Statements from Mayor Mrakas

2021
October
October 13: Statement from Mayor Mrakas on capacities at all Town facilities

I am pleased to inform everyone that starting Friday October 15th all Town facilities will move to 100% capacity for spectators. This will allow entire families to once again be able to watch their loved ones participate in their activities.

While this is great news for our residents, I would like to remind all visitors to our facilities that, with the increased capacity and the requirement to complete screening, contract tracing and confirm proof of vaccination status, we anticipate longer lines to enter our facilities. We ask for your patience during this time. To help expedite the process, I would recommend you arrive early and have your information ready to present to our staff and we will get you inside and ready to see the activities.

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September
September 30: Statement from Mayor Mrakas on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

The Town of Aurora is proud to join communities across Canada in the commemoration of the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

The terrible actions that were inflicted on the Indigenous Peoples of this land are a blight on our collective history and leave us with a painful legacy.

It is the duty of each of us to take this Day for what it is intended to be – an opportunity to learn, to grieve, to grow, and to reflect on who we are as individuals and as a community.

It is not enough to be content with the status quo; we must commit to strengthening our understanding of our history, and our present, so that we can together build towards reconciliation.

We all have a role to play in reconciliation, and it starts here, it starts now. I encourage all Aurorans to join in today, and every day, to learn from our past to build a better and more truthful future.

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August
August 30: Town of Aurora implements mandatory vaccinations for all employees

Our CAO has informed us that, in alignment with recent announcements made by many public and private sector organizations, the Town of Aurora is moving forward with a mandatory vaccination requirement for all Town employees. We believe that it is our responsibility to take this additional step to protect everyone, given the rapidly changing COVID-19 situation and the pressure that we are under as a region and a province. With today’s announcement, all Town staff will be asked to provide proof of a first vaccination dose before October 1, and of both a first and a second dose by November 1, unless they have a valid medical or human rights-based exemption.

As an organization, we believe that this is the best possible approach to ensuring the health, safety and well-being of both staff and members of the public.

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July
July 26: Town of Aurora revokes State of Emergency

Today, I have revoked the State of Emergency that was declared on March 18, 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is a huge milestone for our community, signaling light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel. I declared the State of Emergency to give our staff and organization the agility and flexibility to address the unprecedented nature of the challenges posed by the pandemic. I am thrilled that, with the high vaccination rates in our community, resulting in a drop in case numbers and reduced stress on our health care system, we are able to make this next step towards a state of new normal.

This emergency declaration followed the Ontario government’s announcement that a province-wide state of emergency was in place and allowed the town to access additional resources where needed to help control the spread of the virus.

I want to caution everyone that although we are in a very positive position, we must all continue to play our part in maintaining our low rate of infection and in supporting our community’s recovery from the pandemic. Respect all the guidelines established by health authorities. Be smart, be safe, and be healthy.

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June
June 24: Statement from Mayor Mrakas on 751 unmasked graves at residential school

I am devastated beyond words about the discovery today of 751 unmarked graves at a Saskatchewan residential school. Coming so soon on the heels of the identified of 215 unmarked graves in Kamloops, this discovery tells us that this heartbreaking, sobering and shameful past will demand to be seen, heard, and felt until and perhaps beyond when we are able to make true amends and restitution as a nation.

It is my solemn hope that all levels of government come together to seek a true reconciliation.

My heart goes out to the families and friends of the 751 who never came home; my heart goes out to the Indigenous communities so deeply affected by this newest tragedy; and my heart goes out, too, to all Indigenous peoples across Canada who grieve these losses and so many others.

Town of Aurora facility flags will be lowered to half-mast to honour and mourn the 751 children’s lives lost.

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June 24: Statement on Step Two of the roadmap to reopen

I applaud the Province’s efforts in taking a cautious approach to ensure we remain safe as we continue to fully vaccinate residents and it is welcome news that the Province has just announced we are moving to Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen at 12:01am on Wed, June 30. This will allow for personal care services to reopen with the proper protocols in place which I have advocated for.

However, while I am pleased with the progression, with the vaccination progress and reduction in hospitalizations, I feel this roadmap is overly cautious. We need to be looking at moving to Step 3 as all of the provinces previously indicated requirements have been met. Moving to Step 3 is not rushing as the entire Province has met the requirements of Step 3 and as it is as restrictive as the former “red Zone “ this is the proper balance and cautious approach that continues to keep everyone safe while we allow our businesses to begin to recover. The data supports this opening and the time is now to make this move.

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June 8: Statement on Provincial Announcement

I am pleased with the announcement that Ontario will be moving to Step 1 this Friday. With the number of COVID cases, hospitalizations and patients in the ICU in decline, and the number of vaccinations on the rise, I have been advocating for Ontario to reopen. We still need to take a cautious approach and continue to follow the public health guidelines, but I believe this is an indication of the first step toward going back to a more normal life for our residents and businesses. I encourage our residents to continue to support our local small businesses as more non-essential retail stores and restaurant patios open.

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June 4: Statement on site of former Kamloops Residential School

I was both horrified and heartbroken to hear about the tragic discovery of the remains of 215 children buried on the Kamloops Indian Residential School grounds. Our condolences and prayers are extended to the families of the victims and to the Indigenous community. The Town of Aurora grieves with you.

The flags at all town facilities are flying at half-mast in memory of the tragic deaths and will fly at half-mast for 215 hours, one hour for each child found buried near the former school.

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May
 May 8: Statement on Beavers
 When the issue of beaver trappings was first at brought to my attention, we asked staff to immediately discontinue the practice. We also directed them to look at alternative, more humane measures that would allow us to continue to fulfil our legislative responsibility of protecting our infrastructure from potential flooding due to damming. Alternatives that were in addition to our existing humane methods of diverting beavers away from our storm water management infrastructure – from wrapping trees to specialized tree plantings. Residents should be aware that relocating beavers is not an option. They are extremely territorial and rarely survive the move. It is why MNR specifically does not recommend it as a mitigation option.

Staff investigated water level control and flow devices used in a few other municipalities such as London and Ottawa; measures that allows for harmony between the natural environment and our infrastructure.
As Lake Simcoe Regional Conservation Authority (LSRCA) has legislative authority in matters as they relate to storm flow and capacity in our storm water management systems, staff brought forward the suggested alternative management practice to LSRCA.
LSRCA would not approve the use of alternative flow diversion measures.
This unfortunate decision leaves us with only 3 choices: do nothing, continue with trapping or continuously remove the dams.
As we do not want to return to the proposed last resort measure of trapping the beavers, I have immediately put forward a motion to Council to direct staff to discontinue the return to trapping and instead implement dam removal, as it is the only humane beaver mitigation option available to us. This option comes with added costs and may see some trees being removed by the beavers as they look to rebuild their dam. But as the other option is untenable, I believe it is the right thing to do.

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April
April 18: Statement on navigating the Emergency Orders and the next five weeks

Well here we are again…This is not what anyone wants, but it is the position we are in. It is natural that some will be looking for someone to blame…but placing blame will not solve anything. We need to stick together to get through this as a community, province and country. Some think the new restrictions are still not strong enough, others think they are just right and some think they go too far. These are differences of opinion which we must not allow to create divisiveness.

The next 5 weeks will be a struggle for many residents, both physically and mentally. For those that need someone to talk to please, please, please, seek the support you need. For businesses that are hanging on by a thread, we know your livelihood has been threatened and the supports are not enough to keep you going, we will continue to push hard for additional support and to ensure the supports which are in place can be accessed by all businesses.

I ask that we all have patience through these next 5 weeks and be kind…even on social media. Remember, you don’t know what someone else is going through or what their circumstances are. Let’s truly ALL work together and help each other as we navigate the next 5 weeks and if I can provide support in any way, send me a message or call me at tmrakas@aurora.ca or 905-727-3123 ext 4746.

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April 9: Statement on the passing of His Royal Highness Prince Philip

It is with great sadness that I learned of the passing of His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, this morning. On behalf of the Council of the Town of Aurora, I want to express my deepest sympathies to The Queen, and to the entire Royal Family, as they mourn the loss of a loved one.

His Royal Highness Prince Philip served the public faithfully for over seventy years - a lifetime by any measure - and his legacy will live on.

Flags at all Town facilities will be lowered to mark Prince Philip’s passing.

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April 7: Response to the Provincial Government announcement on the "Stay-at-Home Order

With respect to today’s stay-at-home order announcement, while I am disappointed we need to move in this direction, I appreciate that the Premier’s approach is closer to an actual lockdown. I have maintained that if you are to “lockdown”, it should be across the board and not penalize a select few businesses. This stay-at-home order will be different as it limits big box stores to just groceries and pharmacies. Something that I along with other Mayors have been asking for. A level playing field that truly limits any openings to the core essentials.

I recognize the next several weeks will be difficult. However, for the continued safety of our residents and to take the pressure off the hospitals, we must effectively use this time as communities and as a Province to ‘ramp up’ our vaccinations. We are ready at the municipal level with the infrastructure to get the vaccines into as many willing arms as possible. We have clinics, mobile sites and pharmacies ready to go and administering the vaccine with capacity for much more. But we need our Federal Government to get us the much needed supply. During this stay-at-home order let’s get all of our most vulnerable and essential workers vaccinated so that when we get out of this stay-at-home order it will be the last time we ever have to shut anything down.

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April 1: Response to the Provincial Government announcement on the "shutdown" 

As I have maintained all along, we need to put the proper protocols in place to manage the spread of the virus. I also understand there is an urgency with respect to hospitalizations and ICU capacity. However, what I am struggling with is how this most recent set of restrictions will address this.

There are several regions which have been under these same restrictions for the last few months, yet the case counts and hospitalizations in those areas are growing. If we want to address the issue of ICU and hospital capacity, we need to target the right places. While I respect the decisions of the Premier and Cabinet; these are tough decisions for the province as a whole, I am truly disappointed in this decision that will do nothing but hurt our small local businesses (restaurants, gyms, personal services).

This is being called a province wide ‘shutdown’, yet retail is open, malls are open, industrial and manufacturing are open, you can go play a round of golf with 3 others…what exactly is being shut down? This is not a shutdown; it is a closure of a select group of business who are largely not responsible for the spread. How many cases have been in a manufacturing/industrial setting? How many in local grocery stores? Many more examples and yet they have not been shut down.

Why are we shutting these select businesses and penalizing them? Why take away their incomes? Dr. Kurji has told us, we know these closures have a huge impact on people’s well-being and mental health. Let’s focus on enforcing protocols and restrictions where the data shows the transmission is occurring. We all want to keep everyone safe as we continue to vaccinate, but we need to revisit our approach to this and not just close certain select businesses. This approach, in my opinion is not going to help, and only hurt our small businesses who are hanging on by a thread.

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2019
May 2: Mayor Mrakas’ response to provincial announcement on Ontario’s Housing Supply Action Plan

The news released today by the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing in regards to The Housing Supply Action Plan is simply shocking.

Following hard on the heels of its decision to close the Local Planning Appeal Support Centre – the agency that was to provide legal assistance to residents/ratepayers seeking to object to development applications in their communities - the Province has announced sweeping changes to land-use planning legislation. Under the guise of supposed efficiency and improved access to affordable housing, the Province is reverting back to the old playbook of rules under the abolished Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) for approving development applications.

The review and reform of the OMB was a decades long process that resulted in a new regulatory framework. A significant element of that new legislative framework was to give greater weight and consideration of Municipal Council decisions as they relate to land-use planning. The final version of the legislation secured all party support. Its approval was a unanimous decision.

Should the proposed legislation pass as is, municipalities will again be relegated to the sidelines when it comes to land-use planning decisions for their own communities.

Once again, an unelected, unaccountable body will get to decide what’s best for our community when it comes to growth and development. This is not a decision “for the people.”

The ability to manage growth in our communities has just taken a just step backward and I consider it to be completely unacceptable.

As the Chair of the OMB Reform Working Group and Planning Matter, I will be reaching out to my colleagues and plan to meet as soon as possible on this matter.

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Small Urban GTHA Mayors' statements

2021
 
June
June 11: Small Urban GTHA Mayors pleased with reopening

Today the Small Urban GTHA Mayors met to discuss the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 across the GTHA.

The Small Urban GTHA Mayors are pleased that the Province is proceeding with Step One of the Road Map to Reopen due to the recent decline of new Covid-19 and ICU cases. As the supply of vaccines is increasing across the GTHA, we continue to ask residents to get vaccinated, with either the first or second dose as this is the best form of defence against this pandemic and the variants.

It is important that we still are vigilant and take the necessary precautions as advised by our public health units as we move forward towards a more normal way of life for our residents and businesses.

We would also like to call on the Province to consider allowing personal services businesses and gyms to a maximum of 10 people or as deemed appropriate to re-open as of 12:01 am on Friday, June 18, 2021 as part of Step One with strict limited capacities.

The GTHA Mayors would like to express their condolences to the City of London and Mayor Ed Holder on the tragic event that occurred recently in their community. We stand with you during this difficult time.

We encourage the Federal Government and all levels of Government to fully implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action to help heal this nation in light of the tragic discovery of the remains of 215 children at the former Kamloops residential school. Our condolences and prayers are extended to the families of the victims and to the Indigenous community.

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May
May 14: Small Urban GTHA Mayors met with the Honourable Caroline Mulroney, Ministry of Transportation

Today the Small Urban GTHA Mayors met with The Honourable Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation.

The Small Urban GTHA Mayors thanked the Minister for the recent announcement and financial investment made by the Federal and Provincial government to move transportation projections forward across the GTHA. The Province’s $28.5 billion dollar transit plan will see four priority subways being constructed. In addition, the Provincial and Federal government have committed $3.4 billion towards the Hamilton Light Rail Transit (LRT) project. Both these projects will have a significant impact on relieving grid lock while improving connectivity across the entire Golden Horseshoe Area.

The Small Urban GTHA Mayors also took this opportunity to engage in productive conversations about critical transportation infrastructure specific to their communities.
Today’s meeting could not have come at a better time. It is evident that all levels of government are committed to investing in rapid transit projects benefitting those that live and work across the Greater Toronto Area and the Small Urban Mayors applaud this initiative.

The Mayors also discussed the recent extension of the Stay-At-Home order to June 2. We understand the need for continued restrictions until our new infections and hospital ICU occupancy continues to come down. The Mayors encourage the Province to open outdoor recreation amenities prior to the June 2nd extension date. The COVID Science Table, Ontario Medical Association and many doctors and health experts have advocated for opening outdoor amenities. We add our voices to their call to return outdoor activities, which are necessary to the physical and mental wellbeing of our residents.

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May 7: Small Urban GTHA Mayors meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Today the Small Urban GTHA Mayors had the opportunity to meet with Prime Minister Justin
Trudeau and Members of Parliament representing the GTHA.

Some of the issues discussed were the need for greater broadband connectivity, vaccine
rollout, travel bans, addressing gun violence, licensing of cannabis facilities, and the current
housing market. The dialogue was productive, and collaborative as the Prime Minister
addressed each of the issues raised.

