This week has been busy! I joined my Council Colleagues for the 2020 Virtual Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) to come together to share experiences, strategize, and plan for a strong future. I was pleased to speak with many Provincial Ministers regarding issues our city faces and strategizing ways to improve. In addition, I chaired the Community & Protective Services Committee (CPSC) where we discussed a new rental property management by-law and enhanced property standards by-law.
Our COVID-19 case numbers are continuing to rise. We must continue to follow the guidelines from health officials to keep the rate of transmission low. With many kids returning to school in the next few weeks, we must buckle down and do everything we can to limit the spread. I know we can do this together.
Kanata North Updates
- Our small businesses need support! This weekend I encourage you to shop local. There are many small businesses that will happily serve you. You can find lists of services on the Kanata Central Business Improvement Area and the Kanata North Business Area websites.
- Please note that I have gotten the confirmed dates for the Huntmar Drive and Richardson Side Road closure. The road will be closed for the construction of a new roundabout at this intersection from August 21 to 24. You can find details regarding this project here.
- Next week is Capital Pride Week. Due to COVID-19 all celebrations will be hosted virtually. You can join in diverse celebrations of Ottawa’s LGBTQ+ community online here.
- On Tuesday, I joined Black women, Leading Ladies Ottawa, and Councillors Gower and Hubley for Let’s Move Forward: Anti-Black Racism in Our Community. We listened to women share their experience of racism as well as suggestions for how we can all move forward. I was inspired by the courage to share and the feedback for how we can progress as a community. I know that this will take time, however I am committed to working with our racialized communities to continue to listen, learn, and stand up.
City of Ottawa and Ottawa Public Health Updates (OPH)
Here are the latest updates from the City of Ottawa and OPH:
- Today, OPH reported 12 new cases and no new deaths. This brings the cumulative total of 2,758 cases and 265 deaths.
- Today the CPSC Committee approved new regulations to improve the rental-housing quality in our city. The new Rental Housing Property Management By-law and updates to the Property Standards By-law focuses on property standards, pest control measures and tenant and landlord rights and responsibilities. The committee also approved the Accessibility Advisory Committee’s work plan for this Term of Council. Over the next three years, the advisory committee would provide input on the site plan process review, recreation infrastructure, accessible taxis, the Municipal Accessibility Plan, Stage 2 LRT, the Official Plan, the Transportation Master Plan, the Solid Waste Master Plan, the barrier removal program, and the 10-Year Housing and Homelessness Plan.
- The City of Ottawa, Alliance to End Homelessness-Ottawa and community partners are collaborating in a “Housing Blitz” to help house 200 people experiencing homelessness by September 30, 2020. A “Housing Blitz” is a strategy to find affordable rental units in the private market. The sense and level of urgency created, and consistent messaging from all partners involved have shown to be effective in other cities in garnering interest from new landlords who can rent an affordable unit to people experiencing homelessness. Ottawa’s Housing Blitz has two main components:
- Acquire new affordable rental housing units for people experiencing homelessness.
- Match eligible households for the provincial Home for Good Housing subsidies and the new Canada-Ontario Housing Benefit (COHB) to those affordable units as rapidly as possible.
- OPH has been working to understand the impact of COVID-19 on our communities. Last week, OPH shared a report regarding the impact of COVID-19 on racialized communities and has found that areas with a high proportion of racialized communities as well as areas with lower economic status have higher rates of COVID-19 compared to areas with a lower proportion of racialized communities or higher economic status. You can find the full report on the OPH website.
- Recognizing that this is an unprecedented time for parents and children as school returns, OPH has shared how they will support school boards and families this coming school year. Keeping COVID-19 transmission low in our community is the key to preventing the introduction of the virus into schools.
- Evidence shows that wearing masks helps stop the spread of COVID-19. Last week, OPH shared a letter with multi-unit dwellings to encourage landlords to make it mandatory to wear masks in common areas. This will help stop the spread in areas where it is impossible to maintain a 2-metre distance.
- The city will be offering COVID-modified recreation programming this fall. Registration will begin on August 24 at 9 pm. You can view the Recreation eGuides online tomorrow, Friday, August 21.
Here are the latest updates from the Ontario government:
- Earlier this week, many sport, fitness and recreation facilities could apply for a larger capacity limit per room. The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, announced that starting on August 15, these facilities would be allowed to have up to 50 patrons for each indoor sport or fitness room, while ensuring physical distancing of at least two metres. They will apply to the gymnasiums, health clubs, community centres, multi-purpose facilities, arenas, exercise studios, yoga and dance studios and other fitness facilities that are able to follow the new guidance.
- Given that many will continue to be working from home, the Ontario government launched consultations to improve the province’s privacy protection laws. People and businesses from a wide range of sectors will have the opportunity to contribute to strengthening transparency and accountability concerning the collection, use and safeguarding of personal information online through this survey.
