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Councillor Matlow's City Hall & Community Update: February 2024

 

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

Community Supports
•    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

Public Works
•    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.

Agenda Item History - 2024.PH9.4 (toronto.ca)

 
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. 

https://www.toronto.ca/data/parks/prd/facilities/complex/482/index.html

Online registration (started December 5th)
Efun.toronto.ca
7am-Midnight

Phone registration with staff
416-396-7378
7am-5pm

Touch Tone Registration (TTR)
416-338-0000
7am-Midnight
Note* TTR cannot be used after the course start day

Community recreation programmer
Rashida Brown – 416-394-2771
[email protected] 

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.

Event Details:

  • 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

Cost:

  • 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:
Tom Scanlan 
Founding Member, Pivot Green
[email protected] 
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.


For ongoing council and community news, my contact information, along with a calendar of events, please visit www.joshmatlow.caClick here to read my previous city hall and community updates. 

Councillor Matlow's City Hall & Community Update: Season's Greetings

Dear residents,

My family and I wish you, and those you love, a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and a joyous holiday season.

I hope this finds you safe, healthy and warm, and I look forward to seeing you in our community in the new year.

Warm regards,

Josh



City Secures Much-Needed Funding from Province

Mayor Olivia Chow and Premier Doug Ford recently announced that they had reached an agreement to that would see the Ontario government provide $400 million per year until 2026. The money will be directed toward our over-capacity shelter system, operating funding for the TTC including the Eglinton and Finch LRT projects, when they finally open, and capital dollars for new streetcars.

This funding is vital in the face of a $1.5 billion deficit heading into the 2024 budget. But it does come at a cost. I am deeply saddened that the announced agreement accepted the provinces ability to move forward on their plan to build a massive private spa at Ontario Place and acknowledges the prerogatives of the Ford government to move the Science Centre out of Flemington Park to Ontario Place. I continue to actively support both Ontario Place for All and Save the Science Centre's efforts.

Moreover, part of the funding is derived from the Ontario government agreeing to upload the Gardiner and the DVP from the City. This will free up approximately $200 million per year out of the $400 million negotiated. This is obviously a financially boom for Toronto. However, this move will likely eliminate the possibility of opening up an additional 5.6 acres in the Portlands for housing and greenspace through rebuilding the Gardiner east of Jarvis on the ground as Ford is likely to keep it an elevated expressway. 

While the City has made these agreements that doesn’t mean the fight is over. The greenbelt and Peel Region dissolution reversal are just the most recent examples of Doug Ford caving to public pressure in the face of an unpopular move. I will continue to join residents across Toronto in demanding that Ontario Place remains public and the Science Centre continues to serve as an educational and employment hub for residents of Flemingdon Park and Thorncliffe Park. 

For more information about how you can get involved please visit the websites for Ontario Place for All and Save Ontario’s Science Centre: Ontario Place for All – Say Yes to Public Space and No to a Private Spa at Ontario Place!  SAVE ONTARIO'S SCIENCE CENTRE (savesciencecentre.com)



Crisis Looms as Aging Booms: Creating a Path Forward to Age in Place 

Long-term care homes shouldn't be the only choice for older adults. Supporting our seniors to be able to age in place as an alternative will require innovative housing models, infrastructure, and coordinated services to ensure their independence, safety, health and social well-being are being supported. A Naturally Occurring Retirement Community is typically a multi-unit residential building that over time may naturally come to house a high density of older adults. In 2021, approximately 489 residential buildings were characterized as Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities in Toronto, housing 70,013 adults aged 65 years and older, and 30,346 adults aged 80 years and older.
 
Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities are paths for older adults to age in place, while providing opportunities to realign the delivery of existing health and social services in a more efficient and innovative way. In addition, Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities programs strengthen and sustain healthy communities of older adults by addressing important determinants of healthy aging such as isolation, nutrition, physical fitness, and sense of purpose.
 
It is crucial that the City develop a comprehensive plan to support aging in place now. In 2016, Toronto crossed a demographic turning point with more people living in our city over the age of 65 than under 15. Subsequently, the percentage of our population over 65 has only increased—from 15.6 percent in 2016, to 17.1 percent in 2021, to an estimated 21.2 percent in 2041. This will place Toronto in the same category as “super aged” societies like Japan, where one in five people is a senior citizen.
 
I'm pleased to share that during last week's City Council meeting, my motion which was co-written by University Health Network's NORC Innovation Centre on creating new paths to allow for more older adults to age in place, passed unanimously. I look forward to working with City Staff across multiple divisions to get this work started. To learn more about my motion, please click here.
 