It is only through open dialogue and communication with our Federal partners that
municipalities can respond to concerns as a result of changes in legislation impacting our
communities. We are grateful to the Prime Minister and our Federal Members of Parliament
for their continued partnership and support and look forward to continuing to work together
in response to the issues raised today.

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May 6: Small Urban GTHA Mayors encourage vaccination eligibility for those aged 15+ across the entire GTHA

The Small Urban GTHA mayors met today with Deputy Premier Elliott, Solicitor General Jones and Dr. Tien, Chair, Vaccine Distribution Task Force.

The Mayors discussed the fact that residents 60+ in the GTHA are now at or nearing 70% having received 1 dose vaccination and as supply has increased, the time is now to move to a much more aggressive vaccination approach that better reflects and addresses the needs of our community.

With so many of our essential workers under the age of 18 – grocery store clerks, drive through food service workers, checkout staff – it is absolutely vital that they get access to the vaccines.

Further, as eligibility criteria changes weekly depending on which region you live, it is frustrating and confusing for residents. The Small Urban GTHA Mayors have requested that the Province examine and consider changing eligibility for vaccinations and bookings to the age of 15+ across the entire GTHA starting next week. This will add clarity and simplicity to the process by which residents can get their shots.

The Mayors are thankful for the time and consideration Deputy Premier Elliott, Solicitor General Jones and Dr. Tien have taken to discuss this important matter.

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April
April 9: Small Urban GTHA Mayors remind residents to get vaccinated based on eligibility

The Small Urban GTHA Mayors met today to discuss the current stay-at-home order, vaccine rollouts and the importance of getting vaccinated.

It is imperative for people to book their vaccination appointment based on the eligibility criteria as established within the public health unit where they reside. Regional variations in eligibility criteria can occur due to various circumstances such as the location of identified hot spots. The Mayors remind their residents that the best vaccine is the one first available to you.

We are grateful to the Federal and Provincial governments for taking a targeted approach during Phase 2 of the vaccine distribution plan and call on them to consider vaccinating those residents living in small urban communities that require travel to and from identified “hot spots” for employment purposes. Furthermore, we call on our Provincial and Federal partners to provide additional clarity on where and how the vaccines are being distributed across Ontario.

We remind residents that during the stay-at-home order, only socialize with those living in your household, enjoy the outdoors within your local community while following your local public health regulations and only go out for essential items.

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March
March 15: Small urban GTHA Mayors welcome vaccine rollouts across communities

The Small Urban GTHA Mayors met this past Friday to discuss how vaccine rollouts are occurring in each of the communities they represent.

We encourage each person to receive a vaccination to protect themselves from Covid19 and we are grateful that the Federal Government is expecting over 2 million does of vaccines by the end of March. Distribution details will be forthcoming but rest assured that vaccines are on the way and we are ready to administer them.

The Province also announced that to date over 1,000,000 vaccines have been administered and between April 2021 and July 2021, it is estimated that nine million more Ontarians will be vaccinated.

Further details can be found at:https://news.ontario.ca/en/backgrounder/60570/populations-eligible-for-phase-twocovid-19-vaccination

Be assured that we will not rest until all of our residents that want the vaccine are vaccinated.

In the interim, residents are reminded to follow public health guidelines and take the vaccine that is recommended by their public health units based on eligibility.

Please be patient and remember to stay safe at all times.

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February
 
February 1:  Small urban GTHA Mayors encouraged by lockdown measures lifted

The Small Urban GTHA Mayors met yesterday and were encouraged by the lockdown changes announced by the Province. Lockdown restrictions have been lifted in several Regions represented by the Small Urban GTHA Mayors, and York Region and Peel are expected to open February 22nd. The diligence and patience by both residents and small business owners has helped make this possible, but we must continue to follow the safety protocols whether we are in Grey, Red, Orange, or Green.

Our goal has been and continues to be the safety of our residents and supporting our local businesses to bounce back from this pandemic. Small businesses are the economic backbone of our communities and we must support them by continuing to be vigilant and avoid a potential third wave of this pandemic.

The Small Urban GTHA Mayors meet regularly to discuss issues of importance to their communities, and in the coming months we will be discussing transportation infrastructure, broadband connectivity, and provincial planning matters. By working collectively, while advocating for our residents, we are able to better respond to emerging issues.

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February 5: Small urban GTHA Mayors meet with Premier Doug Ford and Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Christine Elliott

The Small Urban GTHA Mayors met yesterday with Premier Doug Ford and Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Christine Elliott, about impacts of Covid-19 in each of their communities, specifically as it relates to provincial regulations, vaccine rollouts and small business.

The Small Urban GTHA Mayors called on the Premier to consider vetting proposed regulation changes with Heads of Council as there is often confusion as to what is and is not permitted, such is the case with outdoor recreational activities. The Premier continued to urge people to stay at home as much as possible, but confirmed that some outdoor leisure activities are permitted as long as they’re not organized team sports, and masks and appropriate distancing are in place. The same can be said about residential construction, inspections can proceed by local building officials on open residential construction projects.

The Small Urban GTHA Mayors reiterated their commitment to supporting the Province on vaccine rollouts and are ready to work with Public Health Units in ensuring that the most number of residents receive the vaccine as soon as they are made available. There will be no shortage of staff to help administer the vaccines in a timely and organized manner and it is imperative that we reach everyone, including those living in group settings. Rapid testing is available to these groups and testing should be done each and everyday to stop the spread of Covid-19 and its variants.

The Small Urban GTHA Mayors agree with the decision to test and screen incoming travellers for Covid-19 and support the Premier in urging the Federal government to implement changes to Paid Sick Leave regulations for those affected in order to help stop the spread of the virus through local transmission.

The Small Urban GTHA Mayors reminded the Premier of the toll this pandemic has taken on small business and emphasized considering small business to reopen by appointment only as soon as possible while still abiding by the appropriate safety measures.

It is only by working collaboratively with all levels of government that we will move ahead of this pandemic and are grateful for the partnerships established in reaching the common goal of keeping our communities safe and healthy.

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January
January 20: Small urban Mayors call on the province for equality for all of our businesses 

Today the Small Urban GTHA Mayors met virtually with Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Christine Elliott and President and CEO of Southlake Regional Health Centre, Arden Krystal for an update on the impacts of Covid-19 on our provincial health care system and reiterate our steadfast commitment of support.

We informed the Minister that our communities remain ready to spring into action to help roll out the vaccine to our general population. With our facilities currently closed, set up should start immediately so that we will be ready to get our residents vaccinated without delay once supply is available.

We also echoed the concerns of our local small businesses who have been disproportionately impacted and call on the provincial government, to level the playing field and only allow essential items to be sold in big box stores during the lockdown. Also, that they consider implementing shopping by appointment and/or revisiting capacity in local businesses based on building square footage. We hope to see these measures considered at the earliest appropriate time to ensure equality for all businesses.

On behalf of the Small Urban GTHA Mayors, we reaffirm our commitment to our government partners, residents and small businesses and remain committed to supporting and promoting the public health guidelines currently in place and at all times following the data and science.

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January 8: Small urban GTHA Mayors statement on impacts of increased COVID-19 cases

The Small Urban GTHA Mayors met virtually yesterday to discuss the Provincial
lockdown measures currently in place until January 23rd.

Positive Covid-19 cases are mounting in our communities at an alarming rate and there
is an ongoing concern that these are primarily attributed to social gatherings occurring within private residences and through travel abroad. We would remind residents to only socialize with those living in your own household and to limit your outdoor visits to essential shopping for groceries and medical items. The Mayors call on the Federal government to clamp down on unnecessary travel to and from Canada in order to help curb the spread of Covid-19 across the Country.

