Budget 2024 Reinvests in Vital City Services
On February 14th Council considered Mayor Chow’s budget. The last 10 years has seen deteriorating City services as a result of lower than inflation property tax increases. We’ve all experienced overflowing garbage cans, longer wait times for transit, locked park bathrooms and roads in disrepair. That's not good enough for Toronto.
Council had a choice this year: allow Toronto’s decline or get our city back on track. The budget was initially proposed by city staff to have a tax rate increase between 10.5% - 16.5%. I was pleased to see that the rate that was ultimately decided on was only 2.5% higher than the previous years budget. This amounts to an increase of $285 annually for the average Toronto home or the equivalent to a monthly increase of $23.75. This rate both recognized what we need to do for our city but also acknowledged the impact the economy is having on so many residents.
New investments in the 2024 Budget include:
Affordable Housing and Shelters
• Expanding the Multi-Unit Residential Acquisition program (MURA) by $100 million over three years to support the purchase of rental properties to protect low income tenants
• Implement Winter Warming Response Plan to provide emergency shelter and support for homeless Torontonians during inclement weather
• Create 450 new shelter beds to Refugee claimant response
• Additional frontline staff to protect tenants through the Eviction Prevention Program and RentSafeTO
• Increased funding for the Rent Bank, Tenant Support Program, Eviction Prevention in Community Program, Multi-Tenant Housing Program, Homelessness Prevention Program and Community Housing
• Critical funding for 22 City-supported drop-in centres that provide food, training, clothing and other basic supports for homeless Torontonians
Improved Transit Services
• Freezes TTC fares
• Full funding for the Scarborough Busway
• 160 new highly visible TTC workers to improve passenger safety and security
• Implements emissions performance standards for City vehicles
• Expands the Toronto Community Crisis Service city-wide to provide support for mental health emergencies
• Over 100 additional new first responders including firefighters, paramedics, police officers and civilian staff
• Sunday hours at additional Toronto Public Library locations
• New Youth Hubs at Library locations in priority neighbourhoods to serve vulnerable young people
• Increased community grants focused on youth violence prevention
• Enhanced service at Long-Term Care Homes to support seniors
• Additional spaces for EarlyON childcare program
• Almost $1million to support arts and artists
• The $50 million Back on Track Fund will leverage capital funding from the Ontario-Toronto New Deal to support urgent state-of-good-repair work such as potholes, address infrastructure deficiencies, and enhance public spaces across the city.
• Increased funding to plant additional trees and better maintain existing ones.
To view the budget in its entirety, please view the Council agenda.
Scarborough RT Derailment Raises Concerns About the State of Subway Repair
Last year, Torontonians were understandably horrified at footage of the Scarborough RT derailing. The incident sent 5 people to hospital and TTC staff have confirmed that it was lucky it wasn’t more catastrophic.
As reported in the Toronto Star, an independent review of the derailment was completed in November but has yet to be brought to the TTC board. The report found that in the period before the accident there was a marked decline in reported defects on the RT's reaction rail. That component of the line was later identified as the cause of the crash.
The reduction in reported defects prior to the derailment does not add up. The RT was supposed to reach the end of its service life in 2015, as such it should have been expected that the number of defects would increase and more preventative maintenance required to keep transit riders safe.
A formal report by the TTC is expected to come to the TTC Board in May. I will continue pushing for more accountability and transparency on the derailment to ensure that this type of incident never happens again. I have significant concerns about the slow downs that the subway is experiencing on Line 1, and that without sufficient funding for state of good repair we could see increased slow downs on Line 2 over the next 5 years. We simply cannot allow our subway system to either become structurally unsafe or slow down to a point in which we no longer have a functional transit system. I will continue focusing my advocacy on this critical priority.
For more information, please see this article.
Costs to Host FIFA World Cup of Soccer Continue to Rise
The cost for Toronto to host 6 games as part of the 2026 FIFA World Cup of Soccer has increased by $80 million dollars according to a new City Staff report. The total cost to host these games is now expected to cost almost $380 million, with only the province committed to covering $97 million of the total. While it is expected that the federal government will chip in some funding shortly, the City is still expected to be on the hook for a far greater financial commitment than Council was originally told.
