Good evening Kanata North,
Today marked a first for City Council. For the first time ever, Ottawa City Council was held remotely to allow Councillors and staff to stay home and prevent the risk of spreading COVID-19. I hope you are all continuing to do your part to flatten the curve by staying home and practicing physical distancing.
Kanata North Update
- A number of individuals and businesses in the community have reached out with offers of donations of various types of masks and personal protective equipment. This is greatly appreciated. Please continue to reach out. The city is eager to receive these donations.
- The Ottawa Police have created a targeted proactive patrol initiative to increase officer presence in areas with high concentration of restaurants, small businesses, and manufacturing industries that are temporarily closed. The goal is to prevent crime and to keep our community safe. The Ottawa Police have also shared tips on how to increase the safety of your business.
- While it is important to get outdoors while practicing physical distancing, please stay off all park equipment until it is deemed safe to do so. This includes play structures, swings, slides, climbers, adult fitness stations, benches, and picnic tables. Park equipment is not being cleaned and could potentially spread COVID-19. Park equipment has surfaces that are touched frequently and are not safe to use at this time, causing an additional risk to our community. Please note that due to wet spring weather, fields may be damaged if used in their current condition.
- How are you #KickingCovidtotheCurb? One of my favourite ways is to stay active. There are so many small businesses providing virtual workouts to keep us active while we are staying home. Join Inner Revolution for yoga practices and online meditations. Similarly, Shelley Baran is providing residents access to Pilates classes online. Staying mentally and physically active during this time is important. Please remember to take time for yourselves, families, and friends.
- The Ottawa Public Library is offering free resources for you and your family. Isolation Recreation provides adults, teens and kids new content every day. From books, audio, movies and more you can find it all on their website.
- Please continue to reach out if you are in self isolation and need assistance. Your Kanata North neighbours are here to help with groceries, medication retrieval, or walking your pet. Reach out directly to me or sign up online.
Ottawa Public Health Update:
- Ottawa Public Health remains the best source for up-to-date information. Please visit their website should you have questions or concerns.
- The number of those infected continues to grow in Ottawa. Currently, Ottawa Public Health is investigating a total of 43 cases. Dr. Etches anticipates more cases as the virus continues to spread and more people get tested. There is evidence that COVID-19 is spreading throughout the community, making it more important to practice physical distancing and only going out for essentials.
- Dr. Etches provided a comprehensive update to Council. You can watch the presentation here and the slide presentations are available here.
City of Ottawa/Council Update
- Today, the City of Ottawa declared a State of Emergency in response to the increasing spread of COVID-19 in our communities. This declaration gives the city the tools needed to support the critical work of Ottawa Public Health, Community & Social services, and in particular enables the city’s procurement processes to be more nimble as we work to secure much needed masks and personal protective equipment. Please note that there is no change to current advice to residents or City Operations.
- Today, City Council approved a property-tax relief package for residents and small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Property owners will have a grace period until April 15th to pay their interim property tax bills without incurring a penalty. The 2020 Property Tax Hardship Deferral program was also approved today. This will assist qualifying residents as well as businesses that have an assessed property value of up to $7.5 million. The program extends both the interim property tax deadline and the final property tax deadline to October 30 and is available by application process, to be released soon.
- To provide relief to residents, the city will provide an interest-free 30-day grace period on all unpaid water bills issued before Wednesday, April 1. For water bills issued between April 1 and October 30, the city will grant a 30-day extension on the due date. These measures will provide residents 47 days to pay their bill. The city has extended suspension of all water service disconnections until October 30, 2020.
- The City Manager provided an update on its emergency response to date. You can watch this presentation here and you can follow along with these slides.
- The Ontario Government launched a toll-free line (1-888-444-3659) for businesses who have questions about the emergency order to close at-risk workplaces yesterday at 11:59 p.m. The Stop the Spread Business Information Line is available from Monday to Sunday, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Today, the Provincial Government had its Fall Economic Statement, which had significant investments to tackle the COVID-19 situation. It included the following $3.3 billion of additional resources for health care:
- $341 million for hospital capacity to increase assessments and treatment.
