Today, Mayor John Tory announced the City of Toronto will begin the safe reopening of City buildings to visitors, starting with select in-person counter services at Toronto City Hall and civic centres on Tuesday, February 22.
City Hall, North York Civic Centre, Scarborough Civic Centre, Etobicoke Civic Centre, York Civic Centre and East York Civic Centre will be opened for a number of in-person counter services, including payments for property taxes, utilities and parking violations, construction permits, tree removal permit applications and COVID-19 rapid screening kits for small and medium-sized businesses. Some services will require booking an appointment in advance while others will operate on a first-come, first-served basis. Details about counter services can be found on the City’s website.
Visitors to City Hall and civic centres will be welcomed by greeters to assist with wayfinding and answer questions. The Metro Hall Early Learning & Child Care Centre and Employment & Social Services offices will continue operation at Metro Hall.
Starting on February 22, the City will also begin the return of office workers to City offices and work locations. Staff will return under a hybrid model and offices will be opened to allow for maximum capacity based on occupational health and safety guidelines including physical distancing. Some of the health and safety measures already in place include:
Office workers, representing approximately 20 per cent of the City’s workforce, quickly transitioned to remote work at the start of the pandemic, while approximately 80 per cent of City staff continued to deliver essential and critical services on-site.
Starting Monday, March 21, a full return to office will be in place and the public will be allowed to access public areas (beyond the counters) at City Hall and civic centres. Additionally, City Council and Committee meetings will begin the transition to a hybrid model that will allow for members of Council to attend meetings either virtually or in-person while public will continue to attend virtually until further provincial updates on health guidance are announced.
The health and safety of residents, businesses and City staff remain key priorities in the reopening plans. All provincial, public health and occupational health and safety regulations and guidelines will be followed. As provincial, public health and occupational health and safety regulations and guidelines evolve, corresponding updates to City services and operating hours will be posted on the COVID-19: Changes to City Services webpage.
Residents are reminded that the City also offers many options for accessing its services online. Options include the new mobile app for 311 Toronto and MyToronto Pay which offers online payment options for property tax and utility bills. The City continues to invest in service improvements to provide residents, businesses and visitors access to services where and how they wish to access them, which includes easier access across multiple channels and more self-serve options.
“We are moving ahead with safely opening up City Hall and the civic centres because we have made great progress helping people get vaccinated to confront COVID-19 and the Omicron surge. Opening City buildings to the community and reopening offices, in a safe and responsible manner, is another example of the work underway to return to a more active and thriving city.”
– Toronto Mayor John Tory
“Our staff have been closely following the Province’s framework for reopening, as well as all health and safety measures, to ensure the safe and coordinated reopening of City buildings. The safety of our visitors and staff remains our top priority. We are excited to again provide in-person services to our residents, and begin to return staff who have been working remotely to offices in the near future.”
– City Manager Chris Murray
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.