Protégé : Sommet du maire Tory sur les défis de la reprise auxquels sont confrontés les secteurs du divertissement et de l'hôtellerie
In Toronto, hotels, restaurants, live music and theatre venues have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. These industries generally comprise of small and medium-sized businesses who are unable to open at full capacity. They are devastated by the lack of pedestrian life and require immediate interventions and other supports to survive the upcoming weeks and months as the recovery efforts get underway. The tourism and cultural industries were among the hardest hit and will be among the last to recover.
In consultation with the Entertainment and Downtown-Yonge Business Improvement Areas, the Mayor convened a listening session for representatives from these four sectors (Live Theatre, Dance and Opera; Live Music; Restaurants; and Hotels) to lay out the challenges they were facing, and their recommendations for actions by government. In addition to the Mayor, the meeting was also attended by Councillor Brad Bradford, and by elected officials from the federal government: The Honourable Mona Fortier (Minister of Middle Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance), Adam Vaughan (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development (Housing), and Julie Dabrusin (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage); and the provincial government: Sheref Sabawy (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries).
The meeting was convened by the Canadian Urban Institute (CUI) and facilitated by its CEO Mary W. Rowe. Although the focus of this session was Toronto, many of the challenges expressed during the session represent common areas of concern for Canadian cities. CUI is working across the country with partners to raise the issues facing local economies: www.bringbackmainstreet.ca and www.restorethecore.ca.
A committed, detailed, and viable path to reopen
Toronto’s creative spirit is in crisis as artists are leaving the city and taking their talents elsewhere. A clear plan must be laid out to reopen hotels, entertainment, and hospitality sectors. Reopening will bring immense economic benefits to these sectors and have a trickle-down effect on Toronto’s tourism sector. Beyond economic benefits of reopening, the culture industries made up of creative agents that can help engage the public in a process of public healing. Using the arts to spread positivity and social connectedness after more than a year of isolation and hopelessness is of great importance. A clear timeframe must be established for reopening. The cultural industries have no clear indication on what a reopening path looks like. Art making and projects require months to prepare so having no timeframe is a major roadblock for many. Cultural industries are seeking clear information pertaining to what is possible in venues and theatres in terms of audience capacity. Additionally, they want to know what the public health protocols will be during the reopening process, e.g., social distancing measures, workplace safety measures.
Governments must actively consult with the cultural industries in Toronto
Hotels, restaurants and live theatre and music industries want to be in the room where decisions are been made. They want to be properly consulted on matters that directly impact them. Cultural industries believe they were omitted from tourism recovery roundtables. The various representatives from the arts sectors believe that there is a serious lack of consultation when discussing matters related to reopening Ontario. Cultural industries in Toronto want a seat at the table and be consulted on a regular basis as reopening significantly impacts their livelihood. For example, entertainment and hospitality sectors advocate for more friendly immigration policies and rapid testing plan as borders reopen.
Additional and continued financial support for a sustainable and just recovery
The hotels, entertainment, and hospitality sectors were the first to close and will most likely be the last to reopen. Government support is essential during the recovery period. The government support programs, e.g., wage subsidy and rent relief programs have helped many small and medium sized businesses in Toronto. Many businesses are drained from 18 months of minimal to no cash flow so extending CEWS and CERS to December 2021 for the hardest hit businesses and individuals must remain a priority. These programs should remain and not expire come September. Ontario Arts Council supports over 1100 organizations and 2000 individual artists so increasing the Council’s budget will help many who require various forms of support. Additionally, increasing and maintaining funding to both Ontario Music Investment Fund (OMIF) and Reconnect will help stimulate economic growth and job creation in the entertainment sector during recovery period. Many small and medium sized businesses along with other organizations have accrued punishing debt, ongoing debt forgiveness is needed moving forward.
Access to affordable insurance coverage
The representatives from the live music and restaurant industries express that many in their community have been met with ‘skyrocketing’ commercial insurance rates. Insurance has become a big hurdle. Many in the community either have no insurance coverage or coverage that is so expensive that it is unaffordable. The representatives hope that the public sector works with them to address the issue pertaining to the lack of access to affordable insurance.
Proposed Actions for Consideration
- Extend the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) to December 2021 so it can help keep employees on payroll, facilitate the return to normalcy, and help with rent, mortgage, and other expenses.
- Bolster Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) and Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP) to provide low interest loans for small businesses heavily impacted by COVID-19.
- Continued financial investments in arts, culture, heritage and sport industries, e.g., Ontario Music Investment Fund and Reconnect to stimulate recovery and growth.
- Access to rapid testing and other technology that can help mitigate the spread of the virus.
- Addressing debt forgiveness to alleviate the financial burden businesses have accrued.
- Help revive main streets in partnership with the cultural community.
- Continued campaigns to secure consumer confidence to show that gathering is safe again.
- Provide detailed information about the public health protocols in place during the reopening process, e.g., social distancing measures and workplace safety measures.
- Greater regulation of the insurance industry to combat the skyrocketing insurance rates and provide accessible, affordable insurance coverage.
- Support the number of programs targeting the tourism businesses. E.g., Ontario Tourism and Travel Small Business Support Grant – one-time payments of $10,000 to $20,000 to eligible small businesses.
- Continued relief through the Community Building Fund to help communities, non-profit tourism, culture and sports and creation organizations recover from pandemic.
- Work with regional tourism organizations including Destination Toronto in efforts to support pandemic recovery in Toronto, Brampton and Mississauga.
- 20% reduction in beverage alcohol pricing.
- Continue to initiate advisory committees with representation from the hotels, entertainment, and hospitality sectors in order to gain valuable insights concerning the recovery plan moving forward.
- Continue to advocate for working collectively as governments on recovery efforts for the hotels, entertainment, and hospitality sectors
- Work quickly to provide a set roadmap moving forward where there is clarity concerning applicable regulations, guidelines, and rules with respect to venues, capacity, bookings is shared.
- Allow CaféTO to stay during the recovery.
- Adopt friendly immigration policies to support the hospitality sector.
- Support initiatives that attract tourists to Toronto, including those from within the province.
- Securing thousands of jobs within the entertainment, tourism and hospitality sectors is significant as these sectors are a big part of creating the ‘feel of the city’.
- Appoint a representative inside the city to focus on the Live Theatre, Dance, and Opera industry.
- The City of Toronto to work closely with Destination Toronto on a ‘big program’ (awaiting launch) to liven up the main streets and draw people to vibrant spaces around the city.
- Turn to the culture industries and creative agents to help engage the public through a process of healing and spread positivity.
The Mayor committed to work with CUI and initiate a joint conversation with provincial and federal governments immediately to address the challenges raised here.
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Mary W. Rowe [00:00:32] Hi, good morning, everybody. It’s Mary Rowe from the Canadian Urban Institute. Sorry, we had a little bit of a technical glitch. What would life be without a little technical glitch where we can curse Zoom and say, good heavens, why can’t we get the links to work? But here we are. I as I said, I’m with the CUI. We’re happy to be working with a bunch of partners on a very important topic for the mayor to be hosting his second hospitality summit. I happen to be in Syracuse, New York for the next several weeks because my sister is here recovering from surgery. This is the traditional territory of the Leonida and Onondaga First Nation. I know that we are continuing Canada every day to be dealing with a new disclosure of some tragedy, of the legacy of Indigenous persecution and all the ways in which we have to come to terms with how we have how we need to do things much differently and how we create communities and build cities. That’s the mandate of my organization and why I’m happy to be here at this table with you. We have all three heads of government here, which is terrific. And then we have all the sectoral voices coming to give each other and to give the officials from the local, provincial and federal governments a picture of what the hospitality sector is being confronted with here during the recovery of Covid and what kinds of actions and leadership they need from each of you and from all of us collectively to help this sector recover. These sectors recover. We have a number of people who are going to speak just briefly off the top, obviously the mayor first because this is his gig, and then we’ll hear presentations from each of the sectors. We can enable closed captioning, as you see at the bottom. So if you’d like to see things be written out, you can enable that. If you if that’s bugging you, you can also go below to the bottom of your screen and disable it. We’re recording the session for posterity so that we have a good record of all the things that you raise. And we ask people to put questions into the chat and we’re going to ask you to stay focused on the topics at hand here all around the theme of hospitality and how important and critical that it is to the future of Toronto’s recovery and not just Toronto, but cities across the country. So I’ll pass to you, Mayor, thanks for joining us again for your summit on hospitality. Over to you.