- $243 million for long-term care home emergency capacity and virus containment measures.
- $100 million more for public health.
- $170 million for community capacity, homecare and Telehealth Ontario.
- $62 million for health care workers in assessment centres, hospitals and the community.
- $75 million for personal protective equipment and critical medical supplies.
- Approximately $80 million for ambulance and paramedic services.
- Approximately $70 million for infection control measures in retirement homes, residential facilities and emergency shelters.
- An additional $1.2 billion to meet demand for services in the health and long-term care sector.
You can read more about these health investments here. The Provincial Government also made the following investments that are geared towards the economy:
- Families will receive a one-time payment of $200 per child up to 12 years of age, and $250 for those with special needs. This is to help for the extra costs associated with school and daycare closures.
- Proposing to double the Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) payment for low-income seniors for six months.
- There will be a proposed temporary increase to the Employer Health Tax (EHT) exemption, which is an investment of $355 million and applies to about 57,000 employers.
- Providing $9 million in direct support to families for their energy bills by expanding eligibility for the Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) and ensuring that their electricity and natural gas services are not disconnected for nonpayment during the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Providing emergency childcare options to support parents working on the front lines, such as health care workers, police officers, firefighters and correctional officers.
- Expanding access to the emergency assistance program administered by Ontario Works to provide financial support to people facing economic hardship.
- Enhancing funding by $148 million for charitable and non-profit social services organizations such as food banks, homeless shelters, churches and emergency services to improve their ability to respond to COVID-19.
- Providing six months of Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) loan and interest accrual relief for students.
- You can read more about these investments here.
Earlier this afternoon, the Federal Government’s bill implementing crucial investments needed to deal with the COVID-19 situation was passed. This bill includes the following investments:
- Introduce a Canada Emergency Response Benefit providing a benefit of $2,000 a month for up to 4 months to support workers who lose their income as of result of COVID-19. The benefit would cover Canadians who have lost their job, are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19, as well as working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or at home because of school and daycare closures. Additionally, workers who are still employed, but are not receiving income because of disruptions to their work situation related to COVID-19, would also qualify. This benefit is available to Canadian workers affected by the current situation whether or not they are eligible for Employment Insurance (EI).
- Increase the Canada Child Care Benefit by $300 per child for the 2019-2020 benefit year.
- Provide a special payment under the GST credit to low and modest income families.
- Reduce the minimum Registered Retirement Income withdrawal by 25 per cent for 2020.
- Provide a temporary wage subsidy for three months to eligible small employers.
- Pause repayments of Canada Student Loans for six months.
- $500 million to support Provinces and Territories in dealing with COVID-19.
- Ensure the availability of drugs and medical devices by providing the Government with the authority to make regulations to address any future shortages of therapeutic products, including drugs and medical devices. This would include allowing for drug patent overrides in health emergencies in the period up to September 30, 2020, and for the importation of drugs and medical devices not authorized for sale in Canada to address certain shortages, such as for personal protective equipment or drugs required to treat COVID-19.
- You can find more information on these investments here.
Additionally, today the Government announced that starting tonight travellers returning to Canada will be subject to a mandatory 14-day isolation. This is being done under the Quarantine Act to better protect the most vulnerable.
It’s been a busy day with important updates from all levels of government that are working hard to do everything they can to try and slow the spread of COVID-19. Tonight, Ottawa Public Health announced the first death in Ottawa due to COVID-19. This is heartbreaking news. The individual had no travel history. This is what happens when we do not take the advice from experts seriously. Please do your part by practicing physical distancing.
I have seen many great ways to #KickCovidtotheCurb, and on Friday at 10am join me on Facebook Live for a fun and interactive Civics class taught by yours truly! I will be discussing the importance of city government and the work the city does, as well as some fun facts about the City of Ottawa and our Kanata North community. I can’t wait for you and your children to tune in. More information is available here.
Hoping you are all well and stay healthy. We will get through this together. Please continue to reach out if you have any questions, concerns or need assistance. Your community is here to help.