Mayor's Statement: Ontario Implementing Additional Public Health Measures in Toronto, Ottawa and Peel Region

Today’s decision by the Province is likely one of the most difficult decisions the Premier and his cabinet have ever had to make.
The health and safety of our residents must be the top priority.
Earlier today I spoke with Premier Ford and Minister Philips, who briefed me on the new restrictions as well as supports they’ll be introducing to assist those businesses and employees affected by this decision.
This 28 day temporary closure of certain businesses presents an opportunity for us collectively to realize the seriousness of what is before of us and for all us to reset and refocus our actions towards flattening the curve and eliminating this virus.
This pandemic is the most challenging threat we have witnessed in generations and we must work together to help those directly affected by this horrific pandemic.
Ottawa residents have shown their resiliency throughout this pandemic.
There is no doubt this will have a significant impact on our local economy, particularly for small businesses.
If you have the means, I would urge you to do your essential shopping at small businesses and consider ordering take out or buying a gift certificate from your favourite restaurants.
I encourage all who can, please consider donating to the Ottawa Food Bank this weekend for their Thanksgiving Food Drive.
I will be meeting virtually with our human needs task force and economic working group early next week to discuss next steps.
I will also be working closely with my Council colleagues during the development of our 2021 budget to see what can be done to provide more support to our local businesses struggling through this extended pandemic.
Starting Tuesday, in consultation with Councillor Hubley, OC Transpo will begin issuing tickets for those not following the municipal bylaw on wearing a mask while on OC Transpo property or riding a bus or train.

I cannot stress this enough, please listen to all of the advice and rules implemented by our hardworking and dedicated medical staff and our law enforcement partners.
It has been said over and over again but I cannot stress this enough, we all have a role to play in limiting the spread of this virus.

That means; limiting your close contacts to those in household, if you live on your own, pair up with one or two trusted friends as social supports.
Do your best to limit your trips outside of the home to essential ones.
Download the COVID Alert App.
And most importantly be COVID wise.

We are all in this together and I have no doubt that we can all collectively flatten this curve.

Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving.

 

GOVERNMENT OF ONTARIO ANNOUNCEMENT:

TORONTO — In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Public Health Measures Table, and local medical officers of health and other health experts, the Ontario government is introducing additional targeted public health measures in the Ottawa, Peel, and Toronto public health unit regions. These modified Stage 2 restrictions will be for a minimum of 28 days and reviewed on an ongoing basis.

Details were provided by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance, Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health, and Dr. Adalsteinn Brown, Director of the Institute for Health Policy, Management, and Evaluation and the Dalla Lana Chair of Public Health Policy at the University of Toronto.
"The health experts presented the most recent health data which identified some alarming public health trends that require immediate attention and early action to keep people safe," said Premier Ford. "That's why we are making the difficult, but necessary decision to accept the health advice, and impose further restrictions in Toronto, Ottawa and Peel Region. By taking action ahead of the long weekend, we will help contain the spread in these hotspots, protect the surrounding communities, shield our seniors and most vulnerable, and contain the second wave surge. At the same time, we are providing support to our small businesses in these hotspots."
"We are seeing the percentage of people testing positive for COVID-19 rising, hospitalization rates are growing, and community outbreaks are entering our nursing homes and vulnerable congregate settings," said Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Williams. "We need to act quickly, and we need everyone to follow the public health guidelines if we are going to stop the spread and contain the second wave."
Effective Saturday, October 10, 2020 at 12:01 a.m., these targeted measures are being implemented in Ottawa, Peel, and Toronto as a result of their higher than average rates of transmission. Measures under a modified Stage 2 include:
Reducing limits for all social gatherings and organized public events to a maximum of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors where physical distancing can be maintained. The two limits may not be combined for an indoor-outdoor event;
Prohibiting indoor food and drink service in restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments, including nightclubs and food court areas in malls;
Closing of:
Indoor gyms and fitness centres (i.e., exercise classes and weight and exercise rooms);
Casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments;
Indoor cinemas;
Performing arts centres and venues;
Spectator areas in racing venues;
Interactive exhibits or exhibits with high risk of personal contact in museums, galleries, zoos, science centres, landmarks, etc.;
Prohibiting personal care services where face coverings must be removed for the service (e.g. makeup application, beard trimming);
Reducing the capacity limits for:
Tour and guide services to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors
Real estate open houses to 10 people indoors, where physical distancing can be maintained.
In-person teaching and instruction (e.g. cooking class) to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors, with exemptions for schools, child care centres, universities, colleges of applied arts and technology, private career colleges, the Ontario Police College, etc.
Meeting and event spaces to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors, and
Limiting team sports to training sessions (no games or scrimmages).
Schools, child care centres, and places of worship will remain open in these communities and must continue to follow the public health measures in place. Before-school and after-school programs will also be exempt from these new restrictions.
Given the extraordinary costs associated with these functions, wedding receptions scheduled for this weekend may proceed under existing public health rules. Effective Tuesday, October 13, 2020 at 12:01 a.m., updated public health measures will apply to wedding receptions, including new gathering limits of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors at event spaces.
"The rising number of COVID-19 cases and outbreaks with increasing rates of hospitalization and ICU admissions is very concerning and putting our health system capacity at risk," said Minister Elliott. "We need to halt this dangerous trend by tightening public health measures in Ottawa, Peel and Toronto in order to keep our schools open, protect our seniors and our loved ones in long-term care homes, and avoid the need for harsher measures in the future. This was not an easy decision but a necessary one to potentially preventing something much worse."
In addition to the measures being implemented in the Ottawa, Peel, and Toronto public health unit regions, the Chief Medical Officer of Health is also urging all Ontarians to:
Limit trips outside of home, except for essential purposes only such as work where it is not possible to work from home, school, grocery shopping, medical appointments, and outdoor healthy physical activity. In addition, travel to other regions in the province, especially from higher transmission to lower transmission areas, should only be for essential purposes;
Practise physical distancing of at least two metres with those outside your household;
Wear a face covering when physical distancing is a challenge or where it is mandatory to do so; and
Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly; and following gathering limits and rules.
The Chief Medical Officer of Health and other public health experts continue to closely monitor the evolving situation across the province to advise if and when public health measures or restrictions should be adjusted or tightened.
For additional protection, the Ontario government is encouraging everyone to download the new COVID Alert app on their smart phone from the Apple and Google Play app stores.
As these necessary public health measures come at a cost to small businesses, Ontario has planned to and will make $300 million available to assist significantly affected businesses with fixed costs, including property taxes, hydro and natural gas bills.
"Since the outset of the pandemic the government has recognized that the health and safety of the people of Ontario must come first, while supporting workers and business-owners during this unprecedented global pandemic," said Minister Phillips. "Ontario will build on the historic collaboration with the Government of Canada to ensure workers are protected, businesses are supported, and that this support arrives as soon as possible."
This support will be provided by the province and will be made available in any region where these measures are necessary. More details will be released in the coming days.
This funding builds on the actions the government has taken to support small businesses throughout the pandemic, including putting in place a temporary moratorium on commercial evictions, making $60 million available for a $1,000 grant for small businesses to offset the cost of personal protective equipment (PPE), and exploring options to permanently allow restaurants and bars to include alcohol with food as part of a takeout or delivery order.


