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‘Tough decisions’ still to be made as city manager releases roadmap to recovery

Last Updated Oct 14, 2020 at 3:51 pm EDT

As we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, recommendations are now being made about how to best kick-start the recovery and healing process.

A new report from the city’s manager is outlining a roadmap to help Toronto bounce back from the impacts of the pandemic.

The 37-page report highlights evolving financial challenges, deepened inequities and the disproportionate impacts of the virus, as well as the city’s response to address inequities.

Chris Murray, City Manager of Toronto, says there could be “tough decisions” to come as staff prepare for an estimated $1.5 billion loss in revenue for the 2021 Operating Budget.

“We have to prioritize our work, but our approach moving forward is going to be very much an outcome-driven, interest-based approach where all people are going to benefit,” says Murray. “It’s really in the coming weeks, months and years to make sure that Toronto — when the virus is behind us — that our economy has been thought through in terms of how to support it and how to support the people that have been challenged by the financial impact of COVID.”

The City Manager’s Report ‘Towards Recovery and Building a Renewed Toronto’ will go before the City’s Executive Committee on October 21, along with a report prepared by Dr. David Mowat and Mr. Saäd Raf of the Toronto Office of Recovery & Rebuild with 83 recommendations to support the recovery and rebuild of the city.

Some of the recommendations in the ‘COVID-19: Impacts and Opportunities’ report include:

  • The city should lead by example and address racism against Black and Indigenous people openly and honestly in its hiring and promotional practices. In addition, the city should set standards for Black and Indigenous representation at the tables where priorities, planning, investments and implementation of city council decisions are discussed.
  • Complete planning for a resurgence of cases, including scenarios, staffing, case and contact management, (expansion, switch to focused follow-up if cases exceed threshold, technical enhancements), and future adjustments of closures and measures (criteria for dashboard indicators, consultation with Ministry of Health and regional Medical Officers of Health regarding a regional approach).
  • Continue engaging the Ministry of Health, Public Health Division and Public Health Ontario in seeking to reduce the turnaround time for Toronto’s laboratory tests and maintaining this timing once achieved.
  • Ensure that schools in high-incidence/high-risk areas of the city receive particular attention in planning school-based programs of Toronto Public Health (including the new allocation of nurses).
  • Accelerate or make permanent the transit initiatives the city undertook quickly to support crisis response and restart, such as instituting priority bus lanes, improved cycling infrastructure, expansion of bike share and weekend recreational street closures, among others.

 

Read the full list of recommendations below: