary of the passing of Deputy Mayor McConnell. As a downtown councillor, she championed the revitalization of Regent Park and led the process to build community supports, including construction of the aquatic facility.

Honouring Dudley Laws   
Council supporting consulting with the family of Dudley Laws and the Black Action Defense Committee to identify naming opportunities to officially recognize the late Dudley Laws for his important contributions to Toronto. Laws, a community activist and champion for social justice, founded the Black Action Defense Committee and was a central figure in changing the way Ontario investigates its police services. He died in 2011 at age 76.

Gender equity strategy   
Council adopted a motion calling for the City to work on a gender equity strategy and on establishing a gender equity office at the City. Staff have been directed to report to the Executive Committee on specifics in early 2019.  The overall goal is to ensure that the voices and experiences of women and girls are recognized in the City’s decision-making.

Toronto’s long-term care homes     
Council voted to ask the Long-Term Care Homes and Services division to provide better supports for seniors living with dementia in the City’s 10 long-term care homes by implementing measures inspired by care-based programs such as the Butterfly and Greenhouse Project models. Those models are emotion-centred service models of care for residents with dementia. The undertaking is to start with a pilot project at one site.

Toronto 311 review   
A motion calling for a review of response-time standards for Toronto 311 intake calls and emails from the public was adopted. The motion that Council supported specifies a series of actions to support improving service. Toronto 311 was established to help residents, businesses and visitors report issues and initiate necessary municipal work any time by phoning 311 or emailing 311@toronto.ca.

Appeals by dog owners           
Council decided to replace the City’s current tribunal that hears appeals from dog owners who have received a Dangerous Dog Order from the City. The current tribunal of five City staff will be replaced early next year with a Dangerous Dog Review Tribunal that consists of public members appointed by Council.

Preserving Kensington Market   
Council voted to enact a bylaw for the Kensington Market Neighbourhood Heritage Conservation District Study Area for one year to prohibit the demolition or removal of any buildings or structures on identified commercial and mixed-use properties. Staff are working on a “made-in-Kensington” approach to a heritage conservation district plan for the neighbourhood, which is expected to take about a year to complete. 

Future of City’s Lancaster airplane     
Council approved the transfer of the City’s FM104 Lancaster bomber to the British Columbia Aviation Museum for the vintage military airplane’s continued restoration and public display there. The museum is to cover costs. The British-designed Avro Lancaster, one of the most famous bombers of the Second World War, has been in storage for many years.

Preserving heritage oak tree   
Council took steps to preserve a 250-year-old oak tree on private property in North York, authorizing staff to negotiate the acquisition of the property at 76 Coral Gable Dr. in North York, subject to a successful arboricultural assessment of the tree. At least 50 per cent of the cost will be funded from private donations.

Council Highlights is an informal summary of a selection of the 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.

Increased funding to support road safety   
Council agreed to spend substantial additional funds on top of $21.3 million that was already budgeted this year to improve and accelerate the implementation of road-safety measures identified in the City’s Vision Zero strategy. The road-safety measures to be pursued include traffic-calming projects, street-design work and potentially the expansion of Toronto’s red-light camera program.

Safety zones near schools   
Council voted to amend certain City bylaws with the intention of making hundreds of Toronto schools eligible for automated speed enforcement under Ontario’s Safer School Zones Act. The amendments will also enable the City to double speeding fines in key walking and cycling routes to and from schools. The goal is to help reduce aggressive driving/speeding in areas that have a high concentration of schoolchildren.

Addressing gun violence in Toronto   
Council agreed to call for an emergency meeting of City officials together with police and the Toronto Community Housing Corporation to address the increase in gun and gang violence. Council also supported making requests to the Ontario and federal governments, including on legislation to control firearms, a review of guidelines on granting bail in cases involving possession or use of illegal firearms, and changes to the Highway Traffic Act to strengthen the deterrent to having an unlawfully possessed firearm in a vehicle.

Planning for shelter infrastructure     
Council approved a plan that addresses shelter infrastructure in Toronto, with various actions pertaining to respite services and refugee/asylum claimants in Toronto. Council agreed to advise the governments of Canada and Ontario that the City has exhausted its resources for meeting the housing needs of current refugee/asylum claimants who are using Toronto’s shelter system. Council also agreed to reiterate its request for a regional response on this issue.

New committee on housing and shelter   
Council voted to establish a Housing Committee with the mandate to monitor and make recommendations on housing and shelter in Toronto. This new standing committee replaces the Affordable Housing Committee, which was a special committee of Council. Having a standing committee on housing will help direct more City resources to housing and increase the amount of affordable housing that Council approves for construction.

Appointment of City Manager     
Council appointed Chris Murray to the position of City Manager, the most senior official in the City of Toronto’s administration. The City Manager is accountable to City Council for policies and programs delivered by the Toronto Public Service. Interim City Manager Giuliana Carbone will resume her position and duties as Deputy City Manager, Cluster A when Murray starts work at the City on August 13. The former City Manager, Peter Wallace, left the City earlier this year.

Security at Toronto City Hall       
Council approved the implementation of physical checks of baggage as people enter Toronto City Hall and the use of metal detectors at entrances to the council chamber, among other measures for enhancing security. The goal is to maintain an accessible, safe and secure Toronto City Hall while providing a reasonable level of protection from foreseeable threats.

