Veterans honoured with commemorative street naming

In honour of Veterans’ Week (November 5 to 11), Mayor Watson hosted a commemorative street naming ceremony at City Hall this morning.

During the ceremony, Mayor Watson announced that Lieutenant-Colonel David Wiens and Squadron Leader Dr. Jean Davey are the veterans honoured through the City’s Veterans’ Commemorative Street Naming Program for 2020 and 2021. 

David Wiens served in the Canadian Intelligence Corps from 1942 to 1946 in Northwest Europe and the United Kingdom, and in 1951 rejoined the Canadian military serving in various intelligence appointments. He received many decorations, including the Thunderbird Badge for his contributions to military intelligence, and the Canadian Decoration and 1st Bar for his long service. He was discharged as a Lieutenant-Colonel. Mr. Wiens passed away on November 16, 2017.

Dr. Jean Davey was one of the first two Canadian women to enter the Armed Forces, serving as the Forces’ first Canadian female doctor from 1941 to 1945. She was the first woman to be granted the commission of Squadron Leader and was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1943 in recognition of her service. Ms. Davey passed away on March 31, 1980.

Local developers can participate in the Veterans’ Commemorative Street Naming Program by naming streets within new housing developments. CRT Developments is naming a street in their Westwood subdivision in Stittsville after David Wiens. CAIVAN is naming a street in The Ridge subdivision in Barrhaven after Dr. Jean Davey. The veterans will be commemorated with a street sign that bears their name as well as the poppy – the universal sign of remembrance.

A recording of the ceremony can be found on Mayor Watson’s Facebook page.

 

Quotes

“Today was an important opportunity to reflect upon and honour the individuals who fought to protect our country and city. Lieutenant-Colonel David Wiens and Squadron Leader Dr. Jean Davey both bravely served in World War II and their memory will live on in our community for generations.” 

Mayor Jim Watson


Draft Budget 2022 Tabling

Good morning everyone. Bonjour tout le monde.

I wish to acknowledge that Ottawa is located on un-ceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe Nation.

We honour the land and the peoples of the Algonquin Anishinabe Nation, whose ancestors have lived on this territory for millennia.

 Leur culture et leur présence ont enrichi – et continue d’enrichir – ces terres.  

Today is an important milestone for our City and our residents as we introduce the 2022 Budget.

Our City and our country have been through a lot over the course of the last year.

The municipal budget is the main tool that we have to show that we care and that we are being responsive to what is happening around us.

And that we are managing the dollars entrusted to us by the residents of Ottawa in a prudent way, while trying to respond to a very broad range of competing needs.

As members of Council know, we receive both formal and informal feedback from tens of thousands of residents every year -and that feedback is as diverse as the needs of our continuously changing urban, suburban and rural communities.

Today, I will be focusing on how the world is changing around us and highlight how the City’s budget attempts to address these changes.

I will also share highlights of how Budget 2022 tries to be responsive to these trends and City-wide needs.

The most obvious issue is how our City is emerging from the devastating Covid-19 pandemic as the fragile economic recovery starts to take hold.

Our City is now re-organizing to try to get back to some semblance of “business as usual.”

C'est ce que les résidents font à travers notre ville, dans les entreprises, les écoles, les lieux de travail et les maisons.

Ottawa Public Health, and many city departments, had to reorganize to respond to new needs during the pandemic.

As a result of the ongoing fight against Covid-19, Ottawa Public Health anticipates significant and ongoing budget pressures in 2022.

One of their top priorities is continuing to counter COVID-19 transmission by increasing the vaccination coverage in all eligible populations to over 90%.

While the people of Ottawa have on average achieved the 90% coverage rate milestone, there are some neighborhoods where people face greater barriers due to socioeconomic issues and misinformation or poor experiences with the healthcare system previously.

OPH has worked closely with these groups and we are seeing the results, with hundreds of residents coming to community hub and pop-up clinics daily for their first shots.

The inequity in coverage rates between neighborhoods is dropping.

OPH anticipates that the population eligible for COVID-19 vaccination will grow, and OPH – in partnership with the City - will be ready to get our youngest residents vaccinated.

On Monday, you heard at the OPH board meeting about their plans to vaccinate youth aged 5 to 11.

This could be one of the final pieces of the puzzle in putting an end to COVID-19 in Ottawa.

This step will not be easy - nothing in this pandemic has been easy.

It is incumbent upon all of us as leaders in our community to do what we can to ensure that some of our most vulnerable residents are finally protected.

This ongoing battle against COVID-19 must be fought while OPH is striving to maintain its core public services and programs.

And slowly reinstating additional services as staffing and resources allow.

As a result of the ongoing battle against COVID-19, OPH is projecting a $48 million budget shortfall in 2022.

Let’s remember that over 600 Ottawa residents have lost their lives since the pandemic began.

We cannot accept seeing more people lose their lives to COVID-19 in our City…

And so it is our duty to continue investing – to prevent - every - single - preventable death.

C’est ainsi notre devoir, en tant que Ville, de continuer à soutenir le travail de pionnier de Santé Publique jusqu'en 2022.

Governments at all levels worked very closely over the last year and over the course of the pandemic to support individuals, businesses, communities and municipalities.

The Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario responded in a very robust way to our municipal funding pressures in 2021, through the Safe Restart funding.

That included very strong funding support for OPH’s one-time pandemic response costs and our other one-time Covid costs.

As a City, we are grateful for this funding, without which our resources would have been stretched to the point of breaking during the pandemic.

The city’s pathway to recovery requires continued close partnership of all three levels of government into 2022.

