Kanata North COVID-19 Update April 24

Good evening Kanata North,  

It has certainly been a very busy week and I know it is hard to keep up with all the important developments happening daily. In this update I am providing the latest information regarding the COVID-19 response that you should know from this week, alongside answers to some of the most frequently asked questions that I know a lot of you might have.  

This weekend, I will be spending time with my family and hoping to enjoy the outdoors and get some yard work done. I hope everyone can spend some down time with their families and can connect using technology. Thank you, Kanata North, for being so generous and for continuing to follow the experts advice on physical distancing. 

Kanata North Update:  

  • On Wednesday, I celebrated Earth Day with Sharon Coward, Executive Director of EnviroCentre, on Facebook Live. We discussed tips to live a sustainable lifestyle and ways you can start today. You can watch our conversation here. Many thanks for all your participation. I hope you learnt something new and acquired a new habit. 
  • This week is national volunteer week. Thank you to the countless number of volunteers who have signed up and provided assistance to our neighbours. We couldn’t do this without you! 

Ottawa Public Health/City of Ottawa Update: 

Here are today’s updates and items you might have missed this week. 

  • Today, there are 57 new cases and tragically 7 new deaths. In total we now have 1,034 cases in Ottawa including 42 deaths. 11 per cent of cases have resulted in hospitalization, including 3 per cent in intensive care. 17 per cent of cases don’t have a travel history or known contact with someone with COVID-19.  
  • This week, Dr. Etches provided an update to City Council. You can watch her presentation here and the slides are here. The message from the experts is clear: staying home saves lives, and we are making progress, however, we must stay the course. 
  • The City Manager also 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. 

Provincial Update: 

Here’s the latest information you should know: 

  • The Ontario Government is partnering with the Federal Government to provide urgent relief for small businesses and landlords affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. This means that the new Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (OCECRA) would provide more than $900 million to help small businesses that are struggling and need assistance. 
  • The province is committing $241 million through the new Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (OCECRA).  
  • The Government of Canada and Ontario are investing up to $2.5 million to help the agri-food sector expand online, providing more opportunities for producers to grow their business and offer more choices for families shopping from home. There will be two funding streams:
    • Bring Your Business Online: Eligible organizations and businesses can apply for a grant of up to $5,000 to establish an online e-business and marketing presence. Funding under this stream will be quick and responsive for those needing immediate solutions. 
    • Develop Online Business Opportunities: Eligible organizations, businesses and collaborations can apply for cost-share funding of up to $75,000 to implement high-impact projects. 

Federal Update: 

Today the Federal Government provided these important updates:  

  • The Prime Minister announced that the Federal Government has reached an agreement in principle with all Provinces and Territories to implement the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses.  
  • This means that CECRA would help lower rent by 75 per cent for small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19.  
  • The program will provide forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50 per cent of three monthly rent payments that are payable by eligible small business tenants who are experiencing financial hardship during April, May, and June. 
  • The loans will be forgiven if the mortgaged property owner agrees to reduce the eligible small business tenants’ rent by at least 75 per cent for the three corresponding months under a rent forgiveness agreement, which will include a term not to evict the tenant while the agreement is in place. The small business tenant would cover the remainder, up to 25 per cent of the rent. 
  • Impacted small business tenants are businesses paying less than $50,000 per month in rent and who have temporarily ceased operations or have experienced at least a 70 per cent drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues. This support will also be available to non-profit and charitable organizations. 

FAQ’s: 

I know that there is a lot of information out there and it’s hard to keep track of the facts. Here are answers to some of the questions I have received from our community this week.  

Q: Can I use the South March Highlands? 

A: Yes. Earlier this week Forestry Services closed the community forests except for passage through on trails.  This means that you may hike, bike, or walk your dogs on the forest trials as long as you maintain physical distancing and do not congregate in groups.  Please note that the Ottawa Mountain Biking Association did indicate yesterday that the trails are closed to bikers, however, the city has confirmed that this is not the case.  

The following signage was installed this week: 

Forest signs-lr

Q: Is Ottawa Public Health supporting Long Term Care Homes and Resident Homes? 

A: Yes. To better protect residents living in Long Term Care Homes (LTC) and Retirement Homes (RT), OPH has been working with the Champlain Health Region Incident Command to develop and launch new teams that can provide greater supports to LTC and RHs in our region. These teams are comprised of hospital leads who can provide concrete assistance with staffing, clinical supports, and access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), as well as community paramedics who can provide support with testing and non-urgent medical care, and OPH staff who can provide overall outbreak and Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) guidance. 

These teams have already started working with the highest need LTC and RH facilities currently experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and will expand to other LTC and RHs over the coming days and weeks. Ottawa hospitals are mounting a significant effort to staff LTC homes and hospital staff are supporting these facilities, many of which are in outbreak. In addition to Ministry of Health guidance, OPH has, for some time, been instructing all LTC and RH with a positive or presumptive case to:  

  • Implement facility-wide outbreak management control measures and whole facility droplet precautions.  
  • Isolate all residents, including the closure of dining rooms and cancellation of all activities (meals to be provided in residents’ rooms).  
  • Ensure all staff wear PPE and take droplet / contact precautions in all residents’ rooms.  
  • Ensure staff work at only one (1) facility and wear PPE to avoid carrying the virus from one facility to another. 

Q: How is the Provincial Government supporting the most vulnerable? 

