July 4th

City provides update on reopening of some of its services and facilities

The City will have COVID-related safety protocols and features in place as it prepares for the reopening of some of its facilities and services on Monday, July 6.

The City’s plan is based on guidance from Ottawa Public Health and aligns with the Province of Ontario’s plan to gradually relax emergency orders. As public health, community support and economic recovery are all connected, this phased reopening plan prioritizes programs and services that promote a safe and strategic expansion of Ottawa’s economy, with ongoing support for Ottawa’s vulnerable communities.

Client Service Centres – Ben Franklin Place and Ottawa City Hall

The safety of residents and City staff is most important. All reopened services will follow public health guidelines. Starting July 6, the Client Service Centres at Ottawa City Hall and Ben Franklin Place will be open by appointment only for the following counter services: marriage licences, Commissioner of Oaths, OC Transpo products/Presto payments, access to information requests, and Yellow Bag purchases for small business that participate in City waste and recycling collection.

Residents will be able to purchase on-street parking permits online at ottawa.ca/parking. All other services can be accessed at 3-1-1 online.

At the same two Client Service Centres, the Building Code Service desk will also be providing the following services by appointment only: building permit application drop offs, issuance of building permits and payment. The City will continue to provide online services at ottawa.ca for building permit applications, issuance of building permits, sign applications, zoning information, compliance reporting, and all forms, applications and fees.

Residents can also make appointments to pay new planning application fees, Committee of Adjustment, Cash in Lieu of Parkland fees and recirculation fees, or to have the planning application form affidavit commissioned at a Client Service Centre.

Effective Friday, July 3, clients will be able to reserve appointments online by visiting ottawa.ca (same-day appointments subject to availability).  If you do not have access to the internet, you may call 3-1-1 to book an appointment with a City of Ottawa agent. To book an appointment at a Client Service Centre, select option 6.  For the Building Code Service desk, select option 7.

The Provincial Offences Act (POA) Court at 100 Constellation will remain closed until further notice

Employment and Social Services (Financial Services) and Rent Supplement Program Service Offices

Limited counter and document drop-off services will be available at all four centres – 370 Catherine Street, Mary Pitt Centre (second floor, West, 100 Constellation Drive), 2020 Walkley Road, and 2339 Ogilvie Road, weekdays from 10 am to 3 pm. For all other services, staff will provide both telephone and email support from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.

The Mary Pitt Centre location (second floor, West, 100 Constellation Drive) will also be the only location for limited counter and document drop-off services for the Rent Supplement Program, which will only operate from 10 am to 3 pm on weekdays. The staff will continue to provide telephone and email support on weekdays from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.

Safety protocols and measures at client service centres

To promote physical distancing and reduce risks for clients and staff, the following COVID-related safety protocols and features will be in place at the Client Service Centres and Employment and Social Service Centres to promote physical distancing and reduce the risk for clients and staff:

  • Plexiglass sneeze guards
  • Physical distancing signage and seat and floor decals
  • Sanitizing products in common areas for both visitors and staff
  • A Client Service Centre representative will greet visitors, help control the flow of clients, and guide them to the appropriate counter.

Service Ontario at City Hall’s Government Service Centre will be operating under its own COVID-modified protocols.

The City will also reopen all 10 Municipal child-care centres on Monday, July 6. Information for parents is available on ottawa.ca.

The Spay and Neuter Clinic at 5-26 Concourse Gate will be by appointment only, operating Monday to Thursday, from 9 am to noon and 1 to 4 pm. The clinic will be rescheduling cancelled appointments. Pet owners will remain in their vehicles and the pets will be admitted and picked up outside the clinic doors. Smaller pets must be in a carrier. Other emergency protocols will be outlined during the appointment call.

COVID-related safety protocols and features at facilities

City Hall, Ben Franklin Place and Mary Pitt Place

City Hall, Ben Franklin Place, and Mary Pitt Place (100 Constellation) will have designated entrance and exit doors into the complexes. Hand sanitizing stations will also be in place as visitors enter and exit the building. Directional arrows will be in place for visitors to follow, helping avoid intermingling with other visitors and promote physical distancing. High touch-point surfaces will be regularly cleaned and sanitized.

Help us protect you and others

Residents have an important role to play in avoiding a second wave of positive cases. The City encourages all visitors to help prevent the spread and avoid the second wave of COVID-19 by following public health measures:

  • Stay home when sick
  • Arrive alone for appointments, when possible
  • Wear a cloth mask for added protection – especially in situations when maintaining physical distancing may be difficult, such as the elevator at Mary Pitt Place (100 Constellation). Since some people who are infected with COVID-19 may have the virus and not know it, masks can help decrease the risk of spreading the virus.
  • Practice physical distancing – keeping two metres from others
  • Practice good hand hygiene – washing with soap and water or using a hand sanitizer
  • Avoid touching your face.

For up-to-date information, visit ottawa.ca/covid19 or call 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-9656). You can also connect with us through FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

June 29

Gradual reopening of pools and modified swimming instruction make a splash

The City is now planning for a phased-approach to opening wading pools and a gradual opening of indoor and outdoor swimming pool facilities – with COVID-19 prevention measures.

Wading pools

Wading pools across the city will open in a phased approach, with the first group of pools opening on July 6 and a second group on July 13, as indicated on ottawa.ca. Wading pool attendants will be present at the pool to provide safety supervision. Admission numbers will be reduced to allow for physical distancing.

Indoor and outdoor swimming pools

The indoor and outdoor swimming pool facilities will open in a phased approach beginning the week of July 6, with additional pools opening the following week and the remaining pools opening at later dates.

The number of swimmers will be significantly reduced for both public and lane swims to ensure physical distancing can be maintained. In order to accommodate as many swimmers as possible, swims will be scheduled in one-hour sessions with fifteen-minute blocks between sessions to allow staff to manage numbers entering and exiting the facility, and to perform additional cleaning. In the initial phase of the pool reopenings, the City recommends that people over the age of 65 and those who are immunocompromised or have underlying health issues do not participate in any swimming program.

COVID-modified swimming lessons

The City has reformatted its Learn to Swim Program to incorporate COVID-19 prevention measures. Swimming instructors will maintain physical distancing from participants and a parent or guardian must accompany their child in the pool for the following levels:

  • Private lessons – pre-school to Swim Kids 4
  • Pre-school to Swim Kids 1 to 4 – low-ratio classes
  • Inclusive Swim Kids 1 and 2

Lessons for all levels will be 30 minutes long to allow for physical distancing between participants entering and leaving the facility. This also provides sufficient time for cleaning and disinfecting common areas.

The swimming lesson guide will be posted online at ottawa.ca, and registration will be held on Monday, July 13 at 9 pm. Swimming lesson spots will be limited to reduce the number of participants in each session and allow for proper physical distancing.

The City will not be offering aquafitness, regular-ratio classes, Power Swim, and lifesaving and leadership classes during this phase of reopening.

To help reduce the risk, some of the COVID-19 measures and protocols that will be in place at the pool facilities include:

  • One entry and exit point, with a staff member ensuring physical distancing is followed.
  • Swimmers at outdoor pools will enter and exit through the gate and not through the facility.
  • Frequent cleaning and disinfecting of common areas, high-touch surfaces, change room and washroom facilities, and lifejackets.
  • Saunas, steam rooms, whirlpools, diving boards, rope swings, and water slides will be closed.
  • Viewing areas will either be closed or their capacity reduced, to allow for proper physical distancing.
  • Parents or guardians who are not accompanying their child in the pool for swimming lessons are encouraged to wait outside the facility.
  • Directional flow of swimmers around the outside of the pool for entering and exiting the swimming area.
  • Washrooms will have every second sink and urinal closed.
  • Hand sanitizers will be located in central areas for both clients and staff.

Swimmers are asked to do their part to protect themselves and others from COVID-19:

  • Shower at home before going to the pool.
  • Wear their bathing suit to the pool.
  • Practice personal COVID-19 hygiene – washing or sanitizing hands, staying home when exhibiting any symptoms.
  • Keep a distance of two metres from other swimmers and staff.
  • Wear a mask while walking in the facility. Some people who are infected with COVID-19 may have the virus and not know it. Masks can help decrease the risk of spreading the virus.

For up-to-date information on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, visit ottawa.ca/covid19 or call 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-9656). You can also connect with us through FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

COVID-19: Seeking feedback

The City of Ottawa and Ottawa Public Health are continuing to explore how best to support residents and businesses as COVID-19 restrictions are gradually eased, while keeping with the Province of Ontario’s framework for reopening the province

As we look forward, we want to hear more from members of our community. Phase 2 of our Public Engagement Strategy launches today and includes a new survey and forum questions available on Engage Ottawa in English or Participons Ottawa in French: https://engage.ottawa.ca/covid19. Please promote this widely to members of our community.

June 26

Lifeguards on duty at City beaches starting Saturday

The City’s beaches at Mooney’s Bay, Westboro and Petrie Island will have lifeguards on duty starting Saturday, June 27. Britannia Beach will remain closed for the season for planned riverbed restoration work.

Lifeguards will be on duty every day from noon to 7 pm until August 30. Ottawa Public Health will conduct regular water quality testing. Check ottawa.ca/beaches for any no-swim advisories and whether lifeguards are on duty. Check ottawapublichealth.ca for the latest water-quality results.

Be sure to practice sun, water and COVID-19 safety for a fun and healthy day at the beach:

  • Keep a minimum of two-metres from others in the water and on shore
  • Use hand sanitizer frequently
  • Avoid touching your face and other people’s property – like chairs, balls and frisbees
  • Keep young children within arms’ reach
  • Visit your closest beach to minimize travel
  • Self-screen and stay home if you are sick or showing symptoms of illness
  • Bring a mask for situations when physical distancing may be difficult Since some people who are infected with COVID-19 may have the virus and not know it, masks can help decrease the risk of spreading the virus.

To further help you and your family stay safe and healthy, the City has worked with Ottawa Public Health to implement COVID-19 prevention measures:

  • Enhanced cleaning measures are in place for beach washrooms, lifeguard stands and lifeguarding equipment
  • Extra comfort stations (portable toilets) at some locations
  • No rentals of stand-up paddle boards or volleyball nets

However, beach accessible wheelchair will be available for loan on a first-come, first-serve basis.

While the trend of COVID-19 cases is positive, everyone must remain vigilant and mindful of their behaviours. To help avoid a second wave, avoid large crowds where physical distancing can be compromised. We have seen the unfortunate results from similar scenes at many North American parks and beaches.

Also, respect the health of our beach and park environments by not littering. Dispose of your waste in bins or bring it home to dispose in your green bin or your recycling and garbage bins.

Parking lots for the beaches will be open. Also, check octranspo.com to help plan your transit route to the parks and beaches.

For up-to-date information on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, visit ottawa.ca/covid19 or call 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-9656). You can also connect with us through FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

June 24

City Council Meeting

We had a council meeting today – with council members calling in to maintain physical distancing and to slow the community spread of the Novel Coronavirus.

Here is the City Manager’s complete presentation on the City’s response to COVID-19. City Manager – Council Presentation

As well, here is the complete presentation from Ottawa Public Health on the update of COVID-19. OPH – COVID-19 Council Presentation

And please, do not forget it remains vital for your mental health to stay social – from home – make a phone call or have a video dinner date with your neighbours. And if you are having a hard time dealing with this new reality, please reach out City’s Distress Centre.

Distress: 613-238-3311

Crisis: 613-722-6914 or 1-866-996-0991

Again, please do not hesitate to reach out if you need help.

June 22

COVID-19 Guidance for Places of Worship:

Ontario has announced that effective Friday, June 12, 2020, places of worship are permitted to open with physical distancing in place and attendance limited to no more than 30 percent of the building’s regular capacity. Faith community leaders should carefully consider how and when to re-open places of worship. Places of worship should ensure that any re-opening plan is consistent with Ontario requirements, guidance and protocols, and any requirements identified by Ottawa Public Health (OPH) and the city of Ottawa. This includes reviewing and implementing measures from OPH’s Businesses and Workplaces – COVID-19 Information and the City of Ottawa’s Business Reopening Toolkit. In addition, all places of worship should follow the specific public health guidance below and review their programming and worship services to keep everyone, especially the most vulnerable, as safe as possible. OPH’s guidance is subject to change as new information is received.

Screening

  • All individuals, including children, must be screened upon arrival or prior to their entry to place of worship each time they attend services. Entry should be denied to any individual who a) has any of the symptoms of COVID-19, b) has come in close contact with a person who has COVID-19 or another person with symptoms of COVID-19 during the past 14 days, or c) has travelled outside of Canada in the past 14 days.
  • Staff and volunteers must be screened daily before starting their duties.
  • Screening for attendees, staff and volunteers can be done using Ontario’s self-assessment tool or Ottawa Public Health screening tool. If the screening tool recommends the person be tested for COVID-19 (i.e. they have symptoms), they must not attend in-person services and or events.
  • Consider developing a system to RSVP attendance to specific services or events. This may also allow online screening of attendees at the same time.
  • Post signage on the entry door and throughout the place of worship to prompt anyone to self-identify if they feel unwell, have symptoms of COVID-19, have travelled outside of Canada in the past 14 days, or been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19.
  • Consider posting OPH’s posters relevant to health and safety best practices: Stop Before Entering – Self-screening Poster, Practice Physical Distancing, Steps to Prevent the Spread of Germs, Safely Putting on and Taking off Masks.

Facilities

  • As per the Provincial announcement, on-site attendance may not exceed 30 percent of the building capacity. Places of worship will need to evaluate their own spaces to ensure that the 30 percent occupancy maximum can still ensure the maintenance of physical distancing between households. Some spaces and/or their entries or exits may not permit 30 percent occupancy and a lower maximum may need to be selected.
  • Operators who choose to open should consider that capacity restrictions on their own do not address many important factors that may contribute to the spread of COVID-19. Other factors include: entry and exit space and flow, the size and shape of the building where congregation is expected to occur, the layout of spaces where congregants will spend time, the activity occurring at each gathering, screening of participants, and cleaning procedures.
  • Only allow one point of entry and a separate point of exit, especially if there will be overlap between people entering and exiting. However, for big buildings that may have a large number of attendees, the risk of crowding may need to be mitigated by exercising greater control of entrance and exit processes (e.g., dismiss one row at a time); and/or using more than one entrance and exit. If using more than one point of entry, facilities need to coordinate between doors to ensure no more than 30 percent occupancy is admitted into the building. The distancing of a least 2 metres must be maintained in all phases of approaching, entering, and being in the building.
  • Weather permitting, prop entry and exit doors open to prevent patrons from touching handles/bars.
  • Ventilate spaces by opening doors, windows etc.
  • Hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol content must be available at facility entrance and exit and available in every room (as applicable).
  • All visitors should be asked to clean their hands upon entry and exit.
  • Mark seating to ensure physical distancing between individuals who are not members of the same household.
  • Mark directional flow of people through buildings and areas to maintain distancing and to avoid movement against the flow of people.
  • Block off (if appropriate) and have visual markings on the ground, where congregants, staff and volunteers may be sitting or standing.
  • Manage access to washrooms in a way that promotes physical distancing and cleaning and disinfection. Ensure washrooms are well stocked with liquid soap and paper towels, and that warm running water is available. In washrooms with multiple sinks, consider blocking access to every second sink to ensure physical distancing.
  • Discontinue use of any communal items (e.g., shared glasses, dishes, etc).
  • Places of worship who offer free or rented spaces to other groups or businesses must ensure these groups or businesses also abide by this guidance and otherOntario requirements.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting:-Clean and disinfect, at least twice a day (when in use) or following every religious service (e.g., distinct groups of worshippers), whichever is higher, frequently touched surfaces. Surfaces most likely to become contaminated include, but are not limited to, doorknobs, railings, elevator buttons, water fountain/cooler knobs, light switches, toilet and faucet handles, ceremonial objects, electronic devices, and tabletops. Refer to PHO’s Environmental Cleaning fact sheet:

    -Only use cleaning and disinfectant products that have a Drug Identification Number (DIN); it should be stated on product packaging. Low-level hospital grade disinfectants may be used; and

    -Checking expiry dates of cleaning and disinfectant products used and always following the manufacturer’s instructions. Ensure that the product used are compatible with the item to be cleaned and disinfected.

    -Garbage bins should be lined with plastic bags;
    Cleaning guidance can be found on OPH’s website for Environmental Cleaning Guidance

Protecting congregants, staff and volunteers

  • Physical distancing of 2 metres must be maintained at all times, and in all directions, between people who are not from the same household. Individuals from the same household may be seated together and should remain in place once they are seated. Offer multiple services and opportunities to worship to reduce the attendance. If multiple services are held on a single day, the start and end times must allow those who attend one service to exit safely, avoiding contact with those arriving for the next service. Time is needed to clean and disinfect common surfaces between services.
  • Cohort individuals and families. For instance, when possible organize attendance so the same individuals/families go to the same service each day/week to minimize mixing of different individuals/families.
  • Consider alternative ways to involve individuals at greater risk from COVID-19, including online services.
  • Consider establishing caps on attendance (in addition to the Provincial limit of no more than 30 percent of building capacity) to ensure physical distancing is maintained. Identify a method to monitor and enforce attendance caps at each service.
  • Consider establishing a system for congregants to RSVP to attend specific services or events to minimize overcrowding.
  • All staff and volunteers must wear a mask at all times while in the place of worship.
  • All attendees should wear cloth masks to reduce the risk of transmission. Attendees who cannot wear a mask should not attend; if they feel they must attend then a face shield must be worn and at least 2-metre distancing must be respected at all times. Information on masks, including how to correctly use one, can be found on OPH’s masks webpage.
  • Ensure hand hygiene and proper cough and sneeze etiquette while in the place of worship. Avoid touching face with unwashed hands. Post signage to reinforce this.
  • Children should remain with their parents. Separate children’s activities should be suspended.
  • Staff and volunteers should be given information and training about appropriate physical distancing, processes, and hygiene practices.
  • To support public health contact tracing efforts in the event that an attendee at the place of worship tests positive, places of worship should keep up to date contact information for individuals who attend their services. Places of worship should be prepared to contact attendees with further guidance from Ottawa Public health in event of an exposure to COVID-19.

High risk population

  • OPH and the Ontario Government recommended that the older adults; and/or individuals who have chronic medical conditions, including those that weaken the immune system, should not leave their home for non-essential outings, which would include attending a place of worship. This is because these individuals are at increased risk of serious outcome if they become infected with Covid-19. While OPH is not making a specific age definition for older adults, individuals should consider that the risk of serious illness from COVID-19 increases progressively with age beginning at 50 to 60 years. In Ottawa, 90% of persons who died from COVID-19 were 70 years of age or older.
  • Faith communities who have members who are older and/or have chronic medical conditions may wish to implement specific accommodations for these individuals. To support this, places of worship may:-Recommend vulnerable individuals take part in virtual or drive-in services; and-Offer a dedicated service for them

Higher Risk Activities

Places of worship should review all activities, rituals, and practices that occur to determine if they increase the risk of spreading COVID-19 amongst congregants, staff and/or volunteers. Any activity or practice that increases the risk of COVID-19 through contact (e.g., touching surfaces or objects) or droplet transmission (e.g., sneezing, coughing, singing, shouting) should be discontinued or altered to prevent the risk. The following section provides guidance on some common higher risk activities that may occur in places of worship:

  • Social Events:
    -Social activities such as communal lunches or dinners that would occur during faith-based activities are not permitted at this time.
  • Singing, Live Music and Performances:-Infected people can transmit the virus over greater distances through their saliva or respiratory droplets while singing, shouting or when playing certain instruments such as wind instruments or performing (e.g., drama or dance). These activities are considered to be higher risk and are not permitted.-Choir singing and chanting are not permitted. Consider instrumental music (non-wind) or the use of audio and video recordings. Spoken responses should be in a low voice. Leaders should use microphones unless the space is very small.
  • Interpersonal Interactions-Shaking hands, hugging, touching or passing items must not occur, except between members of the same household. Encourage people to greet each other with a smile, bow or wave.-Religious rituals that involve physical contact between individuals, such as anointing with oils increase the likelihood of disease transmission and should be delayed, performed in an alternate fashion that minimizes physical contact, or if must be performed, consideration to provide them as safely as possible such as use of appropriate protective equipment.
  • Food: Food and beverage service must be suspended at this time.
  • Weddings and Funerals:-For a wedding, funeral or other ceremony occurring indoors in a place of worship, the maximum number of participants for that ceremony is 30% of the capacity of the building. However, the above requirements still apply, including suspending social gatherings before or after the service, and not providing food services.

    -Weddings and funerals in an outdoor setting are allowed up to 50 people, while maintaining social distancing rules.

    -Receptions are limited to a maximum of 10 persons.

    Shared Items:

    -Do not hand out or share items that cannot be cleaned and disinfected before and after each use (e.g., books, hymns, prayer mats, head coverings, programs).

    -Consider using projection or audio-visual systems to share information.

    -Microphones should be set up once and then not touched by individual users, as these devices are difficult to clean and disinfect.

    -Do not offer shared receptables for liquid

    -If it is required for religious or spiritual reasons, touching of ceremonialobjects may occur if hand hygiene is performed before and after touching the object.

    -Individuals must not kiss, embrace or press their faces on any shared ceremonial object.

    -Do not pass donation collection plates or containers between congregants. Alternatives include: online offerings/donations; and a designated area to place offerings/donations. Touching of offerings/donations collected from patrons should be minimized for a period of three days.

    Children’s Programs: Offering infant and child minding is not permitted at this time.

This guidance has been adapted from The Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Advice: Religious Services, Rites or Ceremonies, Workplace Safety & Prevention Services’ Guidance on Health and Safety for Places of Worship During COVID-19, Alberta’s Guidance for Places of Worship, Saskatchewan’s Guidelines for Places of Worship, and Toronto Public Health’s Guidance for Places of Worship. This guidance is subject to change as new information is received. Plan to regularly check for new guidance as part of your COVID-19 re-opening plan.

It is important to recognize that the COVID-19 situation is evolving very quickly. Please visit OttawaPublicHealth.ca/Coronavirus for up to date information.