I look forward to working closely with Big City Mayors and our partners in the Federal and Provincial government as we make our case to sustain safe restart funding into 2022, and to ensure their promise of keeping public health whole is honored into 2022.

Residents are also struggling with recent changes in our economy that are hitting their wallets over the course of the last few months:

Inflation is back, with a vengeance.

Costs are increasing for families and residents at a pace not seen since the late 1980s.

There are many media reports and anecdotal feedback from residents who know that the cost of just about everything is rising more rapidly than in the last 20 years or so.

The Ottawa Citizen reported on October 19th that "economists expect the yearly rate of inflation will hit 4.3 percent, the highest level in nearly two decades".

Statistics Canada reported in October, 2021 the following year-over-year increases in the Ontario consumer price index:

  • Food  - up 3.7%
  • Meat - up 8.2%
  • Natural gas - up 14.8%
  • Fuel oil and other fuels - up 31.1%
  • Gasoline - up 34.5%

And recently the Bank of Canada signaled that it was planning to start raising interest rates, which will increase mortgage payments for anyone with a variable mortgage rate and for individuals and families planning to buy a house.

And although we have little control over inflation, we do have 100% control over the level of municipal taxation.

There is actually something quite practical that the City can do to help – honour our commitment to the 3% tax cap.

When a strong majority of members of Council voted to ask staff to deliver a municipal budget based on a 3% tax cap, they could not anticipate this bout of high inflation.

The last thing we need to do today is to make housing even more out-of-reach for the residents of Ottawa.

We need to make it easier - not harder - for people on fixed incomes, seniors on pensions, young families purchasing their first home or struggling to keep their current home…

The fact that almost every other household expenditure is increasing for Ottawa residents provides an even more compelling reason for us to hold the line on property tax increases.

That is why Budget 2022 focuses on affordability for residents and businesses by holding the line on property taxes at three-per-cent.

This amounts to an extra $119 for the average urban homeowner and $91 for the average rural homeowner.

There is a great amount of research on how high inflation hurts low income populations most, as they tend to spend more of their income on the necessities of life.

Last fall, the Conference Board of Canada reported that – and I quote:

“Today’s inflation means that low-income Canadians may have more difficulty maintaining their existing quality of life than high-income households. This can force low-income families, many of whom live paycheque to paycheque, to cut back on essentials like healthy food.”

Cette nouvelle réalité économique mettra encore plus de pression sur nos services sociaux en 2022.

The social services and programs that make up our social safety net become even more important during this time.

As incomes started to plummet and job losses mounted early in the pandemic, the Government of Canada moved to provide income support to Canadians at a level not seen since the Great Depression.

These programs are now being pared back as the economy continues to rebound, but social needs remain.

Our most vulnerable residents are unlikely to take part in our City’s economic rebound – but their needs have not diminished.

The pandemic showed how vital community and social services are to the most vulnerable members of our community.

Front-line workers in community and municipal social services worked tirelessly to ensure that the needs of our most vulnerable neighbours were looked after.

This includes community health and resource centres, food banks, shelters for women fleeing violence – and much more.

Budget 2022 proposes a $1.6 million base budget increase over two years for the Community Funding Framework.

  • plus an inflationary increase of $495K
  • bringing the total program envelope above $27 million
  • And making this the largest funding increase to this program since 2006.

A total of 95 agencies are recommended to receive funding, including 22 new agencies focused on equity and inclusion.

Agencies such as The Ottawa Black Mental Health Coalition, the Ottawa Aboriginal Coalition, Westboro Beach Community Kitchen and The Osgoode Youth Association will be added to the Sustainability Fund envelope.

The Province of Ontario has played a key role in supporting local community based social service agencies during the pandemic through the Social Services Relief Fund.

The fight against homelessness was challenging before, COVID made it even tougher.

Le Conseil municipal prend des mesures sur plusieurs fronts pour lutter contre la crise du logement.

In March of 2021, Council approved the City’s first long range financial plan for Housing at the City.

Budget 2022 delivers on the commitment to add $1 million in base funding to the capital budget for affordable housing capital for a total budget commitment of $15 million.

Staff estimates that $2 million in development charge exemptions will bolster this program in 2022 – reducing the cost of adding new affordable units for our non-profit housing partners.

Of the 1,730 affordable housing units that are in various stages of development across the City, a total of 232 supportive housing units and 229 affordable housing units will be completed by the end of 2022.

Members of Council will recall that this forms part of Council’s commitment to invest $200 million over 10 years under the new Long Range Financial Plan for Housing.

Of any level of government, the City of Ottawa is the single largest permanent funder of affordable housing and homelessness programs and supports in our city - a commitment of $119 million for 2022.

An increase of 6.25% over 2021.

This includes funding for rent supplements, support for housing and homelessness agencies, and funding for supportive housing operations.

Budget 2022 demonstrates to our funding partners that we are ready to leverage much needed funding from other levels of government.

Now that we have a tangible plan for what is needed locally, I am confident we can – working closely with other Big City Mayors - make the case to upper levels of government to increase funding support for housing.

As affordable transportation is critical for low-income residents, the cost of the EquiPass and the Community Pass for Ontario Disability Support Program recipients will remain frozen at 2018 rates for another year.

Later today, Transit Commission will bring forward a plan to provide up to 2,000 no charge passes for shelter residents, our most vulnerable residents. I thank members of the Transit Commission for their leadership.

Residents of Long-Term Care homes have also been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

The provincial government has committed to increasing funding for long-term care home operators, with a goal to provide an average of four hours of direct care per resident, per day.

