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I'm one of 1.7 million people who use TTC every day. Riders and workers can, and should, be safe moving across our City.

From what we're seeing and hearing, it hasn't felt that way lately. Violence prevention is urgently needed. More crisis response workers, 24/7 drop-in spaces, and better transit service are proven investments in our safety, unlike an increase of policing.

It's clear that people is Toronto are struggling and too many have nowhere to go especially in this cold weather.  It's why at the first meeting of the Board of Health for this term, we moved forward the review of the city's warming centre policies, opening of 24/7 warming locations until April 15, as well as looking closely at the intersectionality of health and homelessness.

I was encouraged to see the Budget Committee adopt Councillor Bravo's motion to ensure the revised "Mayor's Budget" on February 1 reflects our priorities for the city: do better on homelessness, mental health, and addiction crises; improve public transit; advance the work on climate and Vision Zero; and prioritize community-based safety tools.

At every opportunity, we have to take action on affordable housing, decent work and strong social services as key to our safety and well-being. 

We know that a more equal city is a safer city. Together, that's what we can be.

Ausma Malik
City Councillor 
Ward 10, Spadina–Fort York

In This Edition:
At City Hall
  • Action at the Board of Health
  • 2023 Budget Update
  • Community Safety through the CCRS

City New

  • CampTO registration
  • Black History Month
  • Vacant Home Tax
  • Frozen Pipes
Around the Ward
At City Hall
Action at the Board of Health

At last week's inaugural meeting of the Board of Health for this term I brought forward a motion, along with Councillors Bravo and Perks, to address both the immediate and long term needs of those in need of shelter and protection from the elements. The motion declares a public health crisis based on the systemic failure of all three levels of government to provide adequate 24-hour drop-in and respite indoor spaces, and calls for warming locations to be open 24/7 until at least April 15. It also calls for the creation of a working table that includes physicians, medical experts who work with people experiencing homelessness, and people with lived experience, to report back to the board on further action that can be taken to ensure this problem does not persist. 

With the support of emergency doctors, frontline workers, people with lived experience, and concerned residents like you, the committee received hundreds of emails and heard from  deputants from across the City who shared the need for this motion to pass.  While the vote was close, our motion passed and will be going to City Council for consideration on February 7. 

While we know warming centres are not the answer to Toronto’s housing and homelessness crisis, they are an important step to protect the safety of those living on our streets, as we move forward with further action.  Thank you once again to everyone that shared their thoughts, concerns, and support for this motion. If you would like to help, please sign the petition here.
“Budgeting as a tool to improve the lives of people”
The budget process continues to move forward at City Hall.  Following the release, we held our ward’s first Budget Town Hall meeting with Councillor Chris Moise and our neighbours in Ward 13. We heard concerns both big and small with the budget, and where the City’s priorities must be moving forward.

In the days that followed, The Budget Committee also heard deputations from across the City including Spadina-Fort York’s own  Arushi Nath, a Grade 8 student, who shared:

“My favourite subject is math. Yet, I do not see budgeting as a number exercise. I see budgeting as a tool to improve the lives of people.”

Thank you for the powerful deputation Arushi! 

In the final meeting of the Budget Committee, motions were made to change the budget prior to being sent to the Mayor. The highlight was the request that the Mayor consider amending the 2023 Budgets and present a revised Budget to City Council that does the following:

  • adequately respond to Toronto’s homelessness, mental health, and addiction crises;

  • address the need for improved public transit access and service;

  • advances our commitments to Toronto's climate and Vision Zero goals; and

  • prioritizes community responses and services for violence prevention and community safety.

Will these priorities be addressed?  Find out when the Mayor releases his Budget on Wednesday, February 1.

A better path forward: The Community Crisis Response Program

In early 2022 the City launched the Toronto Community Crisis Service (TCCS) pilot project, as an alternative model of crisis response. It provides a community-led solution to respond to mental health crisis calls and wellness checks instead of going through the usual police presence. 

