Good evening Kanata North,
We are now nearing the end of the third month of the COVID-19 pandemic and are now increasingly starting to focus on the recovery phase of the response. Reopening the economy is only one piece of this process and we must do so in a responsible way. This is why I’m happy to see collaboration between city staff, Ottawa Public Health, and so many community organizations. We must all work together and have reopening plans that can adjust quickly to changing conditions and meet the needs of the community while following the guidelines provided by Ottawa Public Health.
As we go into the weekend, it’s important to remember that even as we enter the recovery phase of the pandemic, COVID-19 is still in our community. We still need to practice physical distancing, wear a non-medical mask when we can’t maintain a two-metre distance from others, and adhere to Ottawa Public Health guidelines. We need to continue to build on the progress we have made.
Kanata North Update
- We are so fortunate to live in a community that cares so much for each other. Over 200 Kanata North neighbours have signed up to help anyone in our community in need. Should you need assistance with grocery and medication pick up, or needing a cloth mask, please sign up for my assistance program here.
- Many thanks to fellow City Councillor Laura Dudas for inviting me to speak at the United Way Community Response Table this morning. Great to hear about all the collaboration and work going on by many organizations in our city as they support the most vulnerable in our city during these challenging times.
- The COVID-19 pandemic can be challenging for many. It’s normal to have additional stress and anxiety through these unprecedented times. Please remember that it’s okay not to be okay. There are many local resources available to you. I have summarized a list on my website here.
- It has been great to witness our community come together (while staying apart) through the COVID-19 pandemic. I have seen so many of you #KickCOVIDtotheCurb while putting a smile on someone’s face. From painting fun rocks and hiding them around the neighbourhood, to flying the Canadian flag, to car parades; I love seeing creative ways to show we are all in this together. Keep sharing how you are inspiring your neighbours!
City of Ottawa/Ottawa Public Health (OPH) Update
- Today, OPH reported seven new cases and no deaths. This brings the cumulative total of cases to 1,937 and 240 deaths.
- Ottawa Public Library will be starting curbside pickup and returns at six branches, including the Beaverbrook Branch, in the coming weeks as a first step to reopening the library. Starting June 9, residents can begin returning books Monday-Saturday during opening hours. All book drops remain closed. Starting June 15, curbside pickup of available holds begins by appointment. You can find library hours and more details here.
- There is no doubt that COVID-19 has created economic uncertainty for our city. Yesterday at City Council, Mayor Watson moved a motion to support the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the Association of Municipalities of Ontario in lobbying higher levels of government for emergency operating funding for the city. You can read Mayor Watson’s OP-ED in the Ottawa Citizen here.
- Working closely with OPH, OC Transpo has released their Transit Service Recovery Plan in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The focus of the plan is the safety of staff and customers. The four–step plan includes:
- Step 1: The current modified service will continue until June 27. Adjustments will continue to be made to enable social distancing.
- Step 2: Starting June 15, staff and customers will be required to wear masks on buses, trains, Para Transpo minibuses and contracted taxis, as well as anyone in a transit station. Front door boarding on buses will resume, barrier shields will be in place for operator cabs, hand sanitizer will be available at most stations, and enhanced cleaning will continue.
- Step 3: Summer service starts on June 28, with all routes back in service. School services will not operate. Bus stop reassignments for Blair and Place d’Orleans will be made. The Customer Service Centre at the Rideau Centre will open, when possible.
- Step 4: Fall service will begin on August 30 to correspond with the start of the school year. Service frequencies will be similar to pre-COVID-19 service on most routes. School service will operate starting August 31, depending on school timing decisions made by the Province. OC Transpo will plan for additional capacity to be available on standby for busy bus routes.
- OPH has launched a new Ottawa COVID-19 Dashboard that provides information about the impact of the pandemic in our city. This information shows the indicators for local monitoring and informing re-opening decisions. The Ottawa COVID-19 dashboard includes four sections:
- Virus Spread and Containment.
- Health Care System Capacity.
- Public Health.
- Testing and Tracking.
- OPH is providing an infographic to help residents reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. As the economy begins to open, we must remember that most of us remain susceptible to the virus. This is not the time to ease up on measures we have been taking to get us this far. Please continue to:
- Maintain a physical distance of two metres from others.
- Monitor your health and watch for COVID-19 symptoms.
- Wash your hands regularly.
- Do not in gather in groups larger than five.
- Wear a cloth mask when physical distancing is impossible.
Provincial Government Update
- The Ontario government has announced that all emergency orders will be extended until June 9, 2020. The closures will include outdoor playgrounds, play structures and equipment, public swimming pools and outdoor water facilities, as well as bars and restaurants except for takeout and delivery. Additionally, there continues to be restrictions on social gatherings of limiting them to no more than five people (unless it is one household), and staff redeployment rules remain in place for long-term care homes and congregate settings like retirement homes and women’s shelters.
- Following the findings outlined by the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), the Ontario government announced that they will be taking immediate action at high-risk long-term care homes. Care inspection teams have been deployed to conduct comprehensive, detailed inspections at high-risk long-term care homes over the next 21 days. The process of appointing new temporary management at five care homes has started. In addition, the recently announced independent commission into Ontario’s long-term care system will now begin its work in July 2020.
