April 2, 2020 newsletter from Rawlson King, City Councillor for Rideau-Rockcliffe.
Following the lead of the Ottawa Public Health during the COVID-19 public health crisis, our office will be working remotely until further notice. Our team will continue to serve you through our social media channels, phone line, and e-mail. We will continue to support resident inquiries and we will be exploring alternative ways of engaging with the community instead of public events. Here's how you can continue to contact and engage with us:
E-mail is the preferred method of contact for the quickest response. If you're writing about a City service please consider directing your inquiry to 3-1-1 first, either by calling 3-1-1, e-mailing [email protected] or completing an online form. If you have already contacted 3-1-1 and are unhappy with the response or service, please feel free to contact us and provide your Service Request number to help us assist you better.
With more cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Ottawa, including confirmation of community spread, we are urging that everyone either practice physical (social) distancing or self-isolate if applicable. Each of our efforts are needed as a community.
The actions you take will affect not only you, but your loved ones and the most vulnerable people in our community. By acting now, you may be saving lives – the life of a family member, a neighbour, a friend, or a co-worker.
For individuals with respiratory symptoms (such as fever or cough):
- 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.
- 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, fill out the self-assessment tool atOntario.ca/Coronavirus to help determine how to seek further care.
For individuals who are returning from travel, you must self-isolate for 14 days:
- The Federal Quarantine Act requires any person entering Canada by air, sea or land to self-isolate for 14 days whether or not they have symptoms of COVID-19. Leaving your property to go for a walk is not permitted under the Quarantine Order, issued on March 25, 2020.
- Do not go to community settings, including the grocery store. If you need groceries or other essential items, have a family member, friend or neighbour do this for you and leave items at the door.
- If you have respiratory symptoms, follow guidance in the section above.
For ALL Ottawa residents (except those listed above):
- Practice physical (social) distancing – Avoid all non-essential trips in the community
- 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
- 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.
- Keep windows down for essential community trips via taxi or rideshares.
- You can go outside (for example - to take a walk or kick a ball with members of your household, who are already close contacts). While outside, avoid crowds and maintain a distance of two metres (six feet) from those around you. Make an effort to step-aside, or pass others quickly and courteously on sidewalks. Passing someone on the sidewalk is not considered close contact or a significant risk for exposure to COVID-19.
Interprovincial bridge spot checks now in place
Staff travelling between Quebec and Ontario are advised that starting today there is a police presence on the interprovincial bridges and ferry crossings that may cause delays. Staff should ensure they have proper government-issued identification and their City ID on hand when travelling between provinces.
Police will be conducting spot checks and any out-of-province individuals showing symptoms of COVID-19 will not be allowed entry into Quebec. Gatineau residents showing symptoms will be asked to return home and contact the local public health agency.
Staff providing essential services will be granted access to the bridges as long as they are not showing symptoms.
In partnership with its Economic Partners Taskforce, the City of Ottawa launched the first phase of an online promotional campaign to help local businesses during these challenging times.
The campaign encourages residents to support their favourite small businesses by taking immediate and concrete steps now:
- Buy from local businesses online.
- Purchase gift cards from local businesses to use later.
- Order delivery or takeout from area restaurants.
- Send local businesses messages of support on social media.
These actions will help local shops, restaurants and services by providing them with critical income during this challenging period.
The campaign includes targeted ads that will reach residents on several online platforms over the coming weeks and direct them to ottawa.ca/buylocal. There, residents will find links to sites listing businesses serving customers virtually or providing takeout and meal delivery.
The City is also launching a web page on ottawa.ca to provide businesses with access to essential information and support programs. The page will have links to provincial and federal assistance programs, as well as details on measures offered by the City to help businesses in the coming weeks and months. This includes the property tax deferral and other relief measures that Council approved at its meeting on March 25.
Ottawa is a caring community and clearly recognizes the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on our small businesses, their owners and employees. These shops, restaurants and services are the foundation of our local economy. Any support residents can provide during these challenging times will help businesses continue to operate online and keep staff employed.
Human Needs Taskforce
Our community partners are working together through the City’s Human Needs Task Force for those requiring assistance. The task force is receiving, assessing and triaging all social and human needs inquiries, while mobilizing and supporting community organizations to address urgent community needs. The Human Needs Task Force aligns internal city resources, external partners, existing funding and new funding to community need.
Outreach to Isolated Seniors
The Good Companions’ Seniors Centre Without Walls has expanded its services with a focus on outreach to vulnerable and isolated seniors and other populations. Emotional and practical support is provided via telephone. In addition, they have trained 20 agencies (32 staff) to do similar outreach calls through various programs.
Ottawa Community Housing has facilitated wellness check phone calls to approximately 2,700 residents, focusing on people identified on the Fire Evacuation List.
Ottawa Food Bank is supporting the emergency food centres and are coordinating with other task force members to sort and deliver food where needed. Demand has increased by 30 per cent across community food banks. They are working with the Salvation Army to support distribution of food hampers offered by local restauranteurs. The City is providing facility space for safe storage of food hampers.
Meals on Wheels has been increasing offers of frozen food for seniors in the Ottawa area and connecting with Ottawa Food Bank to provide hamper supplies and deliveries. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, they are delivering 100 fresh and 700 frozen meals daily. These services have ensured a supply of full dinners for those individuals in need.