The Six-Month Implementation Evaluation Report has been released, and can be found here. The pilots’ performance, impact, and data continues to demonstrate that this new emergency service is succeeding. As the City looks to improve safety on our streets and on the TTC, it is clear that the Community Crisis Response Program must be expanded to all wards.
News from the City
Registration for CampTO begins February 11

The City of Toronto's summer CampTO program listings are now available to view online to help residents prepare for next month's city-wide registration. Registration for CampTO will open at 7 am on Saturday, February 11. 

This summer, CampTO programs for children and youth between the ages of four and 16 will begin on Tuesday, July 4 and run until Friday, September 1. The City will offer approximately 75,500 spaces in 156 locations providing a variety of camp types, including traditional day camp experiences, active games, dance, drama, music, arts and crafts and indoor, outdoor and nature-based activities. Adapted and inclusive programs for participants with disabilities will also be available.

You can find program and registration information on the City's CampTO webpage. Residents who need help preparing for registration can call 416-396-7378, Monday to Friday, from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. 

Black History Month in Toronto

Each year in February, the City of Toronto features events and exhibits celebrating and honouring Black History Month. The City is inviting members of the public to explore and celebrate the heritage, traditions and culture of Black Canadians. To find a list of all City run events, please click here.

Reminder: Vacant Home Tax Registration Due February 2

An annual tax will be levied on vacant Toronto residences, payable beginning in 2023. You should have received a notice in the mail from the City of Toronto, notifying you of the requirement to declare the status of your property. 

Declarations are due by February 2, 2023. Submit your declaration here, or call 311 to have a paper copy of the declaration form mailed to you. 

A property is considered vacant if it has been unoccupied for a total of six months during the previous calendar year.

The goal of the City of Toronto’s Vacant Home Tax (VHT) is to increase the supply of housing by discouraging owners from leaving their residential properties unoccupied. Homeowners who choose to keep their properties vacant will be subject to this tax. All revenues collected from the Vacant Home Tax will be allocated towards affordable housing initiatives.

Cold weather can mean frozen pipes in your home

The City’s water department has seen an increase in frozen pipes as the weather begins to chill.  See tips & learn more at

  • Apply foam coverings around indoor water pipes

  • Apply weather strips around doors & windows to keep cold air out

  • Locate and label your main indoor water shut-off valve, in case your pipes burst and you need to turn it off

  • When it is -15C or colder for a few days, you can run a thin stream of cold water from an
    indoor faucet to keep movement in pipes

  • Keep your house warm, even when you are away.

Around the Ward
This Tuesday I have the honour of delivering Romero House’s annual Howcroft Lecture. You're invited to join me on "The Power of In-Between" about where and how I see community is made. To register, click here
Happy Birthday to the St. Lawrence Neighbourhood Association! Show your love to the neighbourhood by writing a letter on February 4 and 5, then join in the community hunt on February 14.  Learn more at the SLNA website
What’s your favourite Ontario Place story? Alongside Ontario Place for All's Norm Di Pasquale, I had a chance to shared my story at the DesignTO Festival’s “Ontario Place: narrating Past, Present and Potential”.  Experiences and share what Ontario Place means to you & why keeping it a place for all matters. The exhibit is open until January 29, so check it out while you can!
After 8 months of community and stakeholder consultation, the Under Gardiner Public Realm Plan is sharing the recommendations and potential opportunities with the public.  How can this space serve us all?  Find out at The Bentway’s Open House at 55 Fort York Blvd. Tuesdays from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm until Feb 7. Learn more at:
Lunar New Year events have been taking place throughout Spadina-Fort York.  First I had the honour of joining the Chinatown BIA for their kick off celebrations featuring an amazing lion dance.
Next I joined Scadding Court for their celebration, where we celebrated a prosperous new year with a shared community lunch and beautiful performances by senior groups and a martial arts demonstration!
Councillor Ausma Malik
Toronto City Hall
100 Queen Street West, 2nd floor, Suite C54
Toronto, ON M5H 2N2

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