We owe it to our seniors to take the necessary steps to better support seniors to age in place through a coordinated Naturally Occurring Retirement Community plan.



Dundas Street Debate

In 2021, Toronto City Council first initiated a process to explore the renaming of Dundas Street and other City assets bearing the Dundas name. Since then, I have heard from many of you in the community - both in support of ensuring that those we honour reflect our values as well as concern about the potential costs of such a change. A recent staff report before City Council showed that the cost to rename Dundas Street had increased to over $11.3 million dollars. With the City facing unprecedented financial challenges, I am convinced that spending tens of millions of dollars to rename streets is not a priority while transit, affordable housing and many services Torontonians rely on every day are desperately in need of significant investment.

Instead of renaming the street as a whole, Council has approved a compromise motion to rename Yonge and Dundas Square at a cost of just over $300 thousand, payed for by developers through section 37 funds, saving over ten million tax dollars compared to renaming the street as a whole. The new name, Sankofa Square, was chosen at the conclusion of a two year process by the City’s selected advisory committee, made up of leaders from Toronto’s Black and Indigenous communities as well as the local business community. It has come to light subsequent to the Council decision that the local Councillor, who moved this motion, did not adequately consult the Yonge-Dundas Square Board of Management. This concerns me greatly and is not an example of good governance. In addition, Council requested that the Toronto Public Library and the TTC rename the Jane/Dundas Library and Dundas and Dundas West Stations, respectively.
 
It is important to note that the final decision to rename the library and two subway stations lies not with City Council but with each respective board. I will be working closely with my colleagues on the TTC to ensure that a full review of our naming policies takes place, and that all options are considered, before we move forward with changing the names of Dundas and Dundas West stations. 


Rob Ford Stadium

Mayor Chow and City Council have chosen to rename Centennial Park Stadium “Rob Ford Stadium”. Considering Rob Ford’s history of racism, misogyny, homophobia and dishonesty, and the international disgrace he brought to our city, I could not in good conscience support this motion, and know that there are many people in Toronto who would be far more deserving of such an honour. For more information, please see this article.


 
TTC

The capital backlog and operating deficit that the TTC faces is dire, and Toronto desperately needs a long term funding plan with the Provincial and Federal governments. However, the 2024 budget request approved by the board contains some good news. The recommendations include restoring service to 97% of pre-pandemic levels, providing operating funding for the future Lines 5 and 6, and no increase to the current fare levels. As a new member of the TTC Board of Commissioners, I look forward to working with my colleagues to make our transit system more affordable, safe, and reliable for all Torontonians.  



Save Ontario Place and the Ontario Science Centre

The rain didn’t keep dedicated residents from rallying to Save the Ontario Science Centre. My family and I joined Save Ontario Science Centre, MPP Adil Shamji, MPP Mary Margaret McMahon and MPP Andrea Hazell and the Flemingdon Park community to tell Doug Ford to leave the science centre here where it belongs. 





New Community Living Room at Oakwood and Vaughan

We now have a Community Living Room, at Oakwood and Vaughan, that’s all about defeating isolation and loneliness, improving our mental well-being and bringing people together! Thanks to Reset for your creativity and care…and the popcorn, indoor forest, sauna & giant plushies.
 



Black Women in Motion’s Black Youth Employment Assistance Program

Registration for Black Women in Motion’s Black Youth Employment Assistance Program is now open! The Black Youth Employment Assistance Program (BYEAP) is a 13-week, virtual employment and entrepreneurial-focused program for Black survivors of gender-based violence. The program provides employment-focused training opportunities and mental health resources to support survivors in developing their business ideas, employability skills, and wellness strategies for job retention.

PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS

  • Must reside in Ontario, Canada.
  • Must identify as a Black woman, nonbinary, two-spirit or gender-non-conforming youth.
  • Must be able to attend weekly virtual capacity-building workshops on Tuesday OR Thursday evenings from 5:00 PM-7:30 PM.
  • Must be able to commit to the entire 13-week duration of the program.
  • Priority is given to victims and survivors of gender-based violence.
  • Priority is given to youth who are unemployed, underemployed or experiencing barriers to employment.
  • Priority is given to youth living in Toronto Community Housing communities and/or City of Toronto Neighbourhood Improvement Areas.

PROGRAM BENEFITS

  • Free Skills Training
  • Referrals to Educational and Job Opportunities
  • Small Business Development Support
  • $500 Honorarium upon completion of the program
  • 1-1 Coaching and Career Development services
  • and more...

PROGRAM DATES
March 5th, 2024 - May 28th, 2024

HOW TO APPLY
If you match the criteria outlined above, please send a copy of your resume to [email protected] with "BYEAP-2024" in the subject line by Thursday, January 18th, at 11:59 PM (EST). Interviews will be held for all screened-in applicants the week of January 29th to February 2nd. 



Celebrating Chanukah with the Midtown Yonge BIA

Happy Chanukah! I had a great time at the 7th annual Chanukah community celebration at Yonge and Davisville, hosted by the Midtown Yonge BIA in partnership with the Times Group.  
 



Filipino Christmas Market

Thanks to Pinay Tayo Toronto for inviting me to the Filipino Christmas Market (Simbang Gami). I appreciate the many contributions Toronto’s Filipino community makes to our vibrant & diverse city. And to the entrepreneurial restauranteurs- thank you for the food…oh, the food!



11th Annual BIA Awards

Toronto’s Business Improvement Areas make our city’s main streets more vibrant, animated & successful places for businesses- and for our communities to meet. I was delighted to attend the 11th Annual Toronto Association of BIAs (TABIA) and City of Toronto BIA Recognition Awards Night.




5th Annual Humewood House Community Scholarship Fundraiser

The Humewood Community Scholarship Fund provides direct assistance to young mothers, in preparing for a better future for themselves and their children. With the generous support of this community over the past four years, 13 young mothers have received scholarships of $1,000 each to pursue post-secondary education at accredited colleges and universities. A fourteenth young mom will receive a scholarship of $1,000 pending the confirmation of her application to a post-secondary institution in the Spring of 2024.

Five years ago, 3 neighbors in the Humewood-St. Clair community started this scholarship fundraiser for young women who use the impressive range of parenting and educational services offered at Humewood House Campus, now part of the Abiona Centre for Infant & Early Mental Health.The fundraising campaign for 2023 has now officially started and will continue until January 15, 2024. 100% of funds raised go to the scholarship recipients. This year’s fundraising goal is $5,000 and a donation of any amount is appreciated. Donations of $20 and over will receive a tax receipt.

To make a donation, and for information on the fundraiser, testimonials and the types of programs that the graduates are enrolled in, please go to: https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/abionacentre/p2p/HCS2023/ 

Thank you in advance for the community’s continued support of this initiative. Special thanks to MPP Jill Andrew, City Councillor Josh Matlow, and St. Matthew’s for their help in sharing information about The Humewood House Community Scholarship Fund.



Toronto Gingerbread Festival

The world needs more gingerbread. It was my pleasure to help launch this year’s Toronto Gingerbread Festival, hosted by the Yonge + St.Clair BIA in partnership with Habitat for Humanity GTA. I encourage all of us to support our city’s small businesses at we shop this holiday season.



Abiona Centre Donations

At Abiona Centre, we are dedicated to creating better future for vulnerable pregnant and parenting young mothers and their children birth to 6. Our infant and early childhood mental health programs give our clients the tools they need to build secure relationships with their babies, cope with life adversities, find help when needed and succeed in life.  

Items that would be beneficial to the families we serve include: Gift cards (grocery, shoppers drug mart), hygiene products (both parent & children), children’s activities (toys or workbooks), baby focused developmental toys (blocks, stacking toys, push and pop), creative art projects (family friendly), self-care items (socks, robes, pajamas), infant/baby developmental toys, diapers (size 1 – 6 and pull ups), formula, wipes, and as always any financial donations/contributions.

To continue our vital work, we rely on the support of compassionate individuals and organizations in our community. Your generous contribution can help us maintain and expand our services, ensuring that young families receive the support they need to thrive.

Thank you for your consideration and support.

Together, we can make a difference in the lives of young moms and their children.

You can learn more at https://www.abionacentre.ca/.



Thank you to MP Carolyn Bennett

Our Member of Parliament, Carolyn Bennett, has announced her retirement after 26 years of dedicated service to out community and to our country. I am deeply grateful for our friendship and her thoughtful mentorship. Carolyn delivered for Toronto-St.Paul's, and her progressive legacy of democracy between elections will continue.



Toronto artists raise voices and funds to fight homelessness and support WoodGreen

Earlier this summer, Richard Todd gathered 13 musicians, along with the help of producer Chris Birkett to record a song he wrote to raise awareness about homelessness in the city.