Mayor John Tory [00:02:39] Well, Mary, thank you. And I will try to be very brief because really it’s about listening today. And I do want to say I think it is important to note that the associate finance minister Mortier, MPP Sheref Sabawy whose parliamentary system to minister Lisa MacLeod. We just couldn’t make it today. I think on account of a cabinet meeting, NPR’s Adam Vaughan and Julie Dabrusin have taken a very keen and abiding interest in this particular issue all the way through for which I thank them and many other issues, too. And then from the city, I’m pleased to be joined by Deputy Mayor Thompson, who’s the head of our Economic Development Committee, and again, has taken a very active interest, as has Councilor Brad Bradford, who’s had a particular focus on small business. And so I think the purpose of getting together today, we got together once before. And I think at that time we were discussing mostly that we were in a crisis and wanted to know how bad was it and what were the sort of very acute things that we could do to we collectively as governments to try and address that for you. We’ve come a long way and I say we’ve come a long way. A lot of time has passed since then. And if anything, things got a lot worse before they started to get better. But I think now they have started to get better with the advent of vaccinations. And this is evidenced by the fact that although it’s a modest thing from the standpoint of the kind of overall entertainment, tourism, hospitality sector, we have moved from stage one or we will be in a few days now stage one to stage two, which will have a very modest impact on a lot of these businesses. But nonetheless, I guess if nothing else shows progress, I recognize the fact that you just have to pop in to go by the hotels or you have to look at the number of restaurants that are still not able to be opened for indoor dining or the number of venues for a musical and theatrical performance that are not open. And the artists, therefore cannot perform that in this broader sector, including the situation with respect to any tourists that might want to come here from outside of the country. We’re still far, far off from where we need to be, even to get the slightest level of activity going again. And what we want to hear about today is, is what we can be doing. I think, as you know, and I’m not making excuses here, none of us can, but the city has limited, limited abilities to do that, given the sort of I’ll call it the constitutional set up as to what cities can do financially and otherwise. But we’ve had good partnerships and a whole bunch of areas, including on some of the programs that I think have helped to sustain you in terms of different grants and wage subsidies and so forth. But I think we need to know going forward. I would say, for example, that we need to know and I know the entire government is working on this. We need to know quite specifically in the area of music and theater, when are the rules going to be available with respect to what’s going to be possible in venues, in terms of capacity, so that those people, including some represented here, can make bookings because you’re not going to book an act to come in or a theater company to come in. Nobody’s going to mount a production unless they know you can have a reasonable number of people in the venue to pay for the cost. And so we need to have some certainty on those things so we can plan ahead. And I think we need to know what we can be doing together in partnership on things like attracting even tourists from within the province of Ontario. And I know that, again, there are some initiatives underway on that. What can the city be doing to make life easier beyond the things we’ve done, you know, like the cafe deal, which again, is helpful to a segment of you and I know to others, but we’ve got a thousand restaurants now Covid more than a thousand by that. So I would just say to you that we need to hear today about that because it’s going to be an important part of our recovery. And this sector has to be ready when the economy itself recovers, because a big part of why people like coming here make the decision to invest here is because they come here and have the feel of the city and they yes, the smart talent pools here and all that. But the quality of life is important. And that’s an important part of what you all represent, is kind of our welcoming face to the world. And for that matter, there’s going to be a point in time not too long from now when the borders are going to be open again, not just for tourists, but for people immigrating to the country. And we have to be ready. We meaning this collective sector here. And then, of course, the other thing is that you represent thousands upon thousands of jobs and many of those people notwithstanding, moving to stage two are not back to work and will not be back to work this week coming because stage two doesn’t affect any of us. So I’m here to listen, as are my colleagues. And I thank you all for coming. And I look forward to hearing from my colleagues in public life. And we look forward to listening to what we can collectively do, because I think we’re working well together in these areas and we just want to know what the assignments are and then we can get together and figure out how they get carried out by us. Thank you very much. And thank you to the Urban Institute and to you personally for agreeing to help convene this group. Again, I hope it will be very useful. Thank you.
Mary W. Rowe [00:07:09] I’m always happy to work with you. Can you just put the agenda up so people can just be reminded what the sequence is so that nobody gets too nervous about where we’re going next? We’re going to hear from each order of government there. They’ll give us a bit of an opening remark and then we’re going to have each of the sectors present, which you can see here. So next time I’m going to pass to the parliamentary assistant Sabawy and then Madame Dabrusin and then Minister Fortier. And then we’ll go sector by sector, according to those categories, the live theater, live music, then restaurants, then hotels, some engagement between all of you folks. And then, as I suggest, if you’ve got questions, people that are listening in and want to come in by chat, just post them in there and I’ll keep track of them and I will send them into the group and then we’ll adjourn staff at eleven. And the mayor and I will do our best to give you some summaries at the end. So thanks. And I’m now going to ask parliamentary assistants have a way to bring us his initial thoughts from the province of Ontario.
PA Sheref Sabawy [00:08:07] Thank you very much, Mary. Good morning. I’m pleased to be here on behalf of the honorable Lisa McLeod, Ontario’s minister of Heritage, Sports, Tourism and Culture Industries. Minister McLeod was really looking forward to speaking with all of you today, but unfortunately is unable to make it and send his sincere apologies. I am her parliamentary assistant and I’m looking forward to hearing from all of you. Toronto plays a key role in the longer term sustainability of Ontario’s tourism industry as a gateway city and the tourism hub throughout the pandemic. Our government have been committed to supporting what makes this city a great place to visit. In 2020, we invested over seven point two million in Toronto festivals and events through the 2020 or iConnect Festival and Event Program and Celebrate Ontario program or through the new Tourism, Economic Development and Recovery Fund. 71000 was invested in youth tourism products and experiences such as at Ticket Market. Our government has also been supporting tourism and cultural institutions that have been unable to open due to public health restrictions in March, Minister MacLoed announced. Twenty seven million to support the continued operation and maintenance of six major in the GTA, including the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Metro Toronto Convention Center and the Ontario Science Center. In addition to supporting these places that the places that people visit, we have been investing in Toronto’s top notch workforce. So they are prepared to welcome visitors in a safe and welcoming manner when it’s safe to do so to support this. We were pleased to provide 5.5 million through the regional tourism organizations, including one point three million to destination Toronto through the Workforce Development Agreement. As part of the 2021 budget, our government also introduced a number of programs targeting tourism businesses, including. And not limited to the Ontario Tourism and Travel Small Business Support Grant, which will provide about a hundred million in one time payment of 10000 to 20000 to eligible small businesses, the hundred million Ontario tourism recovery program that will support uncaught tourism businesses, which were either forced to close or were hard hit by covid-19. These two programs are, in addition, are in addition to the one hundred and five million Community Building Fund Minister MacLoed announced in March 2021, which is being delivered by the Ontario Trillium Foundation and will help communities. Nonprofit, tourism, nonprofit, tourism, culture and sports. Sports and creation organizations recover from the impact of the pandemic. Lastly, the budget included 15 million for the regional tourism organizations, including funding of Destination Toronto to support recovery in Toronto, Brampton and Mississauga. When the COVID-19 outbreak begun, Ontario heritage, sport, tourism and cultural industries were among the first hardest hit and will be among the last to recover. It’s why that’s why Minister and the minister initiated 14 ministerial advisory committees with representation from hoteliers, restaurant tours, life music professionals and many other to gain your valuable insights and help chart a path towards recovery. As the largest city in Canada and our provincial capital, Toronto, was hit particularly hard by the pandemic, according to an analysis done by the destination, TORONTO, the covid-19 pandemic has posted the city economy eight point thirty five billion due to a drop in tourism and hospitality spending. Which is why we will continue to support you and our hard hit industries to ensure that when it is safe to do so. Toronto is ready to welcome the world back to our province. While I’m unable to stay the entire session, I want to thank you again for having me, and I’m looking forward to hearing from your hearing your presentations and get ready as soon as everything will open. It’s going to be a floodgate. Just hold on. Thank you.
Mary W. Rowe [00:13:00] Thank you, nice to meet you and thank you for coming in and offering remarks on your behalf and on behalf of the minister. We appreciate it very much. Next, we’re going to go to Julie Dabrusin from the government of Canada. Go ahead, Julie. He was here, I think, subbing for Adam, who got called away to go ahead, Julie.
MP Julie Dabrusin [00:13:22] Good to see you. And it’s good to be part of this conversation again. So for everyone, I’m Julie Dabrusin and I’m the member of parliament for Toronto Danforth. I’m also the parliamentary secretary to the minister of Canadian Heritage. And that’s part of the reason why I feel it’s so important to be part of conversations like this and to be able to hear what’s happening locally in our city as well as to the industry as a whole, because we know that it’s been particularly hard hit through the pandemic. So I’m happy to be joined. And as I mentioned at the beginning, Adam Vaughan will be joining a little bit later. And I know that he is also really interested and has been here to listen and to support our city through all of this. Just as some quick highlights, because as parliamentary secretary, I’ve been working on particularly how do we help the arts and cultural industries through this pandemic? And it’s been right at the center of our work from the very beginning, just over a year ago, with an announcement of 500 million dollars for emergency support, specifically for the cultural sectors. And then again with the fall economic statement and now with the budget that was just passed in this past week. And I wanted to just highlight one piece, because I know that we have the Live Music Association who will be speaking with us and has been an amazing and amazing advocate for the industry. And really I appreciate all of the input. So as part of the fall economic statement, there was actually funding that was put specifically to the live music sector. And we saw that have an impact here in our city for four different live music venues that normally aren’t included as part of heritage funding from the federal government. And in this round was and saw support for places like Lees Palace, Hugh’s room, even locally, you know, for me, local Irish pub, the door on the dance floor, lots of live music venues that are so important to the fabric and that we’re also excited to be able to go back to. And I was really happy that with this budget that has just been passed, there’s a further 50 million dollars that will be going to the live music sector specifically, again, to support large and smaller places. Where are our venues? One more piece before I get to introduce our minister is that this week we also passed through the House of Commons C10. It’s with the Senate. Now, that’s a bill that’s going to have foreign Web giants contribute to our cultural production funds and will be produced will be supporting things like the Canada Music Fund so that we can support our musicians here in Canada. It’s really important piece going forward, though. A lot of what we’ve been doing has been as a result of conversations like this. And that’s why it’s really important that we keep having these meetings and keep being able to hear from people and get that that really strong advocacy to make sure that we get it right, because we’re going to keep listening. And on that note, I’m really excited to be able to introduce our associate finance minister, Moana Forte, because I’ve seen her, you know, being part of these conversations, a great listener, someone who’s really ready to stand and stand up when she hears about what we need are supports in our community. So I will pass it along. And I know that Adam Vaughan will be joining, but I’m really excited to have us be joined by our Associate Finance Minister Moana Forte. Thank you.