The provincial funding increase will take place gradually with initial funding flowing to operators in 2021-2022 and full funding anticipated by 2025.

These changes result in an additional $6.2 million dollars flowing to the City’s long-term care facilities in 2022 to support enhanced resident care.

Budget 2022 also includes $2.1 million in capital funding for air conditioning units in our long-term care homes to enhance the quality of life of residents.

I can’t imagine how unbearable the last heat wave must have been for vulnerable seniors in our long-term care facilities – and I’m incredibly grateful for all those who cared for and vaccinated our residents over the last 20 months.

This includes our city’s paramedics who are some of the unsung heroes in our fight against COVID-19.

It is unlikely that we can find a time in our City’s history when we needed our paramedics, health care and other front line workers more than during the pandemic.

They helped contain outbreaks in long-term care facilities and supported COVID-19 testing centres and vaccination clinics, as our community was immunized against COVID-19.

Budget 2022 includes 14 new paramedics and 12 new ambulances to address city-wide growth in call volumes, bringing the total hiring in this term of Council to 56 net new paramedics.

Council also recently approved the Community Safety and Well-Being Plan.

This will give our city a framework for how to manage local risks to safety and well-being at the community level.

A total of $34 million in existing budgets and resources is already allocated by the City in support of the Plan.

Budget 2022 includes a new funding request of $760,000 for four FTEs with an administrative budget of $250,000.

This is a crucial first step - as this funding supports the creation of an office responsible for the successful development and implementation of the Plan.

Over the course of the last year, we have received feedback about the future level of funding required by the Ottawa Police Service.

Today, the Ottawa Police Service tabled its tax increase at 2.86 per cent, rather than 3 per cent.

This frees up $435,000 in available funding to support the development of an innovative pilot program,

  • Led by Inner City Health and supported by many partners including the Canadian Mental Health Association;
  • The pilot program will address growing mental health needs in the Byward Market area, issues that have been exacerbated by the pandemic.

This funding will be allocated to the mental health pillar of the City’s Community and Safety Well-being plan.

Following recent discussions with Chief Sloly, I was pleased to hear that he has decided to reinstate two teams of foot patrol officers in the Market.

These officers will be covering the neighbourhood between 8 am and 8 pm, through a redeployment of resources.

I know this OPS presence will be a relief to the BIA members and the Ottawa Markets team, which have been advocating for this model for a number of months.

I would like to take this opportunity to remind Members of Council and the public that a municipal council has limited authority over the size and mandate of police services in the municipality.

As you may be aware, salaries make up over 82% of the budget of the Ottawa Police Service.

Un débat important a eu lieu au cours de la dernière année au sujet du budget des services de police.

And although these discussions have not led to a consensus around the table or in the community, I believe that a strong majority of members of Council do not want to see a reduced police presence in our neighborhoods and on our streets.

The collaboration I just outlined between OPS and the City to support small businesses and residents in the Byward Market is a shining example of what we need more of in our City.

A focus on action over words.

Hundreds of small businesses in the Market and across the City are still hanging on by their finger nails.

They are the backbone of our local economy, creating employment and contributing to neighbourhood vibrancy and quality of life in every part of Ottawa.

Through the Mayor’s Economic Partners Task Force and the Economic Rebound Roundtable, we have delivered several initiatives to support economic recovery in many sectors – and we will continue to do so.

Throughout the pandemic, we have offered a high level of support to our restaurants, who have all suffered during many lockdowns, as our province faced spikes in COVID-19.

Over the last two summers, we waived patio fees and expanded the patio program – which led to roughly 250 new patios and seven street closures that generated 500 paying seats for those restaurants.

I’m very pleased to say that patio fees will be waived once again in 2022 – a $270,000 investment in our restaurant and hospitality sector.

I’m also very proud of the new Small Business Tax Subclass that Council approved just last month.

Starting next year, 10,000 small businesses across the city will benefit from a permanent tax reduction of 15% – with the first reduction of 7.5% coming in 2022.

As you know, this is coming at no cost to residential taxpayers, as the larger commercial and industrial class with absorb the tax shift.

This is showing our small businesses that the City is here to give them a helping hand – and here are a few examples:

  • a food store in Manotick will see a reduction of $265 in municipal taxes over 2 years;
  • a restaurant on Richmond Road will see a decrease of $3,300;
  • a small bicycle shop on St. Joseph Boulevard in Orléans will see a reduction of $1,620 in municipal taxes; and
  • a small automotive trailer shop on Stittsville Main Street will see a decrease of $3,500 in municipal taxes over 2 years.

The total benefit of this shift for small businesses is about $9.9 million in 2022.

C'est ce genre d'aide pratique qui permettra à nos petites entreprises de franchir la ligne d'arrivée alors que nous continuons à faire face à cette pandémie.

And other City partners have been playing a key role on this front as well.

During the pandemic, Invest Ottawa pivoted its operations and helped 1,589 small businesses develop their on-line presence and sales capacity through the Digital Main Street Program.

They have also supported another 250 businesses through their regular entrepreneurship and mentorship programs.

With their sustained investments in our city’s young innovators and entrepreneurs, Invest Ottawa continues to support the next generation of tech entrepreneurs in our city.

To counter the uneven and prolonged pace of recovery in the hardest hit sectors – especially tourism, the City is working with Ottawa Tourism and partners from the cultural sector on a strategy to leverage our cultural assets and experiences in order to position 2022 as the Year of Cultural Tourism in the nation’s capital.

Attracting visitors to Ottawa is critical to our local economy, which has experienced $2.8 billion dollars in lost visitor spending since the start of the pandemic.