 

June 18

Long Term Care and 10 year Housing and Homelessness Plan

Today at the City’s Community and Protective Services Committee, we received an update from Staff on their COVID response as it relates to Long Term Care, in addition to all the work the community and social services team is doing to support all residents during this difficult period. The City teams are hard at work to ensure residents in the City’s Long Term care facilities are protected, while also putting additional measures and resources in place to facilitate safe visits with family members. The Human Needs Taskforce continues to work with residents, service agencies and our offices to identify needs and bridge gaps in supporting all residents in Ottawa.

As it relates to the City’s 10 Year Housing and Homelessness Plan, City staff provided a detailed update about the goals and outcomes of this plan, with some highlights included in the attached presentation. After declaring a housing and homelessness emergency, this is a very important plan for our City. I have submitted motions and a direction on a Family First Focus, the importance of data and reporting as well as a Private Landlord Incentive Toolkit.

Staff will be coming back in Q4 2020 to provide a long term financial plan, in addition to the 2020 Affordable Housing Capital Report at the June 25th Planning Committee.

The work continues to provide all residents with a key to their own home.

June 15

Reopening of all child care centres

This is an update on the reopening of all child care centres, with specific information on the City-operated Municipal Child Care Centres given the provincial announcement on June 9. This is a rapidly evolving situation with a continuous flow of information from the Province to support reopening efforts of child care in Ontario. Children’s Services continues to coordinate and plan at the system-level and within Municipal Child Care Centres to ensure services are responsive to the needs of families.

Provincial Announcement on Child Care Reopening

On June 9, 2020, the City of Ottawa received information from the Province on their decision to allow child care centres to reopen effective June 12, 2020. Following is information that the City has received from the Province to-date on their approach to re- opening:

  • Starting June 12, child care centres are permitted to re-open, once they have strict enhanced health and safety protocols in place as per Provincial direction, to ensure the safety of child care staff and children.
  • Effective June 26, 2020, emergency child care, including associated Provincial funding, will come to an end.
  • All licensed child care settings will be required to follow new provincial operational guidance including enhanced health and safety protocols as well as the advice of local public health units.

The Province clarified on June 11 that service providers are not expected to obtain sign-off on health and safety protocols by their local public health unit. When developing health and safety protocols, service providers are responsible to adhere to the guidance set out in the Ministry of Education’s Operational Guidance document and are expected to review information available on their local public health unit’s website. OPH is currently developing guidance for local providers using the existing emergency child care guidelines and adjusting based on the new Provincial direction.

Children’s Services, in partnership with child care service providers, is supporting the reopening of licensed child care in Ottawa. While local service providers are working diligently on reviewing/implementing the new provincial guidelines, it is anticipated that the re-opening will take time and will not occur on the date of June 12 as put forward by the Province. Licensed child care centres need to make several operational changes that take time to implement, including developing a COVID-19 response plan, operationalizing reduced ratios and smaller groupings, acquiring Personal Protective Equipment, and training staff. We ask that families be patient with service providers as they ensure that enhanced health and safety measures are in place prior to reopening so that children return to an environment that is as safe as possible.

Municipal Child Care Centres

On June 10, 2020, the City announced a gradual reopening of Municipal child care centres around mid-July (to be confirmed). This will ensure sufficient time to support and transition families accessing emergency care, as well as receive and implement guidance currently under development by Ottawa Public Health as stated earlier in this memo.

Based on an earlier survey of parents, the City estimates that approximately 60% of previously enrolled children would like to return to Municipal child care centres at re- opening. The City now needs to confirm the individual child care needs/intentions of parents and assess how the demand can be accommodated within the expected reduction in available child care spaces (due to reduced ratios and other guidelines).

The City also requires time to plan for the reopening of the Municipal child care centres in order to:

  • Review and apply the new provincial operational guidance as well as the local guidance currently being developed by Ottawa Public Health;
  • Train returning staff on the new guidelines and procedures;
  • Acquire the necessary supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE);
  • Adequately prepare and thoroughly clean/sanitize the facilities;

 

Transition out the three Municipal Child Care centres currently operating as emergency settings and support essential workers with accessing child care for their child.

Emergency Child Care

The Province has announced on June 9, 2020 that Emergency Child Care and the associated funding will end on June 26, 2020. At this time, no further applications for emergency child care will be processed and families are encouraged to use the Child Care Registry and Waitlist (CCRAW) should they need help finding child care options or need to apply for a fee subsidy.

Funding

The federal and provincial governments have put forward programs that support the child care sector through this time. On May 11, the Province announced a Child Care and

EarlyON sector sustainability funding approach, which will be in place during the emergency closure period and align with the timing of the Federal COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.

On June 11, the Province released the funding guidance document which provides the funding parameters that Consolidated Municipal System Managers must follow while supporting operators and the child care sector during the child care reopening period until the end of August. The funding parameters can be summarized by the following points:

  • Available federal supports in Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan must continue to be maximized.
  • Funding will be provided to assist with reduced capacity in child care centres that reopen and increased personal protective equipment (PPE) and cleaning costs (over and above regular cleaning costs prior to COVID-19).
  • Funding will also be provided to support the increased staffing levels required in child care centres for reopening (such as, screening, cleaning, coverage etc.).
  • Funding continues to be provided following the sustainability plan principles (i.e. funding parameters during the closure period) for child care centres and EarlyON Child and Family Centres that remain closed in the reopening phase, to support eligible fixed overhead costs and EarlyON virtual programming.

Children’s Services will continue to work collaboratively with our Child Care and Early Years System Planning Advisory Group to determine solutions that support the sector.

Sector Engagement

The Child Care and Early Years System Planning Advisory Group continues to meet bi- weekly to focus and identify local needs and measures required to facilitate reopening of child care and early years services.

On June 12, child care and early years providers received a request from the City of Ottawa Community and Social Services Department to participate in a survey. The purpose of the survey is to understand how not-for-profit community agencies are preparing to resume services post COVID-19, including their capacities and expected challenges. The survey results will inform the next steps in the broader City of Ottawa’s service resumption work and will assist the City to identify how it can support community partners.

June 11

Mandatory cloth masks, other changes coming to OC Transpo on June 15

taring Monday, June 15, customers will be required to wear cloth masks or equivalent face coverings in transit stations and on buses, trains, Para Transpo minibuses and contracted taxis. So put your mask on and let’s go!

We are in this together and asking everyone to do their part to help keep themselves and those around them healthy and safe.

In advance of the return to full summer service, which takes effect on Sunday, June 28, OC Transpo is implementing several measures to help make transit as safe as possible before ridership increases. These measures were developed in consultation with Ottawa Public Health.

Changes coming to OC Transpo on Monday, June 15

  • Everyone who can will be required to wear a cloth mask or equivalent face covering. Young children and people who have a disability or medical condition that prevents them from wearing a mask will not be required to wear one. Visit ottawapublichealth.ca for information on where masks.
  • Protective shields will be installed around operator cabs on all conventional buses, so you will be able to board at the front again.
  • You will need to pay the fare when boarding at the front of the bus. If you have Presto or U-Pass, you can board by the back doors of articulated and double-decker buses and tap your card there. Board 40-foot standard buses at the front doors only, unless you are in a fare-paid zone.
  • There are hand sanitizer dispensers in all O-Train stations and most Transitway stations.
  • Para Transpo operators will continue to wear surgical masks and face shields.
  • Para Transpo trips will continue to be limited to one customer per trip, as long as ridership levels are low enough to accommodate all customers.
  • Enhanced daily cleaning of all transit vehicles, stations and employee areas will continue.

Do not to use public transit if you are not feeling well, have had contact with a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 case, or have recently travelled outside of Canada.

OC Transpo staff will be at select transit stations next week to remind customers of the new cloth mask requirement. They will hand out a limited supply of disposable masks to anyone who has forgotten theirs or is unaware of the new requirement. The United Way will be selling masks at some transit stations beginning in early July.

For more information on transit services, visit octranspo.com or call 613-741-4390.

For more information on City programs and services, visit ottawa.ca or call 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-2401). You can also connect with us through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

June 10

City Council Meeting

We had a council meeting today – with council members calling in to maintain physical distancing and to slow the community spread of the Novel Coronavirus.

Here is the City Manager’s complete presentation on the City’s response to COVID-19. City Manager – Council Presentation

As well, here is the complete presentation from Ottawa Public Health on the update of COVID-19. OPH – COVID-19 Council Presentation

And please, do not forget it remains vital for your mental health to stay social – from home – make a phone call or have a video dinner date with your neighbours. And if you are having a hard time dealing with this new reality, please reach out City’s Distress Centre.

Distress: 613-238-3311

Crisis: 613-722-6914 or 1-866-996-0991

Again, please do not hesitate to reach out if you need help.

City to hold first of three extended household hazardous waste depots

The City is replacing cancelled household hazardous waste depots with three extended depots. The first event will last six days, starting Monday, June 22. Residents will be able to dispose of household hazardous waste at 3100 Conroy Road daily between 8 am and 4 pm until Saturday, June 27.

The City, in consultation with Ottawa Public Health, has reviewed safety precautions to protect the health and safety of residents and staff and has posted procedures online.

Residents are encouraged to visit on their regular waste-collection day, to help limit traffic and make the process more manageable for staff.

The depot will accept household hazardous waste only and will not accept electronic waste. Residents must always remain in their vehicles and, due to operating restrictions, staff will not empty and return bins, totes, gas cans and the like to residents.

Work will cease promptly at 4 pm and residents might not be able to drop off materials that day if there are long end-of-day line-ups.

The City will provide details about two additional depots once locations and dates are confirmed.

This information is subject to change based on further developments related to COVID-19. For information about impacts of COVID-19 on City programs and services, visit Ottawa.ca.

June 9

City announces its new summer camp program – modified around COVID-19

Existing registrations for summer camps have now been cancelled, and the City’s new Camp Summer Fun Recreation eGuide can now be viewed online at ottawa.ca/SummerCamps.

Camp Summer Fun will begin on July 6 on the condition that Provincial restrictions are relaxed to allow day camps for children and in accordance to the stage two guidelines announced by the Province.

The City has designed the camps in accordance with Provincial guidelines and advice from Ottawa Public Health that support preventative measures and mitigation strategies, including physical distancing measures and group sizes.

Some of the enhanced and strict public health measures that will be in place, include:

  • Smaller camp groups
  • Additional staff to assist with maintaining physical distancing requirements and sanitization
  • Screening protocols for campers and staff
  • Plexiglass sneeze guards installed where appropriate
  • Floors decals to mark physical distancing measurements of two metres
  • Staff will wear Personal Protective Equipment, including cloth face masks, when physical distancing can’t be maintained
  • Camp attendees are encouraged to wear cloth face masks during activities where it may be difficult to maintain a distance of two metres

The camps will not include field trips, swimming, skating, guest speakers and entertainers, or specialty summer camp programming. Instead, the camps will focus on fun and creative physically-distanced sports, games and crafts this summer, with activities held outdoors whenever possible.

Camps are open to children and youth aged four to 12 years, allowing siblings to be in the same camp group. French camps are available at select locations. The cost of Camp Summer Fun is $219 per week and will be offered from 8 am to 5 pm.

Registration for Camp Summer Fun will be available online only, starting Monday, June 15 at 9 pm. Payments can be made using credit card or VISA/MasterCard debit payments.

An FAQ is available at ottawa.ca/SummerCamps for more detailed information. Parents or guardians who want more information or have questions can reach out to CampSummerFun@ottawa.ca.

June 8

Id like to remind everyone of OPH’s daily Dashboard that provides COVID-19 information in a digestible format. The Ottawa Public Health COVID-19 Ottawa Database (COD), is a dynamic disease reporting system that allows for ongoing updates to data previously entered. Data extracted from these databases represent a snapshot at the time of extraction and can be different in previous or subsequent reports.

The document will be updated daily alongside the Epidemiology Update. It can be found on the Ottawa Public Health Statistics webpage.

Ottawa moves to Stage 2 of reopening; restrictions on gatherings eased across province

Ottawa and surrounding communities in eastern Ontario are among the select public health unit regions across the province that will advance to Stage Two of Ontario’s economic reopening plan on Friday June 12.

While Stage 2 businesses and workplaces can open as soon as June 12, dates and approaches may vary based on each community’s local needs and the ability of each business or service to meet workplace safety guidelines and public health advice.

By following general public health advice and implementing workplace safety measures, workplaces and people can help make Stage 2 a success. For all the information regarding Stage 2 visit: https://www.ontario.ca/page/reopening-ontario-whats-each-stage#section-2

 

June 3

Epidemiology Update

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) is transitioning to a new case management and reporting system. This transition will position OPH to better manage COVID-19 case volumes, facilitate remote work options for the case management team, and continue to uphold provincial reporting obligations. To support the transition, OPH is currently conducting quality assurance to validate the data in the new system.

The Epidemiology updates available on the Statistics on Coronavirus 19 (COVID-19) in Ottawa web page provide a summary of COVID-19 activity in Ottawa to date. As of 2:00pm on May 28, 2020, there have been 240 deaths in total. One new outbreak was reported, and there are 18 ongoing outbreaks in institutions. https://www.ottawapublichealth.ca/en/reports-research-and-statistics/la-maladie-coronavirus-covid-19.aspx

Figure 1 Summary of COVID-19 Outbreaks by Setting Type

Figure 2. Status of confirmed COVID-19 outbreaks in long-term care homes, Ottawa

Notes:

1. Data are from iPHIS as of 2:00 p.m. on May 28, 2020.
2. Seven outbreaks are closed and 10 are active.
3. These outbreaks reflect the definitions at the time they were declared open
4. In institutional settings, 1 staff or resident case of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 is considered an outbreak.

Figure 3. Current status of confirmed COVID-19 outbreaks in retirement homes (RH), Ottawa

Notes:

1. Data are from iPHIS as of 2:00 p.m. on May 28, 2020.
2. 11 outbreaks are closed and 5 are active.
3. These outbreaks reflect the definitions at the time they were declared open
4. In institutional settings, 1 staff or resident case of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 is considered an outbreak.

June 1

Transit Commission approves OC Transpo’s COVID-19 Transit Service Recovery Plan

Transit Commission today approved OC Transpo’s Transit Service Recovery Plan, which is an integral part of the City of Ottawa’s roadmap for the recovery phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Two key points for customers in the report include the mandatory wearing of cloth masks on transit starting June 15, and a reminder to not use transit if you are sick.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, OC Transpo service was modified to reflect lower than usual ridership levels and to ensure an availability of staff resources in case of widespread illness. Adjustments have been made quickly to add trips or larger buses to maintain physical distancing onboard and to continue to provide essential services and serve all neighbourhoods. Numerous health and safety measures were put in place for both customers and staff beginning in March, including enhanced cleaning of vehicles, and facilities and rear-door boarding for most customers.

On April 27, the Province of Ontario announced a three-stage approach for reopening the Ontario economy. As the economy reopens, transit ridership in Ottawa will increase as workplaces, businesses, schools and other activities reopen. Transit service plays a foundational role in supporting the City of Ottawa’s economic recovery, by ensuring that people can travel between all parts of the city.

OC Transpo’s recovery plan will accommodate the increase in ridership and will be adjusted through a multi-phased approach. Health and safety measures will be in place prior to the increase in ridership. The plan will be adjusted as Ottawa Public Health recommendations change and as the COVID-19 situation evolves.

Step 1: Current modified service to continue until Saturday, June 27

OC Transpo will continue to provide the current modified service, which is approximately 60 per cent of usual weekday service, until June 27. Adjustments will continue to be made as required to enable physical distancing onboard and to provide for connections to essential services.

Step 2: Mask requirement and other measures to be put in place on Monday, June 15

In preparation for the increase in ridership and return to summer service levels, the following measures will be in place on Monday, June 15:

  • Customers and employees will be required to wear cloth masks or equivalent face coverings when entering buses, trains, stations and Para Transpo minibuses and contracted taxis.
  • In keeping with recommendations from the Province of Ontario, young children and people who have a disability or medical condition that prevents them from wearing a mask will not be required to wear one.
  • Customers can visit ottawapublichealth.ca for information on obtaining and/or making their own masks.
  • Front-door boarding will be reinstated, allowing more space for customers to practice physical distancing.
  • Barrier shields on bus operator cabs will be installed on all conventional buses by June 15.
  • Customers will be able to board at the front of the bus and will need to pay fares.
  • Hand sanitizer dispensers will be at all O-Train stations and most Transitway stations.
  • Enhanced daily cleaning of all transit vehicles, stations, and employee areas will be maintained.
  • Para Transpo operators will continue to wear surgical masks and face shields.
  • Para Transpo trips will continue to be limited to one customer per trip, as long as ridership levels are low enough that this does not result in customers being unaccommodated.

A comprehensive communications and marketing plan will be implemented to inform customers of the upcoming changes.

Step 3: Summer service to begin on Sunday, June 28

OC Transpo will implement summer service adjustments starting on Sunday, June 28, to coincide with the City’s planning horizon for the end of the emergency measures on July 1.

  • All routes will be in service and will operate the same route network that was in place from January to March 2020.
  • School services will not operate.
  • Bus operations at Blair, Hurdman and Tunney’s Pasture stations will be controlled and closely monitored to ensure the flow of buses into these major transfer stations does not result in unhealthy overcrowding of waiting areas and platforms.
  • Bus stop reassignments planned for Blair and Place d’Orléans stations will be implemented on June 28 and will assist with reducing crowding and improving customer flow at those stations.
  • The Customer Service Centre (CSC) at Rideau Centre will reopen when it is possible, in order to provide in-person services for OC Transpo customers, including the intake of EquiPass, Community Pass and Access Pass applications, photos for discounted passes and other ID cards, and setting the discount or replacement of Presto cards.

Step 4: Fall service to begin on Sunday, August 30

OC Transpo will implement fall service adjustments on August 30 to coincide with the start of the school year.

  • Transit service will follow the same route network that has been in place since January, and service frequencies and capacities will be similar to pre-COVID-19 winter service on most routes.
  • School services will operate, and full-service frequencies will be provided on routes serving post-secondary institutions. School service would be adjusted depending on the decisions of the Province, universities and colleges.
  • OC Transpo will plan for additional capacity to be available on standby in order to increase customer spacing as required.

OC Transpo will be closely monitoring updates to the Province of Ontario’s reopening plan and will make adjustments as required to accommodate ridership.

Visit octranspo.com for more information on OC Transpo’s transit services recovery plan.

For more information on City programs and services, visit ottawa.ca or call 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-2401). You can also connect with us through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Update on summer camp programs

The City will cancel its originally-planned summer camp programs, scheduled to run from June 29 to August 28, to be replaced by a new summer camp program that is reformatted around COVID-19 public health measures. Details on registration, dates, location and the camps’ operations will be announced in the future and will be conditional on the Provincial government permitting such programming.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the new summer camp program will follow physical distancing guidelines and emergency orders under the direction of the Province of Ontario. As a result, 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

For parents or guardians who currently have a child registered for a camp, the program will be automatically cancelled and a credit will be placed on their account. Once the account is credited, they can use it to register for a future program, including the newly formatted camp; save the credit for future use; or they can login to ottawa.ca and request a full refund. For those who paid by post-dated cheques, the cheques will be returned and any unprocessed credit card payments will be cancelled.

 

For up-to-date information on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, visit ottawa.ca/covid19 or call 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-9656). You can also connect with us through FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Parks update

With the warmer weather you will want to enjoy the outdoors. The City has implemented the Province’s stage one reopenings that relate to park amenities.

Outdoor sports facilities and multi-use fields are open, including:

  • Baseball diamonds
  • Soccer fields
  • Frisbee golf locations
  • Tennis
  • Platform tennis
  • Table tennis and pickleball courts
  • Basketball courts
  • BMX parks
  • Skate parks

In addition, off-leash dog areas, benches, picnic areas and shelters are also open. Sports fields are available for casual use only and groups of no more than five people. In all cases, physical distancing of at least two metres is required.

Provincial orders remain in effect prohibiting the use of:

  • Play structures
  • Swings
  • Slides
  • Splash pads
  • Wading pools
  • Exercise equipment

We want to hear from you!

With the temporary closure of City of Ottawa facilities, we’d like to receive your feedback. Take our surveys on recreation and summer camps. Just click on the links below and have your say.

Park ambassadors are there to help

Keep an eye out for City of Ottawa staff wearing green t-shirts in parks across the city. Park ambassadors can offer valuable information, answer questions and clarify any confusion you might have about what’s permitted in City parks, trails and natural areas – all while keeping a two metre distance of course!

Fun with Dexter

Dexter continues to entertain Ottawa’s community and he has a challenge for all the dinosaurs out there! Take a look at our Facebook page to see what Dexter’s latest challenge is. Did someone say dancing dinosaurs?

May 29

OPL curbside pick-up to begin in June

The Ottawa Public Library Board has released its plan for limited curbside pick-up beginning in June.

This is great news for individuals waiting for their holds, or the ability to access a book that does not have a digital copy.

Starting on June 8, libraries will accept returns and the ability to schedule pick-ups for curbside appointments. Holds made before the closure will be available first.

As OPL navigates this limited service, there may be delays.

 

Curbside service will begin on June 15 at six branch locations:

  • Beaverbrook
  • Cumberland
  • Greenboro
  • Main
  • Nepean
  • Centrepointe
  • Ruth E Dickinson

The new hours of operation for the six branch locations offering the curbside service are:

  • Monday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Tuesday: 1 p.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Wednesday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Thursday: 1 p.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Friday: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Saturday: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Sunday: CLOSED

Returns of library items will only be accepted during hours of operations and only at the six branches listed above. All book drops remain closed. No appointments are required to drop off library items.

  • Monday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Tuesday: 1 p.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Wednesday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Thursday: 1 p.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Friday: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Saturday: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Sunday: CLOSED

May 27

City Council Meeting

We had a council meeting today – with council members calling in to maintain physical distancing and to slow the community spread of the Novel Coronavirus.

Here is the City Manager’s complete presentation on the City’s response to COVID-19. City Manager – Council Presentation

As well, here is the complete presentation from Ottawa Public Health on the update of COVID-19. OPH – COVID-19 Council Presentation

And please, do not forget it remains vital for your mental health to stay social – from home – make a phone call or have a video dinner date with your neighbours. And if you are having a hard time dealing with this new reality, please reach out City’s Distress Centre.

Distress: 613-238-3311

Crisis: 613-722-6914 or 1-866-996-0991

Again, please do not hesitate to reach out if you need help.