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed every facet of our lives, from how we work, go to school, and even how we shop and access services. Small businesses are an essential component to the economic vitality of small urban communities and have been hit particularly hard, especially new businesses that opened after March 15, 2020. The Federal Covid-19 business relief programs exclude these businesses, leaving them with no financial lifeline. We call on our Federal partners to amend guidelines to allow new businesses equal access to the financial supports available.

With the vaccines being rolled out in the coming months, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. We will continue to work together to ensure our municipalities and facilities are ready to be used as vaccinations centres when the Province needs them.

As always, we continue to rely on the expert advice from our Chief Medical Officers of Health and together with our Federal, Provincial and Municipal partners, we are optimistic that we will find long term solutions that provide economic opportunities for our local businesses while working to ensure we overcome this second wave to emerge stronger and healthier.

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2020
December
December 15: Small urban GTHA Mayors remind residents to stay safe during the holidays

Today the Small Urban GTHA Mayors met virtually to discuss Covid-19 restrictions
and their impacts across our communities. We want to assure our residents that we hear the concerns being expressed; from shoppers leaving their lockdown zones to shop elsewhere, to businesses struggling to keep up with ever-changing rules.

Together, we are responding to these concerns and have written to The Premier and
The Honourable Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, asking for
information on what criteria is used to determine moving out of a Grey Lockdown Zone.

It is only by working together that we can best respond to our residents and businesses
and implement plans that will guide us towards recovery from this pandemic.

On behalf of the Small Urban GTHA Mayors, I would like to wish everyone a safe and
happy holiday season. We remind you to follow Health Unit guidelines and remain vigilant during this time. Practice physical distancing, wash your hands and do not socialize indoors with anyone outside of your household, unless it is one family member that may be living alone. Shop locally, using curbside pick-up, and support local small
business.

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December 8: Small urban GTHA Mayors call on province to remove Section 6 within Bill 229

Today the Small Urban GTHA Mayors met for the first time to discuss several issues
affecting each of our communities from Covid-19, pandemic recovery to the removal
of Schedule 6 within Bill 229.

Section 6 within Bill 229 is being considered in the legislature today without any
consultation with Conservation Authorities or Heads of Council.

If passed, the Province will have the ability to issue any permits directly to applicants
that could threaten environmentally sensitive protected lands and wetlands.
Conservation Authorities are in place to assess development applications on a case by
case basis using scientific measures that will positively impact and protect our naturally
sensitive areas.

We are calling on the Province to immediately remove Section 6 of Bill 229 and instead,
begin a dialogue and consultation with Heads of Council, and Conservation
Authorities on issues and concerns impacting our communities across the Province. Open consultation and dialogue between our levels of government have proved to be a valuable exercise to reach our mutually common goals in the past and we believe the contents of Section 6 are significant and require more consultation.

Moving forward The Small Urban GTHA Mayors will be meeting on a regular basis to discuss and respond to issues affecting our communities as a collective including Protect, Support and Recover from COVID-19, broadband, and the greenbelt.

It is imperative that our voices are heard by all levels of government in order to best serve our residents and protect our communities.

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Small urban GTHA Mayors call on province to remove Section 6 within Bill 229

GTHA Mayors 

2021
October
October 12: GTHA Mayors and Chairs call for continued Federal and Provincial COVID-19 emergency financial support

Today, Mayors and Chairs from the 11 largest municipal governments across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area held their regular meeting to discuss the ongoing response to COVID-19 across the region.

This week, we will be advocating with our municipal colleagues from across Ontario and Canada for continued support from the provincial and federal governments into 2022.

As we all look ahead to our 2022 municipal budgets, we are forecasting challenges similar to 2021 caused by the pandemic, including in particular reduced transit ridership.

Throughout the pandemic and with the support of other governments, municipalities have invested emergency funding in much-needed services that were crucial to the effort to fight COVID-19 including public health, housing and homelessness, and support for residents and businesses. At the same time, we have worked to keep all frontline municipal services, including our transit systems, operating. This continued delivery of essential services will be needed as we finish delivering the largest vaccination effort in Canadian history and work to make sure the economy comes back stronger than ever. The continued financial support of the other governments is more crucial than ever in allowing us to continue this work.

Many of the GTHA Mayors will be participating this week in the Big City Mayors Caucus meeting in Ottawa with federal counterparts and the Ontario Big City Mayors meeting. We will be raising the need for continued support which benefitted all residents and businesses over the last 18 months of the pandemic.

Every government has worked together throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to help residents and businesses through these tough times. It is our hope that cooperation will continue into 2022 for the good for the entire GTHA and all the residents and businesses who call this region home.

In this regard we welcome the opportunity to work with the Government of Ontario to map out a broader and more encompassing reopening plan including the initiation of consistent and easily administered standards for all sectors of the economy and all Ontario residents.

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September
September 30: GTHA Mayors and Chairs focused on local vaccination efforts

Today, Mayors and Chairs from the 11 largest municipal governments across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area held their regular meeting to discuss the ongoing response to COVID-19 across the region.

All GTHA municipalities have seen strong uptake of COVID-19 vaccinations and are continuing to make steady progress towards the province's goal of having 90 per cent of eligible residents vaccinated.

The Mayors and Chairs discussed the ongoing work across the region by their respective health units to help unvaccinated residents receive their first and second doses. They compared targeted vaccination initiatives and will explore the possibility of a region-wide program to continue to drive vaccination numbers up.

We continue to urge all eligible residents to get vaccinated so they will have the best protection possible against COVID-19 and so we can bring this pandemic to an end and protect our progress reopening the region. We want schools, businesses, sports and entertainment venues to remain open and vaccinations are the key.

In their first meeting since the 2021 federal election, the Mayors and Chairs congratulated Prime Minister Trudeau on his election win and committed to continuing to work with the Government of Canada on the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This will include stepped up discussions with both provincial and federal governments with respect to anticipated 2022 municipal budget shortfalls caused by the pandemic including in particular reduced transit ridership.

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September 13: GTHA Mayors and Chairs condemn protests targeting hospitals

Today, Mayors and Chairs from the 11 largest municipal governments across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area held their regular weekly meeting to discuss the ongoing response to COVID-19 across the region.

The Mayors and Chairs discussed the ongoing work underway to drive up vaccination rates across the GTHA. All municipalities are committed to supporting vaccination efforts to reach the province's target of 90 per cent of eligible residents being fully vaccinated.

Throughout the pandemic, we have all relied on our frontline healthcare heroes to save lives and help people. Hospital workers across the GTHA deserve our collective thanks and should not be made the target of anti-vaccine protests and the spreading of misinformation. People go to hospitals because they need medical help – they also don’t deserve to be harassed or intimidated by protests. The Mayors and Chairs strongly condemn protests intentionally targeting hospitals and support our enforcement officials in taking any action they deem necessary to protect our hospitals and keep patients and healthcare workers safe.

During today's meeting, the Mayors and Chairs also discussed initiatives underway to help refugees from Afghanistan expected to settle in the GTHA over the coming months. The Mayors and Chairs support the work underway by community organizations on this resettlement effort and look forward to all governments working together to help people.

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August
August 30: GTHA Mayors and Chairs look forward to details of provincial proof of vaccination program

Today, Mayors and Chairs from the 11 largest municipal governments across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area held their regular weekly meeting to discuss the ongoing response to COVID-19 across the region.

With COVID-19 cases continuing to rise across the GTHA and the province, the Mayors and Chairs discussed the work each municipality is doing to drive up vaccination rates and support school boards as kids go back to school.

