I hope you all took time to enjoy the weekend! In addition to being your City Councillor, I also have the honour of chairing the Community and Protective Services Committee. The work of our Social Services team at the city and the Human Needs Task Force has been incredibly challenging. I continue to spend a fair amount of my time daily working with the Task Force and staff to ensure that the most vulnerable in our community are being taken of. I can’t thank staff and the many partner agencies and organizations across the city enough for the critical work they are doing.
Kanata North Update:
- The Kanata Rotary will continue to work hard to support Kanata organizations raising funds throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. An online program, Buy a Coffee and a Donut for Kanata Rotary, has been launched in replacement of the regular charitable events they host. All proceeds will be directed to local organizations.
- Thank you for #SupportingLocal. I know there is great interest in supporting our Kanata North small businesses. I have created a #SupportLocal page for you to easily access ways to help through these uncertain times. As the situation evolves, I will continue to update lists for your convenience.
- Celebrate Earth Day with Sharon Coward, Executive Director of EnviroCentre, and myself on April 22nd at 3 p.m. on Facebook Live. Grab the kids and join in as we discuss ways to live more environmentally friendly. We will share fun sustainability facts and more! Be sure to share ways you are battling climate change in the comments section to inspire your neighbours to do the same. We want to hear your feedback.
- With many of us getting outdoors to enjoy fresh air and exercise, we are experiencing a larger amount of traffic on our sidewalks and multi-use pathways. Through the pandemic, please maintain at least two metres of space between people to respect physical distancing. If you are a runner or cyclist coming up behind someone, in order to avoid surprise, I encourage you to announce your presence by using your bell or letting them know verbally if you need to pass them and indicate which direction you are coming from. Let’s keep our sidewalks safe for all to enjoy.
- I have received emails regarding concerns that there are full parking lots at various businesses in the Kanata North Technology Park. There are many essential services in the tech park, including critical telecommunications infrastructure and essential manufacturing activities. Additionally, some companies have pivoted their operations to support our country’s response to COVID-19. Please be mindful of the important work that is being accomplished right in our community.
- On a positive note, I am very happy to share the repaving of March Road will be starting in a few weeks, weather permitting. This is perfect timing, given the light traffic loads. I will share more details shortly to ensure you aware of the impacts and lane closures.
- Please note that tick season is well underway. The forests around the Beaver Pond and across Goulbourn Forced Road are home to ticks, as are many other areas. It is important that people wear proper clothing and do a body check after being outside. All clothing can be put in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes. There is no need to be afraid, just be aware and take precautions when outdoors.
- Many Kanata North residents have generously been donating hand-made masks to those in need throughout the pandemic. I wanted to give a special thank you to Monna-Leigh McElveny, who has now made a total of 390 masks. Most recently she made 75 masks for Metro employees.
City of Ottawa/Ottawa Public Health Update
Today, the City of Ottawa and Ottawa Public Health provided the following updates:
- Ottawa Public Health is reporting 857 cases, including 54 new cases. Sadly, there has been a total of 25 deaths in Ottawa, including two new deaths.
- Ottawa Public Health has expanded the criteria for those who need to be tested for COVID-19. Be sure to review the requirements before heading out to the Assessment Centre or try the online self-assessment tool. Those who are experiencing severe symptoms should call 9-1-1.
- Today, Mayor Jim Watson and I provided an update regarding the important work the Human Needs Taskforce is doing to support the most vulnerable in our city. The city has received $11.4 million in federal and provincial funding for initiatives to address homelessness and for community agencies that help at-risk residents respond to COVID-19. This is in addition to $1.75 million the city has already invested. The funds will be used for:
- $8.4 million to strengthen the response to homelessness initiatives. Funds will be distributed immediately to support emergency shelters; isolation centres and hotel rooms for self-isolation; and physical distancing centres and hotels for individuals and families experiencing homelessness. It will also fund housing and homelessness outreach, basic needs and day programs.
- The remaining $3 million will go to community agencies supporting at-risk residents in response to the pandemic.
- Essential services that are providing services and support for the most vulnerable can apply for funding starting today until April 27th. Non-profit organizations are divided into two categories:
- Homelessness service providers and Residential Services Homes that serve individuals and families at risk of or experiencing homelessness.
- Agencies that provide essential services and supports to other at-risk residents and communities during the pandemic.
- Please note that through the pandemic, household hazardous waste dates are postponed. Please do not place hazardous waste for curbside collection. City staff will advise when services are back in operation.
Today, the Government of Ontario shared these updates:
- The Ontario government has announced a $20 million investment to advance medical research and develop tools and resources to combat COVID-19 through the Ontario COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund. The government is calling all research and scientific institutions to develop innovative solutions to fight and track COVID-19. Ontario researchers are encouraged to submit proposals through the new Ontario Together website. The portal includes an option for research institutions, in addition to individuals, corporations and other entities, to provide feedback regarding how to innovatively improve Ontario’s response to the pandemic. Research submissions through the Ontario Together portal will be accepted until April 24, 2020.
- Today, the Ontario Government provided an update to their Provincial wide modeling. The modeling reflected that measures like staying home and practicing physical distancing are working to contain the spread of COVID-19 to flatten the curve. While this is positive news, we must, especially in Ottawa, continue to practice physical distancing and follow the advice from Ottawa Public Health.
- The Chief Medical Officer of Health says emergency measures must remain in place to continue reducing the number of cases and deaths. Key highlights from the modelling update include:
- Outbreaks in long-term care and congregate settings continue to be a major concern. Concerted actions are underway to protect vulnerable people in these settings.
- Ontario is now trending toward a best-case scenario rather than a worst–case scenario and has significantly improved its standing as compared to the March modelling.
- The province has avoided a significant surge in cases. Total cumulative cases are forecast to be substantially lower than worst case or even moderate case scenarios projected by previous models.
- While several hundred new cases are identified daily in Ontario, hospitals across the province have not been overwhelmed by the COVID-19 outbreak as a result of capacity planning and the public health measures currently in place. The rate of growth day-over-day is declining.
- To further reduce the number of cases and deaths, it remains critical that Ontarians continue to adhere to public health measures, including staying home and practicing physical distancing if they must go out for essential reasons only.
The Federal Government provided the following updates:
- Today, the Prime Minister spoke about the senseless tragedy that occurred last night in Nova Scotia. His speech touched on the selfless sacrifices that first responders make across our country. Without hesitation, they run towards danger to protect us, and last night was a painful reminder of this bravery and the sacrifices they and their families make for our communities. Sadly, because of COVID-19 these families will not be able to mourn together. However, there will be a virtual celebration of the lives of the victims at 7 p.m. on Friday through the Facebook group “Colchester Supporting our Community“. Our city has lowered its flags to half-mast in honour of the victims and my heart goes out to all families and loved ones affected by this tragedy. I will be hugging my girls a little tighter tonight. You can watch the remarks here.
- The Federal Government announced that they will be providing up to $306.8 million in funding to support Indigenous businesses and ensure business owners have access to the support they need to get through this crisis. It is estimated that 6,000 Indigenous-owned businesses will benefit from this funding.
- To better enable businesses and organizations that would like to share their pandemic-related good practices and resources, The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) has created an online space, Pandemic Info Share. The portal is being launched with hopes that the information will be helpful when employers are developing their own plans to operate safely through the pandemic.
- Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is available for those who have lost employment due to the coronavirus. The eligibility has been altered to help more Canadians. You can apply here.
Thank you for your continued efforts to stay home as we slow the spread of COVID-19, Kanata North! We will get through this together. Please reach out if there anything you need.
Stay safe. Stay home.