News Release
March 17, 2020

Today, as part of the City of Toronto’s ongoing response to COVID-19 and following the advice of the City’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, Mayor John Tory announced measures to ensure the continued delivery of critical City services and support of vulnerable communities while protecting the health of City staff and residents.

Effective today until April 5, the City of Toronto will be scaling back and/or modifying the delivery of all non-essential services. Essential and/or critical services that will remain operational are those that:
• are required to meet legislative requirements
• support employee and public health, safety and security
• enable critical community services and supports, including COVID-19 mitigation and recovery
• support services necessary to keep essential services operating
• protect and operate vital infrastructure
• fulfill contractual, legal and financial obligations.

Examples of continuing services are emergency response by Toronto Police, Fire, and Paramedics, Toronto Water operations, emergency shelters, waste collection, and the ongoing response to COVID-19.

City Hall, Metro Hall and all civic centres will be closed to public access effective tomorrow.

The health and safety of our employees is of paramount importance. City staff this afternoon received direction from their managers on how the reduction of services affects their work. Many staff will be working from home to increase social distance. Teleworking staff have been provided with instruction and resources, including dedicated employee assistance channels, to help with this transition.

For those employees required to report to work in their regular locations, the City continues to maintain a safe and healthy workplace and comply with the best public health and occupational health advice available.

This is an evolving situation. A full list of service impacts is available on the City’s website at The website will be updated regularly as new information becomes available. People are encouraged to check back often for the latest information on programs and services. 311 and the Toronto Public Health Hotline are experiencing a very high volume of calls.

Toronto Public Health continues to encourage all residents to stay home if possible and reduce their interactions with other people. Residents who have travelled outside of Canada, including to the United States, continue to be strongly encouraged by Toronto Public Health to self-isolate for 14 days.


“The City of Toronto needs to set an example and be a leader in flattening the curve.  While the reduction of non-essential services is disruptive, we need to respect the advice of our Medical Officer of Health and prioritize the health and safety of our hardworking City staff, residents, and vulnerable populations. I will continue doing everything I can to minimize the impact of COVID-19, protect our residents, and speed along an economic recovery for Toronto.”
– Mayor John Tory

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 or follow us on Twitter at, on Instagram at or on Facebook at

Media Relations