- Premier Ford announced that six homes will be investigated by long-term care inspectors including those identified in the CAF reports. Results of these and all other inspections will be posted publicly on the Ministry of Long-Term Care’s website. Their inspections will include:
- Record and chart reviews.
- In-depth interviews with staff and residents.
- Observations in order to determine the extent of the issues.
- Yesterday, the Ontario government announced further support for seniors in Long-Term Care Homes by extending the mandate of the Incident Management System (IMS) Long-Term Care Table. This team will be composed of health care professionals who will help make immediate decisions to deal with issues related to staffing levels, infection management and resources during the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Support for Ontario landlords and tenants is now available. The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) is support provided by the provincial and federal governments. Commercial landlords can now apply for rental assistance to help their small businesses tenants impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The province is investing $241 million in the program, which will provide more than $900 million in support for small businesses. Find out how much rent support you may be eligible for here.
- The government of Ontario is expanding COVID-19 testing across the province. This next phase of the COVID-19 testing strategy is to detect and quickly stop the spread of the virus. Testing will now be available to more people in more locations across the province. There are three branches included in this step of the Protecting Ontarians Through Enhanced Testing, which include:
- Assessment Centre Testing: expanding who gets tested to now include asymptomatic individuals concerned about exposure.
- Targeted Campaigns: detecting and containing cases by expanding asymptomatic surveillance for vulnerable populations, as well as targeted testing of workplaces in priority sectors which work with priority populations and where it may be difficult to physically distance.
- Outbreak Management: testing to ensure rapid and agile response capacity for outbreak management, including in specific neighbourhoods and regions or at hospitals, institutions and workplaces.
- The province expects that private-sector workplace testing will influence private and public resources as the government works with private-sector employers to develop the appropriate models for each sector and workplace. Additionally, the province is also developing agile testing resources, such as mobile testing teams that can be deployed to communities across Ontario to enhance existing outbreak management.
Federal Government Update
- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, and the Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness met this week with world leaders and international organizations in a joint initiative to sharpen and accelerate our global response to the significant economic and human impacts of COVID-19, and advance concrete solutions to the development emergency. The meeting covered six areas of recovery, including:
- The need to expand liquidity in the global economy and maintain financial stability to safeguard development gains.
- The need to address debt vulnerabilities for all developing countries to save lives and livelihoods for billions of people around the world.
- The need to create a space in which private sector creditors can proactively engage in effective and timely solutions.
- Prerequisites for enhancing external finance and remittances for inclusive growth and creating jobs.
- Measures to expand fiscal space and foster domestic resource mobilization by preventing illicit financial flows.
- Ensuring a sustainable and inclusive recovery by aligning recovery policies with the Sustainable Development Goals.
- The outcomes of the High-Level Event include the formation of six discussions groups, a collaborative effort that aims at providing concrete proposals by mid-July.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) numbers show that the COVID-19 pandemic have claimed 340,000 lives, with more than 5.4 million cases globally. Unless we act now, UN projections indicate that the pandemic could slash nearly $8.5US trillion from the global economy over the next two years, forcing 34.3 million people into extreme poverty this year, and potentially, an additional 130 million people during this decade.
- The Canadian government wants your feedback regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. They are seeking your input on your trust levels of the government, businesses, and in fellow citizens, and on their views regarding the reopening of workplaces and public spaces. This information will be used to plan and deliver health and social services and economic support during and after the pandemic. Your information may also be used by Statistics Canada for other statistical and research purposes. Participate in the survey here.
- The federal government is working hard to create a data-sharing platform for provinces to quickly identify, and then isolate, this virus. Yesterday, the First Ministers were briefed on the work being done by the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force, which will coordinate blood test surveys across Canada.
- Today, Prime Minister Trudeau announced that the Canadian government will be investing $650 million to support Indigenous communities on healthcare, income support, and new shelters for women. This funding includes:
- $285.1 million to support the ongoing public health response to COVID-19 in Indigenous communities. The investment will fund community-led responses to the pandemic and provide targeted increases in primary health care resources for First Nations communities.
- $270 million to supplement the On-Reserve Income Assistance Program to address increased demand on the program, which will help individuals and families meet their essential living expenses. It will also help hire additional staff to better serve First Nations communities and connect individuals to other government programs.
- $44.8 million over five years to build 12 new shelters, which will help protect and support Indigenous women and girls experiencing and fleeing violence. The government will also provide $40.8 million to support operational costs for these new shelters over the first five years, and $10.2 million annually ongoing. We are also announcing $1 million a year ongoing, starting this year, to support engagement with Métis leaders and service providers on shelter provision and community-led violence prevention projects for Métis women, girls, and LGBTQ and two-spirit people.
- In addition, to help stop the spread of COVID-19, the federal government announced that large cruise ships will not be allowed in Canadian waters until at least October 31st. This extends the prohibition made in March, which was taken to protect coastal communities.
No doubt, our lives have changed from this. I commend so many for making adjustments in their daily lives and businesses. We are a strong community. We will get through this by following the restrictions provided by the provincial order and Ottawa Public Health.
Stay safe Kanata North and enjoy your weekend.