Toronto Public Health Launches Homeless Death Data Program

Dear Residents of Ward 43,

 

As of January 1, 2017 I am proud to say that the Toronto Public Health’s program to track all homeless deaths that occurs within the city began on January 1, 2017. The program will collect data on all homeless deaths in Toronto within and outside of the shelter system, and will be led by Toronto Public Health in collaboration with 200 health and social agencies that support the homeless and with assistance from the Office of the Chief Coroner of Ontario.

 

The program provides a secure, web-based form to all participating agencies to be completed in the occurrence of a death of a homeless individual. Data that will be collected on this form includes age, gender, date, location and the unofficial cause of death. This form will be downloaded by Toronto Public Health and reviewed by the Office of the Chief Coroner of Ontario.

 

In previous years homeless deaths were counted under the condition that the death occurred in a city-administered shelter or shortly having been in one. The homeless who died on the streets of Toronto were not counted.

 

I presented this initiative to City Council in early April 2016 and am very pleased with its implementation. The collection of this data is important.  It is the tool needed for us to begin influencing decision making at all levels of government;  to bring purposeful policies and legislation to help the homeless and sick who live on the streets of Toronto.

 

The inspiration to go forward with this motion came from an investigative article from the star, “Ontario’s uncounted homeless dead”. This piece presents the uncounted case of a homeless man John Doe, where a week before his death was found by a police officer unconscious on our City streets.

 

The individual was rushed to Toronto General Hospital where he was stabilized in critical condition and remained a John Doe. Within days a hospital spiritual counsellor was able to identify John Doe as Brad Chapman. Chapman later passed in the presence of his family.

 

In passing in a hospital and not a city-administered shelter the data on his death was not collected nor placed on an official homeless dead list.

 

I found it necessary that our City start collecting data on the number of individuals who perish outside the physical boundaries of the shelter system immediately, as without data without real statistics how were we to frame legislation and prepare preventative measures.

 

Sincerely,

Paul Ainslie

 

On Tuesday January 10, 2017 a launch was held to announce the Homeless Death Data Program.  Following is the speech I delivered at the event.

 

Speech delivered by Councillor Paul Ainslie

January 10, 2017 

Launch of Homeless Death Data Program

 

Good morning everyone.  My name is Councillor Paul Ainslie.  I would like to thank you for joining us here today for this important event.

 

Before we begin, I would like I would like to thank the Church of the Holy Trinity for opening their doors and sharing their space for our announcement before the monthly Homeless Memorial service they host to acknowledge the many lives lost due to homelessness in our city.

 

One of my great privileges as Councillor is to be able to raise awareness of the challenges we face across our city and to help bring them to the attention of those who can help address them most effectively. The plight of the homeless and marginally housed in our city is one that requires more work and attention and I am very encouraged to see so many of you here today who share in that belief.

 

Last March City Council adopted recommendations for the Board of Health to begin collecting all relevant data related to deaths of homeless individuals within and outside homeless shelters. The collection of this data is important.  It is the tool needed for us to begin influencing decision making at all levels of government;  to bring purposeful policies and legislation to help the homeless and sick who live on the streets of Toronto.

 

The collection of data is significant in affecting how governments could work cohesively to address the issues and provide the supports required to prevent the unfortunate circumstances of our homeless dying on Toronto streets.

 

I found it necessary that our City start collecting data on the number of individuals who perish outside the physical boundaries of the shelter system immediately, as without data without real statistics how were we to frame legislation and prepare preventative measures.

 

Toronto Public Health is well-equipped to lead this initiative as they are committed to protecting and promoting the health of all Toronto residents, including those who are often not represented fully in, and by, the system.

 

I’m very honoured that I can be here with you to share what I believe will be only one of many strides we’ll continue to make in this area and I look forward to marking this progress with you in the months and years ahead.