The singers, all from the GTA, are collectively dubbed “Artists Against Homelessness”. They range in age from the teenage Anna Goldsmith to more seasoned veterans of the music industry like Todd.

This past July the artists donated their time and talents to help turn Todd’s song into a rallying cry for action on homelessness in the city.

Every time the song is streamed on services such as Spotify, Apple Music or Amazon Music, the royalties are donated to WoodGreen’s UNMET Needs Campaign.

The four-minute ballad, which leans toward country-rock, touches on addiction, domestic violence as well as families on the street.

“The point is that these are people just like you, who need help and understanding,” says Todd. “Ultimately, we all suffer as a community when someone else is suffering.”

“Toronto’s Forgotten Homeless” is available on most streaming services as well as YouTube. To donate directly to WoodGreen’s UNMET Needs Campaign, please visit: http://woodgreen.org/unmet-donate.



Interfaith Fundraiser at Holy Blossom

I was deeply grateful to participate in an interfaith holiday concert with Holy Blossom Temple and the Metropolitan Community Church in support of Ve'ahavta, helping people in poverty throughout our city. It was an evening full of music, joy, compassion, cooperation & peace. Let’s do more of this together.



New Park at 15 Delisle Community Engagement Activity

A new park is coming to the Yonge and St Clair neighbourhood! As the community consultations are ongoing, join your neighbours in an online thought exchange activity to help create a vision for the new community space: http://toronto.ca/15DelisleAve




Un-Turkey Giveaway with Freeman Realty

A few years ago, Freeman Realty took up Honest Ed’s tradition of giving out free turkeys at Christmas. Then Elden Freeman became a vegetarian and began giving out “un-turkey” (fresh, plant-based food) to Torontonians. My family and I were delighted to join them again this year.



January is Alzheimer Awareness Month 

Did you know that number of people diagnosed and living with dementia in Canada is rising? By the year 2050, more than 1.7 million people are expected to be living with dementia in our country. But there is hope. 

Together, we can take action to reduce our own dementia risk. The Alzheimer Society of Toronto recommends these 10 evidence-based ways to reduce your risk of developing dementia. Be physically active each day: Keep moving any physical activity helps.

  • Protect, check and support your hearing.
  • Stay socially active: Stay engaged with your family, friends and community. 
  • Manage your medical conditions and learn more about them.
  • Quit smoking: Reducing smoking even in later life, can improve your brainhealth.
  • Seek support for depression: Treatment will help improve your mood and brain functioning. 
  • Drink less alcohol: Try mocktail and alcohol-free drink options instead. 
  • Protect your heart: What’s good for the heart is also good for the brain.
  • Avoid concussion and traumatic brain injury: Play, travel and work safe. 
  • Aim to get quality sleep: Work toward sleeping well for 6 to 8 hours each night. 

Learn more about the Alzheimer Society of Toronto and why brain health is so important Brain Health Tips – Alzheimer Society of Toronto: Alzheimer's Disease & Dementia.


 

Councillor Matlow's City Hall and Community Update: Summer 2022

Dear Residents,

I hope this finds you healthy and well. As always, I hope that you find this e-newsletter helpful and informative.

Due to the upcoming municipal election on October 24th, integrity rules state that I am unable to send out community updates after August 1st. Therefore, you will receive my next update later in the fall if I continue to have the honour to serve you. Over the past four years, we have achieved so much together, in every one of our Toronto-St. Paul's neighbourhoods and the many important initiatives we have brought to City Hall to improve our city.

Councillor Matlow's City Hall and Community Update (2022)

Free Ukraine Square and Actions to Support Ukraine

Earlier this month, it was my honour to unveil "Free Ukraine Square" with the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, accompanied by Mayor John Tory and MP Carolyn Bennett in front of the Russian consulate at 60 St. Clair Ave E. Yesterday, City Council was honoured by the virtual presence of the Mayor of Kyiv, Vitali Klitschko. As the bloody and murderous Russian invasion of Ukraine continues, The City of Toronto will keep its website updated with services we can provide, working with the federal and provincial governments, including refugee support. Please click here for more information.

Councillor Matlow's City Hall and Community Update (November)

Marking Remembrance Day and Indigenous Veterans Day

This month, we express our gratitude to the brave men and women of our armed forces, including up to 12,000 Indigenous veterans, who have served, sacrificed and fought for our peace and freedom. Lest we forget. In 2021, we also mark the 100th Anniversary of the poppy being used as a Canadian symbol of remembrance.

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