Mary W. Rowe [00:17:19] Go ahead, Minister,
Minister Mona Fortier [00:17:21] thank you very much. We thank you for that kind introduction. And, you know, your constituents in Toronto and forth are really lucky to have you as their member of parliament and representative in Ottawa. And I’m not sure I don’t think he’s joined yet. But as you know, Adam, Adam Bond is going to join us. And I want to thank him also for inviting me today. You know, Adam has been an incredible advocate for his riding the Fort York and the city of Toronto. And as well, we all know his passion and relentless work as a key architect for the national housing strategy. Reaching home. Canada’s homelessness strategy, now supporting Canadians through the pandemic, has and must continue to be a multilevel approach. So it’s great to see all levels of government around the table with. Good morning, Mayor Tory, parliamentary assistant Sabawy, Deputy Mayor Thompson and Councilor Bradford are here today. And I also want to thank you, Mary, for your leadership in bringing everybody together to have this very important conversation and giving me the opportunity to hear from all of you. But before I continue, I would like to acknowledge that I’m joining you today from my home in Ottawa, which is on Algonquin Annishnabec, traditional territory. And I have to say that I anticipate we will hear more stories from communities of the tragedies they experience in our history. And it will require a continued and relentless work to support healing for those who need it and a new relationship moving forward. As a cyclist size them, the majority particularly are still police on this scale, the looting leads to Ismailis are elected surrealistic, a book that will continue. The difficulty now said a local economy survey address. And I know the last 16 months have been especially hard for businesses and the hospitality, tourism, arts and culture sectors. And I know many of you continue to face financial hardships as the economy gradually reopens. Canadians across the country depend on hospitality and tourism sectors for good jobs and their contributions within our communities. In fact, approximately seven hundred and fifty thousand workers and two percent of Canada’s GDP are attributed to tourism. Along with this in mind, last spring, when the pandemic began, our government immediately recognized the need to support businesses as public health orders required many of you to close your doors to help slow the spread of the virus. Now our aim was to ensure businesses across Canada could weather this storm through a suite of support programs and be well positioned to come back stronger after the pandemic. And that’s why I’m proud to say that through the Canada emergency wage subsidy, the federal government has protected more than five point three million jobs and help employers keep staff on the payroll, which has facilitated and will continue to facilitate the return to somewhat normal for many businesses. And our government also reported supported Canadian businesses with the Canada emergency rent subsidy and lock down support, which today has helped more than one hundred ninety two thousand organizations across the country to pay their rent, mortgage and other expenses. And the Canada Emergency Business Account. We all call it CUI. By now we have provided over eight hundred and eighty three thousand loans, worth a total of forty seven point eight five billion to businesses in need across Canada. Now the government has continued to monitor the economy throughout the pandemic, and we’ve adjusted our supports as required, as mentioned, like the rent relief and provided additional support to highly affected businesses like some of those represented here today. You at the summit, we created targeted programs to provide support where it is needed the most. Now, programs like Regional Relief and Recovery Fund, some call it the R.F. and the Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program, which is providing guaranteed low interest loans between twenty five thousand dollars to a million dollars to Canadian small business that are heavily impacted by covid-19. With the roll out of vaccines well underway, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and businesses and the hospitality, tourism, arts and culture sectors are getting ready to welcome back Canadians. However, we know that support is still needed, and that is why the federal government included a number of targeted investments in our recent budget to help you reopen and build back better than before. For example, budget 2021 Inclusivity includes a one billion dollar investment to revitalize the tourism sector. And, as Julie mentioned, additional investments of over four hundred and fifty million dollars for the arts, culture, heritage and sport. And I really want to be clear when I say that you can count on our government to help businesses grow and thrive as the economy reopens. I really want to thank you for having me here today. I look forward to hearing everyone’s interventions from around the table and also continue to work with you all so we can get back to business and recover from this pandemic. Thank you very much.
Mary W. Rowe [00:23:19] Thank you, Minister Fortier, we’re very pleased to be able to have you join us and fill us in on all these different components. And thanks to all the folks that have come from the different areas of government to be able to give us this sort of overview of what the what the sort of picture is and what actions your government has been taking to date. Now we’re going to move to hearing from each of the sectors. And they really promised me a stack of Bibles that they will not go over time. So they each have ten minutes and we hope they’ll speak swiftly. And then we have some time, obviously, for discussion and questions. If you’ve got questions, I would encourage you to put them in a chat, as some of you are. The other thing is that people are requesting links be posted in the chat. And I appreciate people are responding. So thank you for whoever is coming from the ministry to put those monetary support programs in there. So please make use of this chat. We not only record the session, but we also record the chat. And all of that will be available for people who miss it to be able to be able to get a sense of what’s going. So let’s go to live theater first. Jacoba, I’m coming to you.
Jacoba Knaapen [00:24:41] Oh, there. Can you hear me now? Thanks, Erin. Good morning and thank you, Mary. Thank you, Mayor, for this opportunity. And it’s great to see everybody here this morning. We really appreciate it. As the executive director at TAPA, I represent one hundred and sixty four professional theater, dance and opera companies here in the city of Toronto. These companies really reflect the diversity of our city, and they range from the largest commercial theater company in the country, Mirvish Productions, to Buddies in Bad Times Theater, the largest LGBTQ plus theater on the planet. I’m disappointed that Minister McCleod isn’t able to join us this morning because we’ve invited actor Ali Momen to present our deck. If you don’t know him, you should. Ali Momen is an accomplished and award winning actor. He was recently, most recently and come from away right here at the Royal Alex until it was shut down due to the pandemic. Ali is also an academic. It should be noted that he teaches at George Brown College and he’s an activist. He’s fighting with us for the dignity of work and a belief that through art we can create a society that is politically, just and spiritually beautiful. So I’m really thrilled to introduce you now to Ali. Over to you, Ali.
Ali Momen [00:26:31] The photos you are seeing are of Toronto’s magnificent theater, dance and opera venues and what they have looked like for the last 15 months. These houses of assembly, hubs of joy, laughter, empathy and togetherness have become empty, shells robbed of their magic and energy. Since the last summit in October, Toronto theaters have been completely shuttered artists, stagehands, ushers, box office teams and other arts practitioners have been left without work. We’ve endured lost revenue furloughs, canceled premieres and personal losses. The drama and trauma of this virus is a collision of epidemiology and infrastructure. As a result, over one billion dollars in revenue has been lost by theater, dance and opera companies in Toronto alone. One hundred sixty four professional theater, dance and opera organizations from both the commercial and not for profit sectors have laid off an average of 18 employees each. Arts workers are leaving the city and the province in droves to places where art making has already reopened. The creative spirit of this city is in crisis. This city at once proudly branded itself a place to live with culture. It’s now on the verge of a cultural extinction. That’s vaccinations ramp up, though, we have an opportunity to correct this catastrophe. Creating a viable path to reopen our theater, dance and opera companies is a savvy economic decision. It brings back twenty seven billion dollars or three point five percent of our province’s GDP. It brings back over four percent of Ontario’s employment has a trickle effect on the rest of the hospitality and hospitality and tourism sector, driving business to restaurants and hotels and making Toronto and Ontario a destination for visitors. Aside from the. Economic benefits, however. Bringing back arts could be the secret strategic weapon of the pandemic. We are more than just another sector that needs to reopen. We are agents of creativity and citizen philosophers who believe cultural leadership can engage the public imagination and the process of public healing through the arts. After more than a year of isolation and hopelessness, we all feel the stretch of the Covid strain. Imagine what is possible if our city, province and nation activated its remarkable creative capital as partners in recovery. But to be a good partner to you, we need three things from you. Number one, we need a committed and detailed plan to reopen. So far, we have received little indication on what our reopening path looks like and our projects require months to prepare for. While we were struggling to obtain detailed re-opening information for outdoor venues until yesterday, six days before reopening, visionary cities like New York and London have put arts and culture at the center of their recovery plans, giving their producers a long term critical path towards full capacity return indoors. Even in Canada, Ontario is the only province that hasn’t yet offered capacity information for indoor theater reopening. We are a sector that relies on long lead times to prepare high quality entertainment for audiences, the lack of a clear trajectory for the months ahead is crippling our hard hit sector further by crushing our ability to prudently plan. Number two. We need to be in the room where it happens and consulted. As a whole, our sector has not been contacted to discuss reopening provincially, theater, dance and opera leaders have been omitted from roundtables about tourism recovery, and I’ve had limited to no access to health officials or ministers. Municipally, the city staff, both program directors and managers for film, music and museums. Yet there is no program manager for theater, dance or opera. We see the consequence of our exclusion. We are constantly seeing decisions made on our behalf without an understanding of how we work. We see the disconnect between municipal, provincial and federal approaches to arts recovery that make our return even more challenging. We need a seat at the table, let us consult on our reopening, just like other sectors have been invited to do. Number three. We need continued financial support for a sustainable future. It has kept our theaters from closing, CRB has kept artists from transitioning to other fields, but our sector was the first to close and will likely be the last to reopen fully. It might take years for ticket sales to return to their pre covid levels. And during that time, we need your continued support. Please fight to continue queues and CRB federally, please recognize the monumental need to increase the budget of the Ontario Arts Council to support over 11 hundred organizations and over two thousand individual artists. Please remember our commercial theater producers and presenters and collaborate with them to create programs that other commercial enterprises like film and television enjoy. Work with them to find ways to create employment in the arts and make us competitive again with cities like Chicago, where productions now go to take advantage of theater tax credit programs. And please bring a universal basic income into effect post covid. We have. No time to waste. Now is the moment for art and artists to bring us out of this post traumatic cloud. Our world class artists can bring back the beating heart of our city if we let them. We want a path forward, a seat at the table and the media strategies. We look forward to doing the work with you.
Mary W. Rowe [00:34:27] Sorry, I was muted. Thanks, Tapper. Thank you, Ali. We’re not going to live music over to you, Jesse.