 

Before I hand it over to our next speaker, I would like to take a moment to acknowledge and thank Cathy Crowe for her long standing work with the homeless along with her selfless efforts as a nurse to those in need. I would also like to thank Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Acting Medical Health Officer and her team.

 

I would now like to invite and welcome Toronto’s Acting Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Barbara Yaffe, up to say a few words.

Updates for the Guild Park and Gardens

Dear Residents of Ward 43,

On November 29th a meeting on Arts Programming at the Guild Park and Gardens took place. The meeting was very well attended and it was evident that the community were all excited for the renovations of the programming buildings. View presentations here http://bit.ly/2gbpxqR

The arts community being the most probable group to use the new facilities has a common theme found within their input. Most of the community would like to see rental work space, gallery showing space, and possible lecture times. Others have indicated what would be useful to have within the given space, such as ventilation, running water, good lighting and flexible spaces.

The youth are quite excited as well. There are not many art focused schools in Scarborough therefore a cultural and arts centre like this will be a great addition for those hoping to pursue a career in the arts. “Scarborough has many talented artists but no real hub.”

The centre currently known as “building 191” needs a proper name! 154 submissions have been submitted and will be reviewed. The arts program vision is to create a dynamic public place activated by arts and culture for programs with space for residents and artists.

The Guild Park and Gardens covers over 88 acres on the Scarborough Bluffs. Originally the home of the Bickford Residence built in 1917, the property is a cultural and artistic central zone of great significance to the City. The Park and Gardens hosts many weddings, photography and annual events such as the Guild Alive with Culture Festival, historical walks, live theatre and many community run events.

The restoration of the Bickford Residents including the restaurant along with the new banquet facility are earmarked to be complete in the spring of 2017.

Sincerely,
Paul Ainslie

Winter Is Coming!

Dear Residents of Ward 43,

December is here! This year has flown by extremely fast and the Holiday Season is just around the corner. I know there a few of you who have already checked off every single item on their to-dos and wish lists. I also know that there are those out there who have not even taken a peak at their lists. All lists aside, for a moment I would ask you to think about what your Holiday Season is going to be like this year. Throwing a small party or inviting the entire family? Will it be another filled with traditions or an attempt to mix it up this year?

To add onto your traditional holiday activities the City offers winter season programming that include skating programs, swimming programs and March Break camps. Registration for Scarborough Districts begin this Saturday, December 3, 2016 at 7 a.m. Before attending registration individuals should visit http://toronto.ca/torontofun for more information. Participants can register using the website http://efun.toronto.ca/is as it is the easiest way to register for programs. There are plenty of free programs http://toronto.ca/lowcostrecreation and there is also and an older adult (60+ years) discount who receive a 50 per cent discount.

Winter is coming! Visit http://toronto.ca/winter for more information on winter activities and events. #WelcomeTOwinter

The cold weather is fast approaching! Despite the expected indecisiveness from our City weather remember to bundle and stay warm. Always have the essentials on you; a warm coat, scarf, a hat, mask, mittens or gloves, warm and safe footwear! Keep in mind of the weather, remember what black ice is and avoid it, drive safe and travel safe.

The City of Toronto 2016 Holiday Wish List http://www.toronto.ca/housing is open to your help in donations or volunteer time. The Holiday Wish List is a guide for residents to help the homeless and vulnerable people of this City during this holiday season. Aside from winter dress essentials the organizations participating on this Wish List, they are also looking for toiletries, children’s toys and gift cards for food or groceries. On the website there is an alphabetical list with the organization’s name and address along with the organization’s needs, as well as contact info for volunteer opportunities and more details.

Again I encourage all of you to keep warm and stay safe. Maybe extend a favour to the others in need.

Sincerely,

Paul Ainslie

Savings for the City

Dear Ward 43 Residents,

 

A number of announcements have been made recently aimed at government efficiencies, On Tuesday, November 22, 2016 Mayor John Tory, Budget Chair Gary Crawford and myself as Chair of the Government Management Committee made the announcement for Government Modernization for a savings of $15 million annually.