Let’s remember that tourism and hospitality is the third most important sector in our city, supporting over 40,000 jobs.

Returning to robust economic activity across all sectors of the local economy will also require talent and a skilled workforce.

Building on Invest Ottawa’s Talent Program – and in consultation with our postsecondary institutions and private sector employers, the City is facilitating discussions to develop strategies to better align skills training, co-op placements and the recruitment process for our hardest hit sectors.

As a first step, the City has committed to and is working with Ottawa’s postsecondary institutions to increase its hiring of co-op students to at least 70 in 2022 and to surpass 100 co-op placements by 2024.

The economic rebound of our festival and special-event sector is another key priority for the City of Ottawa.

Throughout August and September, we invested $20,000 and worked with the Ottawa Music Industry Coalition to offer a series of musical performances in BIAs across the city.

This program not only supported local musicians; it also reintroduced residents to the live music performances they had so missed since the beginning of the pandemic.

To help support the music sector as it recovers from the devasting impacts of the pandemic, the City has developed a rental relief program that will deliver affordable access to the City’s showcase facilities.

In order to support artists and not-for-profit cultural organizations, a 50% reduction in rental rates is now available to eligible clients for City facilities like Aberdeen Pavilion, the Horticulture Building, Shenkman Arts Centre and Meridian Theatres at Centrepointe.

This support measure will be in place until the end of 2022 and is reflected in the draft budget.

Il existe plusieurs signes de reprise dans notre ville, notamment dans l’industrie de la construction et des métiers en plein essor.

Throughout the pandemic, our Planning and Building Code Services teams have never stopped delivering to ensure that we can maintain the growth of our city.

By the end of Q2 2021, almost 5,800 building permits had been issued by the City – up 40% over the same period last year.

The team just issued building permit # 10,000 on October 15 – two months before that same permit number was issued last year – and most years we don’t even get to 10,000.

Although certain sectors are thriving and our city has the lowest unemployment rate of any large city in Canada, many residents have lost their job, while others have resorted to precarious employment between lockdowns.

So we can’t let up on our efforts to support small businesses and bring back all the jobs that were lost during the pandemic.

And through these challenging economic times, residents expect us to maintain a strong focus on the core municipal infrastructure they rely on to get to work, to get around their neighborhoods and to enjoy our public and community spaces.

In 2022, we maintain our 1% commitment to closing the infrastructure funding gap.

The City will be increasing its spending this year on Capital, which includes roads, bridges, culverts, parks and rec facilities, and other municipal infrastructure - from $781 million in 2021 to $989 million in 2022 – a whopping increase of $209 million dollars.

That is 26% more spending on core infrastructure than the City spent last year, and it is being funded from 3 main sources: property taxes, rate and development charges.

I want to thank Council for its steadfast commitment to the infrastructure renewal priority.

Because if we don’t set and stick to our priorities, then we’re operating without a plan.

To deliver on this priority, Budget 2022 invests in a large number of road projects across the City including:

  • Greenfield Avenue, Main Street and Hawthorne Road rebuild;
  • Robert Grant Avenue extension;
  • Mitch Owens Road resurfacing;
  • Torwood Drive resurfacing;
  • Greenbank Road preliminary design;
  • Jeanne D’Arc Boulevard resurfacing; and
  • Bank Street widening;

… To name just a few.

Residents spoke, and members of Council listened and agreed that we had to make a long-term commitment to infrastructure renewal.

That is why the City’s spending on roads renewal will increase from $74.2M in 2021 to $133.3M in 2022.  This includes $76M for road resurfacing compared to $36.9M last year.

The growth funded road investment increases from $56M in 2021 to $69.9M in 2022.

Total spending on roads is set to increase from $130.2M in 2021 to $203.2M in 2022 – an increase of 56%.

Because the geographic reality of our City hasn’t changed.

We still need to maintain and repair a very extensive network of roads, pedestrian and cycling pathways and sidewalks - to get residents from one end of the City to the other, and to facilitate mobility within and between neighborhoods.

We clear and maintain 2,400 kilometres of sidewalks - the equivalent of walking from City Hall to Tampa Bay, Florida.

And the City clears more than 50 kilometres of winter-maintained cycling lanes.

And we need to continue investing in our sidewalks and multi-use pathways in all our communities, which contribute to reduced GHG emissions through a favourable modal split.

That is why Budget 2022 includes $11.5 million for sidewalks and pathways; an additional $2.9 million for pedestrian facilities, $8.7 million for cycling facilities; $1.2 million for Active Transportation Missing Links; and, $2.2 million for Major Active Transportation Structures.

The City’s spending on Active transportation increases to $26.7 million in 2022 from $21.3 million in 2021, a 25 % increase.

Our spending on cycling facilities and pathways is set to increase from $13.1 million to $14.1 million.”

It may not be sexy, but for tens of thousands of residents, including our seniors and residents with physical mobility issues, a well maintained sidewalk can be a huge quality of life improvement.

Ça peut faire la différence entre pouvoir marcher jusqu'à la maison d'un voisin ou un dépanneur.

It’s also a tool for fighting isolation – from seniors to adults who live alone to moms pushing a stroller. It’s also a low-cost fitness option for all of our residents.

Ward councillors are keenly aware of the traffic issues in their wards.

Budget 2022 maintains the $50,000 fund for each ward for local traffic calming spending, and an additional $446,000 for the highly popular Safer Roads Ottawa program.

And $530,000 for new PXOs to enhance safety along the right-of-way.

Between now and the end of 2022, we will see 15 new speed cameras installed in school zones.

