Toronto City Council highlights Dec. 4, 5 and 13, 2018

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.

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