 

The idea lies in modernizing how services are delivered at the City as well as the creation of and move to hire a Chief Transformation Officer. A measure I have supported since 2012 when the Government Management Committee adopted measures to support the creation of an Infrastructure Office to co-ordinate standards across all divisions including information technology, purchasing and standard services.

 

I am focused on modern methods to save money and time to ensure effective and responsible delivery of services to address the needs of Torontonians. Tuesday’s announcement demonstrates that the work done at the City’s standing committees and citizen participation has motivated the modernization of our City.

 

The City projects to save $8 million annually from City of Toronto website, on-line services and service counter reduction. As well as a $7 million annual saving for office modernization and a real estate review.

 

I am also pleased to announce that on Thursday, November 24, 2016 the Vacant Building Rebate program is being considered for review for the purposes of repealing the practice.  Mayor John Tory during his address at the Toronto Board of Trade noted that it costs the City millions of dollars.

 

In 2012 I requested through the Licensing and Standard Committee that the tax be repealed for vacant and derelict buildings. http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2012/ls/bgrd/backgroundfile-45999.pdf

 

Putting a stop to the practice has projected an annual savings of $22 million for the City. Vacant buildings across the City are resulting in the dilapidation of neighbourhoods have a negative effect on businesses and the economy.  

 

Having the vacancy tax rebate practice repealed would benefit everyone as the incentive to keep the buildings empty would be lifted with the push to rejuvenate them.

http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2012.LS12.5

 

 

Sincerely,

 Paul Ainslie

Morningside Park’s Emergency Way-finding Stations

Dear Residents of Ward 43,

Morningside Park is a very important piece to ward 43. If you went to school in Scarborough you know that it is where cross country events were held. If your family wanted to have a family picnic, Morningside Park would have been on your list of possible venues. Its 596.7 acres of land has so much to offer. With that area being said it is safe to say one can easily get lost.

In 2012 the matter was brought up to the city. I suggested the use of a Global Positioning System (GPS) Emergency Service Response System for our parks. The credit was given to 1st Centenary Scout Group—which of I am a Cub Scout Leader. The idea of the Emergency Way-Finding Stations was the outcome of a discussion during an all sections hike.

On September 28, 2016, 16 Emergency Services Lifesaving station were installed in Morningside Park by the Parks, Forestry and Recreation staff, the Toronto Police Services, The Toronto Paramedic Services, and Toronto Fire Services, and myself and my staff.

Each of the 16 lifesaving stations have their own location id number to easily track the user’s location. These stations are very visible and have easy to read instruction on calling 911 or 311, for emergency and non-emergency situations respectively.

The Emergency Way-finding Stations are an important and special addition to Morningside Park. These stations have also been added to High Park as well as Centennial Park.
The importance of safety can be expressed through these stations – I hope for them to be utilized wisely.

City of Toronto Councillor

Paul Ainslie

Ward 43 – Scarborough East

Ward 43 Residents Update November 2016

Dear Residents of Ward 43,

A lot has happened within the Ward, I would like to give you a quick recap of what you might have missed this month.

On Saturday November 5th the Lawrence-Orton Community attended a community-led mural unveiling. Monday November 7th the Scarborough M.P’s 2017 federal pre-budget Town Hall was held at University of Toronto Scarborough. Lakeridge health, rouge valley health system, and the Scarborough hospital held telephone town halls on hospital – integration on November 9th for Scarborough residents.

A Metrolinx Lakeshore East Corridor Expansion notice of completion is now posted on the Metrolinx website www.metrolinx.com/guildwoodpickering . This notice marks the end of a 120-day Transit Project Assessment which also opens a 30-day public consultation period from November 4th to December 4th. The expansion involves an additional third track from the Guildwood Go Station to Pickering Go Station.

Our community has attended a number of Metrolinx Community Consultations regarding the expansion. The expansion proposal has a positive outcome for public transit, however there have been a number of concerns. Some of these concerns include local traffic infiltration, traffic volume and noise.