Budget 2022 also includes $7.2 million accelerating the  implementation of the Strategic Road Safety Action Plan.

Total road safety investment in 2022 increases to $44.3M, from $37.1M in 2021.

The long-term health of our community is also challenged by the ongoing impacts of climate change.

Council has taken a number of bold steps to create a path to a more sustainable environment.

Throughout the pandemic, Ottawa residents relied on our public greenspaces more than ever before.

That is why Budget 2022 will invest $6 million in community assets to renew parks across the city.

Budget 2022 also includes funding of $1.6M with a goal to plant 125,000 trees across Ottawa.

Protecting our waterways and greenspace and building resiliency to changes in Ottawa’s climate are significant priorities for Council.

That is why Budget 2022 invests $1 million in the Ottawa River Action Plan and Wet Weather Infrastructure Master Plan.

The City’s Climate Change Master Plan sets targets to reduce community GHG emissions by 100% by 2050 and corporate emissions by 100% by 2040.

To help reach that goal, the Budget includes $55 million for 74 buses.

The City is partnering with the Canada Infrastructure Bank and Infrastructure Canada to replace 74 – 40 foot diesel buses with 74 zero emission electric buses.

Once these buses are on the road, GHG emissions will be reduced by 7000 tonnes annually.

The business case for this purchase and financing arrangement will be brought to Council for approval in the first or second quarter of 2022.

Budget 2022 will fund an EA Study for the VIA Rail – Trainyards Multi-Use Pathway, in Alta Vista.

This will be a key asset to increase connectivity between the Tremblay Station of LRT and the new commercial and residential developments at Trainyards.

In the East end, the City will invest to design the future multi-use pedestrian facility at the Trim LRT Station – providing a much needed connection from the transit station to Petrie Island, La Cité collégiale’s Eastern campus and the residential and future developments north of the 174.

Located in Orleans ward, it will benefit the numerous visitors to the popular Petrie Island regional facility.

These investments will contribute to the future of sustainable transportation in our city, enhancing the ability of Ottawa residents to engage in active transportation while reducing our reliance on cars and safeguarding the environment.

Budget 2022 includes $1M to support the transition to a greener municipal fleet and an additional $3 million for the Energy Management Investment Strategy for a total investment of $11 million over the term of Council.

$800,000 in additional funding from the Hydro Ottawa dividend surplus was approved by Council last week to support Energy Evolution priority projects in 2022.

This includes initiatives like our LED replacement partnership with Ottawa Hydro – which conserves both energy and money.

Last year approximately 2,600 street lights were converted to LED saving approximately $257,000 annually. 2,400 streetlights will be converted to LEDs in 2022.

Whenever possible, it will be used to leverage federal and provincial funds – for greater impact.

And despite our strong disappointment in RTG and Alstom’s performance to date, the continued demand from residents to extend LRT city-wide remains.

The City will spend $963 million of previously approved budget authority on the Stage 2 build of our Light Rail System.

This investment, combined with the Confederation Line investment, is the single largest contribution to GHG reduction in the City’s history.

The Stage 2 Project is estimated to annually reduce GHG emissions by over 110,000 tonnes by 2048.

I am proud of Council’s commitment to building our City’s environmental resiliency.

Ottawa is well positioned to leverage partnerships with other levels of government towards these important goals for future generations living in our city.

Over the course of the coming days and weeks, each Committee and Board will be debating and reviewing its budget.

I want to thank all members of Council who provided their input on the Draft budget to the City Manager and myself.

I also want to thank all Committee chairs, Deputy Mayors, and committee members for the hard work ahead.

This is an important time for all members of Council and the public to share their views on the spending priorities outlined in the 2022 Budget.

I want to take this opportunity to thank Steve Kanellakos, our City Manager, and Wendy Stephanson, our Chief Financial Officer, for their hard work on the 2022 Draft Budget.

Thank you also to all our General Managers for their work on the Draft Budget.

I also want to acknowledge and thank the hundreds of employees who have worked on our financial roadmap for 2022.

I look forward to following the healthy debate over the course of the coming weeks.

I believe that our professional staff has worked very diligently to ensure that Council’s broad policy orientations and directions are reflected in the Draft Budget.

As I mentioned earlier, it’s a very delicate balancing act.

Il existe des centaines et des centaines de propositions concurrentes sur la façon de dépenser les revenus limités que nous fournisse les résidents d'Ottawa.

We have a diverse city, which leads invariably to a great diversity of needs and opinions about how to spend these dollars.

Budget 2022 provides a strong pathway to recovery.

It maintains Council’s key commitments to supporting our most vulnerable neighbours;

It positions our City to continue and win the fight against Covid-19;

It continues to invest in our roads, sidewalks and multi-use pathways;

It strives to help small businesses bounce back from the pandemic;

And it endeavours to make our City more sustainable for future generations.

Lastly, it honours Council’s pledge to keep our City affordable as a new round of inflation threatens the purchasing power of all residents, and is likely to hurt vulnerable residents more severely.

The budget that is being tabled today was developed with careful financial stewardship as we emerge from a global pandemic.

I believe this budget strikes the right balance between two competing needs:

It maintains the essential City services that residents depend on, and it invests for the future in a prudent manner that gives us the flexibility to change course and alter our response to the pandemic as developments unfold.


City approves new Official Plan

Yesterday, Council approved a new Official Plan for Ottawa – the City’s most comprehensive planning document. It marks the first time that Ottawa has adopted a new Official Plan since 2003.

