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The Re-Opening Plan: Things to consider

Residents of Don Valley North will receive a phone call this evening prompting them to join the Town Hall. You can email us your phone number to ensure we reach you. You can also participate online here:



I’ve already described the typical workweek for the Ward 17 Team during the COVID-19 lockdown. After a couple of days adjusting, we found our groove and are continuing to serve you through phone calls and video conferencing. We quickened our pace after the Prime Minister and Premier Ford opened this week with some early talk of their re-opening strategies. The considerations There are many things to consider in the plan for re-opening our economy. As I've mentioned, Mayor Tory has trusted me to lead the Children and Youth Services file of his Economic Recovery Task Force. I spent the past week speaking with organizations that serve children and youth all over town. These services will be critical in our recovery — they need to be ready to hit the ground running once parents return to work. Before that can happen, a lot of questions must be answered first.

Naturally, once you heard that re-opening plans are being made, you had many questions for my staff team. They have been answering your calls and emails as quickly as possible and are also pro-actively reaching out to you by phone. If you received a call from one of them out of the blue, it's because we know from past conversations that you are our eyes on the street in Don Valley North. In a brief conversation, you can help us gauge how our community is coping. If you have not received a call, there is another opportunity at the end of this column. Oh, and just a word in-ear: some of you need to empty your voice mailbox! Now, let’s review the three stages of the province's re-opening plan: The criteria The Chief Medical Officer of Health (Provincial) and health experts will advise the government on when it may begin to ease public health measures using a range of criteria, including:

  • A consistent two-to-four week decrease in the number of new daily COVID‑19 cases

  • Sufficient acute and critical care capacity, including access to ventilators and ongoing availability of personal protective equipment

  • Approximately 90% of new COVID‑19 contacts are being reached by local public health officials within one day, with guidance and direction to contain community spread

  • Ongoing testing of suspected COVID‑19 cases, especially of vulnerable populations, to detect new outbreaks quickly

The stages Re-opening will be gradual and occur in stages. There will be two to four weeks between the launch of each stage to allow health officials to assess conditions before moving to the next one.

This will determine if measures should be adjusted, loosened or tightened. Everyday actions to protect your health, like physical distancing, frequent hand-washing and staying home when ill will continue through each stage. STAGE 1 In the first stage, we will consider:

  • Opening select workplaces that can meet current public health guidelines

  • Allowing essential gatherings of a limited number of people

  • Opening some outdoor spaces

  • Continued protections for vulnerable populations

STAGE 2 In the second stage, we will consider:

  • Opening more workplaces with significant mitigation plans

  • Opening more public spaces

  • Allowing some larger public gatherings

  • Continued protections for vulnerable populations

STAGE 3 In the final stage, we will consider:

  • Opening all workplaces responsibly

  • Relaxing restrictions on public gatherings

  • Continued protections for vulnerable populations

Considering the amount of build-up we heard from the media about this plan before the Premier announced it on Monday morning, this probably does not look very concrete. It's important to know this is just a framework — the hard and fast rules still need to be developed. What the City is doing At the City, we are actively working on the specifics we need to continue to fight the virus while getting you safely back to work. Here are just a few: Children and youth We know that in order for you to return to work before schools open, you need childcare. The City is asking the province to release public health guidelines for children's settings well in advance of re-opening so we can help daycare operators prepare to meet all those standards on time. Furthermore, we will be calling on the province to ensure all types of childcare centres are able to afford to function throughout the phased re-opening of Ontario's economy.

Many young people will be without camp counseling and leadership opportunities this summer, without recreational sports and without the kind of summer employment their families need them to earn from. Using federal government supports, the City will be working hard to connect youth to employment through many youth-serving agencies. Believe it or not, some of our City’s best organizations still have some resources to help young people get their life plans back on track. Service industry We know that in order to open public-facing workplaces such as salons, retail stores and restaurants, both business owners and customers need to know how to navigate things safely. Again, the province will announce guidelines and the City will be responsible for enforcing and communicating the rules. Transit Last, but not least, I’m committed to doing everything in my power to help our City’s circulatory system, the TTC, get the resources it needs to return to full service as you return to work. Your transit system must be able to respond to ridership levels returning to normal while keeping passengers and drivers safe. Unapologetically, this will require support from other orders of government — and cities across Canada agree. As I’ve explained before, the TTC became the most under-funded transit system in North America when the provincial government withdrew from funding TTC operating expenses back in 1995. When a crisis like this hits and causes ridership — and revenue — to plummet, it immediately puts our transit system in crisis, too.

In the near future when we on our way to good health, physically and economically, a permanent improvement to our transit funding arrangement is a no-brainer if we want a strong system that's able to respond to any future challenges. It's your turn I have thrown some big considerations at you this week. Tonight, it's your turn to ask questions and bring up concerns I haven't addressed yet. At 7:30 PM tonight I’m joining forces with MP Han Dong and Dr. Joshua Tepper of North York General Hospital for a telephone town hall. If your phone number is in our system, you will get a phone call tonight that will prompt you to join us. If you don't get that call, you can also participate online using this link. Talk soon!


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