Of these concerns the increased noise expectation is the one that would affect our residents the most. I have spoken to residents who border the project area and the noise they are experiencing is already a great disturbance to their day to day lives. I have addressed this matter with Metrolinx and have requested sound barriers be installed to provide some protection from the expected noise increase, the latest news I have heard from Metrolinx claims that 90 Morningside Ave is the only location that met the criteria to explore the installation of a sound barrier.

I would like to hear more about what you, the residents, have to say and also encourage everyone to send comments to Metrolinx regarding your concerns for sound barriers for our community. Please send your comments to Manuel Pedrosa at Metrolinx, e-mail: manuel.pedrosa@metrolinx.ca , Tel: 416-202-4739 and copy my office at e-mail: councillor_ainslie@toronto.ca”

As for the events in Ward 43 – on Monday November 14th, there will be a community meeting regarding the traffic issues in the west Guildwood community. This meeting will take place at 7pm to 9 pm at the Elizabeth Simcoe Jr. P.S on 166 Sylvan Ave.

On Thursday November 17th check out my Community Mobile Constituency Office Lobby at 4100 Lawrence Ave. East from 10 am to 11:30am. Also, From November 5th to 30th check out one of fourteen popup consultation sites across the city by Parks, Forestry and Recreation, they want to hear about what you have to say about your parks. http://bit.ly/2f0VgH4

Ward 43 Residents Update September 2016

September 2016

Facebook: Councillor Paul Ainslie

www.paulainslie.com

Twitter: @cllrainslie

Facebook: Paul Ainslie

Instagram: paulainslie

 

Dear Ward 43 Residents,

Back to School!

With the return to school our minds turn to the safety on our roads.  Last February I brought this matter to City Council requesting the installation process for school crossing guards to be reviewed by the Toronto Police Services to understand why all of my request for placements are being denied on a regular basis.  True to government form…..This matter has now been placed as an item for review under the Transformational Task Force (TTF) interim report released on June 16, entitled The Way Forward: Modernizing Community Safety in Toronto.   The report recommends the placement of school crossing guards be placed under the preview of the City of Toronto.  Your comments on the task force recommendations including those on crossing guards are welcome by emailing thewayforward@torontopolice.on.ca with a copy to councillor_ainslie@toronto.ca.  I look forward to hearing from you.

The planning for a Community Hub in Scarborough East is moving forward.  Several meetings have taken place at the Sir Robert Borden BTI, 200 Poplar site and at City Hall.  I am working with the province, City staff and stakeholders who have come forward with the desire to operate a Community Hub at this location.  The prospects are very positive.

The Toronto Ward Boundary Review (TWBR) team is seeking feedback from the public on two items outlined in the Toronto Ward Boundary Review on the revised option 2 which has 44 Wards and incorporates the refinements suggested during the TWBR public consultation process in August – November 2015 as well as a Ward option that is aligned, where possible, with the boundaries of the 25 federal and provincial ridings. There are two ways to provide comments: complete a survey (Online or in PDF) or attend the September 15, 2016 7pm- 9pm public consultation at the Scarborough Civic Center. Visit Report for details.

The TTC will be discussing all community bus requests including my proposal for Ward 43 this Fall together with a Wheel Trans Review.  The report encompasses a strategy including routings, phasing, benefits, and cost implications. Please view the report and advise me of your comments.  I will advise you of the meeting date as soon as it has been scheduled to allow for comments or your attendance. You may review the Study Here under community bus enhancements.  You may also begin to send in your comments and need for a community bus in Ward 43 via E-mail: wtconsult@ttc.ca Telephone:
416-397-8699, TTY 416-393-4555.

Please continue to contact my office with any municipal issues my constituency office located at the Scarborough Civic Centre is available to receive you.