The new Official Plan will guide growth and redevelopment in Ottawa for the next 25 years and is framed around five big policy changes:

  • Growth – encouraging more growth through intensification and providing more affordable housing
  • Mobility – promoting sustainable transportation and encouraging complete streets.
  • Urban Design – ensuring intensification happens in ways that benefit the streets and communities involved
  • Resiliency – bringing environment, climate and health considerations to the forefront of planning
  • Economy – establishing a strong relationship between land use and economic development

 The new Official Plan is designed to help Ottawa become a city of connected, green, inclusive and walkable communities, with greater density of housing, employment and services around rapid-transit hubs and along transit corridors. 

Council approved an additional funding of $28 million for the Ottawa Public Library portion, $36 million for the City portion and $10 million for the parking facility for Ādisōke, the Ottawa Public Library – Library and Archives Canada Joint Facility. The extra funding was required due to price escalation in the Ottawa construction market. Given the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on labour and material supply, the project schedule has been modified and the facility’s official opening has been pushed back by one year to summer 2026.

Council received an update on the Climate Change Master Plan and heard that greenhouse gas emissions generated across Ottawa decreased by 15 per cent between 2012 and 2020. To meet Council-approved targets, the community will need to decrease emissions by five to six per cent each year over the next five to 10 years. The City’s corporate emissions decreased 43 per cent between 2012 and 2020, mainly due to efficiencies at the Trail Waste Facility. This puts the City ahead of its short-term target to reduce emissions by 30 per cent by 2025.

Council approved the Community Safety and Well-Being Plan, which sets out strategies and outcomes to address the root causes of crime, social disorder and ill health, and to improve the safety and well-being of everyone in Ottawa. The plan addresses local risks to safety and well-being at the community level in six priority areas: 

  • systems and strategies to address discrimination
  • marginalization and racism
  • financial security and poverty reduction
  • housing
  • mental well-being
  • gender-based violence and violence against women

The plan complements City work underway that addresses these priorities, including the 10-Year Housing and Homelessness Plan, the Anti-Racism Secretariat and the Women and Gender Equity Strategy.

Council approved a renewed five-year strategic plan for Long-Term Care Services. The plan emphasizes a person-centred approach to care that focuses on the emotional needs and choices of residents, with consistent staffing in a household-style setting. Person-centred care enriches quality of life for residents, empowers staff, and fosters collaborative relationships. Staff will develop a customized approach and report back with a plan to implement it.

Council also moved to extend the transfer window on OC Transpo buses by 60 minutes while R1 replacement-bus service remains in effect. Staff will update Council on timing for implementation.


Ottawa Public Health launches annual influenza vaccine campaign

Starting October 25 at 10 am, appointment booking will be open for flu vaccinations at Ottawa Public Health (OPH) community vaccine clinics for parents with children aged six months to two years old and their immediate families and for people experiencing barriers to getting the flu vaccine.

Starting in November, residents will also be able to receive their flu vaccine through their family doctor or local participating pharmacy. Ottawa Public Health is using a targeted approach for this season’s community flu vaccine clinics to accommodate the anticipated COVID-19 vaccination program for children aged five to 11 and the expansion of third doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for some individuals.

New this flu season, individuals two years of age and older can visit participating pharmacies to receive their flu vaccine. Individuals aged six months and older may also receive their flu vaccine from their family doctor or nurse practitioner. Anyone aged six months and older who lives, works or attends school in Ontario is eligible to receive the publicly funded flu vaccine at no cost.

For the 2021-2022 flu season, Ottawa Public Health will be offering flu vaccines by appointment for the following groups:

  • Children aged six months to two years and their household members
  • Individuals experiencing barriers to getting the flu vaccine which include:
    • Being a newcomer to Canada
    • Having no Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) card
    • Having no primary care provider, such as a doctor or nurse, and those who have had difficulty accessing the vaccine at a pharmacy

Individuals in these groups can book their flu vaccine appointments starting October 25 at 10 am by visiting OttawaPublicHealth.ca/Flu, with appointments available starting November 2 at the four community clinics:

  • Eva James Community Centre - 65 Stonehaven Drive
  • Ruddy Family YMCA-YWCA, Orléans - 265 Centrum Boulevard
  • Minto Sports Complex at University of Ottawa - 801 King Edward Avenue
  • J.H. Putman Public School - 2051 Bel-Air Drive

Ottawa Public Health cannot guarantee drop-in requests at its clinics for flu vaccine and it is recommended to book an appointment.

Flu vaccines will also be available at neighbourhood vaccination hubs for people who do not have a health care provider or do not have a health card.  Individuals who have not received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccines are able to receive both the COVID-19 and flu vaccines at the same time. On September 28, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) provided guidance that indicates that COVID-19 vaccines can be administered at the same time as other vaccines, including the flu vaccine.

The flu, or seasonal influenza, is a common contagious infection that affects the nose, throat, and lungs. It is spread through droplets that have been coughed or sneezed by someone who has the flu. You can get the flu by shaking hands with someone who has the flu or by touching surfaces that have come into contact with flu droplets, and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Flu symptoms include a sudden fever as well as a cough and/or a sore throat, a runny or stuffy nose, headache or body aches, and chills. You may feel more tired than usual and have a lower appetite. Most people will recover within a week to 10 days, but some people are at greater risk of severe complications, such as pneumonia or death. Influenza infection can also worsen certain chronic conditions, such as heart disease.

Getting your annual flu vaccine is an important way to help protect yourself, your family and high-risk individuals in your community against seasonal flu. We can help reduce flu transmission in the community and keep our hospitals from being overwhelmed while COVID-19 continues to be present.