Jesse Kumagi [00:34:34] Thank you very much. Good morning, everybody, and PA Sabawy and Minister Fortier, as well as all of the other elected officials who joined us today. Thank you for making the time. We really appreciate the opportunity to have this conversation. And to the Canadian Urban Institute and the downtown Young BIA. Also, thank you for convening this session. Erin Benjamin and I are here today representing the Canadian Loud Music Association and specifically the live music sector in Toronto. We want to update you on the ongoing challenges that our beleaguered communities are facing. It’s well understood at this point that live music and events were first hit and will be among the last to recover. Many of us are looking at the end of the year as our first opportunity to start getting back to business. Many of the festivals and other workers in our sector, unfortunately, are looking at summer of twenty, twenty two before they’re going to be able to resume operations in a meaningful way. The impact of the pandemic, especially hard on artists, have been overwhelming for our sector. Among the many casualties to our ecosystem have been live music venues so very key to both career development of artists and the cultural and economic vibrancy in the city. Permanent closures across Toronto now total at least twenty four. And these venues, as Mayor Tory will recall when we released our venue study in the fall of 2020 with the general support of the city of Toronto, these venues contribute significantly to Toronto’s vibrant quality of life. They are examples of the losses of the live music sector has suffered and the challenges we continue to face. Indeed, many other companies and organizations throughout the ecosystem have closed permanently. The accumulated economic and job loss with music activity and tourism is now well beyond the three hundred and sixty nine million we saw last August. And we know now that well over one hundred thousand Canadian arts, entertainment and recreation workers have lost their jobs. In our sector specifically, we’re seeing a lot of them moving on to other sectors and some of them even leaving country, taking years of experience and expertise with the.
Erin Benjamin [00:36:33] So while we’re optimistic that some businesses in our sector may see a modest rise in revenue as we reopen very gradually, many of our members are facing a near certain financial crisis that will hit our industry especially hard this fall and winter in order to ensure our survival. We believe continued and tailored support will be necessary for those and only those who need it most. We are so grateful to the federal government’s efforts to protect public health and our economy and MPRDA Susan, thank you very much for the budget and the 50 million for live music. If it weren’t for government support programs like wage subsidy and rent relief over the last many months, many of our members would have permanently closed and ceased operations outright. However, over the coming months, our industry is facing a perfect storm. The Susan Seuss’ support that is offset a portion of our losses, as we know, is being aggressively wound down. While festivals and concerts and shows will be close to non-existent, much of the government investment made into keeping these businesses afloat will therefore be lost if they become insolvent just a few months before they’re allowed to recover. Our latest survey from May 2021. This is just a few weeks ago revealed that nearly 70 percent of Canadian live music companies will not survive if Susan serves are not extended until at least the end of 2021. It’s clear now that businesses will need help over the upcoming months with continued wage and fixed costs support whether we like it or not. So we’re here today echoing calls from others, like the hardest hit coalition of which we are a member, and asking that a tailored wage and fixed costs support program be established if Susan serves are not to be extended at the earliest opportunity with a focus on hardest hit businesses that are experiencing revenue loss of more than 40 percent against normal or expected revenues. Keeping these businesses alive means keeping in place the cultural infrastructure that supports our communities. Collectively, our members represent an integral segment of our economy, one that will drive significant economic activity into 2022 as we work to build back to prepare endemic levels of both activity and revenue. We really appreciate today’s opportunity for you to hear from us and moving forward, our hope is that each level of government will work more closely with us to foster the kind of relationships we all need to ensure re-opening plans and frameworks maximize both recovery and safety. Ours is an industry built on one hundred percent capacity. That’s the only time math really works when artists, independent workers and at our teams are able to earn a proper living. Reaching capacity, full capacity by step four is something we believe we can and should be able to do, especially when we look internationally into other regions for four examples of those who are doing it well and are more advanced than we are. We now, of course, have comprehensive public health protocols in place where keeping people safe is our priority. And months from now, when our industry begins to slowly recover ongoing investment in addition to existing emergency relief programs, investment stimulate economic growth and job recovery will be absolutely essential for us so that we can get artist back on stages, attract visitors and reclaim a reputation as one of the best destinations for loud music in the world. The best part of all of this is that if we’re able to keep all of our infrastructure in place, we’re able to keep our talent. We already have the tools in place to accelerate, accelerate, increasing direct and indirect spending as a result of live music activity. The Ontario Music Investment Fund and reconnect envelopes should be expanded in order to create opportunities to drive not only revenue growth and economic development, but tourism visits, spending and overnight stays in Ontario through live music. Events with live music thrives. So many other sectors benefit, including tourism.
Erin Benjamin [00:40:56] And obviously being one of the very hardest hit sectors has meant the challenges even today continue to mount as we move forward. You can all help by working us, working with us to do things like provide functioning programs that can give us access to rapid testing and other technology to mitigate future spread of the virus. You can help us to put right the insurance juggernaut that has frustrated and discouraged our community beyond words. So many today are still faced with either no insurance coverage or coverage that is so expensive it’s unobtainable. And finally, you can work with us to address the accumulated debt that our industry has had little choice but to accrue.
Erin Benjamin [00:41:43] Inequitable restrictions, in many cases, lack of access to affordable insurance and crippling debt are what we face today. Yet, of course, we remain optimistic in part because of meetings like this. And you’re all demonstrating a really authentic openness to work with us. And you have done for many, many months. And I want to thank you for hearing us today and for your collaborative spirit to all the elected officials on this call today. When I feel tired, all I have to do is think of you and I feel inspired and motivated to keep going. And I know we all do. So. So thank you very much. Thank you, Jesse. And to Marty for helping us out today and especially to Mary and Mark and all involved in today’s meeting for your tireless leadership. We appreciate it very much.
Mary W. Rowe [00:42:30] Thanks, Erin, thanks, Jesse, appreciate people abiding by the time guidance we’ve been giving you, these presentations are so rich and great. I’m just really pleased we’re recording them and that we’ve got Will now have your DACs. We’ll be able to share those more broadly. And I hope that our provincial and federal colleagues will share them with their colleagues, too, so that there can be this growing understanding of what the implications are. So we’ve just had live music and live theater. And let’s talk now. Good to hear from restaurants and hotels who are, of course, deeply intertwined, their fate with the components of the entertainment sectors that we’ve just heard from. So can we go to restaurants next to Tony to give us a picture on what you guys are facing and girls are facing? Thanks, Tony.
Tony Elenis [00:43:14] Good morning to all, I’m joined today by Oliver Geddes, proprietor of the on the fifth season restaurant tour in downtown Toronto for many years. Mary, thank you for hosting this summit. And thank you to all the government representatives for joining us this morning. Special thanks for driving success through the vaccination numbers for hospitality operations. It’s the real hope. Ontario’s restaurant sector normally generates close to 40 billion dollars in annual sales support job growth in the overall economy while offering vibrancy and culinary experiences that support the success of Main Streets and help make cities and towns great. Over 97 percent of our restaurants revenue go back directly to the economy through payroll, food and other supply related expenses. Next slide, please. For hospitality operations, covid-19 has shifted the definition of success to survival, just keeping the lights on spells enormous achievement. Illustrating financial performance is in a thin margin restaurant sector. It is truly depressing. The graph on the right illustrates how Ontario in pre covid times operates with the lowest profit margins than any other province and, of course, way behind the US performance. While the table to the left shows the devastating revenue drops occurring during covid-19. These two graphs support why restaurants will continue to have a tough road ahead. Next slide, please. We have estimate over 15 percent of Ontario restaurants are not closed, while eight out of 10 are operating at a loss. The vast majority can no longer afford to borrow money. And while other sectors are progressively recovering, hospitality overall will have a longer journey ahead. Next slide, please. Restaurants in the city of Toronto, normally offering World-Class vibrancy and culinary experiences, are showing more gloomy results and feeling more pain than other regions. And let me state that there is much pain and anger out there, specifically Toronto, an area restaurants have been locked down much longer than any other jurisdiction. Closings and openings have been very expensive. The queues wage subsidy program has been a strong federal program, but has not been able to support most restaurants as most have been closed. Expansion of patios and cafeteria are strong, wonderful programs and have helped. But the reality is that in the city of Toronto, only 12 hundred restaurants have. Patio’s that’s out of a thousand that operate in the city. I must point out that I had the opportunity to work with the city staff on Capitol Hill and I do see their efforts and attempts to expand this program. They’ve done a great job, but it can only go so far. When compared to other Canadian jurisdictions, the city of Toronto has the highest, which impact prosperity. With a cost of living, many employees have opted to leave the city during recover to more affordable destinations, adding more pressure to the overall hospitality workforce, which will be severe. Next slide, please. The recovery journey for many restaurants will be painful as relief programs are scaled down and the sector starts repaying bank and personal loans. Some have been mortgaging their homes. The city of Toronto has been projected to see a recovery later than other destinations due to the makeup of its demand drivers. Our nine recommendations aim to sustain the sector through the rough recovery journey ahead federally continues. Sector specific wage and rent subsidy programs and revisit the three hundred thousand cap on the service program. Oliver would talk more about the immediate need for Ontario is to determine and communicate the details, and it’s been said earlier by the other groups the details of step three in opening safe in the rooms, including meetings and events. Where the booking cycle in this areas for reservations for quarter four began a long time ago and every day we are behind leads to future revenue losses. To me, it’s just a logistic issue that needs to be accelerated. In addition, have a cohesive vaccination and rapid testing, planning and opening a safe Canada and a safe Ontario, including the borders. Importantly, initiate retroactive property tax assessments to reflect depressed revenues starting in March of 2020. Reduce beverage alcohol pricing by 20 percent to support slimming down the expenses, a much needed support item. This is a lifeline for the recovery for restaurants. It’s measurable and it’s tangible. British Columbia and Nova Scotia have already reduced their prices. This is strictly unasked to bring prices down from a government owned store to reduce the industry’s recovery road expenses when operators will continue to struggle. Even now, they are seeing food and payroll expenses accelerating upwards. We also are calling to maintain the carpaccio program in 2022 for those operating patios. It’s a dynamic program and while supporting restaurants. Build business confidence and stimulate travel by allowing business to expand restaurant meals at one hundred percent for travel entertainment from the current 50 percent allotment, you’ll fill those buildings that are empty in downtown Toronto. In this dismal climate, to see incremental fixed expenses, it’s really a disgrace, but this is exactly what has happened with skyrocketing commercial insurance rates. That’s been as has been pointed out earlier, some operators have seen around 400 percent increases. The industry needs help to control this. And this is occurring in every province across the country. Adopt hospitality friendly immigration policies to support hospitality, forseen severe workforce issue here, it’s about the same old story. Baby boomers exiting the workforce at a rapid pace, less youth moving into the workforce and even less in hospitality. Covid-19 has painted the industry unsafe and also a dead end when it comes to careers. We have much evidence that Canadians do not want to do the work of certain hospitality operations. The US here is about competitiveness and a long term investment. Oliver, over to you. Thank you.