OPH COVID-19 Ottawa Database

Also happy to share with you, a new daily Dashboard that provides COVID-19 information in a digestible format. The Ottawa Public Health COVID-19 Ottawa Database (COD), is a dynamic disease reporting system that allows for ongoing updates to data previously entered. Data extracted from these databases represent a snapshot at the time of extraction and can be different in previous or subsequent reports.

The document will be updated daily alongside the Epidemiology Update. It can be found on the Ottawa Public Health Statistics webpage.

Update on the Human Needs Task Force

Launched the City’s new Family and Social Services – COVID-19 web page (https://ottawa.ca/en/family-and-social-services/family-and-social-services-covid-19-info) on May 14. The web page contains all of Community and Social Services’ information for residents on COVID-19 related to:

  • Childcare and online activities
  • Financial assistance
  • Housing and Homelessness Services
  • Human Needs Task Force
  • Resources for people in need
  • Seniors’ supports and City-run long-term care homes

May 25

Providing Broader Public Use of NCC Assets

Today, the National Capital Commission (NCC) is announcing that it is entering Phase 2 of its Framework for Public Use of Its Assets. Consistent with previous measures to permit wider public access, this step builds on the Province of Ontario’s commencement of Stage 1 of its recovery plan, as well as the Province of Quebec’s decisions to eliminate checkpoints between the cities of Gatineau and Ottawa, and reinstate day use of its parks.

Accordingly, as of Friday, May 22, 2020, at 9 am, most parking lots located on NCC urban lands, Greenbelt and Gatineau Park will be open to the public, wherever possible. We strongly encourage everyone to continue to practise safe physical distancing while on NCC lands, be it in parks, on trails or when parking their vehicle.

The NCC has also been working hard to provide more space for residents for safe outdoor well-being by making certain segments of our parkways available for the exclusive use of pedestrians and cyclists.

Today, we are announcing that most of the parkways in Gatineau Park will be open exclusively for active transportation on a pilot basis. We are also announcing an extension of the current Queen Elizabeth Driveway pilot project. Both of these pilots will continue until Sunday, June 28, 2020.  

Along with the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway and Sir George-Étienne Cartier Parkway weekend 8 am to 4 pm pilot, these combined closures amount to over 50 percent of all NCC parkways whose use is being modified to provide more and safer outdoor access to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In other words, every weekend, more than half of our entire network of parkways is reserved for active users only, which greatly facilitates safe physical distancing for the residents of the National Capital Region. We thank all of our municipal partners, stakeholders and public health officials for their collaboration in facilitating these efforts.

Find out more about our work to create greater public access here: ncc-ccn.gc.ca/news/covid-19.

May 21

Publication of Ward-Based COVID-19 Data 

As of Wednesday, May 20, 2020 and every two weeks hereafter, OPH will be including a “map snapshot” of COVID-19 cases across Ottawa, based on Ward geography.

Statistics on Coronavirus 19 (COVID-19) in Ottawa

May 20

City implements stage-one access to some outdoor park facilities

In response to last week’s provincial announcement, outdoor sports facilities and multi-use fields, including baseball diamonds, soccer fields, frisbee golf locations, tennis, platform tennis, table tennis and pickleball courts, basketball courts, BMX parks and skate parks, are now open. In addition, off-leash dog areas, benches, picnic areas and shelters are also open. In all cases, physical distancing of at least two metres is required.

City crews will begin installing tennis nets and unlocking off-leash dog areas immediately, and the work will be completed over the next few weeks. Sports fields are available for casual use only, respecting physical distancing measures and groups of no more than five people. The rental of fields for competitive sports will not resume until Provincial Orders allow for competitive play.

Provincial Orders remain in effect prohibiting the use of play structures, swings, slides, splash and spray pads, wading pools and exercise equipment.

During the first stage of reopenings, Emergency Provincial Orders remain in place prohibiting gatherings of more than five people outside of your current household. This applies to all public use of opened outdoor park facilities. To allow for physical distancing and to limit the spread of COVID-19 when using outdoor sport amenities, maintain a two-metre distance from others, and avoid picking up someone else’s sports equipment. Wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face.

Benches, picnic tables and gazebos

Restrictions on benches, picnic tables and gazebos have also been relaxed under the provincial stage-one reopening framework, but physical distancing is required.

Benches and tables are not cleaned frequently. Please wash your hands after using them and be sure not to touch your face.

Enclosed off-leash dog parks

Enclosed off-leash dog areas in City parks have now reopened. Please remember that the gates at off-leash dog parks are high-touch surfaces that are not cleaned. Please wash your hands before entering and after exiting a dog park, and avoid touching your face.

You can also walk your dog in a park’s greenspace, as long as you follow the park’s designation.
Residents can check the map on ottawa.ca to see the dog walking designation in their neighbourhood park.

For up-to-date information on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, visit ottawa.ca/covid19 or call 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-9656). You can also connect with us through FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

City releases toolkit to help businesses reopen safely

The City of Ottawa has developed a business reopening toolkit, in consultation with Ottawa Public Health, to help businesses answer critical questions before they can reopen safely.

The gradual easing of COVID-19 restrictions in the months to come will bring new challenges for local businesses to navigate, as well as opportunities to innovate. As Ontario begins to reopen the economy, we encourage all Ottawa businesses and organizations to ensure they are prepared to go back to work safely.

Members of the Ottawa business community can access the toolkit online. It provides guidance on preparing your workplace, employees and operations to resume while ensuring physical distancing, and also provides links to official resources such as public health signage, sector-specific guidelines and government financial assistance programs. Information and resources will be updated regularly on the website as guidance from the Government of Ontario and Ottawa Public Health continues to evolve.

May 19

The Ontario government is protecting the health and safety of students during the COVID-19 outbreak by keeping schools closed for the rest of this school year. This decision was made after consulting with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, health experts on the COVID-19 Command Table, and medical experts at The Hospital for Sick Children. At the same time, the government is planning for the reopening of schools for the 2020-21 school year, the gradual reopening of child care, and the opening of summer day camps subject to the continuing progress in trends of key public health indicators.

All students who were on track to graduate from secondary school before the initial school closure order was made in March will be able to graduate, and all students will receive report cards.

Later this summer, the government will announce a plan to strengthen learning and safety protocols to enable students and staff to return to in-class instruction for the 2020-21 school year. That plan will be bolstered by an enhanced province-wide virtual learning program that will allow all students to learn, regardless of the challenges that may transpire in the coming months.

Private schools, licensed child care centres and EarlyON programs will also remain closed for the safety and protection of children, families and staff through Stage 1 of the Framework for Reopening the ProvinceEmergency child care will continue to operate and provide support for health care and other frontline workers. A gradual reopening of child care is expected to begin when the province is ready to transition to Stage 2 based on public health criteria, which will include robust safety protocols for the safety of Ontario’s youngest learners and their staff.

Assuming trends in key public health indicators continue to improve, summer day camps, both indoor and outdoor, may be permitted in July and August of this year with strict health and safety guidelines to be developed in partnership with local public health, the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, and municipalities. Overnight camps will not be permitted to operate in the summer of 2020.

The province also unveiled an expanded seven-point summer learning plan to ensure Ontario students have every opportunity to continue their learning through the summer months. Summer learning programs are being expanded to reach the most students in Ontario history, to ensure they remain on track to start the 2020-21 school year with the confidence and knowledge required to succeed.

To support at-home learning, the government is leveraging all tools, resources, technologies and services to assist school boards deliver equitable and effective learning through access to technology and Internet connectivity, especially for students in rural and remote parts of Ontario. To help improve access to remote learning, Ontario is partnering with 34 organizations and private businesses, along with school boards, to address key needs among educators, students and their families during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Ontario has worked to identify and make available low-cost, high-impact solutions that can significantly improve the Learn at Home experience now and into the future. Access to digital learning resources, supports for special education needs and mental health, as well as Internet connectivity and access to devices have all been identified by school boards and other stakeholders as urgent needs during the current school closure period. These organizations and businesses were identified through a call for proposals on the Ontario Together website between March 31, 2020 and April 21, 2020.

May 15

We are pleased to report that Ottawa Public Health (OPH) has lifted the outbreak status at Garry J. Armstrong Home. There have been no resident cases to date and there have been no new staff cases in 14 days.

The safety of residents and staff continue to be our top priority. The homes are following operational protocols in accordance with OPH, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Long-Term Care.

Staff will continue to reach out to family members as individual resident test results are received.

In order to prevent further spread of COVID-19 within the home, additional preventative measures have already been implemented. They include:

  • Ensuring all staff working in the home are wearing masks and appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Testing contacts of the confirmed individual, whether symptomatic or asymptomatic;
  • Providing additional training and support for all staff specific to outbreaks
  • Disinfecting all work areas to ensure the health and safety of our staff and residents and implementing additional environment services supports to disinfect the entire home area
  • Assigning consistent staff to each unit wherever possible and limiting staff movement around the home during their shift
  • Encouraging residents to remain on their unit and limiting residents to their rooms to the extent possible

We will continue to follow the advice of OPH and directives from the Ministry of Health. We will provide additional information as it becomes available.

A reminder that the city put in place measures on how families can stay connected with their loved ones in City Long Term Care homes. Twenty additional City staff have been redeployed to assist at the homes and we are now prepared to expand services to include scheduled, supervised visits through windows between residents and their loved ones.

May 13

City Council Meeting

We had a council meeting today – with council members calling in to maintain physical distancing and to slow the community spread of the Novel Coronavirus.

Here is the City Manager’s complete presentation on the City’s response to COVID-19. City Manager – Council Presentation

As well, here is the complete presentation from Ottawa Public Health on the update of COVID-19. OPH – COVID-19 Council Presentation

And please, do not forget it remains vital for your mental health to stay social – from home – make a phone call or have a video dinner date with your neighbours. And if you are having a hard time dealing with this new reality, please reach out City’s Distress Centre.

Distress: 613-238-3311

Crisis: 613-722-6914 or 1-866-996-0991

Again, please do not hesitate to reach out if you need help.

If you are at home and want to help those on the front line.  Here are local groups offering help to our most in need  United Way East Ontario has a list of ways you can help- https://unitedwayeocovid19.ca/volunteer-opportunities/

You can also go to Volunteer Ottawa to register as a volunteer.

Ottawa Community Housing: Building Resilient Communities Together

Ottawa Community Housing (OCH) is the largest landlord in the City of Ottawa with 15,000 homes, serving over 32,000 tenants across the City. COVID-19 is a reminder that we are more than just a landlord. We are a landlord with a heart, serving all demographics in most of Ottawa neighbourhoods, including more than 6,000 seniors and 9,000 youth.

Housing is a human right, and we take pride in being there for those in need. Our role as the City’s largest housing provider is something we take very seriously. OCH communities are at the crossroads where health, education, justice and social services systems all meet. Our work goes beyond maintenance of buildings and proudly extends into building resilient communities.

Every resident, business, community agency and government service has been impacted by the COVID19 pandemic. While it is not business as usual, OCH continues to serve tenants, supported by a dedicated and agile team of staff and partners who are all stepping up during these unprecedented times. Housing is essential and OCH continues to offer 24/7 emergency services.

At the heart of our actions is the notion of partnership. We see first-hand the benefits of coordination across sectors with agencies and groups like the City of Ottawa Human Need Task Force, Ottawa Public Health, the United Way Eastern Ontario, the Community Foundation of Ottawa, the Ottawa Food Bank, and so many more.

During OCH’s COVID19 response, thousands of calls have been made to tenants to check on their wellbeing and identify community vulnerabilities. We are responsive to these vulnerabilities and work closely with community partners to ensure supports are available to those in need.

We are thankful to the resilient team of OCH employees and partners, working 24/7, as we continue to build new homes and carry out tenant service modernization projects.

Ottawa has declared a Housing and Homelessness Emergency. With more than 12,000 people on a waiting list for a home, there are even more housing pressures during this period of crisis. OCH is preparing for a recovery phase and we have built the capacity to deliver more than 10,000 homes to support local priorities, offering newer and greener housing solutions for the next decade.

Meanwhile our efforts are all hands on deck to flatten the curve! We are and will be in this together Ottawa.

Mathieu Fleury – Chair, Ottawa Community Housing and Councillor, Rideau-Vanier Ward

Stéphane Giguère – Chief Executive Officer, Ottawa Community Housing

May 12

Chatting to Wellness Launches Program to Help Seniors Combat Loneliness

Chatting to Wellness is launching free Chatting Sessions for seniors across Canada to combat loneliness and isolation, which has increased during self-isolation as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Local university students are available by phone every weekday evening to chat with seniors as part of this new volunteer-run phone-call program.

The conversations, led by the senior, are entirely free and are for 45 minutes in length. Calls are scheduled between 6 pm – 9 pm EST, Monday to Friday. Seniors can either sign up directly, or have a family member sign up for a call on their behalf by visiting www.chattingtowellness.ca/phonechats.

Chatting to Wellness is a student-run non-profit organization that combats senior isolation and loneliness to improve mental health. Prior to the current pandemic, volunteers conducted weekly visits to retirement homes, to chat with lonely, isolated, and abandoned seniors.

Since its launch two years ago, Chatting to Wellness has provided over 3,000 in-person Chatting Sessions to seniors across the Greater Toronto Area and Southern Ontario. Sessions are conducted by student volunteers with a passion for mental health and senior wellness. The sessions focus on allowing the senior to speak their mind, talk about anything they like, relieving a burden off their shoulders. Feedback shows that 90% of seniors who received three consecutive Chatting Sessions have shown increased engagement with their community. This is in-line with a recent study from Statistics Canada, which shows that social support and participation are associated with better mental and physical health outcomes.

May 11

Ontario Retail Stores Open for Curbside Pickup and Delivery

Starting today, more people will be returning to work across the province as the Ontario government allows retail stores with a street entrance to offer curbside pickup and delivery. Over the weekend, garden centres, nurseries, hardware stores and safety supply stores began offering in-store purchasing. All retailers should follow available safety guidelines in order to protect staff, consumers and the general public during the COVID-19 outbreak.

In addition, provincial parks and conservation reserves will begin opening today with limited access. To start, recreational activities will be restricted to walking, hiking, biking and birdwatching. People will be able to access all parks and conservation reserves for free until the end of the month.

The Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development and its health and safety association partners have now released over 80 sector-specific health and safety guidelines, including guidelines for curbside pickup and delivery services. The Ministry of Health has also released a Guidance Document for Essential Workplaces. Business owners should use these guidelines to develop reopening plans that work for their business and protect workers, customers and the general public as the province prepares for the gradual reopening of the economy.

Easing restrictions on retail stores is aligned with the first phase of the government’s Framework for Reopening our ProvinceProtect and Support, which allows for businesses that can operate safely to do so. The Framework also includes guiding principles for the safe, gradual reopening of businesses, services and public spaces, and sets out the criteria Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and health experts are using to advise the government on adjusting or loosening public health measures.

Join the virtual town hall on COVID-19 in Ottawa

The City of Ottawa is holding a virtual town hall on COVID-19 in Ottawa on Thursday, May 14 at 3 pm.

All residents are invited to join us for an update on urgent community issues and answers to your questions about the COVID-19 pandemic. To maintain physical distancing and reduce the spread of the virus, this meeting will take place online.

How to join in:

Mayor Jim Watson will moderate a discussion with our panel, including:

  • Keith Egli, Chair, Ottawa Board of Health
  • Steve Kanellakos, City Manager
  • Dr. Vera Etches, Medical Officer of Health
  • Anthony Di Monte, General Manager, Emergency and Protective Services
  • Peter Sloly, Chief, Ottawa Police Service

For up-to-date information on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, visit ottawa.ca/covid19 or call 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-2401). You can also connect with us through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

May 7

Long-Term Care COVID-19 Resident and Family Connection Plan

Yesterday the City announced measures on how families can stay connected with their loved ones in City Long Term Care homes. Twenty additional City staff have been redeployed to assist at the homes and we are now prepared to expand services to include scheduled, supervised visits through windows between residents and their loved ones. More details can be found below and in the attached memo. In the event of an outbreak, the Home is required to put additional safety measures in place, as mandated by the Province and Ottawa Public Health. Given that Peter D. Clark and Garry J. Armstrong are currently experiencing an outbreak unfortunately visits are not permitted at this time. Staff will notify families when visits are able to resume. In the meantime, staff will continue to support residents in connecting with families via Skype, phone calls, emails and personal letters.

Process for scheduled visits: Visitor guidelines

Visitors are asked to contact the home in advance to schedule an appointment.

  • The process for booking visits will be the same as the current process used to schedule FaceTime, Skype and phone calls;
  • Only during scheduled visits will visitors be permitted within two meters of the building to allow for residents to safely leave their windows open when not hosting visitors;
  • Visiting hours are daily from 9:30 am to 12 pm, 1:30 to 4:30 pm and 6:30 to 8:30 pm. This timing is staggered to accommodate resident mealtimes and availability of staff to support the scheduled visits between residents and families;
  • If the resident has a safely accessible window within their ground-floor room, the visit can happen there while the window is closed. Otherwise, a common area with a window will be used and residents will be brought to and from this location; and
  • There are clear signs and ground marking on site to ensure all visitors comply with physical distancing rules – especially at doorways and on walkways.

Here’s the city of Ottawa memo on Long-Term Care COVID-19 Resident and Family Connection Plan

For further context on the Long-Term Care COVID-19 Resident and Family Connection Plan please read my comment on April 30th.

Non-medical masks for use by front-line employees

The City of Ottawa procured non-medical (cloth) masks for use by front-line employees. 

The Emergency Operations Centre Logistics Section coordinated the purchase of the non-medical masks.  Last week, the City received an initial delivery of masks for use by front-line employees. 

The Transportation Services Department began distributing masks as the first shipment arrived last weekend.  We will continue the distribution to our workforce as additional shipments arrive.

This is a personal decision and staff are not being required to wear masks, at this time. It is also important to note that masks alone cannot prevent the spread of COVID-19 and should be used along with proper precautions such as frequent hand washing and physical (social) distancing.  If employees choose to wear a mask, they will follow Ottawa Public Health’s guidance on masks.

May 6

City permits limited use of spaces in City parks; use of playground equipment and park amenities remains prohibited

The City, in consultation with Ottawa Public Health (OPH), is advising that the limited use of some spaces in City parks and beaches is now permitted. This does not include the use of sports fields and courts.

Effective immediately, individuals and families can enjoy fresh air and some outdoor activities in City parks. Everyone must also comply with current prohibitions under theProvincial Emergency Orders, including the prohibition on organized public events, gatherings of more than five people, and entry to and use of certain outdoor recreational amenities.

OPH continues to advise that limiting activities to members of your own household remains important to limit the spread of COVID-19 and save lives, and that physical distancing of at least two metres from non-household members be maintained during these activities.

Examples of permitted activities for individuals in groups of up to five people or members from the same household include:

  • Playing catch, kicking a soccer ball and throwing a football
  • Flying a kite
  • Sitting on a blanket, grass or lawn chair
  • Exercising and stretching on a yoga mat, but not in a class
  • Letting young children run and burn off some energy

If you are not with members of your own family, the Provincial Orders continue to restrict events and gatherings of more than five people and continue to prohibit the entry onto or use of all sports fields and courts (e.g.: football and soccer fields, ball diamonds, tennis courts and basketball courts), BMX and skate/board parks, all play structures and playgrounds, swings, benches, picnic tables, shelters, and off-leash dog areas.

In addition, prohibited park use extends to all organized sporting activities and training, such as football, softball, ball hockey, soccer, ultimate frisbee and basketball – even if they are not being played on a court or sports field, as these activities do not allow for proper physical distancing.

Also in accordance with the Provincial Orders, boat launches in parks remain closed and seasonal docks will not yet been installed. Launching any form of watercraft from any City park or beach remains prohibited for canoeists, kayakers and other watercraft enthusiasts.

For up-to-date information on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, visit ottawa.ca/covid19 or call 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-9656). You can also connect with us through FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Non-Medical Masks

Ottawa Public Health is encouraging the use of non-medical masks and face coverings in our community. The following provides Members of Council an overview with respect to non-medical mask and face covering use that can be shared with residents. All of Ottawa Public Health’s information on masks can be found at ottawapublichealth.ca.

Overview

  • Wearing a non-medical mask or face covering is NOT a replacement for physical distancing, hand washing, and/or monitoring your health.
  • Medical masks and N95 respirators should NOT be worn by healthy community members as they must be kept  for health care workers and others providing direct care to COVID-19 patients.
  • Wearing non-medical mask or face covering may offer additional protection especially when physical distancing is difficult to maintain (e.g. in a grocery store, on the bus) and may help protect others around you.
  • Non-medical masks may include:
    • Those that are made from cloth (for example cotton);
    • Those that have pockets to insert filters; and,
    • Those used to cover other masks or respirators to prolong usage.

A non-medical mask should be worn If you are:

  • Ill and are coughing or sneezing, please wear a non-medical mask to protect those around you from getting sick. This is very important if you go to an appointment, clinic, or a hospital. Do not go to other public places when you are sick, even if you are wearing a mask. If you are seeking medical care, an appropriate medical/surgical mask will be provided. Follow the instructions given to you in the health care setting about how to remove and store your non-medical mask.
  • Visiting somewhere where physical distancing measures are difficult to maintain, such as the grocery store, pharmacy, or public transit., as is now suggested by OC Transpo;
  • Are caring for someone who is ill; and,
  • Are taking care of someone who is coughing or sneezing, particularly if they are unable to wear a mask,. Both the ill individual and the caregiver should wear a non-medical mask.

It is never appropriate to place a non-medical mask or facial covering on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

For further information on physical distancing and hand hygiene for children, please visit Ottawapublichealth.ca.

When wearing a cloth face covering, keep in mind:

  • cloth face coverings do not block ALL the virus particles that are spread by others when coughing or sneezing;
  • cloth face coverings should fit snugly but comfortably against the side of your face, allowing for safe breathing and that the covering that be secured with ties or ear loops.
  • Cloth face coverings should be able to withstand frequent cycles of washing and drying machines.