Seven ways you can support Ottawa’s small businesses

No matter how you measure it, Ottawa’s small businesses are a huge part of the local economy. An estimated 28,000 businesses in Ottawa have fewer than 50 employees, making up more than 90 per cent of the businesses in Ottawa.

For the record, Ottawa Small Business Week is October 17 to 23, 2021. But you can support Ottawa’s small businesses anytime of year. Here is how:

Visit a new business

Even without the challenge of a global pandemic, new businesses struggle for survival every year. Is there a new shop in your neighbourhood or on your daily commute? Even if you are not in the market for their service right now, you can at least say, “hi, welcome to the neighbourhood,” and wish them luck.

Follow a small business on social media

If you’re not in a position to spend money to support a small business, make a point of following one through your social media channels. The increased following will help them promote their business among your followers and will maintain a connection for you until you are ready to spend.

Nominate someone for an Immigrant Entrepreneur Award

Each year the City of Ottawa celebrates and recognizes the success and contributions of individuals who were born outside of Canada and now make Ottawa their home. Nominate a friend, colleague, client, employee or employer who deserves to be recognized and celebrated for their contributions. The deadline to nominate someone online is November 4, 2021.

Treat yourself to a meal out

You gotta eat, right? There are so many places where you can get a quick treat or a full meal. Eat in a restaurant if you can, or outside on a patio if conditions permit, or just take it home to enjoy at your own table. Oh, and don’t forget to tip your server.

Meet your local BIA

A BIA is an association of commercial property owners and tenants who work with the City to create thriving, competitive and safe areas that attract shoppers, diners, visitors and new businesses. The OCOBIA (link is external)and the 19 BIAs in Ottawa collectively represent more than 6,400 businesses who employ 120,000 people.

Be a tourist in your own town

Maybe you’re not feeling comfortable enough to travel yet. Or, even if you are, why not take a day to explore Ottawa as a tourist. Check out the variety of shops, eateries and services available for people who are visitors to Canada’s capital. Maybe even get a souvenir, if not for yourself, but as a gift for someone who couldn’t make the trip this year.

Tell a friend

Don’t keep your favourite little shop a secret; tell a friend or, better yet, go there with your friend. If you’ve had a good experience with a small business, the best reward you can offer is repeated business. But the next best thing you can do is tell the world about your experience.

After all, the first rule about #supportlocal: Talk about #supportlocal.

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(link is external)Twitter(link is external) and Instagram(link is external).


Nominations are open for the 2021 Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards

If you know an immigrant to Canada who embodies the entrepreneurial spirit and deserves recognition for their contributions to the Ottawa economy, nominate them for the 2021 Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards. The City is now accepting nominations online until November 4. Nominate a friend, colleague, client, employee or employer who deserves to be celebrated for their contributions.

After a one-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards return to recognize the success and contributions of individuals who were born outside of Canada and now make Ottawa their home. The awards have been presented annually since 2012.

The awards are presented to select individuals who make a considerable contribution to the Ottawa economy, with a focus on:

  • Hiring, sourcing and purchasing locally
  • Exporting goods or services from Ottawa
  • Attracting visitors or investment to the city
  • Launching new and innovative businesses in Ottawa
  • Mentoring other entrepreneurs
  • Helping other businesses succeed by providing time, expertise or knowledge
  • Getting involved in, or giving back to, their community
  • Adapting to the business climate throughout the pandemic

If you know someone who fits this description, nominate them today!

 The winners for the 2021 Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards will be announced during TiE Ottawa’s virtual entrepreneurship conference, TiECon Canada on Tuesday, November 23. TiE is the largest network of entrepreneurs and professionals in the world, dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship. TiE Ottawa has been fostering entrepreneurship in the National Capital Region for 17 years by supporting budding entrepreneurs with mentorship, networking, education and global connectivity.

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 FacebookTwitter and Instagram.


Celebrating Franco-Ontarian Day

The Province chose the celebration date to recognize the Franco-Ontarian flag. That green and white flag – created by history professor Gaétan Gervais and first-year political science student Michel Dupuis, both from Laurentian University – was first raised on September 25, 1975. The Province officially declared September 25 the annual date for Franco-Ontarian Day in 2010, the year that marked the 400th anniversary of Francophones in Ontario.

Celebrate with us this year! The Mayor will mark Franco-Ontarian Day on Friday, September 24 by raising the Franco-Ontarian flag during the Festival franco-ontarien at 6:45 p.m. In fact, check out Major’s Hill Park that evening and on Saturday, September 25 to enjoy all this year’s Festival franco-ontarien events. Visit the Festival website for details on programming and participation to the festival.

A Franco-Ontarian flag flies permanently at Ottawa City Hall, 110 Laurier Avenue West, over Marion Dewar Plaza and at the Centre d’accueil Champlain, 275 rue Perrier. Several other City facilities will fly the Franco-Ontarian flag on September 25 from dawn until dusk, including:

  • Heritage Building (Elgin Street entrance) – Ottawa City Hall
  • Client Service Centre, 255 Centrum Boulevard
  • Client Service Centre, Ben Franklin Place, 101 Centrepointe Drive
  • Client Service Centre, 580 Terry Fox Drive
  • Mary Pitt Centre, 100 Constellation Drive
  • Ottawa Police Service Headquarters, 360 Elgin Street
  • OC Transpo Headquarters, St. Laurent Boulevard
  • Ottawa By-Law Services Headquarters, 735 Industrial Avenue
  • Ottawa Paramedic Service Headquarters, 2495 Don Reid Drive
  • Ottawa Fire Services Headquarters, 1455 Carling Avenue
  • James K. Bartleman Centre – City of Ottawa Archives, 100 Tallwood Drive

Almost a quarter of the Franco-Ontarian population lives in the Ottawa area. Let’s reflect on their contributions to the cultural, social, economic, historic and political fabric of Ottawa.

