Revocation of Municipalities’ Authority to use Ranked Ballots

election ballot

This is to express our strong opposition to your Bill revoking Ontario municipalities’ authority to use ranked ballots in local mayoral and council elections. The local option to use ranked ballots was instituted in 2016 by the previous government, and several municipalities, including London, have adopted it.

Furthermore this revocation is being proposed without notice, consultation or any credible rationale. And in a bill addressing pandemic issues! This is reminiscent of your 2018 slashing of Toronto City Council from 47 to 25 members in the middle of an election, cancelling Regional Chair elections in Niagara and York, also without notice or consultation.

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Ontario’s Model for Biodiversity Conservation


Ontario Headwaters, along with 6 partners is offering a Biodiversity webinar from 7 – 8:25 p.m. Wednesday October 28. Steve Hounsell, chair of the Ontario Biodiversity Council, holds that “The conservation of biodiversity, the variety of life on Earth, is foundational to our pursuit of a healthy, prosperous and sustainable future. It is also vital for clean air, healthy waters and a stable climate. Yet we seldom connect the dots”.

This presentation will orient participants to the Ontario Biodiversity Council: how it works, its notable accomplishments, priority actions moving forward, and how organizations and the public can participate in efforts to protect biodiversity.

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Toronto’s Ancient Trees with Eric Davies

Toronto's ancient trees

Zoom Meeting: Tuesday, October 27, 2020
Eric Davies is a Doctoral Candidate at the U of T Faculty of Forestry, and one of Canada’s top authorities on the revitalization and preservation of urban forests. He established one of Ontario’s first native tree nurseries at Presqu’ile Provincial Park in 1996, and presently heads the Toronto Ravine Revitalization Study.

The Riverdale Historical Society had initially hoped to have Mr. Davies lead a ‘tree walk’ through Riverdale. This event will be postponed until next year. Instead, we are delighted to have Mr. Davies speak to the RHS via Zoom on Tuesday, October 27, 2020, at 6:30 p.m. During the Pandemic, we will not be charging admission to our events.

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Minister’s Zoning Orders

Construction in Toronto

In recent months, FoNTRA has become concerned about the current use of Minister’s Zoning Orders (“MZOs”) and believes that the sudden launch of a flotilla of MZOs undermines the legitimacy of the statutory planning system. By stripping provisions for notices, public meetings, and rights of appeal from the zoning process, in our view, MZOs do not do so much as cutting red tape as purging ordinary citizens from the democratic planning process.

FoNTRA, respectfully, asks the government to confine the use of MZOs to extraordinary situations arising from the pandemic and to swiftly discard the recent wide- spread and undemocratic “enhanced” approach of backroom deals without notice, without public consultation, and without the right of appeal.

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In it to Win it: Protecting Nature From Development

In it to Win it; protecting nature from development webinar announcement

Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition presents a webinar “In it to Win it: Protection Nature from Development on Thursday, October 22, from 1-2 p.m.

Development is one of the biggest threats to our Greenlands. We’re bringing you 60 minutes of tried-and-true tactics and stories from some veteran development fighters.

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Fall 2020 Budget Consultation

Canadian coins

FUN recognizes the significant fiscal challenges facing the Government of Ontario, especially in light of the current and worsening Pandemic. We also believe that investing in and maintaining physical and social and health infrastructure, all the while addressing the Climate Emergency are critical to the future well-being of all Ontario residents. Recognizing this, our organization offers the following recommendations for inclusion in the Fall 2020 Ontario Budget.

Urban Infrastructure:

High functioning infrastructure is a key requirement to attracting and keeping businesses in Ontario. The provincial government should provide increased funding and support for urban municipalities to maintain and enhance their facilities, with an emphasis on “green” infrastructure.

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Webinar: Environmental Assessment is Not Red Tape

Fall scene

The Ontario government has recently made sweeping changes to environmental assessment (EA) law in Ontario, ending long-standing public safeguards designed to protect the environment and our health. These changes have serious and alarming impacts for Ontarians: not only do they restrict the applicability of EA processes to new projects and developments, but they also increase uncertainty about how new projects will be reviewed.

In response, the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) will be hosting a free one-hour primer on October 22, 2020, from 1-2 p.m.

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The resilient city: Why Canadian metropolises will thrive despite the pandemic

Toronto Downtown

Even the most diehard downtown dwellers have to confess their fantasies of leaving Canada’s big cities during the pandemic. I’m an unrepentant urbanist yet finding myself slowly seduced by the delights of rural Ontario and the liberations of the Zoom office. Surely nothing beats doing international video calls from the back of a sailboat drifting up a Prince Edward County creek.

If it’s happening to me, and to others envying the backyards, front yards and space of suburbia, will a whole wave of urban residents move home and workplace out of the central city? Has COVID-19 fundamentally changed our view of city life? And will that new perception change the city itself?

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Main Street Action Week

Main Street

As part of the Bring Back Main Street research and action campaign, the Canadian Urban Institute is offering a week of free deep-dive technical briefings and workshops on revitalizing Canada’s main streets after COVID-19.

The harsh reality is that COVID-19 is having an unprecedented impact on our main streets. Many small businesses, for example, have already been lost, and more will continue to close permanently in the coming days, weeks, and months. We need bold action right now. Sign up for the webinars.

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In It Together to Bring Back Main Street

In it Together: Bringing Back Canada's Main Streets

A new report from the Canadian Urban Institute (CUI) with partners across the country urgently shines a light on the impacts of COVID-19 on main streets in Canada, and offers dozens of actions for governments, business and community leaders to strengthen local economies, neighborhoods and communities.

Without further assistance for commercial rent, insurance premiums and emergency financing for small business, there will be a surge in main street business closures in coming months. COVID-related impacts on consumer behaviour and spending, local travel patterns, social service delivery and housing have all contributed to the struggles for businesses and local institutions. The second wave of the novel coronavirus, with further public health restrictions, amplifies the threats to main streets.

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