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What Makes a Safe City?

We’ve had quite a few societal reckonings over the past two years. The pandemic has forced us to take a hard look at many of the inequalities that have been deepening in our city for decades. Shortly after the pandemic hit, we also had to reckon with our definition of community safety and who is actually able to feel safe in our neighbourhoods. Most will remember the demonstrations in our streets in June 2020 following the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis and the death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet in the presence of police here in Toronto. Council responded to these tragedies with an omnibus motion directing City staff and police to work together to make massive change.

Today, I want to zero in on community safety and the changes we need to make in responding to community crises. I spent two days this week listening to Budget deputations from the community, and the most common issue my fellow Budget Committee members and I heard about was changes to policing. Community safety was also the biggest item on the agenda for the Mayor’s Executive Committee the following day. Creating a safer city is something Council and staff have been working on for many years. Even before the tragic deaths that took place in June 2020, Toronto had been given an assignment from the Province to create a Community Safety and Well-Being Plan (CSWB). The goal of these plans was to create sustainable communities where everyone is safe, feels a sense of belonging, and has access to the services they need. Municipalities were instructed to report back on these plans in July 2021. The pandemic made it more challenging to create this plan, as the very staff that were tasked with creating it, our Social and Community Development experts, were most needed in response to the serious social costs of multiple city-wide lockdowns. Thankfully, Council began investing in extra staff to support this work and create SafeTO: A Community Safety & Well-Being Plan. This plan will help us radically change the way we approach community safety, now and especially over time.

The most urgent work is already underway: Changing the way we respond to persons in crisis. Since July 2020, Toronto Police Services have established a partnership with the Gerstein Crisis Centre, who now help 911 triage calls from people in immediate mental health crisis. Some of these calls are directed to a Mobile Crisis Intervention Team (MCIT) that includes a police officer and a nurse specializing in mental health interventions. Starting this year, we’re going even further in diverting mental health calls from police response by launching the Community Crisis Support Service (CCSS) Pilot. In four areas of the city that have the highest volume of mental health crisis calls, 911 will triage and determine if one of four mental health partner agencies can respond to a person in crisis instead of police. In cities that have implemented this service, many crisis calls are deescalated more easily because there is no fear of police presence. The first responders attending these calls are also often able to stay much longer than a police officer might and can help the person connect with long-term mental health supports.

The above map show the four areas included in the CCSS Pilot. You can click on the image to view a larger version.

The CCSS Pilot will be monitored very closely over the coming years to see how it impacts our communities and how we can look to expand the program in future. Of course, this is just one piece of our larger SafeTO plan, which will work to create a safer city by taking on four of our biggest challenges: community trauma, community violence, harm reduction and victimization, and injustice. There are many steps involved in creating the safer city all Torontonians deserve. The year one, 2022 work plan for SafeTO is as follows:

  • Action 1.3: Make the preparations to embed the community crisis support service as a first-response service city-wide, if the pilot programs succeed.

  • Action 2.1: Develop a multi-sector gun violence reduction plan, starting with the establishment of an Anti-Gun Violence office that can work across city divisions as necessary.

  • Action 2.3: Strengthen the current community crisis response protocols to better support victims and communities impacted by violence. (This is a community team that currently responds to neighbourhoods where extreme violence has occurred. They help neighbourhoods recover but currently have limited hours and resources.)

  • Action: 7.1: Develop a comprehensive strategy to share, integrate and analyze data across multiple institutions for the purpose of informing real-time policy development and service planning. (This may sound bureaucratic but has long been an obstacle to enacting meaningful change. Police services in Canada need to share their data to help cities target their investments for maximum impact.)

I know there are some in our community who feel these actions are too painstaking and will take too long to deliver real change. There has been a lot of talk over the past two years about defunding the police and making huge societal change happen right now. I would respond that we have to start somewhere. We do have an opportunity to make real, lasting societal change here in Toronto. I believe it’s better to invest the time and resources into a thorough, thoughtful plan than to take flash-in-the-pan actions that won’t result in permanent change. If we get the mental health crisis response right, tragic deaths can be avoided. It can also lead to rebuilding the mental health system we’ve needed in Ontario for, well, forever.

SafeTO's guiding principals.

Every year, we can build on these actions and work to create a safer city. The most important step we have to take right now is properly funding SafeTO. This plan will not only help us support those in crisis, it will help us stamp out the issues that lead to violence in our cities before it occurs. Over time, instead of throwing money at police to respond after a crime occurs, we will be investing in the most impactful interventions to prevent violence and create community safety. I know this information can seem daunting and bureaucratic. Let me close by putting it in very real terms. Last week, a 13-year-old child is alleged to have shot and killed a 15-year-old boy in an apartment parking garage in East York. What happened here? Why did that child have a gun? One life was lost, another life destroyed, and both families are devastated. Police responded to this tragedy, but we need to take action to prevent tragedies like this from occurring in the first place. If SafeTO does its job, Toronto will be a city where a 13-year-old boy doesn’t ever need or want a gun. That’s my definition of a safe city, and how I’ll measure every report back from the SafeTO team. I’ll always ask, “Does this report get me one step closer to a city where no child ever has a gun?” It’s my job as your Councillor to make sure the answer is always yes, and that we taking meaningful action to create a city that is safe for all.


Upcoming Vaccine Clinics in Don Valley North

Bayview Village Association: Forest Grove United Church

The Bayview Village Association and North York General Hospital are running a vaccine clinic at Forest Grove United Church (43 Forest Grove Dr) on Saturday, February 5 from 3:30 - 6:30 PM.

