I hope everyone was able to get outside to enjoy some sunshine. I started my day today with an interview with CTV Morning Live, followed by meetings and city council. My colleagues and I received updates regarding the city’s response to COVID-19, updates from OPH and our current financial situation. Many thanks to our city staff that are working tirelessly to be sure that residents are well protected and have access to the services they need.
Kanata North Update:
- Many Kanata North neighbours are still available to help our community. I encourage you to share this with others who may need help. Over 210 neighbours are ready to assist with grocery pick up, medication retrieval and dropping off masks. Sign up here if you could use some extra help.
- The next episode from the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Engineering Make the Future Podcast was released yesterday. The podcast hosts many special guests and explores the innovation coming out of the Kanata North tech park. This is a great way to keep busy while at home. Tune in here.
- This morning, I had the pleasure of talking to Leslie Roberts on CTV Morning Live to discuss how the city’s Innovation Pilot Program (IPP) can help businesses return to work safely once restrictions are lifted. The city is looking for businesses to submit their technology innovations that will accelerate Ottawa’s ability to get the workforce back to work and safely resume business operations. Be sure to submit your proposals before May 20th at 4 p.m.
City of Ottawa/Ottawa Public Health Update (OPH):
These are the latest updates from the City of Ottawa and OPH:
- Today, OPH confirmed 15 new cases and tragically 4 new deaths. This means, there are currently 1,707 active cases and 182 deaths. This includes 21 ongoing outbreaks in institutions.
- OPH has expanded the criteria for those who should be tested for COVID-19 to include any Ottawa resident, of any age, who is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. Those who are experiencing symptoms can get tested at the COVID-19 Assessment Centre or Care Clinics. Common symptoms include:
- Difficulty Breathing.
- OPH provided an update regarding COVID-19 in Ottawa. Dr. Vera Etches shared that, compared to weeks prior, cases in the community and Long-Term Care Homes have been decreasing. In addition, OPH has seen a decrease in deaths this week. We are seeing stability in the number of outbreaks, as well as in new hospital admissions and ICU patients. While we are seeing the positive impacts of physical distancing, we must continue to see the lasting effects. You can read Dr. Etches’ presentation here.
- Council received an update about the city’s finances through COVID-19. With the loss of revenue and increased costs due to the pandemic, the property tax-supported component of the city’s budget ended the quarter with a $6.63-million deficit, while rate-supported services ended with an $876,000 deficit. Later this year, council will receive an update on the second quarter with forecasts for the remainder of the year. You can read the City Manager’s update here.
- The COVID-19 pandemic has created unique issues for services that support the city’s most vulnerable, specifically the housing and homelessness services. The Human Needs Task Force, including its 70 community partners, continues to work with other housing service providers to help identify safe and adequate housing and shelter options for individuals and families during this COVID-19 pandemic. At today’s City Council meeting, I moved a motion that directs staff to issue a Request For Offers (RFO) to look at the potential opportunity of buying or leasing a hotel or modular housing to help address the need for housing and shelter for the most vulnerable in our city. This RFO will allow council to better analyse all our options before deciding how best to proceed.
Here are the latest updates from the Provincial Government:
- Yesterday, the Ontario government extended the Declaration of Emergency to June 2. This will ensure the province has the necessary tools and health care capacity to further continue to contain COVID-19, while gradually reopening businesses, services, and amenities safely.
- The government also released the COVID-19 Response and Reforms to Modernize Ontario Act, which will help people conduct business while practicing physical distancing by:
- Providing authority to address in-person attendance rules for school board trustees’ meetings in regulation. This would provide the flexibility in certain emergency situations to allow trustees to meet virtually during school closures.
- Enabling corporations to call and hold meetings virtually, as applicable, and extending the time period in which annual meetings must be held in specific circumstances.
- Allowing designations of a beneficiary to be provided electronically for Retirement Savings Plans, Retirement Income Funds, Locked-in Retirement Accounts, Life Income Funds and Tax-Free Savings Accounts.
- Allowing electronic filing of business registration documents, and the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services to accept copies of business registration documents and e-signatures.
- Allowing for regulations to set out the parameters for remotely commissioning or notarizing a document.
- Extending, on a one-time basis for 2020, the legislated four-year period during which a Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) election is mandated to be held to give more time to support remote voting.
- To better support Long-Term Care Homes that have been hit hard through the pandemic, the provincial government has issued an emergency order that will allow the use of rapid management alternatives to protect residents and staff. These homes may require management assistance should they face challenges like a high number of cases among residents or staff, a high number of deaths, an outbreak that has not yet been resolved, significant staffing issues or outstanding requirements from infection prevention and control assessments. Additionally, Canadian Armed Forces have been deployed into five long-term care homes to provide support where significant staffing shortages are occurring.
- Today, the Ontario Government provided information regarding protecting Ontario’s Children. Recent reports have indicated that children may be at increase of multisystem inflammatory vasculitis. Currently, the link between COVID-19 and the inflammatory illness has not been confirmed, however the Ontario government is taking action to respond to the illness. Working with Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer, they are updating the case definition of COVID-19 to include multisystem inflammatory vasculitis as an atypical presentation in children. This will support clinicians in making clinical assessments of patients who may have symptoms, including some of the most vulnerable of patients, children. Parents should contact health provider immediately if their children are experiencing the following symptoms:
- Persistent fever.
- Abdominal pain.
- Gastrointestinal symptoms, such as: nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
- Effective today, the Ontario government is making prescription drugs more affordable through the COVID-19 pandemic. Those using the Ontario Drug Benefit program will not be required to pay any co-payment until July 1, 2020 any prescription of 30 days or more that is now being dispensed in installments. In addition, existing and new Trillium Drug Program households can apply for an income reassessment to help reduce the financial burden for families during the outbreak.
- To support people experiencing or at risk of sexual assault, gender-based violence and human trafficking during COVID-19, the government of Ontario is investing $1 million in new measures. This funding will help frontline agencies adapt to the new regulations and continue to deliver service. This is in addition to the $40 million relief fund for residential service providers and emergency funding for victim services the government has already provided.
Here are the latest updates from the Federal Government:
- Yesterday, Prime Minister Trudeau announced additional financial support for seniors through COVID-19. In addition to the previous support that was introduced in response to COVID-19, the government has committed to:
- Introducing a special one-time payment for those who receive OAS (top-up of $300) and GIS (top-up of $200), representing up to $500 tax-free to seniors that receive both.
- Supporting community-based projects to improve the quality of life of seniors by mitigating social isolation through the New Horizons Program.
- Ensuring the most vulnerable seniors continue to receive benefits by temporarily extending GIS and allowance payments if seniors’ 2019 income information has not been assessed.
- Last night, Health Canada announced that they have authorized the first serological test for COVID-19 antibodies. This step will assist the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force to safely detect antibodies specific to COVID-19 in an individual’s blood, better understand immunity against the virus, and how it spreads.
- Today, Prime Minister Trudeau announced how the nearly $1 billion Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) will be split between The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions, FedDev Ontario, FedNor, Western Economic Diversification Canada, and CanNor. The RRRF is a complementary funding option, for businesses and organizations that have not been able to secure funds from other federal support measures or are still experiencing cashflow issues despite having accessed other COVID-19 relief measures.
I thank you for your continued efforts to work through this pandemic. This isn’t easy, I know. However, our community is strong and here for you.
Please reach out if you need anything.