Oliver Geddes [00:50:59] Good morning, everyone. Thank you, Tony. Thank you to everyone that was involved in creating this platform to allow us to speak candidly. My name is Oliver Geddes. I own Easy in the Fifth in downtown Toronto, and I’m a board member of the downtown BIA. I’m here representing not only my business, but all independent bars and restaurants. Last November, when I spoke at the first major summit, I brought up the fact that Toronto is 20 percent of the country’s GDP that makes it larger than Alberta’s GDP, larger than the GDP of the six smallest provinces combined. Therefore, as it relates to the economy, the issues of Toronto are not a regional problem, but a national one. For Toronto to work for any city to work, we need vibrancy. Vibrancy in a city gets created by all the things that this pandemic took away. It’s the bars, restaurants, theaters, concerts, sporting events, tourists. Essentially, it’s all the businesses that are here speaking to you today. So is our industry. Start slowly but very eagerly emerging out of the darkness and getting back to creating this vibrancy. There are a multitude of things that we will require if there’s any chance for us to succeed and prosper. The key programs that have allowed businesses to survive over the last 15 months are the sewers and service programs. However, starting on July Fourth, the subsidies for both programs will start to decline with them ending in September. The explanation is that as the economy starts to reopen and recover, businesses will require less assistance. However, for those of us in business, businesses such as restaurants, nightlife, events in the downtown core of Canada’s major cities this summer will still be a total disaster as we continue to deal with government restrictions. The absence of tourists and people continuing to stay away from downtowns until their companies bring them back to offices for us. We need these subsidies more than ever as we are totally drained from what will be 18 months of minimal or no cash flow the way these programs have been structured. The amount of subsidy you receive already declines as your sales improve. So those companies that are fortunate enough to start to recover and have strong sales this summer will already receive less or no assistance. However, for those of us who will not be part of that recovery through no fault of our own, we cannot survive if the government starts cutting back. The only thing keeping us alive, as a colleague of mine said, it makes no sense to build three quarters of a bridge. Politicians at both the provincial and federal level throughout the pandemic consistently stated that they would be there for small businesses by reducing sewers and serious benefits next month and then not having and then having them expire in September. You are not honoring your promises of being there for us. Anecdotally, I’ve asked well over a dozen independent bar and restaurant operators what would happen if they lost these programs and a hundred percent of them said they would be out of business. These two programs and anything need to be bolstered, not reduced, not taken away. Without them, our city and cities across the country will be left with nothing but corporate fast food chains. Not my personal idea of vibrancy. Pre Covid bars and restaurants with the fourth largest employer in Canada with one point three million jobs accounting for 70 percent of the country’s workforce in regards to financial aid. If you compare how our industry has been treated versus a company like Canada that employs less than forty thousand people, it’s nowhere near equitable. The provincial government has given grants of up to 20 thousand dollars twice for small businesses. How is a business in a city like Toronto that will have been shut down anywhere from 14 to 19 months while still having to pay a portion of the rent to pay their utilities, their insurance, their property taxes, et cetera, et cetera, supposed to stay afloat? The CBA loan was structured in such a way that only the smaller of the businesses could qualify. The house loan comes with a four percent interest rate for the life of me, I cannot explain how my home mortgage rate is less than two percent. And yet the house cap loan that is backed and stopped by the federal government, which means that the banks literally have no downside risk, no exposure to bad loans, are charging four percent while allowing banks to charge this rate. You’re permitting them to profiteer off our misery. The banks, which have had yet another record quarter during this pandemic, remember, these loans are just more debts that businesses have been forced to take on. I see that my time is now allotted. I will again, thank you, everyone, for listening. And I hope that I have an opportunity at the end to answer some questions or speak on some of my other points by passing it off to my colleague. Thank you.
Mary W. Rowe [00:55:28] Thanks to all of her, that’s great. Now we’re going to hear, I think, to bring us home, we’re going to hear from hotels and again, just letting people know that we will find a way to post these presentations so people can refer to them and see them again because they’re full of important recommendations. And I’m encouraging people to continue to post in the chat. So we’re going to hear now from hotels and then we’ll have some time, a little bit of time for some exchange back and forth. And you can see Mayor Tory is responding directly into the chat with suggestions with what he thinks he can move at the local municipal level. And I appreciate that, Mr. Fortier, and our PA are still here. So over to you, Terry.
Terry Mundell [00:56:06] Good morning, everybody, and thank you very much on behalf of the Greater Toronto Hotel Association. It’s great to be here today. I want to, first of all, thank Mayor Tory for his leadership during this particular pandemic. I know it’s been a very, very significant challenge for all our sectors, but we also know how hard you worked to represent us at all levels of government. And I greatly, greatly appreciate your efforts and members of council’s efforts on that. Thanks as well to the employees, the employees and other counselors who are on this call today, your voice, your ears, your understanding of our challenges is greatly appreciated and it will help us to move forward. And clearly for us, the other thing which I find very important, and being in the hotel business, we rely a lot on demand in areas. So for all of those that are here today in the different sectors talking about your challenges, I can tell you right now we support you wholeheartedly. We need you to act and be in business and be up to full capacity without you. We don’t have the demand generators. We don’t have the excitement that we have in the city. So thanks very much for standing up for your industries. And if we can help, we will. I do want to say to you that in our sector right now, we are clearly struggling. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. My colleagues will speak to a couple of the issues as we go forward. But I can’t say to you today that what we’re really trying to do, to be honest with you, is get control of our businesses back. Right now, we don’t have control. We don’t or aren’t able to use that entrepreneurial spirit. We aren’t able to go out and did business. It’s a significant challenge for our sector. So really what we’re looking for is a plan to get reopened. I’m going to pass the slide deck and the conversation over to our chair of the board, Mr. Tim Reardon. This is day two for Tim as chair. And then as well, he’ll bring forward Edwin Frizzell, who is our past chair. So, Tim, already. Great.
Tim Reardon [00:58:04] Well, thank you, Terry, and good morning, territory. Thank you again for organizing this event today and all the elected officials for taking your time to listen this morning. You know, since the beginning of the pandemic, hotels were deemed as essential and allowed to be open. And since that time, we played a vital role in assisting our city, whether it was housing front line workers or assisting with the homeless, hotels have always been there to help. However, the reality is that although our doors were unlocked, we were not truly open because all the other parts of our business remained closed. In particular, we’re here to talk about is our meetings and events. And now while we recognize some of those restrictive measures were put in place or necessary at the time, that we all can acknowledge that vaccination has been a positive thing and cases continually decrease and we’re in a much different place today. And so one of the key obstacles in our way to recovery is the fact that we don’t have clarity around meeting event capacities and what that looks like in step three and really what the long term plan is for meetings and events. And without the ability to book or host meetings and events, our industry is going to continue to suffer and our recovery will be delayed even further, which right now we believe is not going to happen in 20 until 2025. The slides you see on the screen, we did a study with CBRE to look at the impact to our meetings and events. We surveyed hotels within Toronto. And you can see on your on your screen here, we in twenty nineteen hosted one point eight million room nights just associated with meeting and events and about seven point sixty eight dollars million in revenue. Now, in twenty twenty, that dropped significantly, as you see, one point four million and six hundred twenty three million dollars. And I should just add that the road it actually did happen in 2020 was a majority of it happened pre pandemic in the first quarter. Now if you look at the next slide, what that has meant for us this year, we ended the year with just as many room nights and just as much revenue as we finished 2020. But since March, when we had this survey, those decreased 31 percent of our room nights have declined and another six or seven percent of the revenue. Now, this survey was completed in March. I can tell you, since that time, these numbers have been further eroded because of the lack of clarity around these events. And the problem we’re having right now is without the ability to tell meeting planners when they can meet, how many people can actually meet once our meeting facilities are open, simply due to the fact that we don’t have guidance around with this capacity, limits are going to be a major roadblock in getting hotels back on their feet and meetings. Events for hotels are distinctly different and that we can go to meetings from 10 people to thousands thousand people at a time. And these meetings require a significant amount of time to plan. And we’re talking six, 12, 18 months in advance of the actual event happening just because of the planning and the logistics that they’re required to pull them off, meaning that if these businesses can’t turn on a dime when we actually get guidance, so we need a runway to be able to start planning. And the reality for us is that two to two thousand twenty one is on the verge of not already lost from a means event standpoint. And we’ve already started to see the impact on 2022, which is severely at risk. And so without meeting spaces, our city being opened, hotels in our destination really don’t have anything to sell from it from a meeting standpoint, which puts us a significant disadvantage to cities around the world that are partially or fully open with, you know, we compete with in a normal year and is even more aggressive as we come out of the pandemic. And from a hotel standpoint, we’ve demonstrated that we are able to put protocols and procedures in place to keep people safe while they’re with us. Now, we need to build the ability to do that, as we’ve seen in many other sectors. And with that, I’m going to pass that over to Edwin Frizzell to talk about some of our assets.