When wearing a mask, take the following precautions to protect yourself and others:

  • Wash your hands properly with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer before and after putting on a mask.
  • Avoid touching the mask while wearing it.
  • Make sure the mask fits well (no gaps) over your mouth and nose.
  • Change the mask by only touching the straps or ear-loops as soon as it gets damp or soiled. Do not touch the front of the mask.
  • Place the used mask directly into the washing machine or a bag that can be emptied into the washing machine and then disposed of.
  • Wash the cloth masks in the washing machine with other items using regular laundry detergent and a hot cycle, and then dry them thoroughly.
  • If a non-medical mask cannot be washed, discard and replace it as soon as it gets damp, soiled, or crumpled. Dispose of masks properly in a garbage bin lined with a plastic bag. Do not leave discarded masks in shopping carts or on the ground. Do not place a used mask on any work surface, common area, or equipment because it could contaminate that surface.
  • Do not share masks with others.
  • Continue physical distancing and wash your hand often.

How to make a Non-Medical Mask

When it comes to making a non-medical mask, Health Canada has provided instructions for sew or no-sew options and has included the types of material best used to make the non-medical masks, such as cotton, t-shirts or bandanas. Here is a link to Health Canada’s website for instructions on how to make a non-medical mask.

Travelling

For individuals who are travelling, all air passengers are required to have a non-medical mask or face covering to cover their mouth and nose during travel. For marine, rail or motor carrier/bus travel, travelers are encouraged

to wear non-medical masks or face coverings whenever possible. For more information, visit: New measures introduced for non-medical masks or face coverings in the Canadian transportation system (Transport Canada).

Purchasing Masks

Ottawa Public Health provides a list of local mask manufacturers. Vendors were identified via social media by Ottawa residents. Ottawa Public Health (OPH) does not endorse any particular vendor of material masks, nor can we ensure that any vendor is able to maintain stock of these products. We are not liable if there are any issues related to the vendor or the purchased product. The vendors below are listed with the intent of promoting the wearing of material masks in settings where physical distancing is not possible. If you, or your constituents are aware of other Ottawa-based or

Canada-based vendors producing masks that are not currently listed below, please let us know at healthsante@ottawa.ca.

Here is our current list;

  • About Face Masks
  • BALBEA
  • Benton’s Menswear
  • Blondie Apparel
  • EMK Clothing
  • FabricMasks.ca
  • Frank and Oak
  • Gogo Bags
  • H4x
  • House of Noni
  • Indi Arts Collective (Adult and Child Sizes available)
  • Kehingi Vintage
  • Life More Simple
  • LilHelper.ca
  • Maritime Tartan Company
  • Money Penny Designs
  • Monster Muffin
  • Oddball Workshop
  • Ottawa Artisans
  • Ottawa Facemasks
  • Ottawa Senators
  • Paddye Mann Clothing
  • Peace Collective
  • Roots
  • Search and Rescue Denim
  • Stephano’s Tailor Shop
  • Stronger Together
  • The Eco Club
  • The Orange Room
  • THAWRIH
  • Well.ca (Adult and Child size available)

May 5

CHEO becomes Canada’s first pediatric hospital offering a virtual Emergency Department

Starting today, CHEO’s Emergency Department is offering virtual appointments with a pediatric emergency physician for children and youth needing urgent, but not medically life-threatening, care — becoming Canada’s first pediatric hospital to do so.

CHEO’s Emergency Department is always open for in-person visits and we encourage anyone who needs in-person care to come.

CHEO still asks that families first consult with their primary care physicians, providers and pediatricians, whenever possible, and to always follow their recommendations when advised to come in person to CHEO’s Emergency Department.

To start, CHEO will offer 24 virtual appointments a day, between 9 am and 9 pm. These appointments will be conducted using secure video connections.

How it works

  • Go to www.cheo.on.ca, where you can submit an appointment request 24 hours a day.
  • CHEO has developed a self-triage checklist that indicates whether a virtual appointment is right for them. CHEO always asks that families first consult with their primary care provider whenever possible.
  • If you are requesting a virtual emergency visit, you will be asked to fill out a secure online form with more details.
  • A CHEO registration clerk will contact you to schedule a virtual appointment. Between 7:30 am and 11:30 pm, you will receive a call back within 30 minutes. Response times overnight may take a bit longer.

While CHEO expect to be able to manage a good portion of the appointments entirely virtually, some families or youth will be advised to come to CHEO in person for further evaluation.

If you need urgent, in-person care the Emergency Department is always here for you. If you do need to visit in person, make sure to follow the physical distancing markers and put on a mask when you arrive.

 

May 4

Ottawa markets

Excited to share that Ottawa Markets has launched a Pick and Click Farmers’ Market to kick off the 2020 season at both the ByWard Market and Parkdale Market. A growing number of local producers such as Rochon Gardens, Nat’s Bread, and Against the Grain Farms, will make their products available online at www.ottawmarkets.ca: You pick, you click, and you show up at either the ByWard or Parkdale Market pickup location.

The process will work the same as the contactless pick up at your grocery store and initially operate three days a week (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday), but will adjust with the growing season and demand.

Trial Launch: May 9, May 12, May 14, 2020 (10:00-13:00)
Designated pick-up zones:
York Street East (ByWard Market) & Parkdale Market (Wellington West)
Official Kick Off: May 16, 2020
Order Site: www.ottawamarkets.ca

COVID-19: Share your thoughts

As Ottawa and the rest of the world continue to respond to this unprecedented time in history, the City of Ottawa and Ottawa Public Health are looking to learn more about your thoughts, perceptions and understanding of current restrictions in place related to COVID-19.

The City and Ottawa Public Health are currently exploring how we can safely reopen the city in a gradual, phased approach while aligning with the Province of Ontario’s for reopening the province

We want to hear from you about the changes you have made to protect yourself and your loved ones from COVID-19, how easy it has been for you to receive and understand information from different levels of government, what kinds of supports you have accessed, your ideas on how to maintain physical distancing into the future and much more.

For the survey visit: https://engage.ottawa.ca/covid19

April 30

Long-Term Care Preventative Measures

The City Long Term Care Team continues to do great work with the safety of residents and staff as a top priority. With 4 homes and over 7000 residents, the City has and will continue to take the approach of prioritizing residents’ safety to limit the spread of COVID19.

Ottawa Public Health has highlighted the importance of getting outside, while also respecting physical distancing rules. Residents in City Long Term Care homes need to enjoy the outdoors on LTC grounds safely. While visiting a family member through a window is not problematic, it becomes a challenge when residents subsequently meet in person with family members or interact in-person with others residents family members and then bring back risks to all other residents. On a number of occasions visitors have not respected the physical distancing requirements and have been in direct contact with staff and residents. As a result of these risks, staff needed to take immediate action.

The City realizes the importance of contact with family members and recognizes the challenges during these difficult times. Staff have been facilitating virtual visits between residents and their family members and will continue to do so. This week, City homes deployed additional resources from Recreation, Culture and Facility Services to support connection with families via Skype, phone calls, emails, personal letters, etc. While regular in-person contact with residents is not possible right now, for those with chronic conditions,  staff can and will schedule a “window” visit to continue to follow social distancing rules and protect all residents.

Restrictions to City owned LTC grounds for everyone is in place to protect LTC residents from spread of the virus.  It is important for residents to enjoy the grounds as warmer weather approaches, without risk.  The City must find a respectful and safe approach to facilitate window meetings with family member.

We thank the resident families for their ongoing collaboration and understanding as the City team ensures the safety of all.  Another big thank you to the City LTC team for their ongoing dedication to providing the best and safest care for our LTC residents.

Here’s the city of Ottawa memo on Long-Term Care Preventative Measures.

April 29

I’m pleased to advise that, in consultation with the Government of Ontario, the City of Ottawa is working with our community’s farmers’ markets to re-open in a safe manner.

The information that follows has been compiled by staff from PIED, Emergency and Protective Services and Ottawa Public Health.

Farmers’ Markets Ontario (FMO) has received clarification from the Province that farmers’ markets, “as businesses that primarily sell food, are considered essential workplaces under the current Order.” In addition, the Municipality has consulted and received confirmation from relevant provincial ministers that farmers’ markets are considered an essential service, as sanctioned by the Minister of Agriculture, so long as they respect guidelines outlined by FMO.

In collaboration with Ottawa Public Health (OPH), guidelines have been prepared regarding safe market operations. OPH is currently supporting local market operators to resume business safely, and this guidance includes information with regards to maintenance of physical distancing, and proper handwashing and sanitizing protocols in market settings. This information will be posted on their web site shortly.

Locally, we continue to encourage businesses to leverage e-commerce options in an effort to reduce the spread of the virus, and some landowners have site policies that have resulted in markets offering modified service delivery models, otherwise known as “click and collect”. As an example, City staff are working with market organizers wanting to operate on City properties to implement “click and collect” models at City sites, including the Beechwood Market, and the Ottawa Farmers Market at Lansdowne Park. The Beechwood Market intends to operate in June, and the Lansdowne Market intends to operate by the second week of May. We are also working on ‘’click and collect’’ options with the management of the Ottawa Markets Corporation, with respect to the opening of the ByWard and Parkdale Markets. The use of a City park can become complex under the current Provincial Order that dictates the closure of park space used for recreational amenities, specifically parks that have multi-use amenities. That being said, staff are currently reviewing all requests on a case by case basis with this in mind. Rest assured that we are working with operators towards solutions that are safe for market operators, vendors and patrons.

Bring music education home with OrKidstra

During these challenging times, OrKidstra is finding new ways to help empower kids and build community through music. OrKidstra is proud to share free access to its fun and engaging online KiddlyWinks videos!

OrKidstra’s KiddlyWinks is a popular, fun-filled, value-based music education program for elementary school-age children!

To check out all the videos visit https://orkidstra.ca/programs/kiddlywinks-intro/ 

April 28

Community gardens

We are happy to announce that the province of Ontario now permit the use of allotment gardens and community gardens across the province. These gardens are an essential source of fresh food for some individuals and families, including those who face food insecurity. Local medical officers of health will provide advice, recommendation and instructions that the gardens must meet in order to operate, such as physical distancing, and cleaning and disinfecting commonly used equipment and surfaces.

Here’s the list of community gardens in our community

  • Fatima Manor for Seniors – 280 Montford
  • Vanier Community Garden – Richelieu Park, 300 Des Peres Blancs
  • Lowertown Community Garden – 40 Cobourg Street
  • Angel Square Community Garden – 40 Cobourg Street
  • Oasis Food Growing Project – 221 Nelson Street
  • St. Joes Supper Table Community Garden – 151 Laurier Avenue
  • University of Ottawa Office of Campus Sustainability – 141 Louis-Pasteur Private
  • Sandy Hill Community Garden – 154 Mann Avenue
  • Strathcona Heights Community Garden – 430 Wiggins Private

Recommendations for Allotment and Community Garden Coordinators to Reduce the Spread of COVID-19

  1. Seek approval from garden landowner for permission to operate in 2020.
  2. Develop an operation plan specific to each garden that includes a section on infection prevention taking into account garden-specific factors such as the size of the gardens, the layout of the gardens, the proximity of plots to each other, the common areas and amenities on site, and if there are special provisions or restrictions for gardeners at risk of contracting COVID-19.
    • Limit the number of gardeners at each garden site to a number that will permit adequate physical distancing. Consider scheduling gardener access to prevent too many people being at the garden at one time.
    • Permit access to gardeners for the purpose of planting, maintenance and harvesting food only.
    • Do not plan or host events at the garden that bring people together to the site.
  3. Share the 2020 operational plan with Just Food Ottawa for feedback and approval prior to opening the garden. Landowners may also want to view a copy of this plan to provide feedback and approval.
  4. Send a copy of the final 2020 garden operational plan to all gardeners so they     can assist in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and permit those who do not wish to follow the plan or garden this year to opt out of gardening this year. Electronic or verbal sharing of the plan may be the best way to share this plan and gain their understanding, especially if there are different language requirements.
  5. Update the list of current registered members, staff and volunteers, and track those who have agreed to participate under COVID-19 policies and protocols. This may assist with communication, close-contact tracing if required, etc.
  6. Post signage stating that only registered gardeners, staff and volunteers are permitted to use the garden plots. Include who to contact at the garden if there are questions or suggestions for improved operation or infection prevention.
  7. Provide resources to gardeners so they are aware of steps they need to take to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at their gardens including:
    • how to safely share gardening materials and tools,
    • how to clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as hoses, door/gate handles, tools, etc., and
    • if feasible, provide soap and water for cleaning and hand washing and an approved disinfectant for disinfection of commonly touched surfaces.  If you are providing products have original labels and are stored properly to prevent spills and accidental poisonings.
  8. Post clear, visible signage at all garden entrances reminding registered members, staff and volunteers about the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and where to seek assistance if they have symptoms (Ontario’s self-assessment tool, health care provider or Telehealth Ontario [1-866-797-0000]). Resources and posters are available online at Ottawa Public Health/Coronavirus in different languages that address topics such as handwashing, cough etiquette, and physical distancing.
  9. Place clear, visible signage throughout the garden — especially locations where shared equipment, tools, etc. are located — reminding registered members, staff and volunteers of the requirements that must be followed when using the garden to prevent the transmission of COVID-19.

Recommendations for Gardeners at Community Gardens to prevent the spread of COVID-19

The risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus in outdoor settings like community gardens is lower than indoors — this includes the risk of human-to-human spread and from the risk from contaminated surfaces. Distancing is usually easier to maintain outdoors, there is more air circulation, and there is UV sunlight. In addition, we know that virus survives for less time on surfaces that are not smooth, and that UV light kills all SARS coronavirus in 60 minutes. For more general and updated information on COVID-19 visit our page.

Be aware that in addition to maintaining a minimum of 2-meter distance from all others, good hand hygiene is very important to protect yourself and others from infection both indoors and outdoors

  1. Conduct a COVID-19 health self-assessment each day before attending the garden to ensure you are not ill. Should self-assessments indicate they should self-isolate or seek medical advice, gardeners must not go to the garden until the issue is resolved.
  2. Practice good personal hygiene practices such as washing your hands, coughing or sneezing into your arm, and not touching your face (mouth, nose, or eyes) unless you have washed your hands immediately before. Washed hands are the best protection against accidently transferring virus to your mouth, nose or eyes where infection can get started. Wash hands as soon as possible before and after gardening at the site. If hands are visibly soiled, handwashing with soap and water is preferred, but hand sanitizer can be effective if dirt is removed from hands first.
  3. Use your own garden gloves and bring them home to wash with soap and clean water after each use. Always wash your hands thoroughly immediately after taking off your gloves.
  4. Practice physical distancing from others in the garden:
    • stay at least 2 metres (6 feet) from others to limit the number of people you come in close contact with, except members of your household who are gardening.
    • limit the number of gardeners at each plot. Allow only 1 or 2 gardeners per garden plot. Having more than 1 or 2 gardeners will make it more difficult to maintain at least 2 meters from all other people and would be unfair to other gardeners.
  5. Minimize the use of shared tools and consider cleaning and disinfecting tools that are shared. Not touching your face and washing hands after gardening are protective of infection spread from contaminated surfaces.
  6. The normal practice of wearing gardening gloves combined with not touching your face and washing hands after gardening are protective of infection spread from contaminated surfaces.
  7. Consider wearing a non-medical face mask when physical distancing is difficult, to protect others from the spread of droplets generated by breathing, talking, coughing, sneezing, etc.
  8. Wash your hands as soon as possible after touching commonly touched surfaces in the garden. Remember that you cannot rely on a surface being clean when you touch it – always wash your hands before touching any part of your face even if you think a surface you have touched is clean.
  9. Consider bringing soap and water and a disinfectant with you to clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces prior to use and ideally after touching them. Commonly used cleaners and disinfectants are effective against COVID-19. The following cleaning and disinfection recommendations aim to reduce the risks associated with surface transmission. Surfaces should first be cleaned with soap and water and then disinfected.
    • Follow recommendations from Public Health Ontario on Cleaning and Disinfection for Public Settings, consult Public Health Ontario’s fact sheet on Cleaning and Disinfection for Public Settings, as well as read the specific label instructions provided by the manufacturer to ensure products are properly prepared and applied; allowed adequate contact time for the disinfectant to kill germs; and that the person preparing and applying them is wearing gloves and any additional recommended personal protective equipment.
  10. Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly under running tap water as per normal when preparing foods. Always wash your hands with soap and water before washing fruits and veggies and between handling different kinds of foods. Visit Ottawa Public Health’s Keeping foods safe (clean, cook, chill, separate) for more information.

April 27

Ontario Unveils Guiding Principles to Reopen the Province

Today, the Ontario government released A Framework for Reopening our Province, which outlines the criteria Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and health experts will use to advise the government on the loosening of emergency measures, as well as guiding principles for the safe, gradual reopening of businesses, services and public spaces. The framework also provides details of an outreach strategy, led by the Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee, to help inform the restart of the provincial economy.

The government is planning a stage-by-stage approach to reopening the economy to ensure there are appropriate measures in place so workplaces can open safely. Public health officials will carefully monitor each stage for two to four weeks, as they assess the evolution of the COVID-19 outbreak to determine if it is necessary to change course to maintain public health.

  • Stage 1: For businesses that were ordered to close or restrict operations, opening select workplaces that can immediately modify operations to meet public health guidance. Opening some outdoor spaces like parks and allowing for a greater number of individuals to attend some events. Hospitals would also begin to offer some non-urgent and scheduled surgeries, and other health care services.
  • Stage 2: Opening more workplaces, based on risk assessments, which may include some service industries and additional office and retail workplaces. Some larger public gatherings would be allowed, and more outdoor spaces would open.
  • Stage 3: Opening of all workplaces responsibly and further relaxing of restrictions on public gatherings.

Throughout each stage, continued protections for vulnerable populations must be in place, along with the continued practice of physical distancing, hand washing and r espiratory hygiene, and significant mitigation plans to limit health risks.

To reopen the economy, the government will consider factors such as the risk of the spread of COVID-19 and the ability to implement protective measures to keep workplaces safe. The Chief Medical Officer of Health and health experts will provide advice to the government about easing public health measures using a range of set criteria, including:

  • A consistent two-to-four week decrease in the number of new daily COVID-19 cases;
  • Sufficient acute and critical care capacity, including access to ventilators and ongoing availability of personal protective equipment;
  • Approximately 90 per cent of new COVID-19 contacts are being reached by local public health officials within one day, with guidance and direction to contain community spread; and
  • Ongoing testing of suspected COVID-19 cases, especially of vulnerable populations, to detect new outbreaks quickly.

Local Businesses and University of Ottawa Coming Together to Support Essential Workers

This week, I had the opportunity to speak with staff and students at the University of Ottawa along with Canadian Hydro Components about their incredible work in supporting healthcare workers in Ottawa.

Over the past month the University of Ottawa has been working with different medical professionals to create a reusable face shield to protect essential workers, made up of three key parts: a headband, the transparent shield and an elastic like tourniquet.

There are over 25 volunteers who have donated everything from 3D printed bands and packing supplies to home cooked lunches. In addition to these volunteers, companies like Canadian Hydro Components, Lumentum and Luzchem have been involved in making  the 3D printed bands. ETM Industries also developed an injection mold for one of the headband designs to speed up the 3D printing process.

This group has been able to distribute over 7000 face shields to healthcare workers with a focus on Ottawa major hospitals, retirement/long term care homes, and clinics, including those supporting our most vulnerable at Ottawa Inner City Health. More information about these efforts can be found here: https://covid.makerepo.com/

What a great example of passion and innovation quickly coming together to support our essential workers. Bravo!

April 24

Masks

Medical masks and N95 respirators should not be worn by healthy community members. For health care workers looking for information on personal protective equipment, please refer to our section on Infection Prevention and Control.

Non-medical masks may include those that are made from cloth (for example cotton); those that have pockets to insert filters; and those that are used to cover other masks or respirators to prolong their use. Wearing a non-medical mask is NOT a replacement for physical distancing, hand washing, and monitoring your health. Wearing non-medical masks may offer additional protection especially when physical distancing is hard to maintain (e.g. in a grocery store, on the bus).

However, non-medical mask may help protect others around you.

To protect yourself from COVID-19, follow public health recommendations: stay home, wash your hands often, and don’t touch your face. Homemade cloth face coverings, or non-medical masks, have not been proven to protect you from COVID-19 and have a number of limitations. Wearing a non-medical mask can increase your risk of infection if you touch your face more frequently: readjusting it or if you do not wash your hands before putting it on and taking it off.

For more information about non-medical masks, visit Health Canada’s website About non-medical masks and face coverings.

April 23

Update on Testing in Long Term Care Homes

Pursuant to provincial guidelines with respect to COVID-19 testing protocols, OPH has communicated provincial testing recommendations to all LTC/RHs relating to COVID-19. Please note that, as per Ministry of Health guidance, one single confirmed case of COVID-19 in an institution results in the declaration of an institutional outbreak. OPH’s COVID-19 Testing Criteria webpage provides the details with respect to who should be tested for COVID-19, based on those who are most in need and this will be updated shortly with the new guidelines.

On April 21, 2020, the province announced proactive surveillance testing to understand the current status of COVID-19 in LTC and RHs, including targeted testing of asymptomatic residents and staff. While testing of residents and staff in COVID-19 outbreak that are symptomatic and asymptomatic close contacts should be a priority, additional testing will enable an understanding of the prevalence of COVID-19 amongst residents/staff, particularly asymptomatic. OPH is in continual communication with the province and our health care partners to determine the best way to effectively and efficiently carry out the new provincial surveillance initiative. Given the large numbers of residents and staff in the region to be tested, this will take several weeks to coordinate and complete.

It is especially important to mention that a negative test does not rule out that an individual is infected, since they could be incubating an infection and therefore the result could be falsely reassuring. Tests conducted early in an infection may also be falsely negative if a person’s viral load is low. A reliance on testing results with ongoing testing of people initially negative is a challenge, raising concerns of sustainability and potential distraction from the primary importance of infection prevention and control efforts. PPE such as masks, gloves, goggles and gowns, and sound infection prevention and control practices are what make a difference in reducing transmission.

Temporary Closure Emergency Child Care Centre

Yesterday, April 22, a staff member at the Esther By Child Care Centre, reported feeling unwell and at the suggestion of Ottawa Public Health (OPH) is being tested for COVID- 19. It is anticipated that the results of this test will take between 24 and 48 hours to be received.

As the highest level of safety for child care workers and children/families in emergency care remains our priority and in consultation with Ottawa Public Health (OPH), the decision has been made to temporarily close the facility immediately until the staff member’s test results have been received.