A 2022 report to Council estimated the total financial exposure to the City of Toronto at around $100 million, with the expectation that the event would generate considerably more for the City. Unfortunately, City Staff executed an agreement that did not include secured funding commitments from both the provincial and federal governments as directed by City Council and they have now locked us into a poorly negotiated agreement that has not protected us from cost overruns. Moreover, because the City does not get sales tax revenue, the games are only expected to generate $5 million in direct revenue. The federal and provincial governments will reap significant financial benefits from Toronto hosting this tournament. This highlights the need for Toronto to have revenue tools that grow with the economy, and contribute significantly more money for this event until those tools are granted to the City.
While many in our community are excited that our city is hosting the largest sporting event in the world, these games cannot come at the expense of our City’s many priorities. The City is unable to back out of the agreement at this point so it is imperative that we do everything we can to ensure recover as mush of our investment as possible. That’s why I will be requesting that the City develop a revenue strategy that looks at creative ways we can leverage the World Cup.
For more information, please see this article.
Taking Action to Curb Auto Thefts and Break-ins
Auto thefts, and associated break-ins are a significant concern across the country that has hit home for too many St. Paul’s residents following several troubling incidents in our community. Toronto reported more than 12,000 stolen vehicles in 2023. With a 24.4% increase from the previous year, the situation is getting worse.
More concerning than the auto thefts themselves are the increasingly brazen lengths car thieves are willing to go to obtain their targets. In recent cases in our community and across the country, thieves are breaking into houses with people home to obtain keys. Thankfully, one of the main perpetrators of the recent rash of incidents in Forest Hill was apprehended but more work needs to be done to dismantle the international crime organizations that are behind the thefts.
Cars are being stolen in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Ottawa, and other major cities and ending up in China and the Middle East. It is clear that there must be co-operation between the Toronto Police, OPP, RCMP, auto insurance companies, and the Canadian Border Services Agency to address this matter.
That’s why I was pleased to see that the federal government announced $121 million to attack car theft earlier this month, which is in addition to the recent announcement by the province of $51 million to address this problem.
Josh is doing everything he can at the local level by advocating to senior levels of government and working closely with 13 and 53 division to review efforts in combating auto thefts and break ins. Please the following memo from the Staff Sergeant for our local police divisions:
“Toronto Police has been working closely with the Provincial Carjacking Task Force to provide supports in addressing the issue.
Directed Patrols have been created for all members of both 53 and 13 Divisions working with our Crime Analysts to determine trends and identifiers.
These continued directed patrols are being conducted in the high risk areas and based on data analysis we can adjust our resources appropriately.
We have dedicated officers that will continue to canvass for video evidence and anything to assist in our investigations.
Both Divisions have held town hall and meetings with experts in Auto Theft. Our CPLC meetings have been a source of communication and information sharing with the purpose of educating the public on crime prevention measures which includes opening the lines of communication and community involvement. I personally have connected with community members who have created community chat groups to assist in the dissemination of information related to the thefts.
Our Crime Prevention Officers have conducted Crime Prevention assessments known as CPTED (Crime Prevention through Environmental Design) to many residents and continue to do so.
53 Division and 13 Division Major Crime Units have worked through the nights to prevent these crimes and have had success with arrests and identification of suspects. As this is truly widespread I would say nationally, even beyond our provincial boundaries, other police services are making the auto theft issue a top priority as well.”
For more information, please contact 13/53 Division at (416) 808 1300 and inquire about the next Community Police Liaison Committee meeting (CPLC) at [email protected] . Please note the CPLC is a chance for you to personally meet your local authorities, to ask questions and receive answers.
Crackdown Needed After Report Finds City Defrauded for Millions
A new report by the City’s Auditor General has found that the City of Toronto has lost $27 million over the past 5 years due to fraud. The City employees that engaged in this fraud were fired by the City and members of the public that were caught have been referred to the police.
The scams that have taken much needed money away from programs and services we all rely on include:
- Resident using multiple identities applied for, and was granted, numerous subsidies totaling over $60,000
- City employee took sick days to work for a neighbouring municipality
- City Employee made false insurance claims for services that were never performed
- Resident lied about work status for 15 years to receive almost $140,000 in benefits they were not entitled to
The Auditor General’s Report and the subsequent action by the City should serve as a strong warning for individuals looking to scam the City. For more information, please see this article.