Community councils   
Council voted to amend the City of Toronto Municipal Code by adopting community council boundaries that take effect on December 1. The amendment makes minor adjustments to capture the city’s new 47-ward structure (instead of the current 44 wards) and extends the western boundary of the Toronto and East York Community Council from Keele Street to the Humber River by moving the new Ward 17 from Etobicoke York Community Council to Toronto and East York Community Council. Map: https://bit.ly/2zdeEPa

Response to opioid overdose crisis     
Council supported Board of Health recommendations for the opioid overdose crisis in the context of the Toronto Overdose Action Plan, including actions specified for the Toronto Community Housing Corporation. Toronto Public Health has worked with City divisions and community partners to implement the action plan over the past year. Council also approved the use of one-time provincial funding for additional staff and supplies to support the supervised injection service at 277 Victoria St.

Capital projects – greenhouse gas reduction   
Council agreed to authorize receipt of about $52 million in provincial funding under the Municipal Greenhouse Gas Challenge program. The funds are to be distributed among 10 major City projects that will reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. In addition, undertaking these projects – such as retrofits to emergency vehicles in the City’s fleet – is expected to achieve long-term operating cost savings through efficiencies. These projects and others like them are tied to the City’s TransformTO climate action strategy.

Minimum wage   
Council affirmed its support for the minimum wage increasing to $15 an hour starting January 1 and agreed to encourage the Ontario government to not rescind the law increasing the minimum wage. Last year, the previous Ontario government passed a bill raising the minimum wage to $14 an hour for 2018 and to $15 an hour effective January 1, 2019.

Improvements to bus and subway service   
Council approved a Toronto Transit Commission plan to hire 84 additional staff to support implementing measures to improve transit service. Specifically, the measures aim to improve reliability on Line 1 (the Yonge subway line), relieve peak crowding on 20 bus routes and off-peak crowding on 14 bus routes, and implement seven new express services in peak periods on a trial basis.

Services in the east downtown area   
Council adopted a 12-month action plan for the east downtown area. The plan is a response to Council’s earlier request for short-term and five-year action plans that address the community’s needs and related service co-ordination. Downtown East, as the area is known, faces complex challenges related to poverty, homelessness, housing affordability, community safety, mental health and opioid-related drug use and overdoses.

Student nutrition   
Council agreed to increase funding of the City’s student nutrition program by about $2 million this year, bringing the total subsidy to about $14 million for 2018. The Medical Officer of Health received authorization to enter into agreements with two organizations that will administer the funding and distribute it among eligible student nutrition programs at schools across Toronto. The six-year municipal funding plan for the student nutrition program is now in its final year.   

Trail naming to honour Ron Moeser   
Council approved naming the waterfront trail that runs through Ward 44 Scarborough East “Ron Moeser Trail” in honour of former City Councillor Ron Moeser, who died last year while he was Ward 44’s representative on City Council. Consultation with the Moeser family and the community led to the trail-naming proposal. Ron Moeser worked for many years as a proponent for creating a waterfront park and trail system in the Lake Ontario shoreline area of east Scarborough.

Bloor Street West bike lanes   
Council directed staff to immediately undertake improvements to “corridor safety” along the Bloor Street West bike lane route. A focus of work to be undertaken is improved separation of bike lanes from vehicle-traffic lanes and management of turns for better safety at intersections.

Sex education in schools   
Council voted to affirm its support for comprehensive sex education as provided in Ontario’s current public education curriculum.

Safe Third Country agreement   
Council agreed to ask the Canadian government to suspend the Safe Third Country Agreement between Canada and the United States “due to the actions taken by the United States government, in particular the policy of separating children from parents who are seeking refugee status.” The Safe Third Country Agreement requires refugee claimants to request protection in the first safe country they arrive in unless the claimant qualifies for an exception.

Planning framework for laneway suites     
Council approved the establishment of a planning framework for laneway suites in neighbourhoods in the Toronto and East York district, making them a new as-of-right housing option, subject to certain criteria. The approval covers implementation measures and the introduction of a pilot program for affordable rental units as part of the Changing Lanes initiative. The City is preparing guidelines detailing application requirements and other practical information about laneway suites.

Support for Finch Avenue West businesses   
A motion that Council supported will result in the City working with Metrolinx transit agency on ways to support Finch Avenue businesses and residents during the construction period of the Metrolinx Finch Avenue West LRT (light-rail transit) project. Construction work, now started, will continue until the scheduled opening of the transit line in 2023.

Galleria Mall lands project       
Council authorized City staff to enter into a land exchange agreement that will facilitate the redevelopment of the Galleria Mall at Dufferin and Dupont Streets. The shopping-centre site will be demolished and replaced with a large-scale, mixed-use development that includes the provision of affordable housing. As part of the project for a complete community, the nearby Wallace Emerson Community Centre will be replaced and Wallace Emerson Park will be enlarged and redesigned.

Toronto City Council special meeting on June 26

Appointment of Councillor for Ward 41
At a special meeting of Council that was held before the regular business meeting on June 26, City Council heard candidates’ presentations and voted to appoint Miganoush Megardichian as the councillor for Ward 41 Scarborough-Rouge River. The appointment, which fills the vacancy resulting from Chin Lee’s resignation, will be in effect until the end of the current term of Council (November 30, 2018).

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