This temporary closure impacts 4 families. Communications have been provided to families and employees this evening.

It is important to note that we have been planning for this eventuality and are closely following Ottawa Public Health’s recommendations. Our clients and employees’ health and safety are our top priority and we will continue to follow the advice of our colleagues at Ottawa Public Health to ensure our people are protected while providing care and delivering essential services to our residents.

April 22

City Council Meeting

We had a council meeting today – with council members calling in to maintain physical distancing and to slow the community spread of the Novel Coronavirus.

Here is the City Manager’s complete presentation on the City’s response to COVID-19. City Manager – Council Presentation

As well, here is the complete presentation from Ottawa Public Health on the update of COVID-19. OPH – COVID-19 Council Presentation

And please, do not forget it remains vital for your mental health to stay social – from home – make a phone call or have a video dinner date with your neighbours. And if you are having a hard time dealing with this new reality, please reach out City’s Distress Centre.

Distress: 613-238-3311

Crisis: 613-722-6914 or 1-866-996-0991

Again, please do not hesitate to reach out if you need help.

If you are at home and want to help those on the front line.  Here are local groups offering help to our most in need  United Way East Ontario has a list of ways you can help- https://unitedwayeocovid19.ca/volunteer-opportunities/

You can also go to Volunteer Ottawa to register as a volunteer.

April 21

Positive Case COVID-19 at Gary G Armstrong Long-Term Care Facility

Today, we received confirmation that an employee at one of the City of Ottawa Long- Term Care Homes, Garry J. Armstrong Home, in Lowertown, tested positive for COVID-19. This individual is currently in self-isolation at home and is asymptomatic. The employee last worked on April 18.

We are working directly with Ottawa Public Health (OPH) to identify next steps for testing any residents or staff in the Home. OPH is following up with family and friends who may have been in close contact with the individual. Communications have been provided to staff, residents, and family members today.

It is important to note that we have been planning for this eventuality and have closely followed Ottawa Public Health’s recommendations. Our residents and employees’ health and safety are our top priority and we will continue to follow the advice of our colleagues at Ottawa Public Health to ensure our people are protected while providing care and delivering essential services to our residents.

In order to prevent further spread of COVID-19 within the home, additional preventative measures will be rapidly implemented. They include:

  • The home has been placed on outbreak and all staff working in the home are wearing masks and wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when providing direct care;
  • Testing contacts of the confirmed individual, whether symptomatic or asymptomatic;
  • Providing additional training and support for all staff specific to outbreaks; and,
  • All work areas have been disinfected to ensure the health and safety of our staffand residents and additional environment services supports have been implemented to disinfect the entire home area

We will continue to follow the advice of Ottawa Public Health and directives from the Ministry of Health. These include:

  • Only essential visitors permitted in the home;
  • Isolation leave for staff who do not pass screening processes;
  • Enhanced cleaning of common areas and high touch surfaces;
  • Maintaining physical distance from your colleagues;
  • Washing hands frequently and avoiding touching your face; and,
  • Stay home when you are not feeling well.

The following measures are still in place to protect residents and staff:

  • Staff are screened twice daily, at the beginning and end of their shifts, including a temperature check;
  • All residents are screened twice daily for any symptoms and any resident showing symptoms will be isolated and tested for the virus
  • New residents admitted or re-admitted into the home will be isolated for 14 days;
  • Residents are only allowed to leave the property for essential medical appointments. Otherwise they are not permitted to leave the property or to visit friends and families. Residents that do so will be isolated for 14 day
  • Staff have scheduled additional housekeeping shifts to increase the frequency of disinfecting contact surfaces.

Update from the City’s Human Needs Task Force

Social Services Funding Supports

On April 9, the City received $6.6 million of a $13.3 million commitment from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing through the Social Services Relief Fund for 2020-2021. This funding is in addition to the $4.8 million previously received through the federal Reaching Home funding under Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, bringing the total immediate funding to $11.4 million. This funding is intended to support the needs of vulnerable people during this crisis including: people at risk of or experiencing homelessness; people living in community or supportive housing; people with low incomes; social assistance recipients; or others who require social services.

The complete Social Services Relief Fund Terms of Reference and simplified Application Package can be found on the City of Ottawa’s COVID-19 Supports and Assistance page. We will continue to work closely with community agencies to ensure that all Social Services Relief Fund related inquiries are appropriately triaged and responded to in a timely fashion to enable a smooth and effective funding allocation process. We are targeting to have these funds distributed by early May.

Food Secuirty

The Human Needs Task Force created and distributed Food Resource Fact Sheets to provide residents with information on key pick-up and delivery food service options in their communities. A shorter fact sheet specifically for seniors is also available. The Food Resource Fact Sheet has been translated into English and French and is being translated into six other languages.

Wellness Checks

Over the past week, Ottawa Community Housing (OCH) has completed check-in phone calls to the 1,451 residents on their emergency call list. In addition to the check-in phone calls that OCH has already conducted, they have begun calling the most vulnerable of their 6300 seniors.

The Human Needs Task Force has partnered with the Red Cross to conduct door-to-door wellness checks for all OCH residents who were not reached by check-in phone calls. Multi-language resource and support kits were created as a handout for residents during these wellness checks. The wellness checks, which begin Tuesday, April 21, will ensure that all vulnerable residents are reached, regardless of their access to phones.

At the end of April, following the door-to-door wellness checks within OCH, the Human Needs Task Force will devise a plan to address the needs of those more isolated and vulnerable in our broader communities. This will include:

  • Working with school boards to reach out to priority families that have not yet been reached;
  • Connecting with other service providers that support vulnerable residents within the City to see how we can support outreach;
  • Working with Councillors’ offices to reach out to isolated populations in each ward;
  • Working with Community Associations to find out which supports are missing; and
  • Determining how best to connect with residents in each ward.

Community and Family Shelters

Physical distancing remains one of the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Overcrowding in shelters, coupled with a tendency for clients to congregate, increases the risks of rapid spread should an outbreak occur. Housing Services and its community partners have been working to mobilize new facilities to support this particularly vulnerable population by enabling this important prevention strategy.

April 20

COVID-19 Assessment Centre

COVID-19 Testing update: The list of symptoms and individuals requiring testing for COVID-19 has expanded.

The COVID-19 Assessment Centre is an out-of-hospital clinic where people will be assessed by a health-care provider and tested for COVID-19 if required. It is operated by The Ottawa Hospital (TOH) and CHEO, in partnership with Ottawa Public Health (OPH) and the City of Ottawa.

If you are in distress (e.g. significant trouble breathing, chest pain, fainting, or have a significant worsening of any chronic disease symptoms), do not go to the Assessment Centre or a COVID-19 Care clinic. Go to the nearest Emergency Department or call 9-1-1.

  • COVID-19 has common symptoms such as fever, cough, or difficulty breathing.
  • COVID-19 also has less common symptoms such as unexplained fatigue, delirium (a serious medical condition that involves confusion, changes to memory, and odd behaviours), falls, acute functional decline, worsening of chronic conditions, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, chills, headaches, croup, or loss of taste/smell.
  • COVID-19 may also present as new or worsening respiratory symptoms such as: sore throat, runny nose, sneezing, nasal congestion, hoarse voice, or difficulty swallowing

The following list of individuals are recommended to be tested for COVID-19 IF they have at least one common symptom of COVID-19 OR one less common symptom of COVID-19 OR one new or worsening respiratory symptom (see list of symptoms above):

  • Healthcare workers or staff who work in health care facilities and members of their households
  • Residents and staff in long-term care homes, retirement homes, correctional facilities, homeless shelters, mental health institution, hospice, and other congregate living settings
  • Hospitalized individuals and those who likely will be hospitalized
  • Members of remote, isolated, rural, and/or indigenous communities
  • Caregivers and care providers
  • First responders such as firefighters, police, and paramedics
  • Individuals with frequent healthcare contact such as patients with cancer or undergoing chemotherapy, dialysis therapy, pre- or post-transplant, pregnancy, and newborns

The following list of individuals are recommended to be tested for COVID-19 IF they have at least one common symptom of COVID-19 such as fever, cough, or difficulty breathing.

  • Close contacts of confirmed or probable cases
  • Returning international travellers who seek medical attention
  • Critical infrastructure workers – this includes grocery stores, food services, maintenance and transportation workers, and utilities.

Patients who meet the criteria above will be tested for COVID-19, which involves taking a sample from the throat or nose with a swab.

Important: You do NOT need to contact Ottawa Public Health before going to an assessment centre.

Brewer Park Arena Location and hours:

151 Brewer Way
Accessed from Bronson Avenue opposite Carleton University
Open 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. , 7 days a week

211

Si vous avez besoin d’aide pour trouver des banques alimentaires, des ressources en santé mentale ou des programmes d’aide financière, composez le 211 et ils vous orienteront dans la bonne direction.

Vous n’êtes pas seuls.

April 17 

Ottawa Public Health update


In response to residents questions about physical distancing, OPH has clarified that speaking with a neighbour over a fence, or from a distance, as long as there is a maintained two-metre distance between each other is acceptable.

Ottawa Public Health has also added new resources on staying active during this time, as well as a video on maintaining your mental health, to our website.

Who needs to seek care and where to go: 

  • The Brewer Arena Assessment Center is the primary location for swabbing people who need to be tested for COVID-19.
  • If you can manage your symptoms at home (e.g. your symptoms are generally mild), be tested if you meet the latest COVID-19 testing criteria, but you may not need to seek further health care.
  • If you have escalating symptoms of respiratory illness, including a fever or worsening cough and flu-like symptoms, and are in need of medical attention, you should go to a COVID-19 Care Clinics.
  • If you are in distress (e.g. significant trouble breathing, chest pain, fainting, or have a significant worsening of any chronic disease symptoms), do not go to the Assessment Centre or a COVID-19 Care clinic. Go to the nearest Emergency Department or call 9-1-1.

Anyone with serious illness should never hesitate to go to Emergency Departments. The Ottawa-area hospitals all have capacity to provide emergency service to those who need it and they are using strict infection prevention and control measures.

TESTING:
The testing criteria is expanded for essential workers, front-line workers, residents and staff of long-term care and retirement homes and hospital inpatients. Local labs are also working at increasing capacity for analyzing the results.

CRIME PREVENTION OTTAWA

CPO has launched a new initiative to help victims and survivors of domestic violence and abuse to get help and support.

A text and online chat tool: Text (613) 704-5535 or chat online: unsafeathomeottawa.ca

The bilingual service is available from 8:30 am to midnight 7 days/week. Connect with trained counsellors using secure technology.

UPDATE ON CITY SERVICES

Essential programs and services to support residents continues, however, all in-person services and City-managed facilities, including sports and recreation facilities, public libraries, museums and municipal childcare centres will remain closed until June 30.

City parks and park amenities will remain closed. People are allowed to travel through parks to get to a destination but must maintain physical distance from others.

Parking lots at Mooney’s Bay Park, Petrie Island and Britannia Park are now closed to vehicle access for the duration of the City’s park closure directive.

Park amenities and spaces that are closed include:
-Public sports fields
-Ball diamonds
-Basketball and tennis courts
-Skateboard parks
-Off-leash dog enclosures
-Play structures
-Swings
-Slides
-Climbers
-Adult fitness stations
-Benches and picnic tables

Festivals, Special Events are cancelled or postponed, including The Ottawa Farmers’ Market at Lansdowne Park and Doors Open Ottawa, scheduled for June 6 and 7, are both cancelled. Tree planting and GLAD Cleaning the Capital have been postponed until further notice.

Some programs including planting and maintenance are suspended or may be operating in a reduced capacity. Spring community projects, like Household hazardous waste (HHW) depots will be rescheduled.

The Trail Road Landfill Site is closed to the public

CHILD CARE

Following a directive from the province, child care service providers can no longer collect parent fees for child care services which are not being provided during the COVID-19 outbreak. No spots will be lost nor will parents be penalized as a result of not paying their fees. The City will continue to pay their contributions until the province provides more information on the supports available to help sustain the sector.

FAITH ORGANIZATIONS DURIND COVID IN OTTAWA

In response to COVID, Ottawa religious organisations have adapted and implemented Ottawa Public Health directives.

April is an important month with many celebrations and events, from Passover to Easter to Ramadan.

Do you want to learn more about how multi-faith organisations work to support residents in Ottawa during these unprecedented times?

Over the past few days, I hosted virtual meetings with religious leaders to understand how they’ve adapted and continue to connect with their communities during this period. In these discussions, a common theme can be found – we are all in this together. Faith is important for many and the community is here to support each other.

I had the pleasure of meeting with Catholic (Monseigneur of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Ottawa -Terrence Pendergast) and Anglican (Dean Christ Church Cathedral and Bishop Elect of Anglican Diocese of Ottawa -Shane Parker) leaders for part 1 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJLsFRrv2tg) and with the Imam of South Nepean Muslim Community- Dr. Zijad Delic and Founder of Ottawa Muslim Women’s Organization – Nazira Tareen and the spiritual leader of Congregation Machzikei Hadas in Ottawa – Rabbi Dr. Reuven P. Bulka for part 2 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfcyvBCdXNA).

ONTARIO

Ontario remains in a State of Emergency – on April 14 the province extended the date for another 28 days, to May 12. According to the government, this allows the government to continue to use every tool at its disposal to protect the health and safety of the people of Ontario during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The government also has suspended certain municipal planning decision timelines during the state of emergency, and changes to the Development Charges Act to ensure municipalities can continue to receive revenues to help pay for local growth-related infrastructure, such as roads, water and sewers as well as fire and police services.

The full changes and more information is available at Ontario.ca.

FOOD SECURITY IN RIDEAU-VANIER

During this state of the emergency period, the importance of our Food Banks and other community food programs has become even more evident. While our Ward currently has the highest use of food banks, those who may not already have connections with these organizations are now relying on these critical services. This crisis impacts everyone, and community food banks, supported by the Ottawa Food Bank, will remain open and available to serve residents.

They will continue to work closely with Ottawa Public Health to ensure operations remain safe to protect residents, staff and volunteers. Our resource centres and community houses have also modified their operations to safely provide after school snacks, among other services, to families in need. Our shelter partners have also adjusted their client and community meal services to continue to serve our vulnerable populations safely.

The Strathcona Heights Community faced significant barriers in accessing food as COVID-19 led to a previous community food bank needing to close temporarily. By bringing key community partners in this neighbourhood (Ottawa Community Housing, Sandy Hill Community Health Centre, the Parent Resource Centre and City resources) together, my office and local volunteers with the Ottawa Food Bank, were successful in creating a pop-up Food Bank to residents over the last few weeks.

The flexibility and dedication of our community partners and the Ottawa Food Bank allowed for essential access to food services in a neighbourhood typically described as a “food desert.”
My efforts are ongoing to establish a permanent food bank in Strathcona Heights and to bring more food security to this growing neighbourhood.

During these uncertain times, the Ottawa Food Bank and dedicated community partners ensure no resident goes hungry. The work will continue.

Those who are able can donate the Ottawa Food can do so at the following link: https://www.ottawafoodbank.ca/donate/

Anyone in need of food services can contact 211 to connect with their local resources.

COVID AND THE IMPACT ON SPORTS IN OTTAWA

It was only two years ago that the City of Ottawa Ringette Association (OCRA) won the bid to host the 2020 Canadian Ringette Championships.

Planned for April 5 to 11, 2020 the event was to take place in rinks across the City

Since winning the bid, it’s fair to say that there have been thousands of volunteer hours dedicated to getting this City prepared for the event.

On March 13, just as the Coronavirus pandemic was spreading quickly in this City, Ringette Canada officially cancelled the event.

For the president of OCRA, Phyllis Bergmans, she said to call it a disappointment, is vastly an understatement.

And it’s not the volunteer hours, or the cancellation calls to businesses, rinks, City facilities, or any of the services lined up for the event.

It is the athletes aged 16 to 19 years old and a 19 plus league who lose out.

“We have a lot of athletes across Canada that this was their once-in-a-lifetime chance because they are ageing out, or for whatever the reasons…there are some young teenagers going into adulthood, and they have worked so hard to get here. They worked so hard to achieve this goal, and it is the top level. It is the best in Canada,” Bergmans said.

Cancellations which followed included hotel rooms, a gala set for 2,000 people and a community pancake breakfast – all things Bergmans said the committee worked hard at organizing and securing to make the most of the 2020 Championships.

The next steps remain unclear – whether OCRA will be able to host in 2021 – which is the hope, is up in the air. Bergmans said she has put in a request to Ringette Canada, which would shift the Championships from Calgary to Ottawa next year, but she has yet to hear back from them.

“Keep your fingers, toes; everything crossed,” Bergmans said, adding that getting the 2021 bid would bump all the Championship locations moving forward, but would give something for Ottawa to look forward to next Spring.

GREAT PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN THE UNIVERSITY OF OTTAWA AND THE CITY

The University of Ottawa is offering a helping hand to both its students and residents of Ottawa during this pandemic – from space for COVID-19 testing, clinics, medical equipment and 3D printing ingenuity. They are also putting their research efforts into helping find solutions, including a vaccine – the university has really stepped up to help the Ottawa community. For its students, they state they are committed to ensuring everyone completes their term and their education. Please read more here:
Support for front-line services:

  • The University of Ottawa has offered his laboratories as additional sites for testing for COVID-19, as well as all large indoor space to accommodate public clinics, if required.
  • The University of Ottawa donated 252 boxes of essential medical equipment to our local hospitals, including 260,000 pairs of gloves, 25,000 masks, 2,119 N95 masks and other useful supplies.
  • Students are using their ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit to design and produce face protectors and respirator parts using 3D printers at the Makerspace shop in collaboration with the Montfort Hospital.
  • The University of Ottawa’s Centre for Expertise and Simulation has adapted its simulation-based training exercises and facilities to prepare medical personnel for the COVID-19pandemic. 3D virtual reality videos of the new procedures and related tips are being shared freely on social networks and are contributing to the global fight against the virus.

Research on COVID-19 :

  • Researchers at the University of Ottawa are working tirelessly to find solutions to the COVID-19 crisis, including the development of diagnostic tests that can be used anywhere, therapeutic agents (including a nasal spray vaccine), and research into the behaviour of the virus and public health issues.Support for the student population
  • The student population will be able to conclude their term through online and distance learning.
  • The University of Ottawa continues to provide mental health support to students who are still in residence, as well as those who have returned home.

Residences

  • The University of Ottawa is also working with the City of Ottawa to house some of the most vulnerable families (approximately 65 people) in one of our residences.

OC TRANSPO – COVID SERVICE UPDATE

After closely reviewing ridership during the Covid-19 pandemic, OC Transpo adjusted service across the network to reflect lower customer volumes. Service continues to all neighbourhoods and essential services. The new levels of service leaves space for physical distancing. OC Transpo continues to collect feedback and adjusts service accordingly to ensure customers and staff travel safely.

Service changes to routes in our ward are as follows:

Effective April 10: 
#12: New morning trip from Blair at 7:30 am / New morning trip from Parliament at 7:44 am

Effective April 6:
#12: New morning trip from Blair at 6:30 am

Effective April 2: 
#7: New morning trips from St-Laurent at 5:42 am and 7 am / New morning trip from Rideau Centre at approx. 5:42 am
#9: New morning trip from downtown to Hurdman at 6:12 am
#12: New morning trips from Blair at 5:30 am and 6 am

More information on all changes can be found on the link link here.

If you have any comments or concerns, you may contact OC Transpo here and our office at Mathieu.fleury@ottawa.ca

April 15

Where to Find Food in Ottawa During COVID-19

Good Food Ottawa – https://goodfoodottawa.ca/

Your one-stop-shop for finding food in Ottawa! (Before, during and after COVID-19)

During COVID-19, Good Food Ottawa is dedicating his website as a resource for finding food both for those struggling to buy food and for those more financially secure.

On it you will find:

  • Resources just published by City of Ottawa.
    • What is open now for emergency food support, for households and for isolated seniors
  • Good Food at your Doorstep just launched: a $20 box of fresh fruit and vegetables with free delivery (thanks to Ottawa Community Foundation) for those struggling with low-incomes.
  • Savour Ottawa Buy Local Food Guide: all producers updated as of April 8 2020 including those who have online shops – partnered on by Rural Affairs and Economic Development departments, and managed by Just Food for the Savour Ottawa initiative.
  • CSA Farms: a detailed listing of who still has boxes available for the 2020 season (CSA stands for Community Shared Agriculture farmers in the Ottawa region)
  • Groceries and Restaurants: find online stores and restaurants that are open and operating with pick up or delivery options (partnering with Edible Ottawa and others to keep this updated.)
  • FoodLink Directory:  food bank, community meal program, community kitchen or meal programs – existing resource partnered on by Ottawa Public Health and Just Food, with clear note during COVID-19 times to check individual websites for updated hours as many of the services  have either closed or have changed hours).
  • Farmers’ Markets: We are confirming through Farmers’ Markets Ontario this coming week that farmer-based markets are back included under essential food services by Ontario.  Many markets are moving towards online with pick-up options, and this is being supported by Rural Affairs and Just Food.  Information will be updated on GoodFoodOttawa as confirmed.

If you see anything in your communities that is not listed in the information, please let us know asap at info@justfood.ca

Montreal Road Update

The City of Ottawa has reviewed the essential workplace information provided by the Province; construction on critical infrastructure projects – including roads, bridges, sewer, water, transit and transportation – fall within the exemption. As such, at this time, the City is not suspending work on these types of projects. The City is working closely with the industry and complying with restrictions and recommendations provided by municipal, provincial, and federal health officials, as well as the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development. This means that construction along Montreal Road will be continuing as scheduled.

The month of March was used to prepare for watermain construction. This included “cut and caps” to the side street watermains between North River Road and Marier Avenue, the replacement of storm and sanitary sewer sections at the ends of North River Road, tree maintenance throughout, catch basins set up on Montreal Road from North River Road to the Vanier Parkway, as well as the removal of pedestrian lights along Montreal Road.

The month of April is the start of the watermain work. This means that above ground, temporary water service will be installed from North River Road to Marier Avenue, and equipment and materials storage will be set up on Savard Avenue, St-Anne Avenue, and Dupuis Street. Underground, sanitary sewer maintenance will take place along Montreal Road, watermain installation will take place, and Enbridge maintenance will be at Montreal Road and Mona Avenue.

