Item - 2014.CD30.6

Tracking Status

CD30.6 - Comprehensive Review of Cold Weather Protocols and Cold Weather Health Impacts in Toronto

Decision Type:
ACTION
Status:
Adopted
Wards:
All

City Council Decision

City Council on July 8, 9, 10 and 11, 2014, adopted the following:

 

1.         City Council approve the transfer of responsibility for co-ordinating Toronto’s cold weather alert and response program from Shelter, Support and Housing Administration to the Medical Officer of Health in time for the 2014-2015 cold weather season.

 

2.         City Council request the General Manager, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration to:

 

a.         issue a Request for Expression of Interest (REOI) in 2014 to establish community interest in operating and/or co-ordinating 24-hour drop-in services during Extreme Cold Weather Alerts; and

 

b.         prepare a report to Budget Committee during the 2015 Operating Budget process for their consideration on the results of the REOI, feasibility of the service, potential service delivery model(s) and estimated program costs and tax impacts;

 

3.         City Council request the Medical Officer of Health and the General Manager, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration to develop:

 

a.         a minimum standard for cold weather drop-in service; and

 

b.         an enhanced communication strategy around cold alerts.

 

4.         City Council request the General Manager, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration, to engage in a collaborative outreach effort with the co-ordinating agency of the Out of the Cold program to expand program sites for the 2014-15 season including a strategy for coordination and service provision in the inner-suburbs.

 

5.         City Council request the General Manager, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration and the Chief Corporate Officer to investigate the use of a city-owned facility to provide 24-hour drop-in services during Extreme Cold Weather Alerts.

 

6.         City Council request the General Manager, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration (SSHA), to include in SSHA's ten-year capital management and infrastructure strategy an analysis of the financial impact of delivering an additional 100 permanent shelter beds with the aim of returning flexibility to the shelter system to respond to unanticipated surges in occupancy levels.

City Council Decision Advice and Other Information

City Council considered the following Items together:

 

-           HL32.3, headed "Comprehensive Review of Cold Weather Protocols and Cold Weather Health Impacts in Toronto"; and

 

-           CD30.6, headed "Comprehensive Review of Cold Weather Protocols and Cold Weather Health Impacts in Toronto".

Background Information (Committee)

(June 10, 2014) Report from the Medical Officer of Health and General Manager, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration on the Comprehensive Review of Cold Weather Protocols and Cold Weather Health Impacts in Toronto
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2014/cd/bgrd/backgroundfile-70510.pdf
(June 10, 2014) Attachment - Summary of Warming Centre Pilot Evaluation
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2014/cd/bgrd/backgroundfile-70511.pdf

Motions (City Council)

Motion to Adopt Item (Carried)

Vote (Adopt Item) Jul-08-2014 5:12 PM

Result: Carried Majority Required - CD30.6 - Adopt the item
Total members that voted Yes: 39 Members that voted Yes are Paul Ainslie, Ana Bail„o, Michelle Berardinetti, Shelley Carroll, Raymond Cho, Josh Colle, Gary Crawford, Janet Davis, Glenn De Baeremaeker, Mike Del Grande, Frank Di Giorgio, Sarah Doucette, John Filion, Paula Fletcher, Rob Ford, Mary Fragedakis, Mark Grimes, Norman Kelly, Mike Layton, Chin Lee, Peter Leon, Gloria Lindsay Luby, James Maloney, Josh Matlow, Pam McConnell, Mary-Margaret McMahon, Joe Mihevc, Denzil Minnan-Wong, Ron Moeser, Frances Nunziata (Chair), Cesar Palacio, John Parker, James Pasternak, Gord Perks, Ceta Ramkhalawansingh, Jaye Robinson, David Shiner, Michael Thompson, Kristyn Wong-Tam
Total members that voted No: 0 Members that voted No are
Total members that were Absent: 6 Members that were absent are Maria Augimeri, Vincent Crisanti, Doug Ford, Giorgio Mammoliti, Anthony Perruzza, Karen Stintz

CD30.6 - Comprehensive Review of Cold Weather Protocols and Cold Weather Health Impacts in Toronto

Decision Type:
ACTION
Status:
Amended
Wards:
All

Committee Recommendations

The Community Development and Recreation Committee recommends that:

 

1.         City Council approve the transfer of responsibility for co-ordinating Toronto’s cold weather alert and response program from Shelter, Support and Housing Administration to the Medical Officer of Health in time for the 2014-2015 cold weather season.

 

2.         City Council request the General Manager, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration to:

 

a.         Issue a Request for Expression of Interest (REOI) in 2014 to establish community interest in operating and/or co-ordinating 24-hour drop-in services during Extreme Cold Weather Alerts; and

 

b.         Prepare a report to Budget Committee during the 2015 Operating Budget process for their consideration on the results of the REOI, feasibility of the service, potential service delivery model(s) and estimated program costs and tax impacts;

 

3.         City Council request the Medical Officer of Health and the General Manager, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration to develop:

 

a.         a minimum standard for cold weather drop-in service; and

 

b.         an enhanced communication strategy around cold alerts.