City of Toronto Councillor

Paul Ainslie

Ward 43 – Scarborough East

Breaking, Not Making, Our Hospitals Better

“Improving access and connections in health care is another way we are putting people and patients first. I look forward to the panel’s advice, as we work to provide better access to quality health care for the people of Scarborough and West Durham region.”

Dr. Eric Hoskins  – Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

When it comes to spending tax dollars at any level of government the one comment I hear over 99% of the time being told to politicians is “You better not waste my money….”.

In Scarborough we have two hospital systems: the Scarborough Hospital (General and Birchmount sites) and the Rouge Valley Health System (Centenary and Ajax/Pickering sites).

In 2013, the Central East Local Health Integration Network (CELHIN) initiated the “Facilitated Integration Process” to look at how the two hospital systems could work more closely together.

The end result? The Board of Directors of both hospitals initially proposed a merger which would create the seventh largest hospital corporation in Ontario. The Rouge Valley Health System Board ultimately voted officially to proceed, and to the surprise of many, the Scarborough Hospital Board voted against the merger.

20,000 residents gave their input through a website, telephone townhalls, online surveys, and community roundtables……back to square one everyone went.

Health Minister Deborah Matthew stated “ I still have some hope it will eventually happen.” But she then went on to say her government would not force a merger. “We have seen examples where mergers were forced and decades later they are not working as one organization.”

http://www.thestar.com/news/queenspark/2014/03/23/ontario_health_minister_deb_matthews_wont_force_scarborough_hospital_merger.html

May, 2015….The Ministry of Health announced an Expert Health Panel to address infrastructure needs as well as improve access and integration of acute health care services in the Scarborough and West Durham region.

The guidelines set for the panel were to a develop a plan to address how hospitals in the region can work together to deliver acute health care programs and services in a way which meets the needs of local residents. It would provide recommendations on program and service integration, as well as infrastructure needs for both the Scarborough Hospital and the Rouge Valley Health System.

The final report and its recommendations can be found here:

http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/news/bulletin/2015/docs/scarborough_west_durham_panel_20151218.pdf

The report has a date on the cover “November 2, 2015”….It was released publicly in the middle of December, 2015…..

Bizarrely….amongst the report’s many recommendations is one which breaks up the Rouge Valley Health System, and merges the Centenary site with the two Scarborough Hospital sites.  The Ajax-Pickering site would join the Lakeridge Hospital.

It takes health care which has been advancing on a regional basis BACKWARDS to one which will follow the municipal boundaries of the City of Toronto and Durham Region.

It seems a peculiar recommendation considering Rouge Valley has worked very hard under the Ministry of Health to establish itself as a regional health care provider.  With millions of dollars we achieved an integrated health care system….and probably many millions more of our tax dollars could be spent to take it all apart.

Education….transportation… economic development are but a few examples all being dealt with on a regional basis.  Why treat our health care differently?

In a number of conversations I have had with governing M.P.P.s I have asked about the Expert Panel recommendations.  The general answer is “Health care will be better”.  When I ask about specifics I continue to get “Health care will be better.”

The Expert Panel Report on West Durham and Scarborough conclusions are incorrect and inconsistent with data:

  1. Scarborough and Durham are different communities. The Scarborough border is a functional divide between Durham and Scarborough.

NOT TRUE: The Rouge Valley Community is a functional and integrated health care community that DOES NOT divide on municipal boundaries.

  1. A clear strategic direction is required for acute program and service delivery across both regions.

NOT TRUE: The Regional Cardiac Care program has provided a clear and effective strategy for the effective and efficient delivery of regional services across the Central East LHIN.

  1. Existing governance and management structures do not optimally or comprehensively support integrated service planning and delivery.

NOT TRUE: The Central East LHIN has made very good progress in regionalization, transformation, with integration of multiple services including Cardiac Care, Thoracic Surgery, Vascular Surgery, Oncology, Nephrology and Diabetes.

The Rouge Valley Health System has demonstrated a commitment and exemplary contribution to CELHIN system transformation. Not just in cardiac care but for the system as a whole.

