The City of Toronto and Toronto Public Health are working with the Province of Ontario and health sector and community partners to vaccinate people across Toronto as quickly as possible to stop the spread of COVID-19. As part of the City's efforts to ensure every resident in every corner of Toronto can access a vaccine, the City has released a call for proposals for $5.5 million in funding to Toronto’s community services sector who will act as local lead agencies for vaccination efforts across 140 neighbourhoods. This campaign is expected to play a significant role in Phase 2 and Phase 3 of the provincial vaccine process as vaccine supply increases.
Community-based not-for-profit organizations have an important role in building vaccine confidence and helping all Torontonians access vaccines. Building on Toronto's successful efforts to support testing in hard-hit neighbourhoods, this community mobilization and engagement campaign will be critical to ensuring vaccine access across the city.
Through the call for proposals, the City is asking for an expression of interest from agencies with capacity and readiness to undertake vaccine engagement work. Engagement lead agencies selected through the expression of interest will work collaboratively with the City and behavioural scientists to further develop coordinated engagement plans and address gaps in reaching communities hardest hit by COVID-19 and its variants. Plans will include door-to-door community vaccine outreach, multilingual communications to targeted populations and facilitating access vaccine clinics. The call for proposals is also tied to the recruitment of 280 community ambassadors announced last week.
The recruitment of engagement lead agencies is just one piece of the City’s Immunization Community Engagement & Mobilization Plan. The plan is comprehensive and founded on the social determinants of health such as race, income and food security, housing and disability, to drive targeted equity actions for the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. The plan builds on the work of the City’s COVID-19 Equity Action Plan, TO Supports, adopted by City Council in December 2020: http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2020.HL24.1.
The Government of Canada is responsible for obtaining the supply of COVID-19 vaccines; the Province has responsibility for distributing the vaccines and identifying priority groups established under the Province’s framework; and Toronto is responsible for supporting the administration of the vaccine in accordance with provincial prioritization and scheduling frameworks as vaccines are provided by the Province.
As Toronto awaits the rollout of mass immunization, to reduce and eliminate the transmission of COVID-19, protect the healthcare system and save lives, the City continues to urge all residents to stay home as much as possible to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Please review the City’s simple “Dos” and “Don’ts” guide for recommended and mandatory public health measures. The guide communicates some of what is and what is not permitted under provincial regulations and City bylaws. The guide can be found at https://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/covid-19-reopening-recovery-rebuild/covid-19-guide-for-toronto-residents-grey/.
“I want people in our city – in every part of our city – to get vaccinated because the sooner we are all vaccinated, the sooner we can move beyond this pandemic. The City's community mobilization vaccine campaign will bring together community-based not-for-profit organizations to help people in 140 neighbourhoods get vaccine information and get vaccinated. Every Toronto resident who wants a vaccine will get a vaccine and this campaign will help ensure that happens as quickly as possible as more and more vaccine arrives in our city.”
- Mayor John Tory
“Toronto’s robust, trusted community services sector is well integrated into the fabric of our neighbourhoods. By working with the sector’s established local resources, we can better address the specific needs of our diverse communities. Taking this approach means that critical vaccine information – including health considerations, safety details, vaccination schedules and vaccination sites – can be tailored to accommodate the unique attributes of each community, and delivered by familiar voices through existing channels.”
- Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson (Scarborough Centre), Chair of the Economic and Community Development Committee
“The largest vaccination campaign in our country's history will only be successful if every resident, no matter where they live, can access a COVID-19 vaccine. By working with trusted local community agencies, the City is partnering with local leaders who can conduct on-the-ground outreach and build awareness and understanding when it comes to vaccines. This is about building trust and meeting people where they are at – within their own communities.”
- Councillor Joe Cressy (Spadina-Fort York), Chair of the Board of Health