Edwin Frizzell [01:02:02] Thank you, Tim, and thanks to everyone. You know, I’m really struck by the fact that there’s such a passion around this call today about the dynamic mosaic that makes Toronto such an incredible destination. And there is absolutely no question that every single industry represented here and many, many more make Toronto one of the most attractive destinations in the world. And we rode that high and we will get back there again of that. I’m very confident and always accused of being the optimist. The real challenge, though, and again, I cannot emphasize this enough, and we’ve heard it from the other sectors today. The reality is that our challenge at the moment is our inability to plan. I mean, I just don’t I just cannot fathom how we are expected to be able to support the recovery of this great city without our ability to be able to project the future. You know, somebody talked. I hear things like, you know, when it is safe to do so and things are getting better. Well, for our sector, like everyone else on this call, our sectors are not getting better today. 2021 is financially at risk. Being a far worse year than 20, 20, I imagine, telling that to the tens of thousands of hospitality workers around the city who are sitting at home, thankfully today, supported by wage subsidies and other programs, but those programs are going to come to an end. We are not in a position today to tell them when they can come back to work because we’re not in a position to tell our customers when they can come and have an event at our hotel, have an indoor dining experience, or when our demand generators, our festivals, our events, our live theater, our sports, any of those entertainment features are coming back today. Our competitors are giving that answer. And that is a huge issue for us. We need a clarity around this time frame for reopening. It’s great that phase two is moving a little bit further. We’re happy to see that there’s progress, but phase three is full of the lack of transparency around exactly what that is. Neither Tim nor I or any of our colleagues in the Hotel Association today can confidently book a meeting or an event or tell the bride and groom how many people they can have or if they can even have a wedding at any point in the balance of this entire year. Because it’s unfair to the people of Toronto, it is unfair to Ontarians and it’s unfair to the people that have stood up and supported all it has happened in our city over the past 18 months. And we’ve done our part. And now that we are getting to the place where we’ve done our part and vaccinations are moving in the right direction, it is. And we are able to demonstrate that we’re safely able to host events. We have hotels have been an essential service throughout this entire pandemic. We’ve hosted health care workers. Our staff have put themselves at risk. They’ve served the general public. They’ve learned, learned the protective equipment. They’ve done their part. And we need to support them today. We also need to make sure in that recovery that when we have more clarity around that plan and we have to make sure that we have an active voice in that, that there is a reality of what we can do. Simply assigning a random number of people that can attend a meeting or an event in a large facility is not going to be able to allow us to bring our business back to viability. We’ve got to have focus on what those percentages of event spaces look like and any other restrictions that may be in place. And quite honestly, to all levels of government, we need a clarity around the timeline of what post phase three and what a non restrictive environment looks like, because on the next slide, I’m going to show you very clearly every single city that Toronto competes with, every one of these cities, these have been identified as the primary places that people who are trying to choose Toronto for events and meetings and as a destination. Every single one of these folks are confirming business today, including our Canadian destinations. So whatever business their little business there is left in the pipeline, it is now going to be going to these other destinations. And we really, really, really appreciate all of your support. And thank you for helping us get a plan and helping us bring Toronto back to life.
Mary W. Rowe [01:05:47] Thanks, Ed, when I just actually was watching our time and realizing that it’s that we’re losing, we’re almost close. So I know the mayor has a hard stop and I anticipate the minister and the parliamentary assistant do as well. We’re very appreciative that we’ve managed to keep these voices here, that we’ve managed to keep folks listening from all three orders. And the mayor has repeatedly, through the chat, indicated what he’ll be championing. I just want to acknowledge that Adam Vaughan has joined us. And you can see his I can see his right ear in the camera here as we’re appreciative that we’ve got a really good sound showing here from the scene, from the I was going to call them senior, and I could feel the mayor flinching the other orders of government to participate with us. I’m wondering, Mayor, before you depart, do you have any comments, quick comments for your provincial and federal colleagues in terms of what you’ve just heard from the sectors? Thanks.
Mayor John Tory [01:06:38] Well, if I muted myself, yeah, I would just say, first of all, that the point is taken that the aid programs need to be extended is for this sector alone or for other sectors. And so that’s a given that we have to talk about that between governments. But I think the number one point, I was just typing something on the screen when you called upon me, the number one point I think I hear from all of the sectors and I have made a comment about it in my opening remarks, is that we need to have the regulations, the applicable regulations, whether it’s to events in hotels or whether it’s for music venues or whether it’s for theater or opera or anybody else. Now, now, meaning now, like I’m not saying today, it’s not ready, but next week, because of all the advanced finance involved, I think that’s the number one thing that comes out of this. And I will sort of work with my government partners and advocate for that because I know the work is underway, but we just need to speed it up. And after that, I made a few commitments on some things that I know we can do. I could convene as I’ve done once before. I went for the restaurants and insurance, have the insurance people come in, the principal suppliers of this insurance and just say this isn’t good enough because it’s not. And they actually did respond before. But we can appoint somebody to the very first presentation inside the city because we haven’t traditionally had kind of a live theater opera office and have somebody focus on that, because we do have people focusing on music and film and but so, I mean, I’ve got the message. So I think about the number one thing I could do with my energy, and I think it’s true of my colleagues is get those guidelines, rules and I was just typing a request for somebody to send me from the hotel business of the applicable rules. And if it’s true of music and theater that are in place in our competitor cities because we need to know what what’s going on there, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. If there’s rules in place that are working in other places, well, then we can cut and paste. I have no shame in saying that even though we’re supposed to be the leaders in a place like Ontario. So those would be my comments. And I want to go back over. I’ve made extensive notes and I have been trying to answer some of these and I’m sure my colleagues have to.
Mayor John Tory [01:08:32] Thanks, Mayor. And the thing that’s so interesting to us, listening as you suggest, other cities, other competitor cities within Canada, but also in the United States. What are the measures? What can we learn? That’s part of what the CUI job is, is to make sure we’re learning from each other. The other thing that I’m really reminded, listening to the four sectors talking together, is how critically important the leadership of the BIA’s is in this topic because they hold the collective space. And this event wouldn’t have happened without the downtown young BIA leadership of Mark Garner and the Toronto Entertainment District BIA, which is Janice Solomon. So it was in fact, those two were working together from the outset on behalf of all these sectors, making point about why this these are these interlinked sectors are so critical. Adam, you weren’t there for most of it, but your colleague, Julie Dabrusin is what has been. So she’ll give you lots of notes. Minister Fortier has stayed with us. I’m wondering if either Minister Fortier or Adam have anything that they’d like to respond to, anything specifically by Minister Fortier for since you had the benefit of the hearing, the whole thing. Go ahead.
Minister Mona Fortier [01:09:33] Well, first, thank you very much for sharing all of your presentations. And I do want to say that I’ve asked to have a copy of those and will share with my colleagues. Thank you again for sharing the your thoughts and being very frank with us. And we will continue to work with you to make sure that we reopen the safe and right way. Thank you.
Mary W. Rowe [01:09:59] Adam, anything from you? Adam can’t hear you, Adam.
MP Adam Vaughan [01:10:09] Apologize, Minister McKenna was in town and we were on the waterfront. Will be happy. We were discussing the pending report on how to get the waterfront LRT built and also how to revitalize the business district along the waterfront as part of this conversation. So I couldn’t be in two spots at the same time. I’ll say this, and I hope I’m not repeating or duplicating many of the arguments to be made, but I think part of what we have to understand is that cities in particular, main streets and cities, rely on regional tourism as much as international tourism. And as we speak about recovery, a tourism strategy that gets Canadians back into cities and when they come when they stick in city. So it’s not just coming down for a meal or coming down for the show. We’re coming down to a theater, a gallery or to a hotel or what have you. It’s about reviving the main streets of our cities. And part of what has to be looked at is not just restructuring the hospitality sector and the and the regional tourism sector, but it’s also figuring out a way to animate the storefronts that are that are going to be punished, have had holes punched to them. And I think London, Ontario, has a really fascinating program that the city needs to look at because it tackles not just the challenge we have on Main Streets, but it’s also where the social housing is being built, in particular supportive housing for people. There’s ways of manufacturing multi dynamic storefronts without tearing buildings down that reinvigorate buildings. One of the strongest ways to do that is partnership with the cultural community, which is another sector, which, of course, is suffering under Covid, one of the last to reopen. So this is not just about the simple call for restructuring of the city’s tax base and the commercial tax base in particular. It’s not just about reviving the tourism in cities that comes from the regional areas, but it’s also making sure that those main streets restaged the services they provide to neighborhoods to make cities livable. All of those things have to happen. Otherwise our cities would call Inuit the way the American cities were in the 50s and 60s to a totally different set of pandemic’s, quite frankly. And so we have work to do here. There is there is there is no timeline on the horizon. But what we need is all three levels of government to understand that main streets are our main cities function. But there are also what make our main cities safe and livable for the people who reside there now. And so the time is now to get this work done. And we have no choice but to succeed.
Mary W. Rowe [01:12:30] Thanks, Adam. You’re singing the song. Certainly from our point of view, it bring back Main Street at CUI, our Council of Bradford. Anything to add in from your perspective?
Councillor Brad Bradford [01:12:40] Yeah, no, I would just say I appreciate the feedback throughout the pandemic, we have spent every Tuesday from three to five talking to our BIA’s, as you know, Mary, and I appreciate that that acknowledgment, the BIA have certainly been a champion holding space for our cultural sector, for our small business community. And as Adam was just saying there, these are the heart of our main streets. These are the heart of our neighborhoods. This is what makes Toronto so special. And our main streets are evolving. I think in the cultural sector in particular, we’re in a moment of change and transition throughout the hospitality sector. The world’s been shifting towards experience, space, hospitality, moving towards a gig economy. Social media continues to transform the way communities interact and participate in this sector. As the new chair of the Toronto Music Advisory Committee, I’ve had a great opportunity to work with Erin and Jesse. And again, just hearing from all this sector here, the need for clarity, the need for that roadmap and understanding how we’re going to move forward in the weeks and months ahead is going to be really, really important. But there’s just a tremendous amount of pent up demand here from Torontonians and from folks abroad. We compete in a national and an international economy for talent, for tourism, for dollars. And right now, Ontario and Toronto and different parts of Canada are performing arts sector. Our culture sector and our hospitality sector are on the back foot right now because they just don’t know where we’re going and how we’re going to get there. So we are taking notes. I know Mayor Tory was very engaged in the chat. Appreciate him bringing everyone here today for that feedback. And we’re going to keep working on this back over to you.