It is not just me who is very skeptical, and has a lot of questions about the basis of the recommendations, the process, and the ultimate goal of the Expert Panel.  Physicians, other hospital staff, local residents, prominent business leaders from Scarborough and Durham have created a “Save Our Hospital” group to make sure concerned voices outside of the political realm get heard… and get the answers we all deserve!!

You can view the website here and also sign a petition of support if you feel as strongly as we do about the importance of our health care system:

http://keeprvhstogether.com/

 

Support the advancement of our health care system!

Sincerely,

Paul Ainslie

LRT vs. Scarborough Subway

Dear Ward 43 Neighbours,

I continue to serve my community in a very fiscally responsible manner. I have always been upfront with my residents, voting to improve services and ensure Ward 43 receives the respect, programs, and services we require to be a successful community. Last month in City Council I was faced with an important public transit vote, I will not vote for a project which is fiscally irresponsible, and does little to benefit our Scarborough community.

I am a big fan of subways. I always have, and I always will like subways. I cannot however, support a line just to say we put in a few stations without being financially responsible.

In July I voted for a subway to replace the Scarborough SRT. My decision was based on the fact the province had made financial commitments to fully fund a subway, up to $1.89 billion dollars. Council also requested the Federal government to support a subway. City Council’s vote outlined if we didn’t receive a proper commitment for the funding, from both levels of government, we would be building a Light Rapid Transit (LRT).

These commitments were not met. The province made a partial commitment, and the Federal government offered $660 million with a long list of conditions. In October City Council had a choice of two options for Scarborough:

1) LRT- (7 stops) – fully financially funded with no property tax increases.
LRT = NO Property Tax Increases

2) Subway – (3 stops) – to replace only the SRT with a never ending financial increase to all taxpayers through property taxes: SUBWAY=$1.8 Billion Tax Increases Every Year for 30 Years

– $910 million property taxes/development charges
– $450 million Automatic Train Control
– $250 – $300 million in construction cost over runs
– $30 – $40 million dollars annually for maintenance (for 60 years)
– A 1.6% dedicated transit property tax increase on top of the usual property tax requirements. (For the next 30 years)

I voted for the fully funded LRT. The subway received more votes; as a result, we will be paying property tax increases of 3 – 5% annually for a very long time to cover the costs of a subway which does not serve our Scarborough community in the manner we expected for the costs we will incur.

Voting for this subway line was not the fiscally responsible action for me to take. I was elected to make sure we get the best value for our tax dollars. I pay taxes too.

The LRT would not go on a street. It would have been in a hydro corridor. The subway will require McCowan Road to be dug up completely from Eglinton to Sheppard Ave.

The City of Toronto faces a huge backlog of repairs which have to be made right across the City. It is already difficult to fund the necessary repairs to our aging infrastructure. Our existing roads are badly in need of repair. We have community centres, libraries and playgrounds which desperately need to be updated. My concern is the added financial pressures will jeopardize our ability to pay for any of these improvements.

My priority is to serve the residents of Ward 43. Neither LRT nor subway route goes anywhere near our Ward. The reality is buses are the main public transit option available to families living in Ward 43. The 3 stop subway will negatively impact the quality of TTC bus service for our area. The City needs to be investing in proper rapid transit to meet today’s transit needs as well as the future needs of our growing community. We need to find better, faster ways to move more people to where they need to be. We need a reliable system which is safe, clean and affordable. We need a system which people from across Toronto can rely on to get to work, school, shop and travel to meet their needs.

In short, as a result of Council’s vote to move forward with subways, my constituents will pay higher taxes, the City will have an enormous debt to manage, fewer people will benefit from the investment, and the City will not be in a financial position to move forward with other desperately needed transit and infrastructure projects.

Sincerely,

Paul Ainslie
City Councillor, Scarborough East Ward 43
Chair, Toronto Public Library