A: Premier Ford has announced that the province will invest $11 million to help the most vulnerable. The funds will go towards delivering meals, medicines and other essentials to those in need and doubling the Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) payments for six months. The province is working hard with the Ontario Community Support Association (OCSA) to launch a new Ontario Community Support Program to expand existing Meals on Wheels services to reach more residents across Ontario.  

The province is investing $40 million in the Residential Relief Fund to assist many organizations delivering social services to vulnerable people with COVID-related costs, such as the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) and enhanced staffing. In addition, the government is providing $148 million to municipal partners that administer social services to support the province’s most vulnerable as part of the province’s $200 million in social services relief funding in response to COVID-19. 

You can find more about Ontario’s supports here.  

Q: Where can I find information on essential businesses? 

A: You can find information on essential businesses that are permitted to be open here. The Ontario Government has extended the emergency order to at least May 6th to better protect residents. All non-essential businesses must remain closed until the emergency order is lifted. 

To ensure safety and property standards are being met, starting May 1, property maintenance and landscaping activities to address potential health, safety and sanitation issues will be deemed essential and therefore permitted. Landscaping and lawn care businesses that are providing services strictly for safety, security or sanitation purposes will be allowed effective May 1, 2020. These services include lawn cutting, hedge trimming, dethatching, rolling, clearing yard and garden of debris and aeration. In respect to Provincial regulations, all other activities, such as landscaping projects that are intended to beautify or are for aesthetics only, or that involve interlock, fences, decks, etc. will not be permitted until further notice from the Province. 

Q: How can I support local? 

A: There are many ways you can support local through the pandemic: 

  • To survive the pandemic, many local businesses have pivoted their operations, including shifting to online ordering, take-out, and curbside pickups. I’ve created lists on my website for you to #ShopLocal. I encourage you to support the businesses that are at the heart of our community. 
  • 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. 
  • Donate to the Kanata Food Cupboard. Demand for food security has increased in our community through the pandemic. You can support families in our community by donating funds online or food at local grocery stores or directly to the warehouse at 340 Legget Dr. 
  • Make masks that you can donate to those in need. A local volunteer has shared a pattern for you to try. I’m happy to collect and distribute masks that are made.  
  • The Kanata North Business Association has started a program to support local businesses, you can find more information about the program here. 
  • The Kanata Central Business Improvement Association has started a program to support local businesses, you can find more information here. 

Q: How is the Kanata North Business Association supporting the technology park? 

A:  The Kanata North Business Association has established the COVID-19 Response Program & Fund to support business resilience in Canada’s largest technology park. They will provide non-repayable $2,500 grants to qualifying commercial tenants. Apply here. 

 Q: When should I call bylaw regarding the new COVID-19 measures? 

A: Restrictions have been put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19 and discourage group gatherings. Please be sure to follow the new guidelines and call 3-1-1 to report the following: 

  • Gatherings of five or more individuals. 
  • People congregating in parks or using park facilities or equipment. 
  • Restaurants that continue to offer dine in services. 
  • Non-essential retail businesses that are continuing to operate. 

Q: What is the Human Needs Task Force doing to support the city? 

A: The Human Needs Task Force is hard at work protecting the city’s most vulnerable through the pandemic. They have established ways to provide essential services and supports while following the safety recommendations provided by OPH. Essential services include: 

  • Food security. 
  • Wellness checks. 
  • Support for rural and isolated seniors. 
  • Community and family shelters. 
  • Individuals experiencing homelessness. 
  • Screening controls in shelters. 
  • Basic support for homelessness. 
  • Financial support to individuals and families. 

Q: Should I be wearing a mask in public? 

A:  Residents can choose to wear fabric masks in public if they wish. Medical masks and N95 respirators should not be worn by healthy community members. OPH has updated their website with the latest information. I encourage everyone to read the latest information here. 

Q: Is there financial support available for students? 

A: Yes. 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.   

Q: Is there a role for innovative companies in the technology to play a role?  

A: 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. This week, 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.  

Q: Has the Federal Government provided any support for organizations?  

A: The Canadian Government announced additional funding to help the most vulnerable. The Emergency Community Support Fund will invest $350 million that will be available to charities and non-profit organizations that deliver essential services to those in need. The investment will be disbursed through national organizations that can get funds quickly to local organizations. It will support a variety of measures, such as: 

  • Increasing volunteer-based home deliveries of groceries and medications. 
  • Providing transportation services, like accompanying or driving seniors or persons with disabilities to appointments. 
  • Scaling up helplines that provide information and support. 
  • Helping vulnerable Canadians access government benefits. 
  • Providing training, supplies, and other required supports to volunteers so they can continue to make their invaluable contributions to the COVID-19 response. 
  • Replacing in-person, one-on-one contact and social gatherings with virtual contact through phone calls, texts, teleconferences, or the Internet. 

Q: What is the latest update from the city?  

A: Both Dr. Etches and the City Manager provided an update to all of Council. You can watch Dr. Etches’ 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 talked about 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. 

Q: Where can I find the latest information on Federal Supports? 

A: You can find the latest information on the Federal Government’s support on this website.  

Q: Where can I find the latest information on Provincial supports?  

A: You can find the latest information on the Provincial Government’s support on this website.  

I hope you find this information helpful. Please continue to follow the advice from experts on physical distancing.  

Stay safe Kanata North.