Council Highlights is an informal summary of a selection of the decisions that Toronto City Council made at its recent business meeting. The City Clerk’s formal documentation is available at http://www.toronto.ca/council.
Council approved the next steps for the Eglinton East Light Rail Transit (LRT) Project, with planning now to include an extension of the Eglinton East LRT line to Scarborough’s Malvern neighbourhood via Sheppard Avenue East and Neilson Road, north of Highway 401. The envisaged extension includes up to six stops and a terminus stop near Malvern Town Centre. An earlier plan had proposed that the Eglinton East LRT extension end at the University of Toronto’s Scarborough campus, south of Highway 401.
Council adopted “Version 2.0” of the Toronto Seniors Strategy with 27 recommendations that build upon the initial version of the strategy in 2013. Reiterating its commitment to ensure seniors’ needs are met and that Toronto seniors are supported to live full, healthy lives, Council directed staff to review and update the original strategy. The 27 new recommendations add up to what is called a service-system management approach to addressing seniors’ needs.
Council approved steps for restructuring seniors housing and services at the Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC). This Tenants First project will involve designing an integrated service model for seniors housing to promote aging in place and a better quality of life. It will also involve establishing an interim TCHC seniors housing unit to oversee the seniors-designated building portfolio and implement the new integrated service model.
Council adopted the Downtown Official Plan Amendment and infrastructure strategies related to parks and public realm, mobility, community services and facilities. This official plan amendment brings forward a policy framework to shape growth in Toronto’s fast-growing downtown over the next 25 years. It provides the City with a blueprint to align growth management and infrastructure, sustain livability, achieve complete communities and ensure there is space for the economy to grow.
Council adopted recommendations to address the matter of excessive indoor temperatures that can occasionally occur in apartment buildings in the spring and fall. Among steps to be taken, the City will communicate to landlords that there is no requirement to have their buildings’ heating systems on during unseasonably warm periods of the spring or fall as long as apartment units are warm enough (at least 21 Celsius) without the heating systems turned on.
Council authorized next steps for the City to move ahead with measures for road safety such as implementing a traffic warden/special constable program, streamlining the process to have road safety infrastructure installed, facilitating automated speed enforcement in school zones and streamlining the procedure for introducing traffic-calming measures. Council also adopted motions that pertain to speed regulations and traffic calming.
Council endorsed the Scarborough Centre Transportation Master Plan in principle and made various requests to City staff and the Toronto Transit Commission on roads and transit issues in the Scarborough Centre area. The plan, which presents a recommended transportation network that has been developed through study and public/stakeholder consultation, supports the evolution of Scarborough Centre into a walkable and connected urban centre supported by an efficient, safe and balanced transportation network.
Council adopted a series of recommendations in support of moving ahead with the Scarborough Waterfront Project. The recommendations pertain to a completed environmental assessment, the pursuit of opportunities for funding and several other matters to support the project’s goal of creating a system of green spaces along the Lake Ontario shoreline between Bluffer’s Park and East Point Park. The project is designed to protect the Scarborough Bluffs, enhance the habitat and give visitors a safe, enjoyable waterfront experience.
Council agreed to ask City agencies and corporations to require their board members and staff to attend training provided by the City (or comparable to the training provided by the City) for Indigenous cultural competency. The Chief of Police is asked to ensure that all Toronto police staff attend the training. In addition, agencies and corporations are to incorporate in their board meetings the City’s acknowledgment statement on traditional Aboriginal land.
Council directed staff to produce a report detailing a disaggregated data strategy for the City. Disaggregated data refers to smaller units of data within a larger, aggregated data set. Council approved objectives to guide the City’s use of disaggregated population- and place-based data to help support efforts to ensure that all Torontonians are served equitably by City programs and policies.
Council adopted two recommendations pertaining to accessibility in elections and requested that the City Clerk review options to recruit persons with disabilities for election work and consider the possible creation of a fund for candidates in making their campaigns accessible.
Council adopted recommendations intended to minimize nuisance issues involving residential infill construction sites. The recommendations include a new requirement for a public notice to be posted at the sites. Toronto Building in consultation with partner divisions will report back in 2019 with a further update and evaluation of an inspection and enforcement program for residential infill construction activity.
Council approved continuing the City’s Green Market Acceleration Program for another four years as a way of supporting economic growth in Toronto’s green sector. The program enables local businesses in the green sector to apply to the City to use municipal infrastructure and buildings for research, concept testing and demonstrations.
Council authorized extending the Home Energy Loan Program and the Highrise Retrofit Improvement Support Program to the end of next year. Both are part of a residential energy retrofit program that has, since 2014, provided financing to support Toronto property owners in undertaking energy efficiency and water conservation improvements. City staff are taking steps to increase uptake on the two programs.
Council directed staff to consult further with the free-floating car share industry and to report back to next month’s City Council meeting on possible recommendations for changes to improve the viability of the City’s recently established Free Floating Car Share Pilot for Toronto.
Council authorized the City’s provision of rebates to Toronto residents who are having dialysis treatments at home. Dialysis removes toxins from the blood when the kidneys have failed. The new rebate program recognizes the significant additional household costs for water incurred by people undergoing dialysis treatment at home instead of in a hospital.
Council approved this year’s grant allocations to support the programs of 11 major cultural organizations, six local arts service organizations, three museums that have specialized collections and eight organizations approved for grants through the Culture Build Investment Program. A motion that Council adopted calls for the preparation of a report on ways the City can support festivals in various parts of the city that draw 100,000 or more attendees.
Council adopted a report from the Audit Committee with 31 recommendations to help the Court Services division collect defaulted Provincial Offences Act (POA) fines. The administration of POA-related matters at the City, such as fines for violations of the Highway Traffic Act, is managed by Court Services. An exception is the collection of payments for parking violations, which the City’s Revenue Services division handles.
The annual permit fee for portrait artists in Toronto is being reduced considerably as one of the steps Council approved concerning artists who set up work stations on sidewalks to draw pictures/caricatures for a fee. The City’s recent regulation of portrait artists by treating them as street vendors has led to an absence of portrait artists on Toronto’s streets today. The changes will enable them to work like buskers, paying an annual permit fee of about $40 instead of the much higher street-vendor fee.
Council asked for a report recommending a process for the City to follow in naming Toronto’s wards early in the new Council term (2019). A naming process could not start until the ward boundaries were finalized after recent appeals. The City’s 2018 municipal election will be conducted using a new 47-ward boundary model for Toronto, a change from the current 44-ward model. The 47 wards are currently identified by numbers.
Council declared a vacancy in the office of Councillor for Ward 41 Scarborough-Rouge River following the recent resignation of Chin Lee and approved the process to fill the vacancy by appointment. Provincial law prohibits by-elections after March 31 in an election year. This appointment, when it is made on June 26, will fill the position until the end of Council’s current term (November 30, 2018).
At a special meeting of Council that was held on May 22 before its regular business meeting began later that day, City Council heard candidates’ presentations and voted to appoint Jonathan Tsao the Councillor for Ward 33 Don Valley East. The appointment, which fills the vacancy resulting from Shelley Carroll’s resignation, is in effect until the end of the current Council term (November 30, 2018).