These Notes are part of a series of Notes on key City issues to update City Council at the start of its 2018 – 2022 term.

What are the Issues?

Click on the link below each issue to read the full Note.

Cannabis Legalization

Residents have been able to purchase legal cannabis online through the Ontario Cannabis Store since legalization on October 17, 2018. A legal private retail model for recreational cannabis is expected to be in place in Ontario by April 1, 2019. Retailers will be required to obtain provincial licences and meet requirements set out by provincial legislation and regulations to sell cannabis. Municipalities may choose to opt-out of cannabis retail sales by January 22, 2019.

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Toronto’s Overdose Action Plan

Toronto continues to be in the midst of an opioid overdose emergency. Toronto Public Health and other City divisions are actively implementing the Toronto Overdose Action Plan, endorsed by the Board of Health in March 2017. The Action Plan provides a comprehensive set of actions to prevent and respond to overdoses resulting from all drugs across the City with an initial focus on opioids, and targets actions from all levels of government.

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Gun and Gang Violence

Toronto is a safe city. In 2017, Toronto was the fourth safest major city in the world and the safest major city in North America against 60 other cities by The Economist. Toronto’s homicide rate for 2017 was 1.5 per 100,000 – below the national average of 1.8 per 100,000, and ranked 17th out of 33 cities on Statistics Canada’s violent crime index. Since 2015, however, trends in gun violence have been increasing. In 2018, Toronto experienced a spike in homicides and gun violence, with 83 homicides by October 2018.

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Emergency Management

Toronto faces a number of natural hazards such as extreme heat and cold, flooding and severe wind, ice and rain storms. These environmental risks are expected to intensify as a result of climate change, with more frequent extreme weather anticipated in the years to come. Other potential natural, technological and human-caused hazards include power outages, nuclear emergencies, train derailments, terrorist attacks (including cyberattacks), fires and explosions, and human health (pandemic/epidemic) emergencies.

Some residents are more vulnerable than others to the impacts of these events due to age, socioeconomic level, health status, language ability, and level of social connectedness. When these hazards occur and their impact overwhelms the community’s ability to cope using existing resources, an emergency situation can occur.

The Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is the lead division that coordinates the City’s preparedness, response and recovery to emergencies, along with other City Divisions, Agencies, and Corporations.

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City Impacts of the Toronto Police Service’s Action Plan

The Toronto Police Service’s (TPS) Transformational Task Force’s (TTF) final report, Action Plan: The Way Forward (TWF), contains 32 recommendations. An additional recommendation to establish a Neighbourhood Officer Program was added to the Action Plan to advance the Task Force’s goal of building safe communities and neighbourhoods.

As part of the implementation of the Task Force report, the City and the Police have been working together to identify recommendations that will have or may have an impact on City or there is an opportunity for the City to support the TPS as it implements these recommendations. To date, nine recommendations have been identified that may impact the City.

Read the full Issues Note…