The Somali Centre for Culture and Recreation
Toronto is home to one of the largest Somali communities outside of Africa. For over 40 years, Toronto’s Somali community has advocated for a place to gather, learn, celebrate and be well. Now, a new generation is taking the lead to build the Somali Centre for Arts & Recreation. This center would be a hub for Somali services and a place to access diverse programming for community members of all ages. This dynamic space will advance community belonging, serving the Somali community and all other residents nearby. I’m proud to be an active supporter and ally in their efforts to turn this dream into reality.
CareTO: Transforming the Level of Care in City of Toronto Long-Term Care Homes
One of the most meaningful initiatives I brought to Council was CareTO- to transform long-term care in Toronto toward an emotion-focused approach. I returned to Lakeshore Lodge in Etobicoke where this amazing team is creating a model that focuses on the emotional well-being of residents with dementia, and all seniors, in our care. I look forward to continuing to work with Senior Services and Long Term Care division on expanding this model of care across our City's other nine homes. To learn more about CareTO, please visit this website here.
New Hours at Deer Park Library
Our libraries are about more than books. They’re places for families, seniors & youth to study, socialize and for all of us to be well. I was proud to join Mayor Chow and Councillor Ainslie at Deer Park to announce expanded library hours, including Sundays, in branches across the city. This is good news for the Deer Park library in our ward. Starting in September, Deer Park will now be open on Sundays from 1:30pm to 5pm year round, except on holiday weekends. Expanding access to our libraries means more access to welcoming spaces, friendly staff, increased digitized opportunities and more children and youth supports.
Rally to Save the Ontario Science Centre
The Ontario Science Centre should remain where it belongs - in Flemingdon Park. I joined so many remarkable people who love our city, and are willing to fight for our future, at a rally at Riverdale Park. I deeply appreciated the kind & thoughtful conversations we had.
Toronto Community Health Forum
With a shortage of primary care providers and a growing population, we want to make sure all North Toronto residents have access to team-based primary care. To do this, we are establishing an “Integrated Health Hub” in Mount Pleasant West. Integrated Health Hubs bring together health and community services into the same physical space. This will provide patients, their families, and caregivers with easy access to a range of support from different service providers. It also helps health and service providers communicate with each other and coordinate care.
The North Toronto Ontario Health Team (OHT) to hear your thoughts on what you think about establishing a Integrated Health Hub in the Mount Pleasant West Community.
Please take a moment to complete this survey. Your answers will remain anonymous, and the details will be held confidentially. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to Vyshnave Jeyabalan at [email protected] or call (647) 460-4117.
Resume link: https://forms.gle/Vy6zRzr4c1EwyqCMA
Connections 400: Actively Aging at 400 Walmer Road
I was pleased to work with Tai Huynh from the University Health Network’s OpenLab, the Landlord and Property Manager at 400 Walmer Road and a number of active residents to design and renovate a space within this NORC (Naturally Occurring Retirement Community) to initiate a program designed to address important determinants of healthy aging such as socialization, nutrition, physical fitness, and sense of purpose. It was such a pleasure to visit 400 Walmer Road and the remarkable women who run this program called “Connections 400”. More programs like this need to be expanded across our City and I plan to work with City Staff, healthcare partners and local community organizations to make this possible through my motion that will develop a comprehensive strategy to support aging in place.
Celebrating Lunar New Year
恭喜發財! It was a delight to join the Chinatown BIA for their beautiful 2024 Lunar New Year Celebrations! I wish you and your family good health, fortune, luck and prosperity during this year of the dragon.
A Good Piece of News from Oakwood-Vaughan
Last November, Oakwood Vaughan Community Organization (OVCO) held an open hose to welcome people to the newly named Oakwood Vaughan Community Hub.
From the morning, there was a steady stream of well wishers. They were welcomed by the three partners sharing space in the former Vaughan Road Academy at 529 Vaughan Road: Reena, the Learning Enrichment Foundation (LEF) and the OVCO healthy aging program.
During the opening ceremony, there was standing room only, as people listened to the history of the development of the hub from OVCO chair, Bill Worrell, and heard from Trustee Laskin, TDSB chair, Rachel Chernos Lin, virtually from LEF ED, Peter Frampton and, Reena’s ED and MPP Jill Andrew. Also in attendance were representatives from Oasis, funding the healthy aging program.
The official name, Oakwood Vaughan Community Hub, chosen by residents, was unveiled to great applause.
