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E-BLAST: Council Highlights: TTC Safety, DVN Developments, & Protecting Healthcare Access



We are in the middle of a jam-packed Council session. Below, I've shared updates on some of the most important items we're considering. Some of these items have already passed at Council, while others will be considered tomorrow. Here are some of the biggest issues we're tackling this month:

COMMUNITY SAFETY ISSUES AND RESPONSE Council had a lengthy discussion about safety on our transit system in the wake of yet another violent incident this past weekend. We grilled TTC CEO Rick Leary, Toronto Police Deputy Chiefs, and City Staff to ensure that everything possible is being done to stamp out these incidents.

This motion includes directions to tackle this safety issue from a number of angles, including by developing a 5-Year Safety Strategy, calling on cell phone providers to ensure service in the transit system as soon as possible, and calling for greater investments from other orders of government into addressing the root social causes of crime, including investments in mental health services and housing.

SMARTTRACK STATIONS PROGRAM - UPDATE SmartTrack is a transit program designed to increase transit choice for riders. A couple of years back, City staff sat down with Metrolinx and reviewed which SmartTrack stations were made redundant by the introduction of Premier Ford's Ontario Line and which still made sense as connectors to the TTC. We are down to five stations, which the City will fund in partnership with other orders of government. We are also asking the Province to guarantee that they will cover the costs of any contract overruns.

2023 FINANCIAL UPDATE AND OUTLOOK The City's Chief Financial Officer and the City Manager provided Council with a document that carefully details the fundamental flaws with our city's funding formula. It shows the imminent need for a new fiscal framework, as I've written about at length in past. I will be writing about this report in detail when part two, which includes proposals for our fiscal plan, is delivered to Council in July.

OMBUDSMAN TORONTO REPORT: INVESTIGATION INTO THE CITY'S PROCESSES FOR CLEARING ENCAMPMENTS IN 2021 The Toronto Ombudsman, who provides the independent and impartial review of City services, delivered a comprehensive report on the City's approach to encampment clearing in 2021. This motion will see Council endorse the Ombudsman's recommendations to work with those who reside in encampments using a human rights and culturally responsible approach. It also calls on the Provincial government to develop a regional approach to homeless, and calls on both the Provincial and Federal governments to increase their support for pathways out of homelessness. Building affordable and supportive housing is essential to reaching the goal of no encampments in city parks.

INTERGOVERNMENTAL ADVOCACY EFFORTS ON TORONTO'S REFUGEE CLAIMANT SHELTER RESPONSE As I've shared in past E-Blasts, our shelter system is at capacity. In particular, our city is struggling to adequately support the refugees who are arriving in Toronto into our shelter system. Our city is committed to supporting refugees and asylum seekers, but we cannot do that without adequate financial support. This motion calls for an intergovernmental strategy to make sure Toronto is properly equipped to receive refugees in times of humanitarian crises.

3377 BAYVIEW AVENUE - OFFICIAL PLAN AND ZONING BY-LAW AMENDMENTS – REQUEST FOR DIRECTIONS Last year, the development proposal at Tyndale University was appealed to the Ontario Land Tribunal by the applicant. At this Council meeting, City Planning Staff and the City Solicitor brought forward a settlement offer and request for direction on legal strategy for the hearing, which is scheduled for July of this year. Due to Provincial requirements, this settlement offer must be kept confidential until it is approved by Council. I will be writing a full column with all the details on this settlement offer next week, as all the relevant information will be public at that time. Stay tuned.

20 GODSTONE ROAD - ZONING BY-LAW AMENDMENT APPLICATION - ONTARIO LAND TRIBUNAL HEARING - REQUEST FOR FURTHER DIRECTIONS As mentioned in past E-Blasts, the development application at 20 Godstone Road has also been appealed to the Ontario Land Tribunal. Through the settlement process, City Staff were able to secure enhanced site organization and additional protections for the tenants of the existing older rental building on site. The new buildings will now be 12 and 6 storeys and surround the existing 15-storey building.

A rendering of one of the proposed buildings at 20 Godstone. FEDERAL ELECTORAL DISTRICTS REDISTRIBUTION AFFECTING NORTH YORK The Federal government is redistributing our electoral ridings. This has led to a proposal to eliminate a riding here in Toronto: Don Valley East. On a per capita basis, Toronto is already the least represented community at every level of government. Through this motion, City Council is strongly objecting to this proposal and urging the Prime Minister to reconsider this change. We have to recognize that all major Canadian cities are growing and that the people in them need adequate representation.

PROTECTING ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE FOR ALL ONTARIANS Tomorrow, the Ontario Government will be ending the Physician and Hospital Services for Uninsured Persons Program, removing access to vital care and supports from over a million Ontarians, many of whom are newcomers or members of marginalized communities. Today, Council unanimously approved my and Councillor Chris Moise's motion to call on the Province to reverse this decision and continue to support the critical health care access that this program facilitates. There are a few other significant items that Council has yet to consider, which I will share an update on in next week's E-Blast. As always, feel free to reach out to my office with any questions or comments.

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