Mayor John Tory [01:14:11] All right, Mary, can I just mention one thing I did mention all the way through? It’s an omission. We have a big program ready to go on as a matter of pushing the button when the health service has. And it’s a combination of show love to you. It’s working with Destination Toronto. And the whole idea is to liven up the main streets and draw people there. It’s a kind of winter, delicious, summer, delicious thing. It’s got artists involved on the streets to liven them up. And we just didn’t want to obviously launch the thing before. We were certain that it was safe to do so and that we work on the backslide of some, God forbid, some further lockdown down. So that program is funded, it’s ready to go. It’s designed and it’s a matter of just pushing the button and the current attention. While I know people will roll their eyes and say, gosh, it seems so far away is to do it in early September on the basis that that’s a time when we’re pretty certain we’ll be into a stage four or five or whatever the number is. But that will be pretty much open again. And we can get people to come down there with too many limitations.
Mary W. Rowe [01:15:01] I was about to ask Julie Dabrusin to say something, but I think she had to log off. Julie, are you still there? I think she had to log off, so I appreciate the clarification you just provided. Go ahead, Adam. You’re going to say something more muted. Adam, Adam muted by.
MP Adam Vaughan [01:15:20] I think I’m good if September is sort of a point at which we’re all aiming, one of the most important events is 10 percent of all Toronto mentions in the media come directly from the film festival. They’re in a better competition right now with Venice. They need from us at the federal level, but also from the province in the city. But that is one of the major draws that that will revive and show that the gathering is safe again. And the film festival needs to be brought in on this very, very pronounced way and all orders of government to step up on that front.
Mayor John Tory [01:15:52] I will say on that Mary Rowe that I’m working with the province on that because what they need more so than money, I got to acknowledge they need a commitment to get back to the same thing on capacity because they will not get screenings if they’re going to be in front of two hundred people in Roy Thompson Hall. And so they need to know that they can have it isn’t an unreasonable number, but they need that. So we’re working hard on that. It’s a top priority of mine because I think Adam’s right. It’s a singular event that could kind of signal and bring some business to hotels that need some help at the border. Obviously, if the filmmakers are actors that are going to come in, they got to have they can be guaranteed here. And so that’s something that’s a very active file of mine. I just want people to know that I’m working personally on that a lot because it just has to get resolved.
Mary W. Rowe [01:16:30] Thanks, Mayor. Well, and again, I’m always just reminded when this group gets together what a force you all are collectively. I mean, really and a model in terms of what urban recovery has to look like. We have to start with your secretary. So appreciate that. We’ve had colleagues from the provincial and federal governments participating with us. I see that Edwin has suggested the next time this group gets together, it should be in person. I’m assuming that his offer that the role your co-host. Thanks very much, Edwin. We’ll be delighted to come. And let’s make sure that we, as I suggest, that we continue to coalesce this argument that you’re making and make the point that about why this has to be an integrated approach coordinated between all three orders of government, but also your sectors and all the particular things. So really rich conversation. Thanks, everyone, for joining us. We will certainly circulate the desk, the texts. We’ll have this recording available that we can share selectively and the chat and all the things that the people offered into that. So I just want to once again thank the BIA that took the lead on this, that the entertainment district and the downtown young and Ottawa his office, obviously. And then for us to have the representatives from the federal provincial governments really helpful. Thanks.
Mayor John Tory [01:17:33] Mary thank you to you. Didn’t thank yourself, but I’ll think.
Mary W. Rowe [01:17:36] Yeah. Well thank you always. I was glad to be of service and glad to have us together on such an important and passionate topic. So thanks everyone for taking the time. And as I always say, these conversations aren’t the end, they’re just the beginning. So you’ll be hearing from us again. Thanks, everybody.
Transcription de la salle de discussion
Note au lecteur : Les commentaires sur le chat ont été édités pour faciliter la lecture. Le texte n'a pas été modifié pour des raisons d'orthographe ou de grammaire. Pour toute question ou préoccupation, veuillez contacter email@example.com en mentionnant "Chat Comments" dans l'objet du message.
De l'Institut urbain du Canada : Vous trouverez les transcriptions et les enregistrements de la conférence d'aujourd'hui et de tous nos webinaires à l'adresse suivante : https://canurb.org/citytalk.
09:44:36 From Mary W Rowe : welcome everyone 🙂
09:45:39 From MPP Jill Andrew : Sending well wishes to everyone from our find riding of Toronto-St.Paul’s:) MPP Jill Andrew
09:45:50 From MPP Jill Andrew : *fine*
09:47:06 From T Taitt to All panelists : Back at you Jill. xo
09:50:28 From Mary W Rowe : folks make sure your comments are directed to Panelists and Attendees 🙂 so everyone benefits from your perspective —
09:51:41 From MARIA JOSE DIAZ GOMEZ to All panelists : Good morning, Can you please tell us the panelist name? Thanks
09:52:15 From Mary W Rowe to MARIA JOSE DIAZ GOMEZ and all panelists : Sheref Zabawy – PA to Minister Macleod
09:52:51 From MARIA JOSE DIAZ GOMEZ to All panelists : Thanks
09:53:17 From Farhan Kassam to All panelists : Thanks for doing this ,can we please get the links to these programs for tourism supports from Ontario please
09:55:14 From Mary W Rowe to Farhan Kassam and all panelists : farhan post those comments to Panelists and Everyone please
09:56:02 From Farhan Kassam : Hi all thanks for doing this, we are in the hotel industry in Toronto, when we look at Quebec they are providing low interest loans / grants to renovate and improve tourism facilities including hotels, why is Toronto and Ontario not mirroring this? While we are empty would make sense to improve our facilities with such a low cost loan or grant program
09:56:28 From Mary W Rowe to Farhan Kassam and all panelists : thx
09:57:09 From Farhan Kassam : Also can we please get the links to these 20K support programs available from Ontario , Thanks
10:02:52 From Farhan Kassam : What are the plans to promote tourism in toronto once border restrictions ease, For example in Portugal the govt is offering tourists who come in to the country 35Euros, approx 45 dollars funded by govt to spend on tourism when they submit there negative covid test to enter , what is Torontos plan to attract travellers when they are allowed to come to Canada, and can we do the same thing right now to promote other Ontarians, to come to Toronto hotels and tourism and restaurants that are open or opening soon, staycation campaign would be great to draw even Canadians to the city
10:03:26 From Torey Urquhart to All panelists : Thank you all for doing this, happy to be here.
10:04:29 From MHSTCI-Uppekha to All panelists : Ontario Support Programs: https://www.app.grants.gov.on.ca/msrf/#/ https://www.ontario.ca/page/businesses-get-help-covid-19-costs Tourism and Travel Small Business Support Grant: https://www.app.grants.gov.on.ca/otsb/#/ Ontario Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Grant Programs: http://www.mtc.gov.on.ca/en/awards_funding/funding.shtml
10:04:55 From Torey Urquhart to All panelists : question for Mona Fortier- how are we ensuring that this funding is accessible to volunteer-run initiatives in the arts that own a venue?
10:06:55 From Farhan Kassam to All panelists : Hi Mary you said someone posted the links but we cant see them in the chat?
10:07:25 From Canadian Urban Institute : Ontario Support Programs: https://www.app.grants.gov.on.ca/msrf/#/ https://www.ontario.ca/page/businesses-get-help-covid-19-costs Tourism and Travel Small Business Support Grant: https://www.app.grants.gov.on.ca/otsb/#/ Ontario Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Grant Programs: http://www.mtc.gov.on.ca/en/awards_funding/funding.shtml
10:07:44 From Torey Urquhart to All panelists : 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻
10:07:52 From Farhan Kassam to All panelists : Got it now thanks
10:11:01 From Torey Urquhart to All panelists : Geberal note: I am glad that these statistics are being included. I would like to posit that this does not include those of Live Arts Indie Venues across Canada and need to especially be included to better understand this return.
10:11:27 From Canadian Urban Institute : Reminding all to please change your chat settings to “all panelists and attendees” so that everyone can see your comments
10:11:35 From MPP Jill Andrew : Will the Ontario government confront the inadequacy of the Ontario Small Business Support Grant Program? Applicants – those few fortunate enough to receive it out of the thousands who have not – have routinely told us the funding is not enough relative to their debt due to pandemic loss. In the third round, it must provide more funding and the turnaround must be faster. Will the provincial govt address the gaps?
10:13:24 From Torey Urquhart to All panelists : ^agreed. Restaurants receiving the full $20,000 installment with a 70% drop in sales is not equivalent to Indie spaces being given $10,000 for a 95% drop in sales. Meanwhile we increase restaurants’ sales from 35-65%
10:13:51 From Alnoor Gulamani to All panelists : So tired of politicians just talking about how critical this sector is but offer no leadership on reopening. We need a clear reopening plan now .
10:15:34 From liza balkan : Thank you ,Ali. Thank you TAPA. Thank you.
10:15:50 From Diana Reitberger to All panelists : Bravo Ali!!!!
10:16:00 From Steven Smits : Thank you Ali and TAPA. Such an important message shared today.
10:16:39 From Régine Cadet to All panelists : Very well said Ali and TAPA! Thank you!
10:16:56 From Rebecca Campbell : Thank you Ali and thank you Jacoba and TAPA. So important.
10:17:14 From Régine Cadet : Very well said Ali and TAPA! Thank you!
10:17:25 From Janet Sellery to All panelists : TAPA and Ali – thanks for such an articulate and inspiring message!
10:17:49 From Isaac Thomas : Thanks Ali, Jacoba, and TAPA
10:18:33 From Alnoor Gulamani to All panelists : Our USA Hospitaliity competitors are way ahead of us as they have a reopening plan whilst we continue to face delays and decimation.
10:18:40 From Mimi Mok to All panelists : Thank you Ali, Jacoba, and TAPA – very important message to be shared today
10:18:55 From Alnoor Gulamani to All panelists : Great presentation Ali
10:19:08 From Torey Urquhart to All panelists : Thanks Ali Jacoba and TAPA!
10:19:38 From T Taitt : Theatre, dance, opera and live music are the heart and soul of any metropolis that considers itself an artistic hub. Thank you Jacoba, Ali, Jesse and Erin for your voices today.