The Improvement of the Community Consultation Process
Within Development Review
A Proposals report regarding the improvement of the community consultation process within development review was approved at January’s Planning & Housing Committee meeting. The report gave staff direction to conduct consultation with the public and stakeholders and this will be in the form of in-person open houses, virtual meetings as well as smaller stakeholder workshops and gathering feedback through surveys that will be advertised via social media and the project’s website. The website should go live this week and when it does, we will forward you the link, however it was important to provide you with the attached advertisement as soon as possible.
The meeting for Toronto/East York District is scheduled for Tuesday March 12, 2024 from 6:00pm - 8:00pm. The location for this meeting is Metro Hall (255 Front St. W) in rooms 308 and 309.
Oakwood Vaughan Oasis for Healthy Aging
The Oakwood Vaughan community has its very own NORC! The Oakwood Vaughan Community Hub is located at 529 Vaughan Road (Door #9 off Winona Ave.) The Hub is open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10:30am till 3:30pm. Please feel free to contact the Hub at [email protected] with any questions!
Manor Road Nursery School Losing our Home:
A Call to Our Community for Support
Manor Road Co-operative Nursery School (MRNS), an integral part of our community for the past 85 years, is facing an imminent relocation due to The Church of The Transfiguration's decision to end our lease despite our efforts to renegotiate.
This decision marks the end of a nearly century long partnership with The Church of The Transfiguration and we are grateful for their past support and shared history. While challenging, we aim to navigate this transition with respect and understanding. As we continue the search for a new space, our commitment to delivering exceptional education remains unwavering.
Manor Road Nursery School is a registered charity and the oldest cooperative nursery school in Canada. It is not just a place of education; it's a cornerstone of our community, shaping the lives of generations. The prospect of relocation not only affects the school but reverberates through the hearts of families and the entire neighborhood.
We are reaching out to our community for support during this challenging time. Your financial contributions, suggestions for new spaces, and connections to help us find a new home are crucial. Together, we can prevent Manor Road Nursery School from closing.
For inquiries, donations, or assistance, please contact Katharine Wyatt at [email protected]
Manor Road Easter Fair Fundraiser
🌸 Join us for our Easter Fair Fundraiser on March 2nd, 3-6pm, at The Church of the Transfiguration! 🐣
Help support our beloved school, the oldest cooperative school in Canada, facing relocation. 💜💚
⭐️ We will also have crafts, cookie decorating, colouring and an egg hunt for kids!⭐️
With your support, we'll overcome this challenge and continue to thrive! 🌟
We’re located at 111 manor road east, close to Yonge and Eglinton!
Hillcrest Village Community Players - Footloose
Hillcrest Village Players is a local community theatre group, in the heart of Toronto! It is a place to produce high quality performance art, powered by volunteers, and surrounded by a supportive community. That’s correct, powered by volunteers. We are committed to, and very proud, that Hillcrest Village Community Players is an extracurricular for everyone involved. This year we are putting on Footloose, running from February 22nd - March 2nd. Tickets can be purchased through our website!
About Our Season 3 Musical: Footloose!
Footloose is a musical based on the classic 80s film. It tells a story about the importance of community and bonding together through tough times. Set to the backdrop of great 80s pop hits and amazing dance numbers – it is a heartfelt show, but you are sure to end it dancing and singing along with the cast! Get your tickets here: https://www.hillcrestvillageplayers.ca/
Forest Hill Village Remembers Nicola Vitantonio
On behalf of our community, I wish my heartfelt condolences to the family of Nicola Vitantonio. Along with Nick, Mario & Terry, Nicola was loved by all of us whose hair he cut. I’ll always remember him for his kindness-and sense of humor that knew no bounds. May he Rest in Peace.
Fairbank Memorial Community Centre 2024 Winter Programs
Please note that all registrants must have a family number, client number and a course bar code in order to register through the methods below. Please find more information with the link below.
Online registration (started December 5th)
Phone registration with staff
Touch Tone Registration (TTR)
Note* TTR cannot be used after the course start day
Community recreation programmer
Rashida Brown – 416-394-2771
Fairbank Memorial Community Centre 2024 March Break Camp
Fairbank Memorial Community Centre’s March break camp for youth ages 6-12 years old will be held from March 11th – March 15th. Please register at efun.toronto.ca with barcode 4307023. For more information please contact [email protected] (416-394-2771).
Free Training Program for Toronto Youth!
If you know any young people who are passionate about nature and community engagement, they might be a perfect fit for LEAF's Young Urban Forest Leaders (YUFL) Program.