For weekly updates, register for the newsletter here: montrealroad@ottawa.ca. For more information visit: ottawa.ca/montrealroad

April 14

Shopping Etiquette during Covid-19

You must stay home if you have symptoms.

If you must go to stores for essentials, always practice physical distancing – stay 2 metres (6 feet) away from others. Stores are keeping up with new information and carefully changing how they operate to protect customers, staff and their families.

  • Be patient
    • Controlling the number of people allowed in the store at one time increases physical distancing.
  • Follow store signs
    • Designated aisles may have become one-way, with markings on the floor.
    • Listen to store staff.
    • They are trained on precautions and want to ensure everyone’s safety.
  • Shop alone
    • Fewer people in the store allows for easier physical distancing and less people potentially exposed to the virus.
  • Have a detailed list
    • Organize your list by aisle to limit your time in the store and traffic within the store. Avoid lingering in the aisles.
  • Take only what you need
    • Get enough supplies for 2 weeks in case you or a family member get ill.
  • Be understanding
    • Some products may be less available.
  • Shop with your eyes
    • Avoid touching items that you do not intend to buy.
  • Be patient at the cash
    • Some stores may close every other cash to allow for physical distancing.
    • Wait your turn.
    • After placing your items on the conveyor belt, move to the end of the conveyor belt. Do not wait in front of or near the cashier.
  • Use clean bags If you are allowed to use your own bags, make sure they are clean.
    • Stores may only allow staff to pack items using store-provided bags.
  • Pay with plastic
    • Use tap if you can and avoid paying with cash to reduce the surfaces you touch and decrease money exchanges.

“Be kind. We’re all in this together!”

Unsafe at Home Ottawa

Are you or is someone you know living with violence or abuse? Physical distancing during COVID-19 can make things worse. Unsafe at Home Ottawa is a secure, bilingual text and chat line. It’s available 7 days a week, from 8:30 am to midnight.

You are not alone. Reach out!

Text (613) 704-5535 Chat online unsafeathomeottawa.ca

April 9

City council

As a City Council yesterday we met virtually – with council members calling in to maintain physical distancing and to slow the community spread of the Novel Coronavirus.

Here is the City Manager’s complete presentation on the City’s response to COVID-19. City Manager – Council Presentation

As well, here is the complete presentation from Ottawa Public Health on the update of COVID-19. OPH – COVID-19 Council Presentation

And please, do not forget it remains vital for your mental health to stay social – from home – make a phone call or have a video dinner date with your neighbours. And if you are having a hard time dealing with this new reality, please reach out City’s Distress Centre.

Distress: 613-238-3311

Crisis: 613-722-6914 or 1-866-996-0991

Again, please do not hesitate to reach out if you need help.

If you are at home and want to help those on the front line.  Here are local groups offering help to our most in need  United Way East Ontario has a list of ways you can help- https://unitedwayeocovid19.ca/volunteer-opportunities/

You can also go to Volunteer Ottawa to register as a volunteer.

News from the City

Second COVID-19 Care Clinic opening in Ottawa East

As the next step in the regional response to COVID-19, a second Care Clinic will open on Thursday at 10 a.m. in Ottawa’s east end. It will be operated by Hôpital Montfort, in partnership with Ottawa Public Health and the region’s Clinical Care Coordination Centre.

The clinic’s primary function will be to provide treatment for people with symptoms of respiratory illness – cough, fever and cold-like symptoms – that can’t be managed at home. It will be located in the former St. Patrick Intermediate school in Guildwood Estates, 1485 Heron Road, at the corner of Alta Vista.

On its first day of operation, Thursday April 9, the clinic will open from 10 a.m. to 2.pm. Regular hours for the clinic will then be 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Friday – including on holidays.

Cleaning up the Capital

Due to the current COVID-19 situation no clean ups should be undertaken off your property. Residents have been advised to stay home and limit all non-essential activities outside of your home and property. Please understand this is a difficult decision as in all other situations the City of Ottawa greatly appreciates the support from the community in these clean ups. Please remember that all parks are closed, and only walkthroughs are permitted while respecting physical distancing.

If you or your household wish to initiate a clean-up activity in your own property, please take into consideration the following related guidelines and legislative and enforcement measures;

  • Residents have been advised to stay a home and limit their physical interaction to only members of their household.
  • No more than five (5) people can gather in one place.
  • Follow self-isolation requirements, if you have traveled recently or are ill you are to remain inside your home and should not be participating in outside activities where there is a chance you may come in contact with someone (i.e. neighbours).
  • Physical distancing – it is recommended to maintain distance of 2 meters (6 feet) from those around you at all times. This includes other individuals who may walk by your house and your neighbours how may be on their property.
  • If you live in a multi-unit dwelling it is recommend you do NOT participate in any outdoor cleaning unless you can ensure a distance of 2 meters (6 feet) can be maintained at ALL times.
  • Individuals over the age of 70 are recommended to self-isolate and should not participate in any outdoor cleaning activities

Great partnership between the University of Ottawa and the City

The University of Ottawa is offering a helping hand to both its students and residents of Ottawa during this pandemic – from space for COVID-19 testing, clinics, medical equipment and 3D printing ingenuity. They are also putting their research efforts into helping find solutions, including a vaccine – the university has really stepped up to help the Ottawa community. For its students, they state they are committed to ensuring everyone completes their term and their education. Please read more here:

Support for front-line services:

  • The University of Ottawa has offered his laboratories as additional sites for testing for COVID-19, as well as all large indoor space to accommodate public clinics, if required.
  • The University of Ottawa donated 252 boxes of essential medical equipment to our local hospitals, including 260,000 pairs of gloves, 25,000 masks, 2,119 N95 masks and other useful supplies.
  • Students are using their ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit to design and produce face protectors and respirator parts using 3D printers at the Makerspace shop in collaboration with the Montfort Hospital.
  • The University of Ottawa’s Centre for Expertise and Simulation has adapted its simulation-based training exercises and facilities to prepare medical personnel for the COVID-19pandemic. 3D virtual reality videos of the new procedures and related tips are being shared freely on social networks and are contributing to the global fight against the virus.

Research on COVID-19 :

  • Researchers at the University of Ottawa are working tirelessly to find solutions to the COVID-19 crisis, including the development of diagnostic tests that can be used anywhere, therapeutic agents (including a nasal spray vaccine), and research into the behaviour of the virus and public health issues.

Support for the student population

  • The student population will be able to conclude their term through online and distance learning.
  • The University of Ottawa continues to provide mental health support to students who are still in residence, as well as those who have returned home.

Residences

  •  The University of Ottawa is also working with the City of Ottawa to house some of the most vulnerable families (approximately 65 people) in one of our residences.

COVID-19 Related Fraud and Property Crime

Unfortunately, there are criminals who use the coronavirus pandemic as an opportunity for their activities.  The following is an excellent resource that has been adapted from Victim Support Europe detailing types of crimes to be aware of and how to protect yourself.

This information is available in 4 languages (EN, FR, ع, 中文) on the CPO website.

At the moment, experts have have identified three main areas of coronavirus-related crime:

  1. Cybercrime: with many more people staying at home and especially working from home, there is a heightened risk of security breaches, hacking, and fraud. There are even fraudulent websites and apps posing as coronavirus trackers which are in fact phishing attacks or scams. Interpol also reports phone fraud where criminals call victims pretending to be clinic or hospital officials, who claim that a relative of the victim has fallen sick with the virus and request payments for medical treatment. Do not send any payments to anyone you do not know and verify all the information you receive through phone or online. Follow Europol’s advice below to make sure you are protected.
  2. Fake cures and medicine: there is no known cure for COVID-19 at the moment. There is also no vaccine. Do not buy anything sold as any type of medicine or remedy against coronavirus as it is fake. Europol reports thousands of seized counterfeit pharmaceuticals and medical devices seized as well as thousands of websites taken down.
  3. Organised property crime: it has been reported in various countries within the EU that perpetrators gain access to private homes by impersonating medical staff providing information material or hygiene products or conducting a “Corona test” with the intention of theft and robbery. Remain vigilant and do not let anyone you do not know in.

If you have become victim of any type of crime, please consult Ottawa Police’s Victim Crisis Unit website for list of supports

April 8

As we enter another week of physical distancing, I want to thank you for listening to the advice of our Chief Medical Officer and staying home. Still, by you and your family and loved ones staying home, we are helping. And unfortunately, with a holiday coming, this is hard, but necessary. So please remember, staying home even during Easter or Passover, is helping with stopping the spread.

It is essential, as we enter another week, to stay healthy, motivated and focused – which can be hard when you are trying to work from home, possibly take care of your children (who also may require more school studies) and not feel isolated.

Know that you are not alone.  Everyone is feeling the same  – myself included! I have found, however, the best way to stay the course is to continue to go outside, get some exercise, talk to friends and family as much as I can via video conferencing, phone calls and texts.  I also continue to check out all the programming, information and ideas the City has to offer to help keep your mind active.

Here is the latest information we have on the pandemic situation in the City and as always, you can keep up-to-date on this and other city issues by visiting mathieufleury.ca or following me on social media.

#Buylocal

Would you like to support local businesses? So many of our businesses are still open or offer online shopping and services like takeout and delivery. With the help of the three BIA’s I have created four different neighbourhood posters of all the businesses that are still open and you can support. Please consider supporting your favorite businesses during this tough time for everyone.

Here’s a list of all open businesses in our community

Support our Byward Market Businesses
Support our Vanier Businesses
Support our Rideau Street Businesses

Support our Sandy Hill Businesses

Quebec Government decision and the impact on interprovincial crossings

Recently the Quebec Government issued more restrictions concerning coming in and out of their province.

The Mayors of Ottawa and Gatineau were clear last week to emphasize the need of residents on both sides of the Ottawa River to stay home unless they are essential workers. As you can see by the empty streets in our community residents are respecting those directives.

This was an important measure to help stop the spread of the Coronavirus and keep residents from Ontario and Quebec safe and healthy.

I feel strongly that it is important to not add more stress or delays on to essential workers as they try to get to their employment – on either side of the bridge.

This new measure from the Quebec Government, then, raises a number of issues I see as concern, including the additional barriers it may create in an already difficult situation for certain individuals.

Questions around non-essential workers, who are crossing for other reasons such as separated or divorced families with shared custody of their children or an individual who is taking care of an elderly family member are not addressed. As well, there is an issue that the list for essential workers is not the same between the provinces – what does all of this mean?

I feel it is important to follow the directives of our Ministry of Health, who in Ottawa and Ontario have not recommended this measure.

My three requests to the Quebec Government:

  • Please create a fast-lane system for all essential service workers coming from or going to work
  • Please be clear about how unique family needs across the region (taking care of an elder or divorce parents) can safely cross the bridges
  • Please put in place best practices with health professionals so that residents and enforcement officers are not increasing the risk of COVID-19 propagation at check points

News from the City

The City has announced to remain in a State of Emergency and extend the existing closures of City facilities, services and large public gatherings until June 30, 2020 and no event permits will be issued until Ottawa Public Health has deemed it possible.

The closures of the City-managed facilities include:

  • All recreation and cultural facilities – including recreation complexes, community centres, arenas, swimming pools, theatres, and museums
  • Public access to administrative buildings, including City Hall
  • All City parks and amenities: ball diamonds, courts, skateboard parks, play equipment and play structures, enclosed dog-park areas, and sports fields (including those at City recreation facilities)
  • Ottawa Public Library facilities – including the bookmobile
  • City-managed public spaces at Lansdowne – including the parks, Aberdeen Pavilion and Horticulture building

The City will also continue to suspend in-person services, which include:

  • Temporary closure of all City client service centres
  • The Provincial Offences Act courthouse, located at 100 Constellation Drive, Nepean, will be closed until May 29, 2020 (to be reassessed thereafter)
  • The closure of licensed childcare centres, including municipal childcare centres, and EarlyON Child and Family Centre
  • Building Code Services counters
  • Rooming house inspections
  • Taxi inspections
  • All hearings for the Animal Control Tribunal and the Property Standards and License Appeals Committee
  • Interior noise meter readings between 7 am and 11 pm
  • The Spay/Neuter Clinic at 26 Concourse Gate – clients with previously scheduled appointments will be contacted to reschedule for a later date
  • The Business Licensing Centre at 735 Industrial Avenue
  • All front counter services for business licenses will be suspended. Clients can call 3-1-1
  • The Chief Licensing Inspector will also exercise delegated authority to extend renewal dates to be implemented for licensing categories expiring in March and April (to be reassessed thereafter)

The altering of some services will also continue:

  • Complaints for unauthorized parking on private property will now require new electronic procedures for proof of authority.
  • Only interior Property Standards complaints where immediate health and safety risks exist, or a vital services complaint, will be reviewed.
  • Ontario Works claimants do not need to drop off any documents, including income reporting statements. Those documents can be given the case worker at a later date.
  • People cannot visit the Employment and Social Services offices. They can apply by phone or online. Offices are operating on reduced hours, weekdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

This decision will be reviewed on a regular basis in consultation with Ottawa Public Health officials and the federal and provincial governments.

The City also announced the 2020 summer student employment program will be deferred until the end of May. This will be reviewed as the situation evolves.

Additionally, the City stated tourist season will be impacted and Ottawa Public Health will continue to provide updates about what will be allowed to continue. Festivals may be looking at new dates for their events.

Town Hall

The City of Ottawa is holding a virtual town hall on COVID-19 in Ottawa on Thursday, April 9 at 2 pm.

All residents are invited to join us for an update on urgent community issues and answers to your questions about the COVID-19 pandemic. To maintain physical distancing and reduce the spread of the virus, this meeting will take place online.

How to join in:

Mayor Jim Watson will moderate a discussion with our panel, including:

  • Keith Egli, Chair, Ottawa Board of Health
  • Steve Kanellakos, City Manager
  • Dr. Vera Etches, Medical Officer of Health
  • Anthony Di Monte, General Manager, Emergency and Protective Services
  • Peter Sloly, Chief, Ottawa Police Service

Parks Reminder

The warm spring weather may inspire you to hit the outdoors, but please remember that all City of Ottawa parks and park equipment remain closed. Practice physical distancing and maintain a minimum 2-metre distance from others.

For more info: https://ottawa.ca/en/news/residents-are-reminded-all-park-amenities-and-equipmentremain-closed

Long term Care Facilities

We have two long-term care facilities in Rideau-Vanier (Champlain and Gary J. Armstrong)

I would like to take this chance to thank our long-term team, residents, and families for their continuing to adapt to measures to respond to the COVID pandemic.

To ensure the safety of its residents and minimize the risk of COVID-19 access is not permitted except for essential visitors. The City of Ottawa had put these measures in place on March 14th to protect residents and staff. An essential visitor is defined as a person performing essential support services.

Our professionals team members in long-term care are following all recommendations from Medical Officer of Health to protect residents and all staff.

Here are measures that are put in place to protect residents:

  • Staff are screened twice daily, at the beginning and end of their shifts, including a temperature check;
  • All residents are screened twice daily for any symptoms and any resident showing symptoms will be isolated and tested for the virus
  • New residents admitted or re-admitted into the home will be isolated for 14 days;
  • Residents are only allowed to leave the property for essential medical appointments. Otherwise they are not permitted to leave the property or to visit friends and families. Residents that do so will be isolated for 14 day
  • Staff have scheduled additional housekeeping shifts to increase the frequency of disinfecting contact surfaces.

In the event of a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19, the homes will follow the Long-Term Care Services pandemic plan, directives from the Ministries of Health and Long-Term Care, and guidance from Ottawa Public Health.

Measures include:

  • Contact and droplet precautions for staff interactions with suspected, presumed or confirmed COVID-19 residents. Precautions include gloves, face shields or goggles, gowns, and surgical/procedure masks;
  • Isolation and testing of any resident with respiratory symptoms; and,
  • Implementation of staff and resident mingling, to limit the spread of the virus in the home.

Staff are following the recommended routine precautions and regular protocols for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) used at all other times. There is currently an appropriate supply of PPE in the homes and Long-Term Care continues to work with the Province and suppliers to maintain the necessary inventories to support everyone’s safety.

Again, a warm thank you to our hardworking Long Term Care staff for keeping our residents safe and comfortable and to the residents and family who continue to adapt to these unprecedented times.

Food delivery for seniors

Food delivery services are currently being offered by numerous community partners across the City. The Good Companions Centre, Montfort Renaissance Services and the Champlain Community Support Network (20 agencies) have been delivering groceries, and frozen meals as well as picking up and delivering prescriptions. They are also working with a local grocery stores that allow staff to place online orders for groceries for seniors and then the agency is picking them up and delivering them at no cost.

Food delivery for low income seniors (requiring services from Foodbank)

There is an collaborative effort by community agencies to ensure meal delivery for low income seniors. Any low income requiring food can reach out to the Champlain Community Support Network or to 2-1-1 who will put them in touch with a service that will meet their needs.  The Human Needs Task Force is currently working with Champlain Community Support Network and Caredove to enhance their new portal with information for all vulnerable people facing challenges with food, access to services, etc. during COVID-19.

Information for renters who can’t make rent this month

Ontario has banned evictions for those who are unable to pay their rent in April. Residents who have been financially impacted by Covid-19 or facing an unexpected emergency and are unable to meet basic living expenses may qualify for support by visiting Ontario Works Financial Assistance or by calling 3-1-1 and selecting language and then 4 for social services. For tenants on Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program, they can contact their case worker directly. 

Coordination of volunteer efforts

(grocery delivery, pharmacy delivery, break isolation with a call…).

The Good Companions Centre and the Champlain Community Support Network (20 agencies) are providing delivery of groceries and pharmacy items.  In terms of volunteers, the City is partnering with the United Way and Community Foundation to fund Volunteer Ottawa for three months of volunteer coordination in order to meet the needs of the community during this crisis.

Children’s Services

Emergency child-care services are reserved exclusively for children of essential and critical service workers identified in the Province’s list of workers eligible for emergency child care, and who have no other child-care alternatives. This includes regulated health care professionals, first responders and individuals who perform work that is essential to delivering core services in a municipality. However, it should be noted that Ottawa Public Health does still recommend that children remain at home if possible.

April 7

OC Transpo is working to improve service for essential service workers during this tough time. Ridership is being heavily assessed and service will be updated regularly.

Latest update helps encourage distancing efforts on busy routes.

Effective today April 6:

#12: New morning trip from Blair at 6:30 am

Effective April 2:
#7: New morning trips from St-Laurent at 5:42 am and 7 am / New morning trip from Rideau Centre at approx. 5:42 am

#9: New morning trip from downtown to Hurdman at 6:12 am

#12: New morning trips from Blair at 5:30 am and 6 am

Full list of March 30th changes here: https://mathieufleury.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Oc-Transpo.pdf
Info on all changes here: https://www.octranspo.com/en/plan-your-trip/service-changes/march-30-service-change

Rideau Street

Rideau St will be closed between Sussex and Dalhousie on April 26th for a street renewal project. This project includes streetscaping and infrastructure improvements. Benefits to transit customers include new real-time departure screens, information displays and shelters. Rideau Street is expected to reopen by the end of the year.

Our ward’s routes ( 6, 7, 9, 12, 14, 15, 17 and 18) will be detoured during the closure. Most routes will use Mackenzie King Bridge. Routes 6 and 7 and Route 9 Hurdman will use Daly.

Visit this website to find out more: https://www.octranspo.com/en/news/article/rideau-street-closing-on-sunday-april-19/

 

City of Ottawa news

City parks and amenities are now closed, walkthroughs permitted only

As the weather warms up it is important to note that all City parks and park equipment are now closed until June 30, 2020. This includes play structures, sports fields, benches and picnic tables. A full list of closures can be found on the City of Ottawa website.

Walkthroughs are permitted while respecting physical distancing, keeping two-metres apart from those around you.

Recreation and cultural facilities remain closed

All recreation and cultural facilities, including recreation complexes, community centres, arenas, swimming pools, theatres and museums are closed until June 30, 2020.

At this time, summer programs are still running as planned. Rest assured that should there be any cancellations due to COVID-19, that you will be refunded without penalty.

Meridian Theatres and Shenkman Arts Centre

Shenkman Arts Centre and Meridian Theatres @ Centrepointe are closed until June 30, 2020. Please check on the theatre’s websites for updates.

Active Ottawa memberships

Effective March 27, 2020 monthly scheduled payments will be suspended. Once recreation facilities re-open, your account will be credited for the number of days that we were closed. This credit will automatically be applied to your scheduled payments going forward until it is used up. Your scheduled payments will then resume as normal.

Fun stuff

We can’t physically meet with friends and family, but we can enjoy all the fun that the virtual world has to offer. Chat via video or phone to stay connected. Maybe even meet online to cheer each other on during an at-home workout.

Don’t forget to go outside and enjoy the fresh air. It’s the perfect time for scavenger hunts in the garden, or see how many birds you can spot now that spring has sprung. Leave a note for the Easter bunny, make mud pies and hunt for worms. Let your child’s imagination lead the way.

Join us on our Facebook page and let us know what your family is doing to keep busy! And keep an eye out for some Friday fun…Fridge Art Friday is coming soon!

Support Rideau Street businesses

Many Rideau Street businesses are still open offering takeout and delivery services.

Here’s a list of Rideau Street businesses that are open and you can support. #buylocal

Support our Sandy Hill businesses

Many Sandy Hill businesses are still open offering takeout and delivery services.

Here’s a list of Sandy Hill businesses that are open and you can support. #buylocal

 

April 3

I am wishing everyone a safe and healthy weekend. Please respect the medical officer’s of health directives and stay home.

Over the weekend if you are looking for the most up-to-date information, please visit ottawapublichealth.ca.

Next week in the City:

The City of Ottawa is holding a virtual town hall on COVID-19 in Ottawa on Thursday, April 9 at 2 pm.

All residents are invited to join us for an update on urgent community issues and answers to your questions about the COVID-19 pandemic. To maintain physical distancing and reduce the spread of the virus, this meeting will take place online.

How to join in:

Mayor Jim Watson will moderate a discussion with our panel, including:

  • Keith Egli, Chair, Ottawa Board of Health
  • Steve Kanellakos, City Manager
  • Dr. Vera Etches, Medical Officer of Health
  • Anthony Di Monte, General Manager, Emergency and Protective Services
  • Peter Sloly, Chief, Ottawa Police Service

Parks Reminder

The warm spring weather may inspire you to hit the outdoors, but please remember that all City of Ottawa parks and park equipment remain closed. Practice physical distancing and maintain a minimum 2-metre distance from others.

