Good evening Kanata North,
I wanted to start today‘s update by recognizing the devastating events that are happening in the world. Racism is real. It is present within our city, and there is no room for it. We must recognize these issues and work together to end racism. Today, at the Finance and Economic Development Committee, we received an update on the city‘s efforts to support racialized communities and address systemic racism in Ottawa. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Human Needs Task Force has been supporting racialized communities and applying an equity and inclusion lens to all its activities. The city plans to hire an anti-racism specialist in the coming weeks and build an Anti-Racism Secretariat. Today, the Committee also approved appointing Councillor Rawlson King as Council Liaison for Anti-Racism and Ethnocultural Relations Initiatives. I look forward to working with my colleagues to make Ottawa an inclusive place for all.
Kanata North is a strong and diverse community. I have seen many acts of kindness throughout the pandemic. This is a time to pull together to ensure that all our neighbours, no matter what race, know that we are here for each other; now through the COVID-19 pandemic, and past this as we overcome hate and racism.
Kanata North Update
- I know many seniors depend on the Kanata Seniors Centre for regular activities. Understanding the need for maintaining programming, the Kanata Seniors Centre has pivoted their operations to develop interactive, online activities. You can find the recorded videos here for the community to enjoy.
- Many Kanata North residents have graciously been making cloth masks for our community. To be able to continue to make these masks, the volunteers are asking for your help with donations of materials and elastics. You can contact me directly if you have materials to donate.
City of Ottawa/Ottawa Public Health (OPH) Update
Here are the latest updates from the City of Ottawa and OPH:
- Today, OPH reported seven new cases and tragically four deaths. This brings the cumulative total of cases to 1,969 and 248 deaths.
- The City of Ottawa will be cancelling originally planned children summer camps and replacing them with new programs reformatted around COVID–19 health precautions. More details will be announced in the near future and are conditional on the Provincial government emergency regulations. All residents who have already signed up for summer camps will receive a credit to use for a future program or can request a refund. Enhanced and strict safety measures will be in place when the city camps begin, which will include:
- Smaller camp groups.
- Additional staff to assist with maintaining physical distancing requirements and sanitization.
- Screening protocols for campers and staff.
- Tomorrow, June 3 at 1 p.m., Ottawa Public Health, in collaboration with the Council on Aging of Ottawa, and the National Association of Federal Retirees, will be offering the “Let’s Talk COVID-19 & Reopening with Older Adults” event with Dr. Vera Etches to celebrate the start of Senior’s Month. This live event will provide an opportunity for older adults to get reliable information regarding COVID-19 while answering questions you may have. The event will be held online through Facebook Live or on YouTube through the OPH website.
- Yesterday, the Transit Commission approved OC Transpo’s Transit Service Recovery Plan. 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.
Provincial Government Update
Here are the latest updates from the Ontario government:
- The Ontario government announced starting June 1, that they will be gradually opening camping in Ontario Parks and recreational camping on crown land. Backcountry camping will be available at Ontario Parks, including access points, paddle and portage routes and hiking trails. Ontario Parks will also be expanding day-use activities to include picnicking and off-leash pet areas. Following current restrictions, no more than five people will be allowed to stay in a backcountry campsite, unless they live in the same household. The closure of all other overnight camping and some day-use activities at provincial parks and conservation reserves has been extended to June 14 and will continue to be reassessed. All buildings and facilities including campgrounds, roofed accommodations, visitor centers, park stores, playgrounds, and beaches remain closed. Some washroom facilities may be available.
- To support Ontario residents through the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ontario government has announced that they will provide consumers with greater stability and predictability with their electricity bills. Since March 24, the government has suspended time-of-use electricity pricing. To extend this support responsibly, the provincial government will introduce a fixed electricity price, known as the COVID-19 Recovery Rate, of 12.8 cents per kWh, which will be automatically applied to all time-of-use customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This fixed electricity price will be in place from June 1 to October 31, 2020. Initiatives include:
- $9 million for the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) to support consumers struggling to pay their energy bills during the pandemic. CEAP will provide one-time payments to consumers to help pay down any electricity bill debt incurred over the COVID‑19 period. Applications will be available through local utilities in the upcoming months;
- $8 million for the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business (CEAP-SB) to provide support to businesses struggling with bill payments as a result of the outbreak; and
- An extension of the Ontario Energy Board’s winter disconnection ban until July 31, 2020 to ensure no one is disconnected from their natural gas or electricity service during these uncertain times.
- To better support seniors living in retirement homes through the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ontario government has made amendments to the Retirement Homes Act, 2010 regulation, enabling the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority (RHRA). The regulation change increases the emergency payment the RHRA can pay to eligible retirement home residents from $2,000 to $3,500. In the event of an emergency, such as an outbreak, this funding can be used to support residents to cover costs for transportation, alternative accommodation or temporary care.
- The Ontario government is extending infectious disease emergency leave for workers during COVID-19. This will ensure businesses aren’t forced to terminate employees after their ESA temporary layoff periods have expired. Under the new regulatory changes, non-unionized employees who have had their hours reduced or eliminated because of the pandemic will be deemed to be on Infectious Disease Emergency Leave. Workers will remain employed with legal protections and be eligible for federal emergency income support programs. This regulatory amendment will be applied retroactively to March 1, 2020 and will expire six weeks after the declared emergency ends.
- To better protect frontline workers, the Ontario government is helping manufactures ramp up production of PPE. Three innovative Ontario companies will receive more investments through the Ontario Together Fund.
Federal Government Update
Here are the latest updates from the Canadian government:
- 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.
- Prime Minister Trudeau announced funding for communities to help restart the economy. An investment of $2.2 billion delivered through the federal Gas Tax Fund will be delivered in one payment in June. Early delivery of the full funding for 2020-21 will help communities move forward with infrastructure projects that will help restart local economies. Projects could include access to high-speed broadband, improvements to water and road systems, and the building of cycling and walking paths.
- The Canadian government has been working with Canadian manufacturers to ensure that we have the health supplies we need to fight COVID-19. This includes PPEs as well as syringes for a vaccine once one is ready.
- To support greater testing in Canada, the government is funding four Canadian companies working on potential breakthrough solutions for COVID-19 rapid testing; Deep Biologics in Guelph, Nicoya Lifesciences in Kitchener, Fourien in Edmonton, and Metabolic Insights in Kelowna. This is on top of the support previously provided for testing, including for Precision Biomonitoring as they set up a test kit manufacturing facility in Ontario.
Look out for each other, Kanata North. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need anything.