The Mayors and Chairs understand the Province is developing plans for a proof of vaccination program and we should hear about those this week. We are pleased that the Government of Ontario is moving in this direction and look forward to hearing more details very soon.

We believe such a province-wide system accompanied by appropriate guidelines for implementation will be crucial to protecting the progress we have made fighting COVID-19 and will help us all combat a fourth wave and the Delta Variant – both of which represent continuing challenges to the significant progress made to date.

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August 16: GTHA Mayors and Chairs welcome Provincial and Federal Governments taking action to protect public health

Today, Mayors and Chairs from the 11 largest municipal governments across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area held their regular weekly meeting to discuss the ongoing response to COVID-19 across the region.

The Mayors and Chairs welcomed the coming move by the Government of Ontario to mandate vaccines for hospital and long-term care workers. This would be a good step forward that will better protect some of our most vulnerable residents and our frontline heroes who work in hospitals and long-term care homes.

The Mayors and Chairs also welcomed the Government of Canada's move last week to proceed with a proof of vaccination system and to mandate vaccinations for federal workers and air and interprovincial train passengers.

We believe it is important for all governments to move as quickly as possible to address this health issue and do everything we can to further encourage residents to get vaccinated.
We also remind our residents of the very important continuing need to respect other public health measures that remain in place including the wearing of masks and capacity limits, especially as they relate to indoor settings.

Our public health officials are clear that a fourth wave is here and that the Delta Variant poses a real threat to our progress.

The impact of another lockdown would be devastating to the economy of the GTHA so we support any actions taken by the relevant governments to protect the health of all residents and encourage vaccination.

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July 
July 26: GTHA Mayors and Chairs readying municipalities for moving beyond Step Three of the provincial reopening 

Today, Mayors and Chairs from the 11 largest municipal governments across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area held their regular weekly meeting to discuss the ongoing response to COVID-19 across the region. 

More than a week after the province moved into Step Three of the reopening, the Mayors and Chairs discussed how their municipalities continue to see lower COVID-19 case counts and ever increasing vaccination rates. 

The Mayors and Chairs are committed to making sure as many people across the GTHA get fully vaccinated over the coming weeks to help protect the region from the Delta variant and the threat of a fourth wave. We are encouraging all residents to get vaccinated to help ensure the reopening continues unabated. 

We know that the province will remain in Step Three for at least 21 days and until 80% of the eligible population aged 12 and over has received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 75% have received their second, with no public health unit having less than 70% of their eligible population aged 12 and over fully vaccinated. The Mayors and Chairs want the GTHA to hit those important milestones as quickly as possible. 

Those percentages are crucial to making sure the GTHA and all of Ontario can move beyond Step Three so the Mayors and Chairs strongly encourage all residents to get their first and second shots and to encourage everyone they know – their family, their friends, their neighbours – to get vaccinated now. This will go a long way in ensuring the GTHA can move beyond Step Three and come back stronger than ever.

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July 20: GTHA Mayors and Chairs encourage young people to get vaccinated

Today, Mayors and Chairs from the 11 largest municipal governments across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area held their regular weekly meeting to discuss the ongoing response to COVID-19 across the region.

Right now, the GTHA continues to see declining COVID-19 case rates and strong uptake in vaccinations. The Mayors and Chairs thank all residents who have already stepped forward to get both their first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccine.

The reopening underway right now is thanks to the sacrifices residents and businesses made to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and thanks to those who are getting vaccinated and encouraging others to also get their shot.

As we look ahead beyond the summer and into the fall, we support the safe return to school for young people. To help the return to in-person classes, the Mayors and Chairs encourage all young people – age 12 and older – to get vaccinated as soon as possible. The Mayors and Chairs also compared notes on the evolving methodology for delivering vaccines with a goal of increasing access and removing barriers of all kinds.

The Mayors and Chairs continued their discussion concerning the backlog in the Provincial Offences Courts created by the ongoing pandemic. We will be supplying information to the Government of Ontario to help target and facilitate action which might be taken to reduce this backlog which carries with it judicial and financial consequences.

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July 5: GTHA Mayors and Chairs encourage residents to get fully vaccinated and urge the Province to provide clear guidance ahead of Step 3

Today, Mayors and Chairs from the 11 largest municipal governments across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area held their regular weekly meeting to discuss the ongoing response to COVID-19 across the region.

The Mayors and Chairs continue to urge residents to get fully vaccinated as soon as they are eligible. While there continues to be a steady supply of vaccines, residents are encouraged to book their first and second dose regardless of which vaccine is available. Medical health professionals have been clear that the best vaccine is the first one available and that both the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech are interchangeable and will help protect against COVID-19 and further protect against the Delta variant.

A week into Step 2 of the provincial government’s reopening plans, the GTHA Mayors and Chairs are pleased to see a safe reopening is underway. The planned and cautious approach is meant to ensure that we can stay open and soon open further without the risk of further restrictions in the future.

As vaccination rates continue to rise and COVID-19 infection rates decrease, the GTHA Mayors and Chairs are hopeful that we are well on the way to entering Step 3 of the province’s reopening plan. We are hopeful that if vaccination and health data and prevailing circumstances permit, consideration might be given to slightly earlier safe re-opening of various indoor activities.

To ensure industries and businesses are prepared and ready to re-open whenever Step 3 arrives, the Mayors and Chairs urge the Province to provide clear guidance for Step 3 as soon as possible. This includes gathering limits for larger outdoor events, arts and culture events and concerts. Businesses, partners, teams, individual artists and venue operators are eager to know the rules and guidelines well ahead of Step 3 and the Mayors and Chairs are prepared to help the province implement these changes and ensure a seamless transition into the next phase when it is safe to do so. But the guidelines themselves, even in draft form, are needed on an urgent basis for planning purposes and we know the Province understands the needs of these hard hit businesses and individuals.

The Mayors and Chairs also take positive note of changes made effective today as related to the border and hope this is part of a continuous process of normalization that will see further progress as soon as circumstances permit.

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June 
June 28: GTHA Mayors and Chairs welcome the beginning of Step 2 this week and hope vaccine progress continues

Today, Mayors and Chairs from the 11 largest municipal governments across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area held their regular weekly meeting to discuss the ongoing response to COVID-19 across the region.

The Mayors and Chairs welcome the beginning of Step 2 this Wednesday and thank the Government of Ontario for moving ahead with the reopening earlier based on increasing vaccination rates and decreasing COVID-19 infection rates. This is an important step forward that will allow thousands of businesses across the GTHA to open their doors.

To protect the progress we are continuing to make and to make sure we move as quickly as possible into Step 3 of the reopening, the Mayors and Chairs continue to encourage all GTHA residents to get vaccinated – first and second doses. Our health officials have been clear that all of the approved vaccines are safe and effective and the best vaccine to receive is the one that is available.

The Mayors and Chairs also stated their serious concern with regard to a backlog with the Provincial Courts. There is a need for some action to be taken in weeks not months as this pandemic related backlog has a negative impact on justice, finances and a number of other areas.

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June 21: GTHA Mayors and Chairs encourage all residents to get fully vaccinated with the vaccine dose available

Today, Mayors and Chairs from the 11 largest municipal governments across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area held their regular weekly meeting to discuss the ongoing response to COVID-19 across the region.

All the GTHA municipalities continue to make excellent progress getting people vaccinated and continue to see a decline in COVID-19 case numbers.
This progress is thanks to our residents who are stepping forward to get vaccinated – first and second doses – and who have followed the public health advice to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

We are encouraged by the fact the province has indicated it may allow personal service settings to open earlier than July 2 and understand they are reviewing this daily with the health and science advisors as we move towards the beginning of Step 2 of reopening. Steadily improving vaccination numbers offer encouragement this could be considered as being consistent with safety.