Happy Franco-Ontarian Day! Celebrate with your green and white!


Indoor City recreation centres and cultural facilities will require proof of vaccination

Starting on Wednesday, September 22, proof of full COVID-19 vaccination will be required for those 12 and older to enter City recreation and cultural facilities, with some exceptions identified below.

Upon entering a recreation centre, swimming pool, arena, or theatre venue, a person must have an electronic or hard copy of their vaccination receipt confirming two doses received at least 14 days prior, and a piece of valid identification, such as:

  • Driver’s licence
  • Health Card
  • Passport
  • Birth certificate

Without a proof of vaccination, a person cannot access indoor recreational or cultural activities, including:

  • Lane and public swims
  • Fitness classes – including Aquafit
  • Weight/Cardio drop-ins
  • Instructional cooking, music or art classes
  • Adult sports or drop-in activities
  • Theatre or studio performance or cinema
  • Rented spaces

Adults who accompany children or youth into a facility for activities – including but not limited to swimming lessons or Learn-to-Skate activities – require proof they have been fully vaccinated.

Residents are reminded to arrive a few minutes earlier before the scheduled session or activity. All COVID-related protocols remain in place – including reservations, capacity limits, masking and physical distancing

Exceptions

  • Organized sports for youth between the ages of 12 and 17, including on ice sports, sport leagues, badminton, table tennis, tennis, ball hockey, martial arts, dance, basketball, swimming lessons, aquatic certification courses or volleyball. However, this youth age group will require proof of vaccination for recreational swims, use of a cardio and weight room or attending an activity or sporting event as a spectator.
  • Religious ceremonies, funeral services or wedding ceremonies hosted in City facilities (This does not include any social gatherings occurring before or after these events)
  • Brief entry to use the washroom, pick up a participant, seek information or make a payment.

 

Other City facilities and in-person services

Other City facilities and in-person services do not require proof of vaccination.  These services and facilities include:

  • Service Ottawa Client Service Centres
  • Building Code Services
  • Museums and art galleries
  • Ottawa Public Library branches – with possible exceptions for meeting and program rooms
  • Transit – including transit stations
  • Employment and Social Services and Rent Supplement Program Offices
  • Business Licensing Centre
  • Provincial Offence Act Court

City celebrates official opening of Campeau Drive extension

The City officially opened the extension of Campeau Drive today after the two-year construction project was completed earlier than anticipated and on budget.

Community members and business owners celebrated the occasion at an event hosted by Mayor Jim Watson and Transportation Committee Chair Tim Tierney.

The $32-million project extends Campeau Drive from County Glen Way to Didsbury Road, making it easier for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians to access new developments and increasing capacity along this key commuting corridor.

The completed project includes a new four-lane road, segregated cycling lanes, sidewalks, a roundabout at Winterset Road, two signalized intersections and a new bridge over the Carp River.

This project is part of the affordable road network outlined in the City’s Transportation Master Plan.

 

Quotes

“The completion of the Campeau Drive extension is very good news for Kanata residents, ensuring a much more pleasant commute across the community for all road users. Whether you travel by bus, car or bike, the extension of Campeau Drive means schools, local businesses, and many other destinations are now easier to get to.”

Mayor Jim Watson

 

“We are so pleased to offer Kanata residents a better, more accessible commute within the community. It’s great to see improvements for all travellers, including a new connection between communities, more pedestrian space and bike friendly infrastructure.”

Councillor Tim Tierney, Chair of the Transportation Committee


Ottawa Public Health releases guide to support workplace vaccination policies

Ottawa Public Health strongly recommends all Ottawa employers implement workplace vaccination policies to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. To support employers, Ottawa Public Health today released guidance for how to develop and implement workplace vaccination policies as part of their COVID-19 safety planning. 

Businesses and organizations have a responsibility to maintain a safe work environment for employees and volunteers. Supporting employees and volunteers to get fully vaccinated is the best way to help protect them from the risks of COVID-19, prevent outbreaks and build confidence in the workplace as we face a resurgence in our community driven by the highly transmissible Delta variant.

This new Guide on How to Create a Workplace Vaccination Policy for employers provides key considerations for the development and implementation of their own workplace vaccination policies. Ottawa Public Health has used a similar approach for its workplace vaccination policy.

This guide does not provide legal advice and should not be relied on or treated as legal advice. Workplace vaccination policies should be in writing and adhere to any applicable occupational health safety laws, privacy laws, human rights laws, employment standards legislation, and or collective agreements. High-risk settings that are mandated by the Government of Ontario to have workplace vaccination policies in place must adhere to provincial requirements. Workplace vaccination policies do not need to be submitted to Ottawa Public Health.

Ottawa Public Health continues to work with the Ottawa business community to ensure employers and employees have access to information about the benefits of vaccination and where to get vaccinated. Employers are strongly encouraged to allow employees time off from work to access a COVID-19 vaccine. For further resources, visit Ottawa Public Health’s COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit for Employers

Workplaces, community organizations, places of worship and other groups can contact Ottawa Public Health to request a mobile vaccination clinic to administer first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine on-site, at their own location. Please visit OttawaPublicHealth.ca to request a mobile vaccination team.

For more information on Ottawa Public Health programs and services, visit OttawaPublicHealth.ca. You can also connect with us through FacebookTwitter and Instagram.