Working with other non-profit organizations, the Good Companions and Champlain Community Support Network are coordinating urgent transportation to medical appointments, assessment centres, and food centres/grocery stores for those with financial constraints, transportation difficulties, and/or health and mobility issues. Services can be accessed by contacting Good Companions website or by telephone at 613-236-0428.
The City and United Way of Eastern Ontario are developing a plan to support volunteer coordination during the COVID-19 pandemic. Volunteer Ottawa has established a pool of pre-screened volunteers and will continue to accept new applicants.
Enforcement Model for COVID-19-Related Offences
On March 27, 2020, by Ministerial Order, the Province of Ontario provided municipal law enforcement officers with the ability to enforce new rules under the Ontario Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (“EMCPA”) to keep people safe and slow the spread of COVID-19.
As such, effective immediately, a 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 EMCPA of up to $100,000 for individuals, $500,000 for a director of a corporation or $10 million for a corporation itself.
Hydro Ottawa donates 12,000 surgical masks to local hospital
In response to the urgent need for medical protective equipment during the COVID-19 crisis, Hydro Ottawa stepped up to do our part for our front line health care professionals and donated 12,000 surgical masks to the Ottawa Hospital today (Tuesday, March 31).
City accepting donations of personal protective equipment for its COVID-19 response
The City has launched a formal donation process for businesses and residents to donate commercial-grade personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect our emergency responders and front-line workers supporting the COVID-19 pandemic response.
This formal donation process has been established in response to the many residents and businesses who have contacted the City through many channels with donation offerings.
The PPE supplies must be commercial-grade and in its original packaging. These items include, but are not limited to:
- N95 masks (1870+ or 1805)
- Surgical masks
- Procedural masks
- Face shields
- Protective gowns
- Protective goggles and glasses
- Hand sanitizers
- Disinfectant wipes
Homemade personal protective equipment will not be accepted. To donate, we ask interested businesses and residents to email [email protected] and provide information on the items and quantities. The City will review donations offered and arrange with you for a drop-off or pick-up of the items.
The City is also in constant communication with The Ottawa Hospital, which is collecting, processing and storing all donated medical equipment, to help supply the many front-line healthcare staff across the Eastern Ontario region who are responding to the pandemic. You can contact The Ottawa Hospital at [email protected]
Family Isolation Space
The City has negotiated with the University of Ottawa to lease the space ($1) at 585 King Edward Avenue as an isolation space for families in the homelessness service system. The building is a three-story building that was formerly a student residence. As this location is not accessible, the University no longer uses if for that purpose. The building has 28 units – with various room configurations (singles, two, three and four bedrooms) that are suitable for families. The building is currently empty, and the City is working on acquiring the necessary furniture and supplies to outfit the rooms. The building has no cooking facilities, but the rooms will be outfitted with a fridge, microwave, crockpot, etc. The City will arrange for food services for building occupants during the period of their isolation. 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.
The City has secured additional accessible spaces for families who need to self-isolate. These locations will remain confidential, as do all the off-site temporary accommodations, as they house people fleeing situations of violence.
Construction Deemed Essential Service
During the COVID-19 crisis, the Government of Ontario continues to update the list of businesses deemed as essential services. This list includes the construction industry as it plays a key role in societal functioning, and our economy.
Even as we are in a state of emergency, our citizens and our economy require the outcomes provided by construction, whether it be the investment provided by important infrastructure projects such as the completion of the work on Elgin Street, or the continuance of the construction of new housing stock through private development.
Through the continuance of construction, our focus remains the safety of the public, our staff and our industry partners. Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development (PIED) relies on the guidance of our provincial partners to help ensure all safety issues are strictly met while this work continues.
On Sunday March 29th, 2020, Ontario’s Chief Prevention Officer announced updated guidance to help employers better understand their responsibilities and what is needed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on the job site. Staff will ensure that these measures are enforced across the organization, including the following:
- Providing better on-site sanitation, including a focus on high-touch areas like site trailers, door handles and hoists.
- Communicating roles, responsibilities, and health and safety policies, by, for example, posting site sanitization schedules and work schedules.
- Enabling greater distances between workers by staggering shifts, restricting site numbers and limiting elevator usage.
- Protecting public health, by tracking and monitoring workers.
Support for Businesses
Through the COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, the Federal Government is helping Canadian businesses protect jobs, and pay their bills. They put in place new measures that provide immediate help to Canadian businesses so that they can weather the impacts of COVID-19. Together, they represent an additional $65 billion in direct support, and $30 billion in additional tax deferrals.
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
To help employers keep people on the payroll, the Federal Government is introducing the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy.
The wage subsidy will cover up to 75% of salaries for employers of all sizes – including not-for-profits and charities – who have suffered a drop in gross revenues of at least 30 per cent.
- This will cover up to $847 a week, per employee, for up to three months.
- The subsidy will also be backdated to March 15th.
This significant subsidy will help employers keep their staff on payroll, and position themselves to rebound when the outbreak has passed.
Applying for Benefits
- One of the ways you can apply for benefits, like the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, is through the CRA MyAccount secure portal.
- Creating a CRA MyAccount will be the first step, and this can be done now before applications are open on April 6th.
- Next, make sure you are signed up for direct deposit payments to receive the benefits directly in your bank account.