 

4.         City Council request the General Manager, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration, to engage in a collaborative outreach effort with the co-ordinating agency of the Out of the Cold program to expand program sites for the 2014-15 season including a strategy for coordination and service provision in the inner-suburbs;

 

5.         City Council request the General Manager, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration and the Chief Corporate Officer to investigate the use of a city-owned facility to provide 24-hour drop-in services during Extreme Cold Weather Alerts; and

 

6.         City Council request the General Manager, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration (SSHA), to include in SSHA's ten-year capital management and infrastructure strategy an analysis of the financial impact of delivering an additional 100 permanent shelter beds with the aim of returning flexibility to the shelter system to respond to unanticipated surges in occupancy levels.

Origin

(June 10, 2014) Report from the Medical Officer of Health and the General Manager, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration

Summary

This report reviews the temperature thresholds for issuing an Extreme Cold Weather Alert and whether any changes to the protocol are required. It also reports the findings of program reviews of the Metro Hall Warming Centre pilot project and the Out of the Cold program, and updates City Council on previous Council direction to open all 172 flex beds to relieve occupancy pressure in the shelter system.

 

In cold weather, hypothermia, frostbite, and trenchfoot can arise relatively quickly among homeless populations as a result of direct exposure to cold, with severe consequences including death. Emerging research now shows that cold weather also likely increases overall deaths and hospitalizations in Toronto, mainly due to cardiovascular and respiratory causes. Those most at risk among the general population are the elderly and people with pre-existing health concerns.

 

To protect homeless populations, Shelter Support and Housing Administration (SSHA) co-ordinates a suite of winter services including respite services such as drop-in centres that provide temporary escape from the cold, outreach services to connect with individuals on the street and check on their condition, and additional shelter beds. Currently, SSHA calls Extreme Cold Weather Alerts when the temperature reaches -15 °C or colder, or when other extreme winter weather conditions or circumstances warrant it, such as a severe snow storm. During an Alert, SSHA scales up street outreach, transit token availability and shelter access.

 

A new Cold Weather Plan co-ordinated by Toronto Public Health (rather than SSHA), with the Medical Officer of Health responsible for calling Extreme Cold Weather Alerts, will enable the full range of health impacts known to be associated with cold weather to be addressed and offers an ideal opportunity to review and update the criteria for calling Alerts. This transition aligns with practise across much of Ontario, is consistent with the City's approach to calling heat alerts, and provides an opportunity to engage City and community partners in a co-ordinated approach to cold weather messaging and response. As part of this plan, SSHA will maintain a leadership role in providing services to homeless populations.

 

The Metro Hall Warming Centre pilot and the Out of the Cold program are low barrier/low threshold programs that serve people living in precarious housing and a segment of homeless people at risk of exposure to extreme cold weather including those who do not regularly access other homeless support programs or services.  These programs provide a valuable service and should be continued.

 

The activated flex beds removed flexibility from the shelter system to respond to sudden demand surges and compromised Shelter, Support and Housing Administration's ability to respond to such surges in a timely fashion.  Flex beds should be returned to their original purpose, as soon as permanent shelter beds can be introduced to the system.

Background Information

(June 10, 2014) Report from the Medical Officer of Health and General Manager, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration on the Comprehensive Review of Cold Weather Protocols and Cold Weather Health Impacts in Toronto
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2014/cd/bgrd/backgroundfile-70510.pdf
(June 10, 2014) Attachment - Summary of Warming Centre Pilot Evaluation
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2014/cd/bgrd/backgroundfile-70511.pdf

Speakers

Maggie Helwig, Church of St Stephen in the Fields
Reverend Andrea Budgey
Liisa Schofield, Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP)
John Spragge

Motions

1 - Motion to Amend Item (Additional) moved by Councillor Joe Mihevc (Carried)

That:

 

1.         City Council request the Medical Officer of Health and the General Manager, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration to develop:

 

a.         a minimum standard for cold weather drop-in service; and

 

b.         an enhanced communication strategy around cold alerts.


2 - Motion to Amend Item (Additional) moved by Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam (Carried)

1.         That Recommendation 7 be amended by adding:

 

" including a strategy for coordination and service provision in the inner-suburbs" following "season".

 

2.         That the following recommendation be added:

 

"City Council request that the General Manager, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration and the Chief Corporate Officer, investigate the use of a city-owned facility to provide 24-hr drop-in services during Extreme Cold Weather Alerts."


3 - Motion to Adopt Item as Amended moved by Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam (Carried)

Adopt Recommendations 1, 6, 7, as amended, and 8 of the report (June 10, 2014) from the Medical Officer of Health and the General Manager, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration and as further amended by Motions 1 and 2.

Source: Toronto City Clerk at www.toronto.ca/council