TORONTO, Sept. 11, 2020—Since activating its emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) has focused on protecting the health and well-being of tenants and employees while providing essential services to tenants and support to frontline staff.
Here is a summary of actions taken by TCHC in response to COVID-19 alongside our many partners, including the City of Toronto, several food bank, and dozens of community organizations dedicated to the safety and well-being of our tenants.
Measures to protect tenants during the pandemic
- TCHC mobilized staff with our CUPE Local 79, CUPE Local 416 and OPSEU Local 529 labour partners to conduct 19,000 wellness checks and connect vulnerable tenants to needed supports, including 1,500 meal and food hamper deliveries every week.
- Staff packed and delivered donated masks to vulnerable tenants in the family portfolio and every household in the seniors portfolio (managed by the Seniors Housing Unit).
- Tenants who experienced income loss due to COVID-19 were offered flexible options, including rent adjustments for RGI tenants and rent deferrals for market rent tenants.
- TCHC supported the work of health care agencies so that they could provide COVID-19 testing at high-risk buildings.
- TCHC supported paid youth virtual internships and summer programs and continuing to offer scholarships and community economic development programs.
Prevention and control: Expanded cleaning and disinfection
- Working with its CUPE Local 416 labour partners, TCHC expanded cleaning and disinfection protocols to three times daily and building coverage of 10 hours per day, seven days a week.
- TCHC created comprehensive safety protocols, including use of PPE and physical distancing, to reduce transmission risk while vendors and staff carried out essential repairs in tenants' homes.
- Hand sanitizer stations were installed in all buildings.
- TCHC closed its offices to walk-in visits and met with tenants by appointment.
- TCHC required masks or face coverings to be worn in public-facing offices and our residential buildings: the new policy was broadly communicated to staff and tenants.
Employee health and safety
- TCHC made it a priority to purchase and distribute Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as masks and gloves for staff and established central and regional distribution centres to ensure timely distribution of this equipment.
- TCHC provided PPE to employees to safely perform their work. In addition, TCHC provided employees with reusable cloth masks for use while commuting on transit or other daily activities outside of work.
- TCHC established a full range of employee safety procedures and guidelines designed to prevent infection.
- Building staff were provided a supply of masks to be offered to tenants who were not able to obtain their own masks.
- TCHC made the Canadian government's exposure notification app, COVID Alert, available to staff on TCHC mobile devices.
- Employee self-isolation requirements were carefully followed and tracked to keep our workplaces safe and enable staff to comply with public health direction.
Communications and coordination
- TCHC provided a range of ongoing clear communications to tenants through building posters, newsletters, its website and social media channels, and its 24/7 Client Care Centre.
- TCHC's response team met regularly with Toronto Public Health to review and target preventative measures in our buildings and communities.
- Senior TCHC staff participated in the City of Toronto's Emergency Operations Centre and its business recovery planning efforts.
Over the past few weeks, TCHC has gradually resumed a number of services and re-opened a number of amenities, including in-suite capital work and vendor maintenance, cooling rooms, parking enforcement and outdoor spaces such as gardens, pools, playgrounds, sports courts and sports fields. In-person (and fully masked) appointments have also resumed in TCHC offices. In the coming weeks, TCHC will continue to keep tenants and staff informed as more services and spaces reopen.
About Toronto Community Housing
Toronto Community Housing (www.torontohousing.ca) is Canada's largest social housing provider. We are owned by the City of Toronto and provide homes for nearly 60,000 low- and moderate-income households in more than 100 of the city's neighbourhoods. Our buildings represent a $10-billion public asset.
Media contact: TCHC media line 416-737-1352 or firstname.lastname@example.org