Connecting Partners for
COVID-19 Response and
Recovery

ABOUT

The City of Toronto is working with faculty and students from Toronto’s colleges and universities to solve innovation challenges by conducting coordinated and responsive research and development (R&D) activities in aid of COVID-19 response and recovery.

The following projects are underway or being explored by faculty and students from across the 8 Higher Education Institutions:

OCIP_Project_1
OCIP_Project_2
OCIP_Project_3
OCIP_Project_4
OCIP_Project_5
OCIP_Project_6
OCIP_Project_7
OCIP_Project_8
OCIP_Project_1

The association between socio-demographic characteristics and COVID-19 incidence and severity

Research Challenge

This project explores the socio-demographic characteristics of people with reported COVID-19 infection in Toronto that cannot be learned from data collected via routine case and contact investigations.

Individual-level, disaggregated data will be collected on race and ethnicity, income, newcomer status, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, employment, and other characteristics from a sample of COVID-19 cases.

This data can help pinpoint where inequities exist and to what extent, promoting a pandemic response and recovery that supports groups who may benefit from additional, focussed resources. It also can inform more effective health promotion and messaging about infection control, and a more equitable system of health and social services in general.

City Division Lead

Toronto Public Health

Partners

Ryerson University

OCIP_Project_2

Plausible Futures: What economic and labour market trends might the City see over the next three to five years?

Research Challenge

The City of Toronto, along with cities across Canada and the world, are grappling with the transformation that may occur as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many of the emerging trends are likely to continue past the COVID-19 era and likely to transform organizations, employees, workplace and their surroundings. Depending on the permanence of some of the changes we are seeing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are possible, probable and preferable futures over the next three to five years.

This research project will identify key trends and alternative scenarios that may impact and disrupt the Toronto to facilitate strategic conversations about potential interventions that may be needed related to employment, skills, sectors, and development.

City Division Lead

Economic Development and Culture

Partners

Ryerson University

OCIP_Project_3

Supply disruption risk for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) procurement

Research Challenge

Disruptions to the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) poses a serious risk. Ryerson University, the Schulich School of Business at York University, and the City partnered to enhance the City’s decision-making processes regarding PPE purchasing, consumption, and conservation, and to improve future decision-making with insights into best practices for forecasting, purchasing and internal demand management.

This project has been completed. It culminated in a report that found the City did well in PPE management during the sudden onset of COVID-19 and the subsequent disruption of PPE supply globally. The report offered insightful recommendations and enhancements to existing policies and procedures to even more effectively protect City employees and the public they serve.

City Division Lead

Office of Emergency Management

Partners

Ryerson University, York University

OCIP_Project_4

Low cost decontamination process for disposable N95 masks

Research Challenge

Conserving personal protective equipment (PPE) is a challenge for any organization.  The City of Toronto has developed an innovative solution to disinfect its important N95 masks to keep workers safe and healthy.  At the same time, Ryerson University’s FRAMES Lab has agreed to partner with the City to offer breathability and humidity testing in disinfected masks, in real time, so we can be sure workers are comfortable and effective in their PPE.

The project will embed Ryerson FRAMES Lab engineering researchers with City of Toronto staff to work side-by-side on disinfecting and testing N95 masks and potentially other pieces of PPE.

City Division Lead

Office of Emergency Management, Toronto Paramedic Services

Partners

Ryerson University

OCIP_Project_5

Digital Access: Who is underserved and why?

Research Challenge

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the City has taken steps to help ensure low-income communities can access the internet. Access to quality internet is crucial for residents to participate in online schooling and to access public health and other essential government services.

A better understanding of the digital divide is necessary to identify where resources are needed the most, and to help create longer-term solutions. This research project aims to use surveys and data analysis to help the City better understand which communities and demographics are underserved by digital infrastructure, and the reasons why they are underserved. Research analysis will include recommendations such as policy changes or investments that will improve digital access.

City Division Lead

Technology Services Division

Partners

Humber College, Ryerson University, Seneca College, University of Toronto, York University

OCIP_Project_6

Toronto Ambient Air Quality Impacts from COVID

Research Challenge

Air pollution and climate change are inextricably linked. This project will identify sources of air pollution within Toronto that may result from changes in transportation patterns, energy use, employment and industrial operations before, during, and after the pandemic.

