Today was an incredibly busy day with lots of important updates and work. At council we heard about the latest updates regarding the COVID-19 situation, the impact that it is having across our city and some of the tough decisions that are coming. This will not be easy. However, I believe that our community is positioned to be able to play a leading role in this. Local innovation could be the key to our economic recovery. This is why I directed staff to explore issuing a challenge to the local technology community to bring forward innovations and solutions that would support the city’s recovery efforts. We have the biggest tech park right here in our community and I know our innovation can have a positive impact not just here in our city but across Canada.
Today is also very important because it is Earth Day. We’ve made tremendous progress on being more mindful about our impact on our environment around us. However, we must do more, and we must do it quickly. That’s why I was thrilled to be able to join EnviroCentre today to talk about how we can have a positive impact. I encourage you to tune in and hear our discussion.
Kanata North Update:
- Street sweepers will be in our community over the next few days. If possible, please move objects such as vehicles, garbage bins, and basketball nets away from the curb to provide the crews easy access to clean our streets.
- How are you keeping busy? I know that after a lengthy amount of time it can be difficult to come up with new ideas. Continue to share how you’re #KickingCovidtotheCurb to inspire others to keep busy at home.
- Earlier today, I spoke with EnviroCentre’s Executive Director, Sharon Coward, to celebrate Earth Day. We discussed tips to live a sustainable lifestyle and ways you can start today. You can watch the entire conversation here. I also launched a fun interactive quiz that can be found here, use code 278311 to join. Many thanks for all your participation. I hope you learnt something new!
Ottawa Public Health/City of Ottawa Update:
Earlier today, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) and the City of Ottawa shared the following updates.
- Today, there are 44 new cases and tragically 7 individuals have passed. This brings the total number of cases to 943 and total number of deaths in Ottawa to 32.
- OPH confirmed that an employee at the Long-Term Care home Gary J. Armstrong tested positive for COVID-19. The employee has been in self-isolation since their last shift on April 18. OPH is working closely with the centre’s staff on testing any residents or employees in the home. Additional preventative measures have been implemented to protect residents and workers.
- Today, Dr. Etches provided the latest update on the COVID-19 work that has been done to date. You can watch her presentation here and the slides are here. The information is clear from the experts: staying home saves lives, and we are making progress, however, we must stay the course.
- The City Manager provided an update on the important work that the city is undertaking to respond to the current COVID-19 emergency but also position itself to effectively be ready for focusing on the recovery challenges. You can watch his presentation here along with the slides here.
- Local innovation could be key to our economic recovery. There will be many challenges our city will face as we recover from the economic impacts caused by COVID-19. We are fortunate in Ottawa, and specifically Kanata North, to have many technology companies and thousands of high-tech workers that are well positioned to develop the necessary innovative solutions to assist in the economic recovery from this pandemic. Today at city council, I directed staff to explore issuing a challenge to the local technology community to bring forward innovations and solutions that would support the city’s recovery effort.
- Tomorrow, on April 23, Trail Road Waste Facility is reopening to the public. The facility will be open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday to Friday. To protect residents and staff, additional safety measures have been put in place, including an intercom system, an outdoor payment terminal, and signs about physical distancing. Please sort your materials in advance as sorting will not be allowed onsite.
- I know many of you have had questions regarding masks and the latest guidance on their use. OPH has updated their website with the latest information. I encourage everyone to read the latest information here.
- To ensure better understanding and be inclusive to all languages, city staff have created a pictogram to communicate messaging regarding park closures. The graphic will be used in city’s social messaging as well as provided to the Human Needs Task Force, who will distribute and communicate the pictogram to community groups, resources, and partners, to share with the broader community.
Here’s the latest update provided by the Ontario Government:
- To better protect residents and staff at long-term care homes, the Ontario government has introduced more aggressive testing, screening and surveillance, deployed specialized teams from hospitals, public health and the home care sector, recruited additional frontline staff, and increased personal protective equipment. The Action Plan that was announced earlier this week will support long-term care homes through the following actions:
- Assisting 20 long-term care homes, which were previously experiencing outbreaks, to become now outbreak-free.
- Increasing testing on both symptomatic and asymptomatic staff and residents. To date, approximately 11,600 tests have been completed amongst residents in long-term care.
- Conducting additional testing of asymptomatic residents and staff outside of the testing guidance at 21 long-term care homes, to help understand the spread of the virus.
- Setting up a 24/7 Long-Term Care COVID-19 Response Team, which has already helped more than 30 homes by putting in place infection control protocols, resolving staffing issues, and fulfilling personal protective equipment needs.
- Launching 31 Infection Prevention and Control interventions, which are currently in progress, with six assessments already completed.
- Continuing to identify critical 24, 48, and 72-hour help that homes need by matching qualified people and volunteers who can help with duties, including nursing support and cleaning.
- Responding to every escalated request for personal protective equipment from long-term care homes within 24 hours through the following measures:
- A four-step process is in place to ensure an optimized regional distribution and redistribution when supplies are urgently needed.
- Critical supply needs are escalated for provincial action.
- Daily distribution of supply from provincial warehouses to regional sites.
- Daily monitoring of and reporting against performance target of 100 per cent of critical need requests being shipped within 24 hours.
- Working with hospitals across the province to deploy additional staffing and infection prevention controls in long-term care homes including the Ottawa Hospital.
- Providing over 400 job matches for long-term care homes through the province’s Health Workforce Matching Portal, with over half of Ontario’s long-term care homes now using the portal.
The Government of Canada provided the following update:
- The Canadian Government released a plan to help students and new graduates by providing financial support. Close to $9 billion in funding will be available for post-secondary students and recent graduates. The measures include:
- The proposed Canada Emergency Student Benefit available from May to August, which would provide support to students and new graduates who are not eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. This benefit would provide $1,250 per month for eligible students or $1,750 per month for eligible students with dependents or disabilities.
- The new Canada Student Service Grant, which will help students gain valuable work experience and skills while they help their communities during the COVID‑19 pandemic. For students who choose to do national service and serve their communities, the new Canada Student Service Grant will provide up to $5,000 for their education in the fall.
- To help students find employment, the Government of Canada will expand existing federal employment, skills development, and youth programming to create up to 116,000 jobs, placements, and other training opportunities. This would allow students to have employment and develop valuable skills this summer and over the coming months. In addition, to ensure students can continue their studies in the fall, the government will:
- Double the Canada Student Grants for all eligible full-time students to up to $6,000 and up to $3,600 for part-time students in 2020-2021.The Canada Student Grants for Students with Permanent Disabilities and Students with Dependents would also be doubled.
- Increase eligibility for student financial assistance by removing the expected student’s and spouse’s contributions in 2020-2021, in recognition that many students and families will struggle to save for school this year.
- Enhance the Canada Student Loans Program by raising the maximum weekly amount that can be provided to a student in 2020-2021 from $210 to $350.
- Increase existing distinctions-based support for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation students pursuing post-secondary education by providing an additional $75.2 million in 2020-21.
- Extend expiring federal graduate research scholarships and postdoctoral fellowships, and supplement existing federal research grants, to support students and post-doctoral fellows, by providing $291.6 million to the federal granting councils. In addition, the government intends to enhance work opportunities for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows through the National Research Council of Canada.
Thank you to everyone in our community who has continued to practice self-isolation when required and physical distancing. I know this is not easy but we will get through this if we all pull together and keep following the experts’ advice.