10:20:39 From Torey Urquhart to All panelists : Only 50% of these loan-based programs (CEWS CEBA etc) were able to be accessed by Live Arts Indie Venues. Many had to go off of personal funds, fundraisers, and going under
10:21:08 From maxine bailey : Jacoba and Ali massive thanx for a great presentation. Those empty theatre pics are eerily haunting.
10:22:15 From lisa zbitnew to All panelists : Thanks Erin and Jesse. You represented our plight very well. Great presentation
10:22:26 From Torey Urquhart to All panelists : (apologies, not CEWS– typo)
10:23:45 From Canadian Urban Institute : Reminding all to please change your chat settings to “all panelists and attendees” so that everyone can see your comments. You can do so by clicking on the button that currently says “all panelists” and make the switch. Thanks!
10:23:59 From MPP Jill Andrew : Thank you TAPA and CLMA for your ongoing advocacy! I look forward to continuing our fight together as we work towards the solutions that are absolutely attainable!
10:24:14 From Debbie Hutchins : Thank you CLMA for your presentation.
10:24:16 From PA Sheref Sabawy to All panelists : Please share the slide decks if possible
10:24:26 From Torey Urquhart : this collaboration for dead is 100% inspiring! Live Arts indie theatre Venues have not seen the same and wish to. Open to the conversation.
10:24:31 From MPP Jill Andrew to All panelists : Thank you all – powerful and poignant!
10:24:36 From Torey Urquhart : debt**
10:26:15 From MPP Jill Andrew : We also cannot forget our art galleries and our museums that are equally crucial to our tourism, entertainment, culture and job creation and sustainability. CMOG which is a lifeline to our museums have not been increased in near 20 years! The Ontario government cannot leave them behind and like much of our live arts sector, our galleries and museums have been left behind. MPP Jill Andrew
10:27:12 From Mayor John Tory : Tom save time I will commit to having someone focus on theatre etc as we do with music and film, to see about the sectors here being included in our rapid testing program with BOT…most probably qualify and to convene a summit on insurance….those things for starters from Toronto. John
10:27:47 From Rebecca Campbell : Thank you Erin and Jesse. Extended infrastructure support will be key, espEcially in the predatory real estate climate that defines today’s Toronto. Affordable housing and venue support, as well as artist support INTO THE FUTURE will be the only way to maintain the street level economy that allows Toronto to call itself a cultural destination, let alone a liveable city… This is extrEmely time sensitive.
10:28:57 From Barry Hughson : Thank you Ali and TAPA. We are counting on our municipal, provincial and federal government partners to come together in ensuring that the arts can recover. We are employers, community builders, and economic contributors, and we are trying to be ready to do our part in support of broad recovery, but we must see a very different approach by government in supporting our recovery. We will not return with a flip of a switch, or a Friday announcement for a Monday reopening. We need time and clarity on a roadmap to reopening specific to our sector, and that plan needs to include sector leaders who understand how we work and what is needed. We all acknowledge the challenges of managing a public health crisis that is constantly changing, and we just want to see the kind of support and clarity that other sectors have received, including our friends in film and television and professional sport. Thank you for today’s conversation, and we stand ready to collaborate in finding solutions.
10:30:24 From Mary W Rowe : appreciate your comments and suggestions and questions to this chat thanks all
10:31:57 From Mayor John Tory : My plan with council approval would be to see a cafe TO program continued well beyond the recovery.
10:32:45 From Torey Urquhart to All panelists : @ Mr Tory thank you. Please be sure to include Live Arts Indie Venues in this summit for theatres
10:36:30 From Torey Urquhart : small businesses could NOT qualify for CEBA though– some were cut out
10:38:09 From Mayor John Tory : And I will be an advocate with my government partners on things like CEWS etc
10:38:10 From Chris Glaessel to All panelists : The reality is that vaccinations, physical distance, masking and all other personal hygiene practices offer only some individual protection; however, the scientific fact is still that the coronavirus and all its variants spread through the air we breathe. The same is true for all other current and future airborne diseases, like the flu etc. Hence, community spread in indoor spaces should be the highest priority in the effort to reopen all businesses that rely on social gatherings and in person contact.
There are highly effective, sustainable, new technologies out there that clean the indoor air of theatres, restaurants, hotels, elevators, schools, long-term care homes, public transport, offices and many more.
What are the efforts of all levels of government to assist the hardest hit businesses and institutions to afford the implementation of these preventive measures?
Here is an example: www.ozonos.ca and how it works explained here: https://youtu.be/V5b5xq5Wkrg
10:39:39 From Barry Hughson to All panelists : Mayor Tory – thank you for your leadership. Rapid testing will be critical to recovery for the performing arts, as we bring hundreds of performers together to return to live performance. This continues to be a significant and expensive challenge.
10:41:04 From Blythe Haynes : I hope that a Universal Basic Income is also part of that advocacy!
10:41:55 From Torey Urquhart : Mayor Tory: Many of these Live Arts Indie Venues are falling theough the cracks due to a lack of Capacity-based relief. Volunteer-run venues operate without salaried workers, and this is often a requirement. project funding restricts capacity funding, forcing many artists to do two jobs for the pay of one. These are also the community leaders bringing our wards out of the pandemic through pantries, hand-sanitizer manufscruring, and other alternative uses for soace at this time. When will capacity relief be given to ensure that rent is paid and these venues do not end up closed down? How are you ensuring that the money goes to these intended artistic purposes?
10:42:26 From Torey Urquhart : Same question would be to Mr. Bradford
10:42:56 From Jacoba Knaapen : Thank you Mayor Tory for commitment to focus on theatre, and to convene a discussion around insurance challenges.
10:44:02 From Rebecca Campbell : Yes. Thank you Mayor Tory.
10:44:06 From maxine bailey : Mayor Tory thank you for stepping forward with some immediate support. Small businesses like the Canadian Film Centre are struggling to decode and fund the various steps to reopening and conducting testing. Are there any plans to create a one-stop shopping portal to help small businesses?
10:45:02 From Rebecca Campbell : Beyond this crisis… Universal Basic Income is a truly humanitarian concept/solution!
10:45:37 From Mayor John Tory : Message received loud and clear that reopening guidelines and rules even tho possibly applicable down the road are needed now to,allow for lead time planning…whether a music act, a theatre performance or a meeting in a hotel” probably #1 need on a long list. Got it
10:46:07 From Farhan Kassam : What can the city do to better enforce that airbnb is not dipping into whatever hotel business there is in the City and even more so when we start to recover?
10:46:52 From Torey Urquhart : absolutely, thank you! Also, to clarify, I think that our request may fall outside of insurance discussion as many of these Indie venues function with fluctuating and sometimes nonexistent insurance policies
10:47:19 From Mona Fortier to All panelists : Thank you all for your presentations and highlighting the current needs for reopening. I unfortunately need to log off for another commitment. I appreciate hearing from everyone today. I will be sharing your presentations with my colleagues. And I know that MPs Julie Dabrusin and Adam Vaughan will also do the same. Thank you again for having me today. Merci.
10:47:42 From Julian Sleath to All panelists : Thanks everyone. I would also like to pick up on insurance cover for event & entertainment producers. Most insurance providers will not provide cover for further cancellations due to public health issues of staff or audiences. Other Govts ( mainly Europe ) are providing insurance supports – can we do the same here ?
10:47:42 From Tony Elenis to All panelists : 100%!!!!!! Delays are just adding more to the dismal results.
10:49:17 From MPP Jill Andrew : As always, I look forward to continuing to work with all of you to ensure our sectors survive and thrive long-term beyond pandemic recovery. I have appreciated our working relationship and will continue to work closely with and for you all. While we tackle recovery, the larger systemic issues including precarious income, misclassification of many of our cultural workers, and our ongoing need for more creative spaces in a city with outrageous costs cannot be ignored any longer by govt. They are all inextricably linked. Please keep in touch JAndrew-QP@ndp.on.ca. Thank you Mayor for this meeting and as you work with your governments, we welcome you to also work with your province’s opposition. Take care everyone, MPP Jill Andrew
10:49:22 From Edwin Frizzell : Thank you Mayor Tory…without a plan…we simply remain CLOSED and other cities are benefitting from our lack of clarity.
10:50:28 From Sherrie Johnson, Crow’s Theatre : Thank you Mayor Tory for listening and responding.
10:50:34 From Jacoba Knaapen : Bravo to Janice Solomon and Mark Garner!
10:51:59 From maxine bailey : Thank you Janice Solomon!
10:52:29 From Iris Nemani : Thank you Janice Solomon and Mark Garner!
10:52:48 From Chris Glaessel : Thank you Janice Solomon and thank you Mark!
10:53:49 From Claire Hopkiinson to All panelists : Thank you to all Mayor Tory, organizers and panelists and government representatives for engaging in this critical conversation today.
10:55:01 From Sherrie Johnson, Crow’s Theatre : Thank you BIA’s – Janice and Mark.
10:55:17 From Robert Sauvey to All panelists : Thank you Mayor Tory and all the panelists!
10:55:27 From Edwin Frizzell : Thank you for all of the support! Let’s commit to having the NEXT meeting on this topic IN PERSON with arts/live performance! We need to set an example and LEAD Toronto back to our rightful place in the Canadian Tourism landscape!
10:56:13 From liza balkan : Thank you, Janice Solomon and Mark Garner!
10:56:15 From Paulina Speltz to All panelists : What is this program called?
10:57:57 From Sherrie Johnson, Crow’s Theatre : Deeply appreciate all presenters, organizers, attendees and panelists participating today.
10:58:16 From Edwin Frizzell : Happy to host at Royal York!
10:58:46 From Torey Urquhart : Thank you all!
10:59:00 From Brad Bradford to All panelists : Thanks everyone
10:59:06 From Andrea Wasserman : Thank you to all
10:59:06 From Brad Bradford to All panelists : appreciate the feedback
10:59:08 From Laura Paduch : Thank you everyone for your time and thoughts
10:59:08 From Sherrie Johnson, Crow’s Theatre : Thank you Mary!!
10:59:11 From Blythe Haynes : Thanks all!