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How we're serving you during COVID-19


I’ll confess I was excited on day one of working from home by the thought of catching up on some TV shows. There is never enough time for TV when you are out at events and meetings four nights a week. We thought this might only last a couple of weeks and all my husband and I wanted was to watch the movie of the year, Parasite. We ticked that box on the first weekend. Weeks later, I’m now over watching TV and would love to go back to community meetings most evenings. Until then, I’ll re-watch Fleabag, Bodyguard, Happy Valley and every episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee before I eventually succumb to watching Tiger King.

These things fill the long quarantine evenings and weekends, but what happens during the working day? Rest assured, the Don Valley North team is hitting our virtual offices first thing in the morning. Our new day-to-day We’re still organized the way we’ve always been at City Hall. Each member of the team is assigned to a section of the ward and they are responsible for responding to residents and resolving any issues, in addition to the duties related to their specific roles. Every morning, Monday through Friday, we all meet for a video conference. Tom, my Chief of Staff, goes through all the COVID-19-related government and operational decisions that have been announced over the past 24 hours. Then, the team gives me feedback on how the community is feeling and coping, based on the inquiries you've been sharing through emails and phone calls — and we’re so glad you are still reaching out to us.

Getting responses from City staff on your local matters is not as easy nowadays because they're all so busy with COVID-19 crisis response work. So, after our morning check-in, I stay online for one-on-one time with each member of the team to discuss solutions for our trickier cases. After that, I spend another hour with Tom on emerging issues and requests for my attention from City Hall. Next comes another time slot reserved for requested meetings. Somehow this time gets booked up every day; it may be a committee responsibility, such the Toronto Atmospheric Fund Investment Committee, where work must continue to protect our green investment and climate change work. Sometimes it’s a meeting with leadership at the Toronto Arts Council where work began immediately to keep the creative arts sector afloat. Other times it's a call with Mayor Tory and his staff where they provide updates and assign "homework" related to economic recovery preparations. All of this is possible by video call.

I’ll admit to a longer lunch break while working from home. During this time I plan dinner and the menu for the next day, check on my grandkids' schoolwork progress and grab a bite to eat. Collaborating By 3 pm, I'll have another meeting lined up. Mayor Tory has asked my office to work with City staff and key stakeholders to understand and coordinate recovery efforts for our children and youth services sector. As the curve flattens, this will take more and more of our time. I also have a weekly call with the rest of our Don Valley North representatives, MP Han Dong, MPP Vincent Ke and TDSB Trustee James Li. Han put this call together to make sure we coordinate our efforts to get our community through this pandemic.

I end each day by personally calling residents from all over the ward. My team pick out a neighbourhood and put together a list of up to 10 households to call. Driving up and down the streets of Don Valley North is also a regular (and safe) activity for me, but talking to you on the phone is when I really get a sense of what more we need to be doing to get us through this. When evening comes, it’s time to serve another big dinner, get the grandkids home to bed, bake and cook for the next day and — oh yeah — watch another episode of Ozark. I'm finding this structured routine very helpful in maintaining some normalcy in these very abnormal times. What does your typical day look like right now?


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