News Release
December 23, 2021

Today, Mayor John Tory announced that additional funding of approximately $1.2 million will be distributed from the TO Supports Investment Fund to continue supporting equity-deserving populations impacted by COVID-19.

The TO Supports Investment Fund was created to invest in strategic partnerships with social services agencies to address urgent needs of vulnerable Toronto residents. Through TO Supports, the City leverages community expertise and partnerships to support Toronto residents who are most disenfranchised by the pandemic. TO Supports includes 11 partner agencies across Toronto providing support dealing with COVID-19 exposures or illness, food access, personal protective equipment, wellness checks, and housing and income support needs. It also includes 15 mental health partners across the city providing relevant and culturally responsive mental health supports with a focus on seniors, children and youth, indigenous and black populations.

The funding announced today will also help support the City of Toronto’s vaccine engagement teams’ (VETs) outreach efforts, as they and Team Toronto focus on the greatest needs within a swiftly changing landscape created by the Omicron variant and the rising number of COVID-19 cases.

Given the threat posed by the Omicron variant, there is a critical need for all eligible Toronto residents to get their first, second and third doses of the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible. To support this goal, Team Toronto and the VETs are continuing their outreach to groups in high-priority neighbourhoods across the city through:

  • Family based engagement for the immunization of children five to 11 years of age
  • Provision of third/booster doses to those who are eligible
  • Supporting communities and population groups with multilingual information on the Omicron variant
  • Ensuring populations experiencing vaccine hesitancy are engaged and informed
  • Provision of accurate and relevant information to address the developing issues associated with vaccine certification, rapid testing and N95 masks

Toronto Public Health (TPH) has redirected its mobile teams from malls and community centre clinics to support high-risk populations in congregate areas and settings where clients or residents have limited access to vaccine clinics and/or have a high potential for acute and severe outbreaks.

Team Toronto continues to deliver third doses of  COVID-19 vaccine as quickly as possible, maintaining a sustained presence in shelters, residential retirement homes, and school-based clinics, among other locations. Team Toronto also continues its vital vaccination access points in the Thorncliffe Park, Flemingdon Park, Taylor-Massey, Black Creek, Jane/Finch and Jane/Wilson communities.

Community ambassadors continue to facilitate a wide range of engagement sessions, including:

  • Navigating the COVID-19 vaccine registration system
  • Supporting community clinics in health centres, malls and schools
  • Direct phone contacts — cold-calling or through a phone bank
  • Engagement through social media, texts, WhatsApp
  • Public setting engagement in parks, lobbies, door-to-door outreach
  • Sessions with individuals experiencing homelessness

In April 2021, the Vaccine Engagement & Mobilization Plan was launched to facilitate and promote equitable vaccine uptake across Toronto, using a population and place-based approach to support residents in all 140 neighbourhoods, with a focus on those most disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

At the core of the program are VETs operating through 14 geographic and population-based consortiums, with more than 155 health, community and faith-based organizations and now almost 400 community ambassadors. To date, VETs have engaged almost one million residents in the hardest-hit areas of Toronto and are working through the holiday season to help residents who may need extra support to protect themselves and their families.

To provide targeted support to equity-deserving populations, community expertise has been formalized to continue relevant and timely interventions through:

  • Black Scientists’ Task Force on Vaccine Equity
  • Toronto’s Accessibility Task Force on COVID-19 Vaccines
  • Toronto Youth Vaccine Advisory Committee
  • Faith Community virtual town halls
  • South Asian community supports
  • Eastern European focus groups

As Mayor Tory announced earlier this year, the vaccine engagement program has been extended to July 31, 2022, ensuring continued opportunities to increase vaccine equity and access for all residents.


“The City and all our health and community partners have taken an inclusive and equity-based approach to providing COVID-19 support since the beginning of the pandemic. We’ve strategized with communities on the best ways to reach people who may be hard to reach or face a range of barriers. We haven’t let up on these supports and, now, with additional funding from TO Supports, we reinforce those efforts to ensure families are protected as much as possible from the Omicron variant. Information, support and resources from Team Toronto, our vaccine engagement teams and community ambassadors make an important and invaluable contribution in the face of COVID-19, and I thank them for their continued efforts into 2022.”

– Mayor John Tory

“In light of the escalating effect of COVID-19’s increasingly aggressive variants, additional TO Supports funding for vaccine engagement is most welcome. The pandemic has had a serious impact on equity-deserving residents, which makes engagement work more essential than ever. Toronto residents and businesses have had a difficult time over the last two years.  We ask everyone to make their contribution to the health of our City by continuing to adhere to public health measures and by getting their 3rd doses of vaccine as soon as possible. Thanks to all our health, business and community partners for working together toward a healthier city.”

– Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson (Scarborough Centre), Chair, Economic and Community Development Committee

“Since the very beginning, our priority has been to put equity front and centre in our pandemic response. From our COVID-19 Equity Action Plan approved in 2020, to our Vaccine Engagement & Mobilization Plan launched in April 2021, our focus continues to be providing targeted supports to those most disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. This additional funding for our vaccine engagement teams will allow them to enhance their critical work of supporting families to access vaccination appointments for children and third doses, conducting multilingual outreach, addressing vaccine hesitancy, and assisting vulnerable populations in accessing rapid testing, vaccine certification, and personal protective equipment.”

– Councillor Joe Cressy (Spadina-Fort York), Chair, Board of Health

“With the Omicron variant circulating in the city, Team Toronto is making every effort to ensure Toronto residents have the information and support they need to prepare for first, second and third doses. With the recent provincial changes in eligibility requirements for third doses, we have expanded our fixed clinic operations. At the same time, we are redirecting resources to communities and settings that have been hardest hit by COVID-19. By protecting the most vulnerable, we protect Toronto as a whole.”

– Dr. Eileen de Villa, Medical Officer of Health

Toronto is home to more than 2.9 million people whose diversity and experiences make this great city Canada’s leading economic engine and one of the world’s most diverse and livable cities. As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto is a global leader in technology, finance, film, music, culture and innovation, and consistently places at the top of international rankings due to investments championed by its government, residents and businesses. For more information visit the City’s website or follow us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

Media Relations