- To ensure school boards are able to reopen safely, the Ontario government is investing more than half a billion dollars in supports to enable school boards to provide more physical distancing in classrooms and direct funding to utilize non-school community spaces. It will also allow boards to make adjustments based on their local needs. Adaptations could include smaller class sizes and leasing additional space. Additional measures include:
- Allowing boards to access up to 2 per cent of their operating budget from their prior year accumulated surplus. This funding can be applied to local priorities of each board, based on the immediate needs on the ground to prepare for the start of school. For boards that do not have sufficient reserves, the government will provide up to an additional $11 million in funding to support equitable school re-opening plans provincewide.
- Providing $50 million in one-time funding to support improved ventilation, air quality and HVAC system effectiveness in schools. School boards will continue to maximize their use of existing school renewal funding, which totals over $1.4 billion this school year. Boards will focus on improving air systems in older schools, portables, and in neighbourhoods with higher rates of community transmission.
- Earlier this week I heard from Premier Ford at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario Conference. The conference highlighted the critical partnership between the province and municipalities and the willingness to work towards a safe and strong economic recovery. He spoke about the Federal investments being made to support Ontario cities and towns, including:
- $7 billion for Ontario. This is money for health care, for transit, for childcare, and for testing and contact tracing.
- Up to $4 billion will support the frontline services delivered by you, our municipal partners.
- Up to $4 billion will support shelters, food banks, public health, child care, and transit.
- Up to $30 billion to support our frontline health care system, to provide relief to families and businesses, and to ensure municipalities can respond to urgent priorities, including:
- $510 million through the Social Services Relief Fund, $15 million to enhance transit cleaning, and $14 million for community-based mental health and addictions services.
- $27 billion in our hospitals over the next 10 years.
- $12 billion in our schools.
- $2.6 billion in our provincial highway network this year.
- $1.75 billion in our long-term care homes over the next 5 years.
- $30 million for the 2021-22 Connecting Links Program to help build, repair or replace municipal roads and bridges that connect to provincial highways.
- In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ontario government is extending orders currently in force under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 (ROA). The extensions provide the government with the necessary flexibility to address the ongoing risks and effects of the COVID-19 outbreak and ensure important measures remain in place to protect vulnerable populations. All orders under the ROA have been extended to September 22, 2020, with the following exceptions:
- The Education Sector order will end on August 31, 2020.
- The Limitation Periods order will end and suspended time periods will resume running on September 14, 2020.
- The Ontario government is reviewing how provincial agencies deliver services to improve the customer experience, adopting service innovation, offering more services virtually and online, and eliminating redundancies. The evaluation will build on the advancements in digital service delivery made during the pandemic. The Enhanced Agency Evaluation builds on the recommendations of the 2019 Agency Review Task Force, which addressed inefficiencies while making better use of limited resources. Many of the Agency Review Task Force recommendations have already begun improving service delivery.
Here are the latest updates from the Canadian government:
- This week Dr. Tam, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, shared that nationally the trend of fewer new cases of COVID-19 being reported daily compared to the beginning of the outbreak is continuing. Health officials continue to watch regional trends closely as Provinces make decisions to reopen the economy.
- The Government has recently implemented changes to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) that broaden the reach of the program and provide more targeted support. The Canada Revenue Agency has opened applications for the enhanced CEWS program. Program changes include:
- The extension of the CEWS, including redesigned program details, until November 21, 2020.
- Increased eligibility, meaning that all eligible employers who’ve experienced a revenue drop can now qualify for a base subsidy. The subsidy amount is based on the revenue drop.
- Employers who are especially hard-hit can qualify for a top-up of up to 25%.
- Provide certainty for employers that have already made business decisions for July and August, by ensuring they will not receive a subsidy rate lower than they would have under the previous rules.
- While it is still recommended that Canadians avoid non-essential international travel, the Government of Canada continues to work with partners to protect public health by implementing measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission during air travel. Last week, Canada’s Flight Plan was announced. The plan implements a multi-layered system of safety measures to support public health by protecting air travelers and air industry workers from COVID-19. The Government of Canada has worked with public health authorities, counterparts around the world, and industry partners to develop a plan for COVID safety in air travel that is aligned to emerging global safety standards and best practices. You can find details here.
- The Canadian government launched the new Canada Healthy Communities Initiative to help local governments and community partners as they adapt to local economic, health and social challenges. This will provide up to $31 million in federal funding to support community-led solutions that respond to immediate and ongoing needs arising from COVID-19 over the next two years. The goal is to fund local projects under three main themes: creating safe and vibrant public spaces, improving mobility options, and digital solutions that help communities adapt to the new reality of COVID-19.
Take care Kanata North.
Please reach out should you need anything.