As vaccine clinics across the GTHA move to offer Moderna and Pfizer vaccine interchangeably, the Mayors and Chairs encourage residents to get vaccinated with the vaccine available and offered to them and not vaccine shop. Vaccines are offered only in a way that is completely safe and decisions in this regard are made totally on the basis of available supply.

Our public health officials have been clear: Both Pfizer and Moderna brands are mRNA vaccines and are extremely effective against COVID-19 transmission. These Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines are interchangeable, equally effective and safe for everyone over 18 years. We encourage residents who have an appointment to get vaccinated to please keep that appointment.

We need every resident to get fully vaccinated as quickly as possible to make sure we are prepared to confront the Delta variant and get on with reopening our Region.
The Mayors and Chairs also discussed the backlog created by the lengthy period during which courts have been closed and look forward to necessary provincial actions to address this.

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June 14: GTHA Mayors and Chairs encourage all residents to get fully vaccinated to protect our progress fighting COVID-19

Today, Mayors and Chairs from the 11 largest municipal governments across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area held their regular weekly meeting to discuss the ongoing response to COVID-19 across the region.

The Mayors and Chairs welcomed the first weekend in Step 1 of the province's Roadmap to Reopen and the continuing progress on decreasing COVID-19 case counts across the GTHA and the increasing vaccination rates.

We continue to encourage all residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19 – first doses and second doses – to help bring this pandemic to an end. We note that in virtually all locations across the region additional capacity is available which could be utilized if planned supply was to be increased.

Vaccination rates are also crucial to moving forward with further reopening. The province requires 70 per cent of adults to have one dose of the vaccine and 20 per cent of adults to be fully vaccinated as part of the conditions for moving forward with Step 2.

The Mayors and Chairs confirm that the GTHA is on track to hit those milestones ahead of the province's July 2 target. This progress is encouraging and we hope that continued success on vaccination, thanks to residents stepping forward and continuing supply from the province, could allow the province, in consultation with public health officials, to consider opening personal service settings earlier than July 2.

While we are at a very positive place in our fight against COVID-19, the Mayors and Chairs note that all public health advice makes it clear that the Delta variant is a real threat to that progress. All of our residents can help protect that progress by making sure they get their first dose of vaccine and making sure they get their second dose as soon as they are eligible. Equally important is continued adherence to distancing rules especially as they relate to large parties which are still contrary to the rules and should be avoided.

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June 7: GTHA Mayors and Chairs support reopening
Today, Mayors and Chairs from the 11 largest municipal governments across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area held their regular weekly meeting to discuss the ongoing response to COVID-19 across the region.

The Mayors and Chairs commended the province for its decision to move to Step One of the Roadmap to Reopen this Friday in light of positive indicators such as the decline in new COVID-19 cases and a strong uptake in vaccinations.

They believe that the slightly advanced though still cautious timetable reflects continued concern for public health but also allows some first important steps in the direction of a more normal life for people and businesses. The advance notice given is a very positive step since it will allow businesses to plan.

Municipalities and their healthcare and community partners are continuing to administer COVID-19 vaccines – first doses and second doses – as quickly as vaccine shipments can be provided from the federal and provincial governments. We support the province's move to allow accelerated doses for our older residents so that we can ensure they are fully vaccinated as soon as possible.

The Mayors and Chairs urge the Ontario government to give consideration to the allocation of extra vaccine supply to hotspot areas in the province, including the GTHA, so as to better equip the province as a whole to contain the Delta variant in areas of greatest risk. Any failure to contain the Delta variant poses one of the biggest risks to improved public health and safe reopening.

The more vaccine that is provided to GTHA municipalities, the more second doses can be administered, second doses being important in the fight against the Delta variant.

The Mayors and Chairs want to thank the thousands of people working on the ongoing vaccination effort and all those who are doing the right thing and getting vaccinated.

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May
May 17: GTHA Mayors and Chairs welcome lower age eligibility for vaccines and request additional supply to accompany demand

Today, Mayors and Chairs from the 11 largest municipal governments across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area held their regular weekly meeting to discuss the ongoing response to COVID-19 across the region.

The GTHA Mayors and Chairs want to thank all those who worked over the weekend to vaccinate as many people as possible. Vaccine clinics and mobile pop-ups helped achieve vaccine dose administration records in hot spot areas across the GTHA. These efforts are playing a vital role in getting as many residents vaccinated as quickly as possible with the vaccine supply we have available.

Starting tomorrow, residents 18+ across the province will be eligible to register to get vaccinated. While we welcome this news, we know this will create increased demand for vaccine appointments and we will therefore require additional supply of vaccine from the provincial and federal governments if we are to be able to meet the increased demand for appointments. The Mayors and Chairs thank the federal and provincial government for their earlier work securing and distributing vaccines to hot spot areas in the region and we commit to administering as much additional supply as they can provide.

Since the last meeting between GTHA Mayors and Chairs, the province announced the extension of the Stay-At-Home order until June 2 to stop the spread of the virus. We want to thank residents who continue to do the right thing by following the public health guidelines.

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May 10: GTHA Mayors and Chairs look forward to busiest week of COVID-19 vaccinations so far

Today, Mayors and Chairs from the 11 largest municipal governments across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area held their regular weekly meeting to discuss the ongoing response to COVID-19 across the region.

We wish to acknowledge that this week is National Nursing Week and we join in expressing our gratitude to nurses as they continue to demonstrate such courage and professionalism alongside all healthcare workers.

COVID-19 case counts are going in the right direction across the GTHA while vaccination rates continue to rise. Credit is due to our residents who have exhibited patience in following public health guidelines. We are making progress stopping the spread of the virus and getting people in our hottest hot spots vaccinated. The Mayors and Chairs reaffirmed their willingness to share in the risks and benefits of our shared citizenship.

The Mayors and Chairs welcomed the fact that this week the GTHA municipalities will be undertaking their biggest and busiest week of vaccine dose administration so far. This work is thanks to increased supply from the federal and provincial governments to hot spot areas and we would welcome further additional supply over the coming weeks to ensure we can vaccinate as many people as possible, as quickly as possible. We are all anxious to meet or exceed the target set by Premier Ford to have 65 per cent of eligible residents vaccinated by the end of May. Any additional supply would help us make that happen. We also rely on the federal and provincial governments for transparent explanations with respect to vaccine supplies.

The current vaccination effort is made easier with a predictable timeline laid out by the province when eligibility will open up to different age groups, professions, and those with health conditions. We believe these clearly communicated timelines have helped people plan their lives and have helped everyone manage expectations.

The GTHA Mayors and Chairs are asking the Province to provide predictability for the current provincial Stay-At-Home order and what is to follow. As the Victoria Day long weekend approaches, people and businesses have begun to ask perfectly reasonable questions as to where things will stand as of that time, so they can make plans of all kinds, business and pleasure. Accordingly, we think it is important that the Ontario government communicate clearly and as soon as possible whether or not its order will be extended further or modified based on public health advice.

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May 3: GTHA Mayors and Chairs thank our frontline healthcare workers and welcome additional vaccine doses for hot spot areas, with need for more

"Today, Mayors and Chairs from the 11 largest municipal governments across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area held their regular weekly meeting to discuss the ongoing response to COVID-19 across the region.

The Mayors and Chairs acknowledge and thank our frontline hospital workers continuing to confront a third wave. The hard work and sacrifice of our frontline healthcare workers cannot be in vain so we continue to urge all residents to continue to follow the public health advice. We need to stop the spread of COVID-19 and its variants.