For more info: https://ottawa.ca/en/news/residents-are-reminded-all-park-amenities-and-equipmentremain-closed

Support our Byward Market Businesses

Please support our Byward Market businesses.

Many Byward Market businesses are still open offering takeout and delivery services.

Here’s a list of Byward market businesses that are open and you can support. #buylocal

Concerts to Livestream This Weekend While Social Distancing

Even though large gatherings and events have been cancelled due to the Covid-19 crisis and we’ve all been told to stay at home, that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy a little live music. This weekend, Canadian performers will be broadcasting their concerts through social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook, so be sure to tune in and support your local musicians. I have compiled the list below for your enjoyment. https://mathieufleury.ca/concerts-to-livestream-this-weekend-while-social-distancing/

Ontario

Following the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ontario government is reducing the list of businesses classified as essential and ordering more workplaces to close. This measure is necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of the people of Ontario, while ensuring that necessary goods and services remain available.

The government is ordering all businesses not covered by the updated Emergency Order to close effective as of Saturday, April 4, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. This closure will be in effect for 14 days, with the possibility of an extension as the situation evolves. Teleworking, online commerce and other innovative ways of working remotely are permitted at all times and are strongly encouraged for all businesses. All supply chains necessary for the production of vital food and healthcare supplies are being protected and remain intact.

The updated essential businesses list can be found here.

Canada

Today the Prime Minister announced support for food banks and local food organizations – this is amazing news, and comes after our own incredible Ottawa Food Bank story of the Ottawa community raising $170,000 in 24-hour period (With a little help from Shopify COO Harley Finkelstein launching a social media initiative on April 1)

The Federal government is investing $100 million to improve access to food for Canadians facing social, economic, and health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding will go to national, regional, and local organizations.

This funding will be used to purchase food and other basic necessities. It will help these organizations find new, creative ways to reach people in need, so they can continue to carry out their important work while respecting physical distancing guidelines. They will be able to use the funding to buy or rent equipment and other materials to help address the unique needs of the communities they serve and the health-related challenges presented by COVID-19.

Federal relief measures guide

Here is a chart analysis provided by Baker Tilly Canada on the types of Federal programming put in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic and what type of steps you may need to take. Federal relief measures guide

April 2

 

Recently the Quebec Government issued more restrictions concerning coming in and out of their province.

The Mayors of Ottawa and Gatineau were clear last week to emphasize the need of residents on both sides of the Ottawa River to stay home unless they are essential workers. As you can see by the empty streets in our community residents are respecting those directives.

This was an important measure to help stop the spread of the Coronavirus and keep residents from Ontario and Quebec safe and healthy.

I feel strongly that it is important to not add more stress or delays on to essential workers as they try to get to their employment – on either side of the bridge.

This new measure from the Quebec Government, then, raises a number of issues I see as concern, including the additional barriers it may create in an already difficult situation for certain individuals.

Questions around non-essential workers, who are crossing for other reasons such as separated or divorced families with shared custody of their children or an individual who is taking care of an elderly family member are not addressed. As well, there is an issue that the list for essential workers is not the same between the provinces – what does all of this mean?

I feel it is important to follow the directives of our Ministry of Health, who in Ottawa and Ontario have not recommended this measure.

My three requests to the Quebec Government:

  • Please create a fast-lane system for all essential service workers coming from or going to work
  • Please be clear about how unique family needs across the region (taking care of an elder or divorce parents) can safely cross the bridges
  • Please put in place best practices with health professionals so that residents and enforcement officers are not increasing the risk of COVID-19 propagation at check points

News from the City:

Food delivery for seniors

Food delivery services are currently being offered by numerous community partners across the City. The Good Companions Centre, Montfort Renaissance Services and the Champlain Community Support Network (20 agencies) have been delivering groceries, and frozen meals as well as picking up and delivering prescriptions. They are also working with a local grocery stores that allow staff to place online orders for groceries for seniors and then the agency is picking them up and delivering them at no cost.

Food delivery for low income seniors (requiring services from Foodbank)

There is an collaborative effort by community agencies to ensure meal delivery for low income seniors. Any low income requiring food can reach out to the Champlain Community Support Network or to 2-1-1 who will put them in touch with a service that will meet their needs.  The Human Needs Task Force is currently working with Champlain Community Support Network and Caredove to enhance their new portal with information for all vulnerable people facing challenges with food, access to services, etc. during COVID-19.

Information for renters who can’t make rent this month

Ontario has banned evictions for those who are unable to pay their rent in April.  Residents who have been financially impacted by Covid-19 or facing an unexpected emergency and are unable to meet basic living expenses may qualify for support by visiting Ontario Works Financial Assistance or by calling 3-1-1 and selecting language and then 4 for social services. For tenants on Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program, they can contact their case worker directly. 

Coordination of volunteer efforts

(grocery delivery, pharmacy delivery, break isolation with a call…).

The Good Companions Centre and the Champlain Community Support Network (20 agencies) are providing delivery of groceries and pharmacy items.  In terms of volunteers, the City is partnering with the United Way and Community Foundation to fund Volunteer Ottawa for three months of volunteer coordination in order to meet the needs of the community during this crisis.

Support Vanier Businesses

You live and Vanier and you want to support Vanier businesses. So many Vanier businesses are still open or offer online shopping and services like takeout and delivery. Here’s a list of Vanier businesses that are still open and you can support. List of Vanier businesses

You can also buy gift cards from your favourite stores and #BuyLocal. These funds will go directly to the owners to help them through these difficult times. Here’s the link: https://vanier-bia.myshopify.com/

April 1

Happy Wednesday everyone. I hope you are all staying happy and healthy.

If you are looking for a fun way to spend tonight –  last Wednesday Council passed a motion inviting residents of Ottawa to come together every Wednesday evening at 6:30 p.m. until April 8, to form a united cheer to recognize our health care providers and essential workers.

Their work means we continue to have access to health care, food, transportation and other essential services.  So if you would like to participate, please – take to your front lawns, driveways, and balconies this evening with noise makers in hand and shouts of cheers and applause – all while respecting physical distancing.

News from the City

Ottawa Public Health has begun sending out a flyer to all residents of Ottawa with guidance on self-isolation and physical distancing. You should be finding them in your mailboxes shortly, if you haven’t already. As always, resident can visit ottawapublichealth.ca/coronavirus  for the latest information. Here’s the flyer Self-isolation and physical distancing

OC Transpo

OC Transpo has confirmed that a bus operator has tested positive for COVID-19. This individual had been in self-isolation since they developed symptoms on March 20. They received the COVID-19 test on March 21 and continue to self-isolate at home.

OC Transpo is working directly with Ottawa Public Health and has been advised that the key dates are within a 48 hour period before symptoms developed.

The operator drove 5 buses on March 18, 19 and 20, serving the following routes:

March 18

Route 19: St-Laurent Station at 14:27 to Parliament Station 15:14

Route 63: Tunney’s Pasture Station 15:36 to Innovation Park & Ride 16:28

Route 63: Innovation Park & Ride 16:30 to Tunney’s Pasture Station 17:12

Route 57: Tunney’s Pasture Station 17:25 to Bayshore Station 17:47

Route 85: Bayshore Station 17:47 to Terrasses de la Chaudière 18:39

Route 85: Terrasses de la Chaudière 18:50 to Bayshore Station 19:36

Route 85: Bayshore Station 19:41 to Terrasses de la Chaudière 20:23

March 19 & 20

Route 64: Lincoln Fields Station 11:24 to Innovation Park & Ride 11:51

Route 64: Innovation Park & Ride 11:53 to Tunney’s Pasture Station 12:41

Route 50: Tunney’s Pasture Station 12:55 to Lincoln Fields Station 13:24

Route 85: Lincoln Fields Station 13:44 to Terrasses de la Chaudière 14:20

Route 85: Terrasses de la Chaudière 14:26 to Bayshore Station 15:23

Route 85: Bayshore Station 15:32 to Terrasses de la Chaudière 16:25

Route 85: Terrasses de la Chaudière 16:32 to Bayshore Station 17:30

Route 57: Bayshore Station 17:42 to Tunney’s Pasture Station 18:08

Route 75: Tunney’s Pasture Station 18:15 to Barrhaven Centre 18:42

If customers have concerns of this exposure, they can contact Ottawa Public Health at 613-580-6744 to speak to a public health nurse or visit ottawapublichealth.ca.

OC Transpo changes

With ridership levels down due to COVID19 changing, this graphic highlights OC Transpo service changes as of March 30th. For those in our community who are essential workers and continue to need to take transit, we realize these changes may impact your travel. If you have concerns, please communicate with me via mathieu.fleury@ottawa.ca so these concerns can be passed along to OC Transpo.

Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa

I am happy to share that the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa is launching virtual programing  on their website this week. You can also follow their twitter account, @bgcottawa for fun ideas and activities.

Ontario

The Ontario Government announced that schools and child care centres will remain closed to protect the health and safety of students and staff. According to the government, to ensure continuity of learning, the government is launching the second phase of Learn at Home.

Public schools will remain closed to teachers until Friday, May 1, 2020, and to students until Monday, May 4, 2020. As these dates come closer, this decision will be re-evaluated based on public health advice and may be extended.

Quebec

Quebec has now banned non-essential travel into the western part of its province as of noon Wednesday – which includes visitors from Ontario to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Police officers at checkpoints will limit travel into and out of the regions and only authorize essential travel. This includes the Outaouais. Health care workers, humanitarian support and other essential individuals will be allowed to cross between regions. There is currently no enforcement for people crossing the bridge into Ottawa.

March 31

News from the City:

I am deeply saddened to report the 3rd death related to COVID-19- related death in Ottawa. The second death is resident from Orleans Promenade.

It is important to remember as the number of cases grow in Ottawa, people should continue to practice physical (social) distancing, limit leaving the home unless for essential reasons and that anyone who is not experiencing signs of illness should go outside for fresh air and exercise to help maintain their health. Please note, according to Ottawa Public Health, passing someone on a sidewalk is not considered a high-risk activity for infection with COVID-19.

Also, given the greater risk of severe outcomes to Ontarians who are elderly, Ontario’s chief medical officer is strongly recommended that individuals over 70 years of age self-isolate.

(This also applies to individuals who have compromised immune systems and/or underlying medical conditions.)

New Enforcement Measures

Ottawa By-law Officers have been given the ability to enforce new rules under the Ontario Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act related to physical distancing.

Dedicated team of officers at By-law and Regulatory Services will be proactively monitoring and enforcing calls related to:

  • Gatherings of more than 5 people in public or private residences;
  • People congregating in parks/using park facilities or equipment;
  • Restaurants that continue to offer dine-in services; and,
  • Non-essential retail businesses continuing to operate.

Residents who witness these issues should report them by calling 3-1-1.

By-law Officers will be taking a progressive enforcement approach; with the initial goal to educate residents and businesses about these laws and their importance to public health.

As time goes on, failure to comply could result in fines under the provincial Act of up to $100,000 for individuals, $500,000 for a director of a corporation or $10-million for a corporation itself.

By-law and Regulatory Services continues to collaborate with the Ottawa Police Service, which will continue to enforce calls related to Quarantine Orders issued to individuals who have been travelling or are experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19.

Complaints related to the Quarantine Act should be reported to the non-urgent Ottawa Police phone line at 613-236-1222.

A note for landlords and tenants

We are all in this together.

Tenants, if you can, please make your April rent. If you can’t, please contact your landlord to discuss options (use of last month rent, partial payment, etc…)

Landlords, flexibility can be achieved by contacting financial institutions.

Tenants and landlords must work together in good faith through this COVID State of Emergency period.

For tenants, emergency financial assistance program available by calling 311.

Through collaboration, we can all support each other.

OC Transpo changes

With ridership levels down due to COVID19 changing, this graphic highlights OC Transpo service changes as of March 30th. For those in our community who are essential workers and continue to need to take transit, we realize these changes may impact your travel. If you have concerns, please communicate with me via mathieu.fleury@ottawa.ca so these concerns can be passed along to OC Transpo.

2020 Spring Freshet 

Spring is upon us and with that comes rain and melting snow and the concern of potential flooding of our waterways. According to City staff, water levels remain non-threatening.

Coun. Eli El-Chantiry is City Council’s Council Liason on the 2020 Spring Freshet. Coun. El-Chantiry will work closely with members of council whose wards have been most severely impacted in the past.

Community Partners

There are so many great stories of how the community is coming together (while maintaining a safe physical distance) to help one another. Here is a great example with United Way East Ontario

 

March 30

Hello everyone – I hope everyone is continuing to stay healthy by physically distancing and social distancing and keeping trips outside the home to a minimum.

Remember it is still ok to go outside and go for walks – just keep a safe distance from others.

If you are finding it hard to find the right words to say about this current situation to your children or aging parents, there are some amazing resources available on the Ottawa Public Library’s website. Feel free to check out my latest video blog:  During COVID : how to talk to kids, seniors and the Ottawa Public Library New Isolation Recreation Page – As I walk you through the resources available.

There are also resources to keep you busy for Adults and Teens or children on OPL’s website to keep us busy, learn, read, come up with some activities etc. I encourage all of you to check out the new features.

News From The City:

At this time, summer programs, including camps, are still running as planned. Residents are still encouraged to register their children as they would normally. The City has said that should there be any cancellations due to COVID-19, refunds will be awarded without penalty.

Ottawa Public Health Update:

With more cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Ottawa, including confirmation of community spread, we continue to urge everyone to practice physical (social) distancing or self-isolate if you develop symptoms.  Some key things to remember:

For individuals with respiratory symptoms (such as fever, cough), please follow these directives:

  • You must self-isolate for 14 days from when your symptoms started, or until 24 hours after symptoms have FULLY resolved, whichever is longer.
  • You must not leave your home if you have respiratory symptoms. Call your doctor or TeleHealth at 1-866-797-0000 if you have questions.
  • If your symptoms are worsening to a point where you cannot manage at home, please visit your nearest emergency department.
  • If you think you have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, a self assessment tool is available to help determine how to seek further care.

How to stop the spread

Self-isolate immediately if you have returned from travel outside Canada.

Practise physical distancing – stay 2 metres away from others.

Wash your hands with soap and water thoroughly and often.

Clean phones and other devices regularly.

Ottawa’s Noise By-Law 

In support of the community and local economy, all retail establishments are exempt from the regulations of the City of Ottawa’s Noise By-law pertaining to deliveries until further notice. This means that deliveries can take place at any time of day to ensure store shelves are stocked with essential goods.

Construction noise regulations have not changed.

It is a violation for construction sites or heavy equipment to operate in any structure, highway or building:

• Monday-Saturday: Between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. 

• Sundays and holidays: Between 10 p.m. and 9 a.m. 

Further limits are placed on the demolition and construction of buildings in established residential neighbourhoods. Infill construction is not permitted:

• Weekdays: Between 8 p.m. and 7 a.m.

• Weekends and holidays: Between 7 p.m. and 9 a.m.

Enforcement 

The primary focus for Ottawa Police Services and Regulatory Services is awareness and education.

While gatherings over 50 people are legally prohibited, it is imperative that we all follow recommendations for physical (social) distancing, avoid crowds and maintain a distance of two metres (six feet) from those around you. For more information, please visit Ottawa Public Health’s page on this topic.

Please note that Ontario’s Cabinet has now banned gatherings over five people. 

Grocery stores in Rideau-Vanier

For the complete list click here: Grocery stores in Rideau-Vanier

City and UOttawa collaborating to offer isolation units on campus for families living at Motels

uOttawa prepares for families to move on campus due to COVID-19 pandemic

This facility is for families within the homelessness service system or Violence Against Women sector who need to self- isolate, are symptomatic and/or have tested positive for COVID-19.

Referrals to the building are made by the City’s Family Shelter Off-site services, which can be accessed through 311.

It is through these valuable partnerships and collaboration that the City will be able to support our community’s most at-risk residents through these unprecedented times.

Ontario

Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams issued a statement asking all residents to help stop the spread of the virus. He is asking that all residents stay home except for essential reasons such as to:

• Access health care services;

• Shop for groceries;

• Pick-up medication at the pharmacy;

• Walk pets when required; and

• Support vulnerable community members with meeting the above needs.

Gatherings now limited to five 

The Ontario government has prohibited organized public events and social gatherings of more than five people, effective immediately, with some exceptions. This order does not apply to:

• Private households with five people or more.

• Child care centres supporting frontline health care workers and first responders provided the      number of persons at each centre does not exceed 50 people.

• Funerals, which are permitted to proceed with up to 10 people at one time.

Canada

Canada has announced a 75 per cent wage coverage for employees at qualifying companies. More information about this is available on Canada.ca

The Federal Government also announced measures to help vulnerable Canadians to help cope with the health, social, and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. More information is available here

March 27

Another week of physical distancing done  – how is everyone doing?

The good news is that the weather looks lovely for the weekend, so get outside – all while practicing physical distancing.

Ottawa Public Library is online for you! In this period of social distancing, Ottawa Public Library offers you content for leisure and learning…at the tip of your fingertips. Isolation does not equal boredom – and we can help you answer the question: What can I do today? Creative activities, wellness tips, literary and cultural gems, learning tools, and much more – we’ve got lots to inspire, encourage, and entertain you during this period of social distancing. Discover OPL’s amazing online content that will help you make the most of this time out.

If you are feeling the effects of social distancing, Ottawa Public Health has an excellent visual and suggested steps to help you decrease anxiety and stress.

News from the City:

There are changes coming for OC Transpo, and once we have details on specific routes, we will post them here, on the website. Meanwhile, here is a general update about current practices on public transit to help keep people as safe and healthy as possible.

Public transit 

Do not use public transit if you have a fever, new cough or difficulty breathing, or if you have been in close contact with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19.

OC Transpo has taken measures, such as rear-door boarding and exiting, to help protect residents and staff.

To protect yourself and others while using public transit:

  • Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue or your sleeve, not your hand.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • When possible, consider physical (social) distancing (ideally two metres).
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water or use hand sanitizer before you touch your eyes, nose or mouth, and as soon as possible when you reach your destination.

Operations:

The train doors on the Confederation Line that are closest to the operator cabs are temporarily closed. OC Transpo has installed tape to block the doors and the area closest to the operator cab from the rest of the train.

You can still use cooperative seating areas in all parts of the train.

If you have a bicycle, you should use the next closest door at the front of the train. There are bicycle stickers on the appropriate door.

Staff are looking at barrier options for Trillium Line trains.

Ontario

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) announced that they will allow restaurants and bars in Ontario to sell alcohol with food takeout and delivery orders.

The AGCO will also allow a temporary change in hours for the sale of alcohol in retail stores as early as 7 a.m. to accommodate early shopping programs for vulnerable people.

For more information, visit Ontario.ca.

Canada

The Government of Canada has announced they will increase the wage subsidy for small and medium-sized businesses to 75 per cent – up from 10 per cent, in an effort to allow businesses to continue to pay their employees, while businesses are closed.

There is also a the Canada Emergency Business Account – banks will now offer $45,000 loans that will be guaranteed by the government, with no interest. More information is available at Canada.ca.

March 26

What’s new with City news:

Safety in outdoor spaces 

Parks and the outdoors are great for our physical and mental well-being and while being outside is encourage, the City and Ottawa Public Heath have asked that residents maintain safe physical distances and do not use playground equipment. Activities involving groups or teams is prohibited.

Sports fields and ball diamonds 

Rental contract holders and organizers of large public events that access to ball diamonds, sports fields and general turf areas at City facilities is prohibited until further notice.

City parks and outdoor spaces 

Skateboard parks and basketball courts are closed and cannot be used at this time.

Please stay off all park equipment until it is deemed safe to do so. This includes:

  • Play structures
  • Swings
  • Slides
  • Climbers
  • Adult fitness stations
  • Benches and picnic tables

Park equipment is not being cleaned and could potentially spread the harmful COVID-19 virus. Park equipment has surfaces that are touched frequently and are not safe to use at this time.

Safe park practices that are permitted include running, walking or jogging maintaining safe distances from others, riding your bike on a pathway, exercise or stretches, performed on your own and casual play with members of your household

Outdoor spaces are only safe to use if you continue to practice physical (social) distancing while doing so.

Access to City parks is permittable if you are respecting physical (social) distancing guidelines as set out by Ottawa Public Health. Please keep a safe distance of 2 metres.

Participation in group sports, practices, training or activities that can put you at risk of contracting COVID-19 is prohibited.

This includes playing soccer or basketball in a group setting, group picnics in the park, and playdates with other children, even in an outdoor setting

You can continue to enjoy being outside while respecting physical distancing guidelines, by going for a walk in your local park or neighbourhood. Members of your household can join you, as long as they are not showing symptoms. 

City launches Buy Local promotional campaign and web page to support Ottawa’s small businesses

There is a new way you can help support your local shops and businesses during these challenging times. By clicking on ottawa.ca/buylocal residents will find links to sites listing businesses serving customers virtually or providing takeout and meal delivery.

Businesses can also visit this web page on ottawa.ca for access to essential information and support programs.

Staying healthy when you have to leave the house

If you are concerned about how to safely shop for groceries, here is an article from CBC that outlines a number of preventative measures you can take during your shopping outing.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/covid-shopping-groceries-safely-1.5509372

Kids getting bored? Are you?

Here are a few new links to add some new ideas to how to keep busy while at home:

Ottawa Public Library has a ton of ideas – this one in particular involves the option of learning something new – like speaking Pirate – Argh!

The St. Laurent Academy has launched an online community resources webpage where you can find a number of online resources for your child’s grade and age, all in one spot. The service is free.

Ontario

Here is the latest update from the province on funding and aid.

Canada

The Government of Canada has put in place emergency measures that require mandatory 14-day self-isolation for all persons entering Canada, even if they do not have COVID-19 symptoms. Some provinces and territories may have specific recommendations for certain groups, such as health care workers. These efforts will help contain the outbreak and limit the spread of COVID-19 in Canada.

March 25

From City Council Meeting today:

As a City Council today we met mostly virtually – with more than half of council calling in to maintain physical distancing and to slow the community spread of the Novel Coronavirus.