This program provides valuable skills in urban forestry and community engagement to young Toronto residents (ages 18 to 29) over four months (between late April and August). Throughout the program, participants will build connections in their communities, grow their confidence as leaders, and network with industry professionals.
Applications for the 2024 program are OPEN NOW until March 29th. To learn more, individuals can register to join our Virtual Information Session on March 12th at 6:30 PM.
The program is open to all youth but seeks to support Toronto youth from equity-deserving groups within arboriculture and urban forestry, including (but not limited to) women, non-binary people, Indigenous peoples, newcomers, 2SLGBTQ+ persons and racialized individuals.
Delta Red Carpet: Hairs the Things
Join us for an exciting event in Women's History Month 2024. Come together to watch, learn and engage in a fun, family event. A Textured Hair Professional change-maker, Spoken Word Artist, 2 Dynamic Film-makers, and Visual Artist, all women creatives, come together to bring you a memorable presentation in a vibrant way around the ongoing conversation of Black Hair & beauty perception from the inside and out. Dr. Jill Andrew, Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) Toronto-St. Paul's will also speak. This location is in her riding. All genders welcome.
- Date: Saturday, March 2nd,2024
- Time: 11:15am Check In, Prompt 12 noon Start time to 2:30pm
- Location: St.Michael and All Angels Church, 611 St Clair Ave W, Toronto, ON, Canada
- Adults Aged 18 & above - $15 per ticket
- Youth Aged 17 & below (I.D. Ready Please) - Free of Charge Registration
- Mandatory Permission Slips Link for YOUTH aged 17 & below.
- Parents/Guardians must physically attend in the venue with Minors Aged 13 and Under.
Don't miss this opportunity to connect with community, hair professionals, enjoy dynamic films and breathtaking art all by women creatives. Reserve your spot now!
Computer Skills for Seniors
The Learning Enrichment Foundation in partnership with the Oakwood Vaughan Oasis for Healthy Aging is hosting a Computer Basics course for seniors!
About the course:
Each participant works on one of our laptops. The class pace is slow, with 1:1 support in the classroom. The course is every Tuesday from February 27th to April 16th between 10am - 1pm at the new OV Community Hub (529 Vaughan Road). You can enter by door #9 off Winona Drive, the class is in room 122. To register, email [email protected].
Who is this course for?
- You are a senior living in Oakwood Vaughan
- You haven't kept up with changes in technology
- You want to learn basic computer skills
- You need access to a computer to learn
- You are available to attend all classes
Attention Child-Care Providers!
We want to share an exciting opportunity for child-care space in a dynamic and vibrant community. Located in the St. Clair West/Humewood/Wychwood neighbourhoods, Wychwood Barns is currently seeking requests for proposals for a 2,000 square foot vacant space with child-care infrastructure designed for pre-school aged children. For further information, please contact [email protected].
Celebrating Tamil Heritage Month
I’m very grateful the warm friendship I’ve fostered with our city’s vibrant Tamil community. I learn a lot from them - and it means a lot to me. I was delighted to be in Scarborough North to participate in the Tamil Heritage Month Closing Ceremony!
Canadian Youth Climate Action Award
After a very successful launch last year, Pivot Green, in partnership with the Small Change Fund, will again be presenting the Canadian Youth Climate Action Award that recognizes the great contribution our younger generation is making in the fight against climate change. Across Canada, youth are organizing, influencing policymakers, and creating impactful programs in their communities. To recognize this contribution and show our support, we have increased the first prize money to $5,000. A secondary prize of $2,500 and two additional prizes of $1,000 will also be awarded. Pivot Green will amplify and share the stories of successful initiatives with the hope that they can be replicated across the country.
Applications are now being accepted until April 2, 2024. The winners will be announced on Earth Day, April 22nd. The guidelines and details of the award program can be found on our site.
For more information contact:
Founding Member, Pivot Green
416 278 2408
Canada South Indian Chamber of Commerce
I enjoyed a wonderful and productive conversation with the Canada South India Chamber of Commerce (CSICC) including several South Indian business owners and entrepreneurs who contribute so much to our city’s economy and quality of life.
Holocaust Remembrance Day
On Holocaust Remembrance Day, we remember the 6 million Jews, along with other targeted groups, who were murdered by the Nazis. I was grateful to join so many of my colleagues, and meet Holocaust survivor Rose Lipszyc and Special Envoy Combatting Antisemitism, Deborah Lyons, as we attended Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies’ commemoration of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.