First, second, and third doses of Pfizer and Moderna are available, and all ages (5+) are welcome. Walk-in spots and appointments are available. A doctor will also be available on-site to answer questions. Book an appointment at the link below:

Parkway Forest Community Centre

North York General Hospital and North York Toronto Health Partners are running a vaccine clinic at Parkway Forest Community Centre on the following dates:

  • Tuesday, February 1: 4:30 - 7:30 PM

  • Tuesday, February 8: 4:30 - 7:30 PM

First, second, and third doses of Pfizer and Moderna are available, and all ages (5+) are welcome. Walk-in spots and appointments are available. A doctor will also be available on-site to answer questions. Book an appointment at the link below:

Tyndale University GO-VAXX Mobile Bus Clinic (3377 Bayview Ave)

Tyndale University is hosting a mobile vaccination clinic on campus on Monday, January 31. It is available to anyone in the community. The clinic will bring pediatric doses for 5-11-year old’s, 11-17 youth doses, and first, second and booster doses for adults. The vaccines administered will be in line with the Ministry of Health guidelines. Anyone under 30 will receive Pfizer and those 30 and older will receive Pfizer or Moderna depending on availability. You can start to book appointments at 8:00 AM the day before the clinic using the Provincial booking website at or by calling the Provincial Vaccine Booking Line number at 1-833-943-3900.

Booking Vaccine Appointments

COVID-19 vaccine appointments for first and second doses are available for those ages five and older. Third dose appointments are available for those ages 18 and older. Appointments cam be booked through the provincial booking system online or by phone:

  • Online:

  • Phone: 1-833-943-3900

For more information on vaccines, visit the link below:


Shelley Carroll

Councillor for Don Valley North


100 Queen St. W, Suite A3


Community Events & Notices

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Today and every day, we must remember and honour the millions of lives lost during the Holocaust. #NeverAgain is a commitment to remember the past and work together to build a better tomorrow. Last Friday, I joined the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA)'s Ontario Municipal Leaders Summit on Antisemitism. We are seeing alarming trends in hate, particularly toward our Jewish communities. We must stand together and fight Antisemitism wherever and whenever we see it.


National Day of Remembrance of the Quebec City Mosque Attack and Action Against Islamophobia

This Saturday, January 29 marks five years since the Quebec City mosque attack, a senseless act of violence against Canada's Muslim community. This National Day of Remembrance reminds us that we must work together to eradicate Islamophobia and all forms of discrimination in our country. I encourage you to join me in wearing a green square to remember the victims and survivors of this attack, and to reflect on the work we all must do to fight hate in our communities.


TAF Electric Vehicle Station Fund

This past Monday, I joined the Toronto Atmospheric Fund (TAF) for the launch of the Electric Vehicle Station Fund. I'm so glad to see us leveraging TAF's low-carbon expertise to make electric vehicle charging more accessible and help combat climate change. This $2 million fund will support electric vehicle (EV) charging installations region-wide. Reliable charging access is an essential component in encouraging people to switch over to EVs, and to meet our TransformTO climate targets. This program will help get charging station in the hardest to reach places, like on-street and multi-family buildings. Building and retail owners, and other community organizations with public or private parking lots can check out the program and apply for incentives at the link below:


Budget Town Hall

Thank you to everyone who joined our virtual Budget Town Hall last night! It was great to see so many Don Valley Northerners engaged in our budget process. My door is always open for conversations with our community about what this budget means for the services we rely on.


Coffee with your Councillor

Join me bright and early for another Coffee with your Councillor on Wednesday, February 2 at 8:30 AM. I'll be on Facebook Live talking about some of the big ticket items coming to Council. I'll also provide community updates and answer your questions about what's going on in our neighbourhoods. You'll be able to find the event on my Facebook page. I look forward to seeing you there!


NEW: 311 App

311 now has an app! This new mobile app for 311 Toronto makes it easier and more convenient for residents, businesses, and visitors to connect with 311 Toronto – anywhere, anytime on any smart device. The 311 Toronto app offers more benefits, including:

  • GPS capability to allow users to pinpoint and set the exact location of a service request

  • Ability to view open requests in a given neighborhood to find out whether an issue has already been reported

  • Functionality to explore nearby points of interest, such as civic centres, libraries and museums

  • Camera function to easily upload and attach a photo to a service request, for additional context

  • Appointment booking for select services with confirmation, reminders and notifications to the user’s device

  • Individual personalization, dark and light mode, stored preferences, and information auto-fill

Learn more and download the app at the link below:


Ongoing Snow Clearing Efforts

The City's snow clearing and snow removal efforts are still underway. If your street is still experiencing snow clearing issues, whether on the road or sidewalk, you can report these issues to 311. I do want to let folks know that it is taking the City a longer than usual to get through all of these 311 requests due to the incredibly large volume they have received. 311 received thousands of requests since last week and staff are working through hundreds per day.

If you've already contacted 311 or have an ongoing snow clearing issue on your street, feel free to get in touch with my office. We can assist you in making and following up on requests to 311 for driveway windrow clearing and missed snow clearing on roads and sidewalks. You can send my office an email at or give us a call at 416-338-2650 and a member of my team will be happy to help.


Prevent Frozen Pipes

Cold weather can cause your water pipes to freeze, resulting in no water and expensive property damage. For tips on how to protect your water pipes from freezing, visit the link below:


Willowdale Winterfest

To connect with neighbours and beat the winter blues, NeighbourLink North York is hosting a virtual variety show called Willowdale Winterfest! Join in on January 30 from 6 - 8 PM over Zoom, where there will be performances from local talent, opportunities to get to know your neighbours, and prizes from Willowdale businesses. Performers include Musician Marcus Schwan, Magician Sawyer Bullock, TSO Violinist Shane Kim, and many more! It'll be fun for the whole family! RSVP for free at the link below:


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