What happened: 

Today the Mayor declared a State of Emergency

Declaring a state of emergency will help the City deploy its emergency operations and staff in a more nimble fashion. It will also enable a more flexible procurement process, which will help purchase equipment required by frontline workers and first responders as it becomes available in the coming weeks.

Following the declaration, the City formally requested the Province of Ontario to give the City flexibility to manage movement of staff, to redeploy resources, to support essential services and to be adaptable as this situation continues to evolve rapidly.

According to the Mayor, the city will also be launching a new “Buy Local” campaign – the details for this campaign will be released shortly.

Please view the City Manager’s complete presentation on the City’s response to COVID-19. City Manager – Council Presentation

Also most importantly, stay social – from home – make a phone call or have a video dinner date with your neighbours. And if you are having a hard time dealing with this new reality, please reach out City’s Distress Centre.

Distress: 613-238-3311

Crisis: 613-722-6914 or 1-866-996-0991

Again, please do not hesitate to reach out if you need help.

Ottawa Public Health Update:

Ottawa Public Health also has laboratory confirmation of the community spread of COVID-19 in Ottawa

Ottawa Public Health Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Vera Etches reported they are starting to see cases among health care workers who have not traveled or been a close contact of a confirmed case. Ottawa Public Health recommends all residents practice physical (social) distancing or self-isolate, if applicable, to help stop the spread of the virus. Information about laboratory confirmed cases of COVID-19 is available on OttawaPublicHealth.ca/Coronavirus.

What you can do:

  • Practice physical (social) distancing.
    • Household contacts (people you live with) do not need to distance from each other unless they are sick or have travelled within the past 14 days.
  • Avoid all non-essential trips in the community.
  • Cancel all group gatherings.
  • Connect via phone, video chat or social media instead of in person.
  • Talk to your employer about working from home, if possible.
  • Avoid visiting elderly friends or relatives unless the visit is essential.
  • Avoid crowds and maintain a distance of two metres from other people when you go outside, like to take a walk.

Here is the complete presentation from Ottawa Public Health on the update of COVID-19. OPH – COVID-19 Council Presentation

The most current information will be shared with residents on ottawa.ca and the City’s social media channels. Ottawa Public Health will continue to provide updates on COVID-19 in Ottawa on OttawaPublicHealth.ca/Coronavirus.

If you are at home and want to help those on the front line.  Here are local groups offering help to our most in need  United Way East Ontario has a list of ways you can help- https://unitedwayeocovid19.ca/volunteer-opportunities/

You can also go to Volunteer Ottawa to register as a volunteer.

Update on the Human Needs Task Force

The task force is currently focused on coordination between services for the five emerging needs:

  • Outreach to Seniors, Food Security, Transportation, Volunteer coordination and housing and homeless needs.

The task force has been assessing and triaging all social and human needs, all the while mobilizing and supporting community organizations to address urgent needs. Current tasks include outreach by telephone programs and connections. Ottawa Community Housing is conducting wellness check phone calls so far to 2,700 residents. The Ottawa Food Bank is supporting emergency food centres and working with other organizations such as the Salvation Army to help with distribution. Meals on Wheels is offering more frozen food for seniors in the Ottawa area. Transportation services and needs can be accessed by contacting Good Companions website or by telephone at 613-236-0428.

Housing and Homelessness

The City has received confirmation of $1.65 million in new funding under the federal government’s Reaching Home strategy to support the homeless and vulnerably housed sector. This funding must be allocated to, but does not need to be fully expended by, agencies, by March 31, 2020.

Housing Supports for Vulnerable Residents 

The Isolation Centre at the Routier Community Centre opened on Monday, March 23, 2020 to provide space for homeless single men and single women who need to self-isolate. The current capacity is 10 beds, with the ability to expand to 40 beds should the need arise. Supports for residents within the centre are being provided by Ottawa Inner City Health and Ottawa Public Health. Currently five residents have been referred to and are staying at the Centre.

Housing Services has secured a 29-room location to provide isolation space for families and youth, which is anticipated to open the week of April 1st .

Where to get more assistance 

Anyone facing difficulty to call 3-1-1. The City of Ottawa has many supports in place for residents in need and are expanding our capacity to meet local need.

Tax deferrals

Council approved a penalty free payment grace period to April 15, 2020 for all property owners for the interim tax bill in 2020 and has asked the City Treasurer to develop a 2020 Property Tax Hardship Deferral Program for City of Ottawa residential property owners and small business property owners.

Water Bills

Council also approved an interest free 30-day payment grace period for all unpaid water bills issued before April 1, 2020 and a 30-day due date extension for all water bills issued between April 1, 2020 and October 30, 2020.

Landlords have been asked to pass this deferral and grace periods on to their tenants.

March 24

Check out the latest from Ottawa Public Health

Are you feeling ill? Take a Self-assessment on Ontario.ca.

If you are having a hard time coping please do not hesitate to reach out to the City’s Distress Centre –

Distress: 613-238-3311

Crisis: 613-722-6914 or 1-866-996-0991

It is important to continue to be social – virtually – please continue to be physically distant from neighbours, extended family and while you are outside. The messaging remains the same – please do not gather in groups.

Socially, we still need to stick together so please reach out by phone, video chat or any other virtual means you can, to maintain relationships and help you get through this difficult time.

City of Ottawa

Ottawa.ca page that lists information on impacted City facilities and services. This webpage will continue to be updated as the COVID-19 emergency response evolves.

For services that are not listed on the previously referenced webpage, operations will be continuing as best as possible. The City is continuing to develop plans to support its operations and understand what service adjustments and change implications will be needed, over the long term.

Ottawa Police Service

Here are some crime prevention tips on how to increase the safety of your business during the pandemic

Ontario

The Ontario Government released the list of essential and non-essential businesses late last night, all non-essential businesses will cease operation as of Midnight tonight.

What does that mean for our community?

It is important to note that essential business include, but are not limited to grocery stores and pharmacies, telecommunications and IT infrastructure service providers, and businesses that support power generation, natural gas distribution and clean drinking water. Essential businesses are being asked to put into place any and all measures to safeguard the wellbeing of their employees on the front-lines.

The full list of essential businesses is available HERE

Ontario also announced it will be lowering hydro rates. The new pricing structure of off-peak 24 hours a day, seven days a week will be in place for 45 days.  Ontario electricity customers will pay only the off-peak rate (10.1 cents/kWh) for the electricity they consume. During this 45-day period, farms, small businesses and residential customers will not be billed at on-peak (20.8 cents/kWh) or mid-peak (14.4 cents/kWh) rates.

For more information please visit Ontario.ca.

Be prepared for Covid-19

  • Plan ahead
  • Communicate
  • Stay informed

Here’s a great list you can follow – Be prepared for Covid-19

March 23 

First and foremost, I want to thank everyone who are taking the right steps to help flatten the curve of the Novel Coronavirus and keep our City and its most vulnerable residents as safe as possible. I know this is not easy, but I also know as a community we can get through this.  

Important information to residents returning home from abroad: 

Federal and provincial public health leaders have recommended that all travellers from outside of Canada self-isolate for 14 days. These efforts will contribute to slow the introduction and spread of COVID-19 in Canada. 

City Council update: 

Members of the public can watch this week’s City Council Meeting online –  

You can watch the live City Council meeting starting at 10 am on the Ottawa City Council YouTube page The meeting will also be broadcast live on RogersTV Cable 22 and live streamed on the RogersTV Website. 

Check out the latest from Ottawa Public Health 

Ottawa Public Health has a daily update of the number of cases in Ottawa – current COVID-19 cases in the City of Ottawa Ottawa Public Health has a daily update of the number of cases in Ottawa – current COVID-19 cases in the City of Ottawa  

You can also sign up for email alerts for the most up-to-date numbers. 

CANADA.CA 

Canada has launched a new virtual assistant to help you navigate through this pandemic. If you have questions or concerns directly related the Novel Coronavirus. It is incredibly intuitive – please check it out. 

Small businesses

The Business Development Bank of Canada is hosting a webinar on March 25, at 12:00PM. This webinar is for entrepreneurs looking for advice on how to manage their business through this difficult time.

Service Canada

Service Canada provides Canadians with a single point of access to a wide range of government services and benefits. They are committed to improving services for Canadians by working with partners to provide access to the full range of government services and benefits that Canadians want and need through the Internet, by telephone, in person or by mail.

To apply for Employment Insurance (EI), click here. Are you in quarantine or self-isolation due to COVID-19? You can inquire about your EI application by calling this Service Canada number: 1-833-381-2725.

To help Service Providers provide information regarding Employment Insurance (EI), actions required for maintaining benefits, earnings while on claim and other resources to support return to work endeavors Service Canada will be presenting a 1-hour (no cost) Service Canada webinar on March 24, 2020 at 11AM.  To register for Service Canada webinar, please use Service Canada’s general email address: on-eastern-sc-events-evenements-gd@servicecanada.gc.ca

Ontario announces the closure of all non-essential businesses

The Ontario Government has announced that beginning Tuesday, March 24 all non-essential businesses will be ordered to close. This is in attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19. The list will be released of what stores are considered essential and non-essential on March 24. Please visit ontario.ca for more up-to-date information.

Food, medicine and other essential products will continue be available. Premier Doug Ford said that telecommunication services will continue.

The Province has also announced $200 million in relief funding for municipalities that administer key social services such as shelters, food banks, emergency services and charities and non-profit organizations.

There is also money available for people and families who are struggling financially but can not access federal support programs – Ontario.ca/community

Ontario to Open Select Child Care Centres across the Province Childcare services 

In order to support health care and frontline workers during this COVID-19 outbreak, Ontario plans to exempt certain child care centres from the order to close all licensed child care centres pursuant to the state of emergency declared earlier this week. This initiative is being done in partnership with service system managers and First Nations partners. For more information visit Ontario.ca 

Entering week two of Social Distancing: 

Food supply 

Understanding there is a lot of uncertainty on length of time for social distancing and fighting this virus, we wanted to share with you the most up-to-date information on food supply. The Ontario Government and the Federal Government are working hard to ensure supplies continue to fill shelves. Additionally, many retailers are making changes, including at-home delivery, pick-up and safety measures in stores. 

Updated Measures for Retail Shopping: 

The City has released some updated suggested measures for retail stores to ensure social distancing while individuals shop.   

Ensure that you keep a 2 metre (6 feet) distance from others, including in line-ups at the register and outside, if necessary. You will note, some retail stores are now marking the floors to ensure distancing, as well as limiting the number of individuals in the store at a time.  

For the continued health and safety of customers and staff, Ottawa Public Health also recommends the following precautions: 

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth unless you have just cleaned your hands.  
  • Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue or into your arm, not your hand. 
  • Limit the number of items that you touch. 

Guidance for Multi-Unit Dwellings: 

OPH recommends the following additional actions in multi-unit dwellings: 

  • Suspend all non-urgent inspections and repair work, if possible. 
  • Close all onsite recreational amenities and gathering spaces (e.g. party rooms, fitness facilities, pools), if possible. 
  • Encourage limited use of public areas for necessary outings and take additional precautions in shared spaces (e.g. lobbies, hallways, mail rooms, laundry rooms). 

Take extra precautions to clean and disinfect surfaces as often as possible: 

  • Remember to clean surfaces first, then disinfect them. 
  • Ensure an adequate supply of water, soap, paper towels for cleaning and disinfectant for sanitizing in spaces such as laundry rooms. 
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces often, at a minimum of twice a day (e.g. buzzer systems/kiosks, doorknobs, hand railing, light switches, elevator buttons, etc.) or as they become visibly soiled. 
  • Use an appropriate cleaner and disinfectant, as per manufacturer’s instructions. 
  • Remove items from shared spaces that may be hard to clean or disinfect (e.g. intricate lamps). 

OTTAWA COMMUNITY HOUSING  

For the latest updates for OCH please visit OCH WEBSITE

OC TRANSPO 

Public transit is still running, but with changes including rear-door boarding on buses and now on LRT trains with less-frequent service. For specific route changes or information,  please visit OC TRANSPO 

UPDATE FOR PARENTS:

As we enter week two, trying to work and keep our children occupied is definitely challenging. There are a number of online resources that you can check out to offer new ideas for your children.

The Ontario Government will also be launching an e-learning tool – for more information about this, please visit, Learn At Home

The Ottawa Public Library has a new portal for Kids, visit Isolation Recreation for Kids – where you can find online books, music and movies.

Student Portals – The schools have a number of online resources through their online student portals –

  • Ottawa Carleton District School Board has resources HERE
  • Ottawa Catholic School Board has resources HERE
  • Ecole Catholiques Centre-East has resources HERE
  • Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de L’Ontario has resources HERE

STAYING AT HOME:

We recognize that for some, staying at home comes with its own challenges, including nearby construction noise – this pandemic is a continually changing situation and workers, including construction sites, scheduling and hours may change – Currently the Ontario Government has not mandated work should stop.

As part of the Ontario Government’s declaration of State of Emergency certain services will be and are being evaluated.

Take care of yourself 

It’s OK to NOT be Ok. Please know that help is available, and we encourage you to reach out to   

Distress Centre of Ottawa to connect with someone at 613-238-3311. 

For more information, visit OttawaPublicHealth.ca/Coronavirus 

Stay updated on what is happening in the community, follow our daily updates here or on social media. 

March 20 update:

Check out the latest from Ottawa Public Health

What does it mean to “flatten the curve” and why is social distancing so important?

Animation by Prof. Nicholas Woolridge

Here is a great video explaining why we are trying to flatten the curve from the University of Toronto Mississauga

https://twitter.com/UTMBiology/status/1240638969982877698?s=20

What the City is doing:

Caring for our most vulnerable

A human services task force has been created by the Community and Social Services team that includes City departments and key community partners to plan for future scenarios including food, housing, shelter and psychosocial supports, and to coordinate information, service changes, emerging issues and needs

This task force consolidates partners from all sectors, including United Way Eastern Ontario, Coalition of Community Health and Resource Centres of Ottawa, Ottawa Community Housing, Ottawa Food Bank, The Good Companions, Canadian Red Cross, the Salvation Army and Ottawa Inner City Health, in addition to representatives from City departments, including Ottawa Public Health.

The scope of the task force is to:

  • Plan for future scenarios, with considerations related to food security and vulnerable population needs, including housing, shelter and psychosocial supports.
  • Coordinate service sector information related to services being provided, changes to services and emerging issues and needs.
  • Raise issues, service gaps and community concerns to staff within Community and Social Services, other City departments and community partners for resolution.

Partner and Stakeholder Initiatives staff are reaching out to the City’s 81 funded community agencies to obtain service delivery updates, assess needs and identify concerns for escalation to the Human Needs Tasks Force.

As a result, key priorities are emerging, including:

  • Food security
  • Outreach to isolated seniors
  • Transportation of vulnerable residents to COVID-19 assessment centers and medical appointments
  • Volunteer management to support community effort during a pandemic

In terms of food security, the Ottawa Food Bank has confirmed 23 of the 26 food banks are operational. Although contingency plans are in place for two of the food banks that are closed, they anticipate that additional locations will close in the coming weeks due to the lack of volunteers. Mitigation strategies are being developed, including obtaining access to City facilities as pick up locations for hampers, establishing mobile locations and increasing the number of volunteers. Information about how to access Ottawa Food Bank services is updated regularly on their website. If you receive any messages about people interested in volunteering, please direct them to their Volunteer Hub.

Isolated seniors are an emerging priority within the community. We will be working on identifying further support required for seniors. As a result of COVID-19, The Good Companions is no longer open or using volunteers for services. Staff have been redirected to essential programming including telephone-based programs, providing check-in services and transportation services to isolated seniors. In addition, their program Senior Centres Without Walls is ramping up to respond to the emerging needs for transportation to emergency services, medical appointments and shopping, and for delivery of groceries, as well as Meals on Wheels. Please email them directly to access any services.

Finally, a need has been identified by our Community Health and Resource Centres around transportation of vulnerable residents to COVID-19 assessment centres and medical appointments. As a result, they are currently working with Ottawa Public Health and other community partners to assess the transportation needs.

Message from the City’s Community and Social Services department:

We recognize the generosity of those looking to volunteer. Currently, we are not seeking volunteers to help with the response to the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. However, this is a priority area for the City and we are looking at ways to provide opportunities for those who want to support their community. As Ottawa Public Health has suggested, residents can help by checking in with neighbours and friends who may be vulnerable, overwhelmed, lonely or in need of help. 

2-1-1 is available for information on the full range of community, social, government and health services and programs available in Ottawa and how to access those services. 

Latest news from Ontario:

Ontario passes two pieces of legislation which will protect the jobs of employees who self-isolate or quarantine, help keep store shelves stocked and give municipal councils the flexibility to continue operations while maintaining social distance. More information here

https://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2020/03/ontario-supporting-workers-municipalities-and-retailers-in-response-to-covid-19.html

Ontario Extending Validation Periods for Driver, Vehicle and Carrier Products, Services and Health Cards

https://news.ontario.ca/mto/en/2020/03/ontario-extending-validation-periods-for-driver-vehicle-and-carrier-products-services-and-health-car.html

If you are experiencing symptoms of the 2019 novel coronavirus:

Contact Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000, your local public health unit or your primary care provider.

Please do not visit an assessment centre unless you have been referred by a healthcare professional.

Do not call 911 unless it is an emergency.

The assessment centre is at Brewer Arena, 151 Brewer Way. It is open daily from 9 am to 8 pm. Do not bring healthy people, including children. Do take children under 6 months of age meeting these criteria to CHEO.

Business Update

Some local businesses might be closing and you may find you are out of a job at the moment  – the best information is available at Canada.ca

Service Canada is ready to support Canadians affected by COVID-19 and placed in quarantine, with the following support actions:

  • The one-week waiting period for EI sickness benefits will be waived for new claimants who are quarantined so they can be paid for the first week of their claim
  • Establishing a new dedicated toll-free phone number to support enquiries related to waiving the EI sickness benefits waiting period
  • People claiming EI sickness benefits due to quarantine will not have to provide a medical certificate
  • People who cannot complete their claim for EI sickness benefits due to quarantine may apply later and have their EI claim backdated to cover the period of delay

March 19

Check out the latest from Ottawa Public Health

Click HERE for a video update from Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Vera Etches

Check out the latest from Canada.ca

The Canadian government has announced a $82 Billion aid package to tackle COVID-19. For more information and the funding breakdown click HERE

 

Essential and emergency services continue

The City will continue to resource essential services such as:

  • Emergency first responders including fire, paramedics and public health staff
  • Front-line communications for 9-1-1 emergency services, Ottawa Public Health, Revenue and 3-1-1 call centres
  • Social assistance services
  • Key assets, public works and operations such as water services, road and traffic services and snow clearing
  • Front-line workers who serve our most vulnerable in the community including long-term care
  • Transit services will be running on a regular schedule to allow for social distancing
  • Garbage and recycling collection
  • By-law services
  • Fire investigations and inspections for complaints and licenses
  • Community Paramedic program

 

Closures and cancellations

Effective March 17:

The main foyer at City Hall will remain open to the public,

The Mary Pitt Centre, Ben Franklin Place and the City of Ottawa Landfill Site at Trail Road will be closed to the public

All counter services will be closed to the public, but we will continue to deliver services through alternate channels where available

All municipally run daycares will be closed

Access to long-term care homes is restricted to essential visitors only and screening remains in place for all who enter

Court services at the Provincial Offences Act courthouse located at 100 Constellation Drive are closed until April 3

All on-street overtime parking, signed or unsigned, will no longer be enforced on residential streets until further notice

 

OC TRANSPO

For the health and safety of our customers and staff, all OC Transpo Customer Service Centres and ServiceOttawa Client Service Centres closed on March 17.

During this time, Ticket Machines, Shoppers Drug Mart and Loblaws store locations, as well as Prestocard.ca are alternatives for most transactions. ParaPay accounts can be loaded by phone (613-741-4390) or online. More information is available on OCtranspo.com

Rear-door boarding on all OC Transpo buses and installation of caution tape to separate the operator cab and accessible seating areas from the rest of the bus.

Practice social distancing (2 metres, when possible) in order to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Stagger your commute times, if possible, to help lessen the volume of passengers during morning and afternoon peak periods. Increased cleaning of all high-traffic areas and touch points at City-owned buildings, buses, trains, stations and Para Transpo vehicles

 

HOW TO KEEP BUSY AT HOME

As we enter mid-week, here are a few new ideas to keep yourself and family occupied

The Ottawa Public Library has a bunch of fun resources available ONLINE

Scholastic Learn at Home has an excellent online resource available HERE

There are a number of online resources available on the Canadian Association of Family Resource Programs’ website, parentsmatter.ca

 

March 18

Check out the latest from Ottawa Public Health

Property Tax Hardship Deferral Program  

The City announced they will be offering a tax deferral program, pending Council approval at its March 25, 2020 meeting – or the earliest available opportunity. 

Interim tax bills, which represent 50 per cent of the previous year’s tax bill, were mailed to property owners in mid-February with payment to the City of Ottawa due Thursday, March 19, 2020. 

The City intends to extend a payment grace period to April 15, 2020

It is important to note that property owners who are enrolled in pre-authorized debit plans are not affected by the grace period and do not need to take any action. 

More information on property tax bills can be found on the Taxes homepage on ottawa.ca

If approved, the deferral application will be available online and would extend the interim (March 19) and final (June 18) tax due dates to October 30, 2020. The motion will define the criteria of property owner eligibility.

Tax & Water Bill Deferral Program for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities 

The City of Ottawa already offers two deferral programs for property taxes for low-income seniors and low-income people with disabilities. 

Under these existing programs, eligible homeowners may apply for a full or partial deferral of their annual property taxes. 

The City also offers a deferral program for water utility bills for low-income seniors and low-income people with disabilities. 

Eligible homeowners may apply for a deferral of their water utility bills. 

Applying for both programs can be done online via email. Information on eligibility and how to apply can be found on ottawa.ca. 

Water Service  

The City of Ottawa has suspended all water service disconnections due to non-payment until further notice. 

Alternate Payment Options 

The City is taking steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and wants to remind residents that the City offers several ways to pay water bills and property taxes, including: my Service Ottawa portal, telephone and online banking through your financial institution, credit or debit card online at ottawa.ca, pre-authorized debit , by mail.

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