Feb. 26, 2018
By Arianne Robinson
Mayor John Tory, Deputy Mayor and the city’s Housing Advocate and Councillor Ana Bailão and Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker spoke at a Scarborough Toronto Community Housing complex on Monday morning about how the city is spending on TCHC units.
Tory said the $300 million the city is investing in reconstruction in the city’s decrepit social housing buildings puts no units at risk of closing this year.
“[There is] the sense of hope, the sense of anticipation, because the people that have moved out while these units are being repaired are going to be moving back in, basically to a new home. There are new appliances, new bathrooms, new kitchen cabinets – of course, they’ve repaired the terrible damage done by the termites in terms of things you don’t see unless the walls are opened up.”
Renovations are not the only line item in the 2018 budget for Toronto Community Housing buildings.
A fire-safety marketing program was also funded in the 2018 budget, giving Toronto Fire Service a budget to do more inspections and public awareness campaigns on fire prevention.
Since 2016, fatalities caused by fire in TCHC buildings have made up 40% of the total number of fire fatalities in Toronto buildings.
According to data from Ontario Fire Marshal and Emergency Management reports there were 27 fire-related fatalities between Jan. 1, 2016, and Dec. 19, 2017. According to the City of Toronto, there were 11 fire fatalities on TCHC properties between Jan. 1, 2016, to Dec.13, 2017.
The city’s 2018 budget provides resources for additional staff for the fire prevention public awareness campaign.
“This [budget will] provide us the dedicated resources to expand our annual inspection levels to include a number of different occupancy types that are currently only inspected on complaint or request,” said Matthew Pegg, Chief of Toronto Fire Services, at the Mayor’s Executive Committee earlier in February.
“It would also give initial funding to work in collaboration with Toronto Community Housing on a long-term and wide-reaching fire safety education and public marketing strategy, again in collaboration, hand in hand.”