A motion to make 172 emergency shelter beds available to the city’s homeless on an interim basis is among 78 items on the agenda today as city council holds its monthly meeting.

The beds, which are spread across 18 facilities, are usually only made available when the city declares an extreme cold weather alert, but the motion before council would see them opened up permanently until a better solution can be found.

Anti-poverty activists have held protests at city hall and Metro Hall in recent months in an attempt to pressure the city into adding more shelter beds to its system.

For the full agenda follow this link.

The motion aims to bring the city’s shelter occupancy rate down to 90 per cent from 96 per cent.

The motion would also require Ombudsman Fiona Crean to conduct a “comprehensive investigation and review” of Toronto’s social housing system.

Change to freedom-of-information law

Meanwhile, city council is also expected to vote on a motion that would make councillor schedules and correspondence accessible through access to information requests.

The motion from Coun. Paula Fletcher calls for the province to make all records of city councillors subject to freedom of information laws, including schedules, work emails and communication with lobbyists.

Mayor Rob Ford’s records are already subject to freedom-of-information requests and in recent months several media organizations have used the law to gain access to his schedule, which he does not otherwise release.

“Unlike the mayor, city councillors cannot have their schedules, work emails or communications with lobbyists accessed through Freedom of Information requests,” the motion states. “Establishing clear, open municipal governments should be a priority for both Toronto and across Ontario. Residents should have the right to know who their elected representatives are meeting with and how they are spending their days.”

The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act is a provincial law and any changes made to it would affect elected officials across Ontario.

New condo advertising rules

Also on the agenda today, council is expected to vote on a motion that would ban condominium developers from advertising unapproved buildings without noting that city approval has not yet been granted.

The motion from Coun Josh Matlow would require that all advertising feature the words “application is subject to approval by the City of Toronto."

“At the beginning of the application review process, local residents are generally confronted with on-site, billboard, print and other advertising depicting a building that will be ‘coming soon’ with no mention of a municipal approval process, opportunity for citizen input or that the rendering can be altered,” the motion states. “In addition to the confusion created in the community, this misleading advertising suppresses local engagement by giving the impression that the application is a "done deal".

The motion calls for the message to take up 25 per cent of the advertisement.

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