Municipalities across the GTHA anticipate increased vaccine supply this week for hot spot postal codes. We are committed to working with our healthcare partners to make sure we are administering these doses as quickly as possible to residents who live in hot spot neighbourhoods. While the committed vaccines for regional hot spots will help the cause, more vaccines will be needed to permit
us to meet the demand created by expanded eligibility now including many residents as young as 18.

The Mayors and Chairs also want to acknowledge the degree to which both governments of Canada and Ontario have included municipalities in implementing the course of action we are collectively taking to defeat this virus. We are hopeful that this collaborative and cooperative tone and spirit between all governments will continue as it is through working together that we can be most effective."

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April
April 26: GTHA Mayors and Chairs support development of more vaccines to hot spots and sick pay improvements

Today, Mayors and Chairs from the 11 largest municipal governments across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area held their regular weekly meeting to discuss the ongoing response to COVID-19 across the region.

We express our sincere condolences to the family and friends of 13-year-old Emily Victoria Viegas. Every COVID-19 death represents a tragedy but this loss does confirm the extreme threat the variants pose to all of us.

The GTHA, like the rest of Ontario and much of Canada, is in the third wave with all our hospitals experiencing increased strain on health care resources. The Mayors and Chairs continue to urge all residents to keep following the public health advice to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and limit the strain on our overburdened health care system.

Given the limited vaccine supply right now, municipalities across the GTHA are absolutely focused on deploying as much of the available vaccines as possible to local hot spots. By following this strategy, we are seeing success when it comes to increasing the number of people vaccinated in hot spot postal codes and we know this will make a difference in the long term. We encourage the Province to continue to increase the vaccines made available to hot spots across our region consistent with medical and scientific advice.

Last week, the province pledged to come forward with an improved sick pay system. The Mayors and Chairs welcome this commitment and look forward to seeing the system in place as soon as possible to help protect more of our essential workers.

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April 19: GTHA Mayors and Chairs urge all eligible residents to get vaccinated especially in COVID-19 hot spots

Today, Mayors and Chairs from the 11 largest municipal governments across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area held their regular weekly meeting to discuss the ongoing response to COVID-19 across the region.

We are thankful that Prime Minister Trudeau and Premier Ford are working together to get more help in place to help combat the third wave of this pandemic. In particular, we commend Prime Minister Trudeau for his efforts in reaching out to the rest of the country to help Ontario in general and the GTHA in particular. And we express our thanks to Premier Ford for his announced increased allocation of vaccines to GTHA hot spots.

The Mayors and Chairs welcome any additional health resources that can be deployed in the GTHA right now. We also anticipate continuous discussions between ourselves, the Province, and health and science advisors with respect to the public health measures in place from time to time.

All GTHA municipalities have additional capacity in their vaccination delivery systems that would benefit from increased vaccine supply. All of us have the capacity to do more and we will continue to work with the other governments to obtain more doses. The more vaccine doses we receive, the more shots we can get in arms in our hotspot areas. We also urge the Province to maintain as much certainty as possible with respect to committed vaccine allocations and to ensure as much advance notice as possible in the event of any changes.

We welcome the fact that the province has opened up AstraZeneca vaccinations to all residents age 40 and older. This will lead to more people getting vaccinated at pharmacies across the GTHA.
We strongly encourage the Province to accelerate the signing on of more pharmacies and encourage all residents who are newly eligible for this vaccine to sign up and get their shot.

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April 12: GTHA Mayors and Chairs call for additional COVID-19 vaccine supply

Today, Mayors and Chairs from the 11 largest municipal governments across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area held their regular weekly meeting to discuss the ongoing response to COVID-19 across the region.

As the GTHA faces a third wave and our hospitals work to help people, our municipalities continue to administer all vaccine available from the provincial and federal governments. We remain fully committed to our job as municipalities which is to put as many vaccines into as many arms as we can, as quickly as we can, vaccine supply permitting. As much clarity as possible with respect to vaccine supply is obviously central to our ability to carry out this task.

We support the efforts announced by the province to make sure residents in postal code hot spots have increased access to vaccine. We strongly support any action by the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario to increase vaccine supply right now so that we can vaccinate more people in these hot spot areas and on the provincial priority list.

We are also very supportive of Premier Ford's goal of vaccinating 40 per cent of Ontarians by May 5 and we await further details on how we can collaborate together to make that happen, including on questions of vaccine supply. We believe that achieving this goal will require increased supply for the GTHA and the deployment of additional human resources.

Recognizing the scale of this undertaking means it will take time, we want residents across the GTHA to get vaccinated as soon as possible. The GTHA Mayors and Chairs continue to urge all residents who are eligible to receive the vaccine right now to sign up for their vaccine appointment.

April 6: GTHA Mayors and Chairs encourage people to get vaccinated when they are eligible
Today, Mayors and Chairs from the 11 largest municipal governments across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area held their regular weekly meeting to discuss the ongoing response to COVID-19 across the region.

The cities represented by the GTHA Mayors and Chairs are extremely concerned about the third wave and the increasing case counts we are seeing in the region. We look forward to continuing dialogue with the province concerning public health measures as we try to win the war against this virus.

As the Province enters the second stage of the vaccine rollout, the Mayors and Chairs, who are proud to have led in the effort to administer hundreds of thousands of vaccines so far, would appreciate greater clarity on the matter of the vaccination of different groups of essential workers.

We all share the view that essential workers and vulnerable populations and communities should be prioritized for purposes of vaccine distribution. People who have no choice but to go to work are often by definition going to be placed at greater risk and we look forward to achieving greater clarification with the province to ensure we can prioritize these groups while still continuing to vaccinate progressively younger age groups.

The GTHA Mayors and Chairs urge all residents who are eligible to receive the vaccine right now to sign up for their vaccine appointment. We want residents across the GTHA to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

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March
March 29: GTHA Mayors and Chairs request additional COVID-19 vaccine supply

Today, Mayors and Chairs from the 11 largest municipal governments across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area held their regular weekly meeting to discuss the ongoing response to COVID-19 across the region.

The cities represented by the GTHA Mayors and Chairs are making considerable efforts to vaccinate residents laid out in the provincial government’s priority list as quickly as vaccine supply permits.

The GTHA Mayors and Chairs raised the need for a more reliable and increased supply stream of the vaccine from the federal and provincial governments with a focus on hot spots that are facing larger case counts. During the meeting, the participants called on the provincial and federal governments to work together to prioritize regions, including the GTHA and other areas across the country, that are facing greater impacts from the virus by increasing their supply of the vaccine. Current numbers clearly indicate this region is a COVID-19 hot spot and we believe vaccine allocation should take that into account, in the GTHA and in other hot spot areas in the country.

The GTHA Mayors and Chairs urge all seniors age 70 and older to sign up for their vaccine appointment. We want our seniors to get vaccinated as soon as possible. With availability of appointments across the region, the GTHA Mayors and Chairs made a request to the province to increase marketing and advertising efforts to encourage people to sign up and to address vaccine hesitancy. We will also be staying in close touch in the days ahead with respect to ongoing provincial eligibility requirements.

GTHA Mayors and Chairs discussed their concerns about the high case counts over the past week and the increased number of cases that are being identified as the variants of concern. In response to these increased case counts, and as cities continue to move forward in the provincial framework, the GTHA Mayors and Chairs are reminding residents to stay vigilant and to continue to follow the public health guidelines.

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March 22: GTHA Mayors and Chairs continue to encourage residents to get their COVID-19 vaccine when eligible

Today, Mayors and Chairs from the 11 largest municipal governments across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area held their regular weekly meeting to discuss the ongoing response to COVID-19 across the region.

