March 3rd, 2023 edition of Councillor Alejandra Bravo's Community Newsletter
Community Newsletter: March 3, 2023
On Sunday, I published an op-ed in the Toronto Star about the upcoming mayoral by-election. It encapsulates my thoughts about the kind of leadership we need to tackle the myriad challenges facing our City.
In the Star, I wrote: “This time, we need a mayor who will invest in community crisis responses and social programs that get people the support they need. We need a mayor who will make real commitments to affordable housing, reliable transit, and accessible public services. We need a leader who is not afraid to take a stand, and enact changes that make people safe and communities strong.”
It will be essential that the next Mayor of Toronto learns from our city’s past mistakes and implements the solutions on a range of issues which have been long researched, studied, piloted and tested. At the forefront of that should be a focus on investment in services that will make life better, safer, and our city more liveable.
On Tuesday, I submitted a letter to the Board of the TTC, in advance of their meeting to consider service cuts, the resumption of ticketing for fare evasion, and an increase to the TTC CEO’s discretionary spending for “emergency” initiatives.
I continue to express my concern about service cuts to TTC and the impact they will have on people’s lives, safety on the transit system, and more. We know that investing in good service makes the system safer and will attract more riders to get back to pre-pandemic ridership levels.
On the plan to resume ticketing, I believe there is more work to do on oversight, accountability, and equity to address the harms which ticketing on the TTC has caused in the past. I’d like to see a plan and assurances that there won’t be systemic discrimination against specific groups of people and that all transit riders are treated fairly.
We are expecting up to 35cm of snow overnight and there have been service adjustments made by several City divisions, including closures of most community recreation centres and all libraries, opening additional snow dump sites, and more. You can find the latest updates on the storm, here.
I’ve included additional updates about warming centres, a new local traffic management committee for Bloordale/Brockton, and more below.
City Councillor, Ward 9
In this edition
- Additional warming centres open
- Bloordale/Brockton Traffic Management Committee
- Youth Violence Prevention Grants
- New partnership to address drug poisoning crisis
- Mayoral By-Election Dates
- Other updates
Additional warming centres open
In response to the forecast, the City of Toronto’s Shelter, Support and Housing Administration (SSHA) activated its remaining Warming Centres at 7 p.m. Locations are:
- Scarborough Civic Centre, 150 Borough Dr. (McCowan Rd. & Ellesmere Rd.)
- Mitchell Field Community Centre, 89 Church Ave. (Yonge St., south of Finch Ave.)
- Cecil Community Centre, 58 Cecil St. (Spadina Ave., south of College St.)
The Warming Centre at Metro Hall at 55 John St. (John St. & King St. W.) was already open.
Warming Centres give those who are vulnerable and may be experiencing homelessness a safe indoor and warm place to rest and access snacks, washroom facilities and referrals to emergency shelter.
Individuals do not need to contact Central Intake to access a Warming Centre. Walk-ins are accepted.
More information on drop-ins, Warming Centres and other services to help those experiencing homelessness can be found on the City's website at toronto.ca/homelesshelp or by calling Central Intake at 416-338-4766, 1-877-338-3398.
The City’s Streets to Homes program will dispatch additional 24/7 teams to connect with people living outside and encourage them to come indoors. Throughout the winter, outreach staff hand out blankets, sleeping bags and warm winter clothing.
Bloordale/Brockton Traffic Management Committee
In collaboration with local residents, my office is organizing a Traffic Management Committee in the Bloordale/Brockton area to identify and address local traffic and road safety concerns. Here’s a note from the committee:
Do you live in the area bounded by Dufferin St. in the east, Perth Ave. in the west, Bloor St. W. in the north and College St. in the south? Are you interested in volunteering on a traffic management committee?
The goal of the committee will be to evaluate traffic challenges in our area (e.g., speeding, wrong way driving, dangerous intersections) and propose some solutions (e.g., traffic bumpouts and other traffic calming measures, addition of bike lanes, improved signage, etc.).
The committee will work collaboratively with the office of Councillor Bravo to effect change in our neighbourhood! If you're interested, please complete the interest form before March 31, 2023
You can complete the resident interest form here.
Youth Violence Prevention Grants
The City of Toronto is accepting applications for the Youth Violence Prevention Grant to support the de-escalation of violence in priority Toronto communities. The Grant, which will be open for applications until Tuesday, April 11 at noon, will see $2.2 million in total funding allocated to approved local community agencies in priority community zones that have been identified across Toronto.
Approved applicants can receive up to $200,000 each for up to a three-year period, starting in 2023.
Weston-Pelham, among other neighbourhoods, has been designated as part of one of the priority zones.
To be eligible for the Youth Violence Prevention Grant:
- Projects must deliver violence prevention, intervention or interruption programming for youth between the ages of 10 to 29 who are most vulnerable to involvement in serious violence and crime.
- Applications must be from partnerships that include an established, community-based non-profit led organization, as well as a grassroots group or organization.
You can learn more about eligibility and how to apply, here.
New partnership to address drug poisoning crisis
Toronto Public Health (TPH), Unity Health Toronto and the University Health Network (UHN) announced new partnerships to expand frontline health care services in responding to the escalating drug poisoning crisis in Toronto. This will be the first time that acute care hospitals in Ontario and Public Health have worked together to offer supervised consumption services, adding a new way of providing essential harm reduction programming and care in Toronto. The new partnerships will see TPH’s long-standing harm reduction program, The Works, collaborate with St. Michael’s Hospital (part of Unity Health Toronto), and with Toronto Western Hospital (part of UHN). The specific community locations for the new sites will be determined over the next 12 to 24 months.
As outlined in TPH’s 2023 Population Health Profile, opioid overdoses reached record levels in 2021. Overdose deaths are preventable and are due, in large part, to the unregulated drug supply, where the use of highly potent opioids combined with more unexpected and concerning substances are significantly increasing the risk of overdose.
In 2021, the number of deaths in Toronto due to opioid toxicity rose to 591.
Read the full news release, here.
Mayoral By-Election Dates
Toronto City Clerk John D. Elvidge has released the dates for the Mayoral by-election, subject to City Council declaring the vacancy and passing a bylaw requiring a by-election at its meeting on March 29 to 31.
The City Clerk has set the following Mayoral by-election dates:
- Nominations will open Monday, April 3 at 8:30 a.m.
- Nominations will close Friday, May 12 at 2 p.m.
- Advance voting will take place Thursday, June 8 to Tuesday, June 13
- By-election will be held Monday, June 26
Electors will also be provided with the option to vote by mail.
During the March meeting, Council will consider recommendations from the City Clerk to formally declare the Office of Mayor vacant and to pass a bylaw requiring a by-election be held to fill the vacancy. These steps are required by provincial law.
In the community
I was glad to join Casa do Alentejo to celebrate their 40th anniversary last weekend. It was a fantastic opportunity to learn more about their recent initiatives and reflect on their legacy of preserving Alentejo culture.
I was also very happy to join Casa da Madeira for their first community soup kitchen. Casa da Madeira is a tight knit community who have been celebrating their culture and giving back to the community since 1963.
On Thursday, I joined nurses and health care workers to call for better staffing, care, and conditions. At this rally hosted by the Ontario Nurses Association, we made it clear to the Ford government: respect workers and don't privatize our healthcare system!
I also had the opportunity to visit St. Mary's Catholic Academy and speak to two high school classes today where I learned that a majority are worried about the future and at the same time want affordable housing, more transit and the chance to have good jobs for a better life. I really value the opportunity to speak with young people about their vision for the future.