This information will aid in the analysis of ongoing work being undertaken under TransformTO, the City’s Climate Change Action Plan, specifically as it pertains co-benefit analysis of air quality and resulting health impacts when undertaking greenhouse gas mitigation action.

City Division Lead

Environment and Energy Division

Partners

Ryerson University, University of Toronto

OCIP_Project_7

Telework Study – GHG Emission Impacts & Employee Performance

Research Challenge

COVID-19 has accelerated the adoption of teleworking practices in both the private and public sector across different industries. Many organizations will continue to implement teleworking post-pandemic and will be looking for guidance as teleworking represents a major potential cost reduction for employers and potential environmental benefits for cities.

This study will evaluate the GHG emission impacts of people working from home instead of at a commercial office/workplace. A major barrier to adopting teleworking practices in organizations is the lack of empirical data regarding employee performance. As such, employee performance while teleworking will also be evaluated as part of this study to increase the likelihood of achieving environmental benefits identified from teleworking.

The findings from the study will be communicated with recommended action to employers and other key stakeholders involved in teleworking to support effective teleworking practices and to ensure the persistence of environmental benefits such as GHG emission reduction in the long term.

City Division Lead

Environment and Energy Division

Partners

Ryerson University 

OCIP_Project_8

Innovations in Tax Filing

Research Challenge

On average, 15.9 per cent of working-age adults in Ontario do not file taxes and a third of social assistance recipients in Ontario do not file taxes. Seniors also face struggles with tax filing especially when transitioning from Ontario Works (OW)/ Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) to CPP/OAS/GIS.

By not filing their income taxes, vulnerable residents are not accessing lucrative income tax benefits and are also not able to access means-tested housing and child care fee subsidies as examples. As a result, this impedes economic and social objectives and creates challenges for a recovery from COVID-19 and with achieving the City of Toronto’s Poverty Reduction Strategy.

Jurisdictional scans, surveys, key informant interviews, and data analysis is being undertaken to better understand the gaps, barriers and challenges facing low-income Torontonians in filing taxes, and approaches that are working to improve tax filing in other jurisdictions. A findings report that includes recommendations to improve income tax filing rates in Toronto will be developed.

City Division Lead

Toronto Employment Social Services, & Senior Services and Long Term Care

Partners

Seneca College, Prosper Canada

THE GOAL

To help Ontario address COVID-19 by connecting private and public sector innovators to support local economic resilience, aiding in business restarting, pivoting and adaptation through R&D partnerships.

FEATURES

We are helping to support R&D partnerships by linking you with college and university faculty and students. We offer the ability to:

Engage students in projects that are relevant to their areas of study

Access faculty experts who will supervise students and help guide your project

Coordinate applications for R&D funding from our funding partners

THE PROCESS

Accessing faculty and students from colleges and universities is easy. We follow this simple process:

Process diagram

01

Register and submit your project

Start by registering on the site, and then
filling in this form to give us information
on your project.

02

Book a call with a representative
of our consortium.

This call will be attended by a college or university member. If your project requires funding the call may include one of our funding partners as part of our effort to fast track projects.

Book Call Diagram
Match Diagram

03

It’s a match!

If a match is made with faculty and students we will work with you to create a detailed project plan, statement of work and schedule. If your project requires funding and is eligible one or more of our funding partners will work with you to apply for this. Funding is used to hire students and obtain needed project material.

There are three ways to engage colleges and universities on R&D projects:

  • Fully funded by project requestor
  • Partially funded by project requestors leveraging government grants
  • No funding available and projects are
    put into courses for students to work on.

Partners and Collaborators

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George Brown Logo
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ryerson-Logo
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uoft-Logo
yorku-Logo
SOSCIP-Logo
oce-Logo
magnet-Logo
Mitacs-Logo
ecampus-logo
cityoftoronto-logo
ontario-Logo
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Partners and Collaborators

centennial-Logo
humber-Logo
ocadu-Logo
gbc-Logo
ryerson-Logo
seneca-Logo
uoft-Logo
ocadu-Logo
SOSCIP-Logo
oce-Logo
magnet-Logo
Mitacs-Logo
ecampus-logo
cityoftoronto-logo
ontario-Logo
govt-canada-logo