The Mayors and Chairs continue to work with the provincial and federal governments to administer the COVID-19 vaccines to residents across the GTHA. While we await larger supply of vaccines, municipalities are moving forward in efforts to vaccinate priority groups laid out by the provincial government.

There was considerable discussion concerning the rollout of vaccinations in pharmacies. Mayors and Chairs in areas not yet part of the pharmacy vaccination program strongly urged the provincial government to expedite the equitable expansion of this initiative especially in light of increased security of vaccine supply. Local health authorities have strong existing relationships with pharmacies from programs like flu vaccinations.

The GTHA Mayors and Chairs welcome the news announced last week that allows for seniors age 75 and older to sign up for their vaccine appointment. Recent news from the federal government shows lower case counts among 80 and over residents across the country which demonstrates how vital the vaccine is in lowering case counts and spread among vulnerable residents.

On the matter of re-opening, the request to consider modifications to the Grey category restrictions on outdoor fitness and recreation was reiterated.

By increasing vaccination efforts in the GTHA and the commitment to stay vigilant in following public health guidelines, we will ensure a safer reopening for the region. The Mayors and Chairs are strongly encouraging residents to get vaccinated as soon as they are eligible and as vaccine supply allows.

There was also a request made for more consistent messaging and more timely communication by the province to local governments including advance notice to Mayors and Chairs of changes in policy or new initiatives.”

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March 15: GTHA Mayors and Chairs encourage all residents to get the COVID-19 vaccine when eligible

Today, Mayors and Chairs from the 11 largest municipal governments across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area held their regular weekly meeting to discuss the ongoing response to COVID-19 across the region.

The Mayors and Chairs are committed to working with the provincial and federal governments to administer COVID-19 vaccines to residents across the GTHA. The federal government acquires and supplies COVID-19 vaccine, the provincial government rolls out the vaccine and sets the vaccination framework, and municipalities are committed to doing the on the ground work to get shots in arms. We are ready to ramp up our efforts as supply increases.

Right now, municipalities across the GTHA are focused on working with their hospital and healthcare partners to get residents 80-years-old and older vaccinated. Vaccine supply continues to be an issue which constrains our pace but prospects look brighter provided supply numbers are reliable.

The Mayors and Chairs strongly encourage all residents to get vaccinated as soon as they are eligible and as vaccine supply allows. We recognize that the overall vaccination effort will take time and hope our residents will continue to be mindful of public health guidance including avoidance of St. Patrick's Day parties later this week.

Following the rules and getting vaccinated will protect you and your loved ones and help us stop COVID-19 so that the entire GTHA can move ahead with a safe reopening."

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March 8: GTHA Mayors and Chairs welcome additional supply of COVID-19 vaccine

Today, Mayors and Chairs from the 11 largest municipal governments across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area held their regular weekly meeting to discuss the ongoing response to COVID-19 across the region.

The Mayors and Chairs are committed to working with their local public health units, hospitals, and community health partners to distribute COVID-19 vaccine to residents. They urge residents to obtain local information on vaccinations from the municipality in which they live, to understand there will be differences between municipalities in a big region and that all local vaccination efforts are dependent upon vaccine supply.

Late last week, the Government of Canada announced additional vaccine supply would be arriving in the coming days and weeks and the Government of Ontario confirmed it would be distributing that vaccine as quickly as possible along with providing extra doses to communities hit hard by COVID-19. The Mayors and Chairs stated that as soon as that supply of vaccine is in hand, they will deliver.

This is great news for our efforts to get shots in arms. We want our residents to have access to vaccine as quickly as possible but all of our efforts do depend on vaccine supply.
The vaccinations work. We are already seeing the benefits of vaccinations in our long-term care and retirement homes. But they must be combined with a continued cautious approach to public health guidance and common sense as this is a battle which is not yet over.

During today's meeting, the Mayors and Chairs also discussed the importance of coordinating our efforts around communications across municipalities and with the province to help inform residents about the safety of the vaccines, the importance of being vaccinated when eligible, and how to get vaccinated.

The Mayors and Chairs also expressed their gratitude for the financial assistance, including transit funding, received primarily from the Ontario Government last week. Together with vaccinations, this funding will clearly put us on the road to recovery, knowing some additional assistance will be needed for 2021 since property taxes cannot on their own finance the extraordinary burdens caused by the pandemic.

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March 1: GTHA Mayors and Chairs Committed to COVID-19 vaccine rollout

Today, Mayors and Chairs from the 11 largest municipal governments across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area held their regular weekly meeting to discuss the ongoing response to COVID-19 across the region.

All GTHA municipalities are working to support the provincial and federal governments in the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine and preparing for the arrival of what we anticipate will be substantial additional supply. The Mayors and Chairs urge all residents to get vaccinated when they are eligible. The vaccine will protect you and your loved ones. The safe reopening of the GTHA for the long-term with no further threat of lockdowns will ultimately rely on as many people being vaccinated as possible. We believe it is important that the people we collectively serve receive consistent messaging with respect to the availability of vaccinations (including information around when, who, where, why).

All municipalities on the call, representing millions of people, are anxiously awaiting confirmation by the Province that they will be compensated for the millions of dollars in expenditures involved in delivering the vaccinations.

Supporting the vaccine rollout is one more example of the important work municipal governments and their local health units are doing in the fight against COVID-19. We are continuing to have good, positive discussions with the federal and provincial governments about additional support for municipalities facing other financial pressures (ie. transit and housing) due to the pandemic.

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February

February 22 - GTHA Mayors and Chairs committed to safe reopening, working to avoid further lockdowns


Today, Mayors and Chairs from the 11 largest municipal governments across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area held their regular weekly meeting to discuss the ongoing response to COVID-19 across the region.

The Mayors and Chairs discussed their concerns about the continuing challenge posed by COVID-19, the variants and the possibility of a third wave. We support the safe reopening of schools to in-person learning that has been completed across the region and thank everyone involved in this effort to date including students, their families, and their teachers.

While some parts of the GTHA have started to reopen, others remain under lockdown and the province's Stay at Home order based on public health advice. The Mayors and Chairs support a cautious and safe reopening. We want to ensure that we keep the spread of the virus and the variants under control so that we avoid a third wave and ensure this lockdown is the last lockdown. We urge all residents to continue following the public health advice in their area and to avoid region hopping at this time. It was observed that the relaxation of remaining restrictions on outdoor winter recreational amenities might help prevent region hopping.

We also urge the Government of Ontario to work with us to ensure that as a transition to being more open takes place across the region, that we have in place measures needed to ensure its success including testing and other workplace related measures. The Mayors and Chairs would also welcome an increased public information campaign from the Province reminding people to shop smart, not to make it a family outing, and to continue to stay home as much as possible even in areas of increased reopening.

The Mayors and Chairs welcome the fact the Government of Canada announced the extension of several pandemic benefits. Extending the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit to four weeks from the previous two weeks will help. This is a good step in the right direction. Sick pay has been identified as a crucial issue and the Mayors and Chairs continue to call on both the provincial and federal governments to hammer out an even more effective solution for increased sick pay funding.

All GTHA municipalities are preparing to support the provincial and federal governments in the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine once additional and substantial supply has arrived. This is one more example of the work municipalities are doing on the frontline to help the overall fight against COVID-19. The Mayors and Chairs seek assurance from the Government of Ontario that the provincial COVax registration and scheduling system will be up and running well ahead of the commencement of mass vaccinations. We encourage all residents to get vaccinated when they are eligible – this will be crucial to protecting people's health and in turn crucial to the successful rebuild of the GTHA economy.

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