Lower Limits for Unmonitored and Private Social Gatherings in Ottawa, Peel and Toronto Regions

In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, local medical officers of health and local municipal leaders, the Ontario government has amended order O. Reg 364/20: Rules for Areas in Stage 3 under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020, setting a new limit reducing the number of people permitted to attend unmonitored social gatherings and organized public events in three regions experiencing higher rates of transmission of COVID-19. This includes functions, parties, dinners, gatherings, BBQs or wedding receptions held in private residences, backyards, parks and other recreational areas.
"We have been working hand-in-hand with our medical officials and our mayors to try and slow down and limit new cases in the regions with the highest rates of transmission," said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. "This targeted action is in direct response to the latest data, which tells us that increased cases are the result of private and social gatherings. By limiting the number of people permitted at a social gathering in these regions, we will reduce the spread of COVID-19 and keep people safe."
To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the amended order will set a new limit on the number of people allowed to attend an unmonitored social gathering or organized public event in three specific regions to:
10 people at an indoor event or gathering (previous limit of 50); or
25 people at an outdoor event or gathering (previous limit of 100).
Indoor and outdoor events and gatherings cannot be merged together. These are not accumulative and gatherings of 35 (25 outdoors and 10 indoors) are not permitted.
The new limits will only apply to persons within the boundaries of the following public health units:
Ottawa Public Health;
Peel Public Health; and
Toronto Public Health.
This amended order will come into effect on September 18 at 12:01am.
The new limits will not apply to events or gatherings held in staffed businesses and facilities, such as bars, restaurants, cinemas, convention centres or banquet halls, gyms, and recreational sporting or performing art events. Existing rules, including public health and workplace safety measures, for these businesses and facilities continue to be in effect.
To support better compliance with public health guidelines, both within these three regions and across Ontario, amendments to the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act would, if passed, create:
A new offence regarding hosting or organizing a gathering in residential premises or other prescribed premises that exceeds limits under an order
A minimum fine of $10,000 for organizers of these gatherings
Authority for the Lieutenant Governor in Council to prescribe additional types of premises for the purpose of the new offence.
Authority for a police officer, special constable or First Nations constable to order the temporary closure of a premise where there are reasonable grounds to believe that any gathering exceeding the number of people allowed is taking place and require individuals to leave the premises.
These new compliance mechanisms are the most stringent in all of Canada.
"We are determined to take decisive action to protect Ontario's recovery and keep people safe across our province. With the recent rise in COVID-19 cases, a continued agile and proactive response to the evolving public health situation is vitally important," said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. "While most Ontarians are following provincial orders and public health guidelines, those caught breaking the rules will now face stiffer penalties. We are taking stronger action by setting a minimum fine of $10,000 for people who organize gatherings in private residences that violate social gathering restrictions and recklessly put others at risk."
With a recent increase in cases of COVID-19, it remains vital for the government to continue to protect vulnerable populations. As well, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ontario government has extended orders currently in force under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 (ROA) to October 22, 2020. Orders in effect under the ROA will allow the government to maintain the flexibility it needs to address the ongoing and emerging risks as well as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Chief Medical Officer of Health and other public health experts continue to closely monitor the evolving situation to advise when public health measures or restrictions can be further loosened or if they need to be tightened.
It remains critically important for everyone to continue following public health advice. This includes: staying home when ill, or keeping your child home from school when ill, even with mild symptoms; practising physical distancing with those outside your household or social circle, or at gatherings; protecting your circle; wearing a face covering when physical distancing is a challenge or where it is mandatory to do so; washing your hands frequently and thoroughly; and adhering to gathering limits and rules. For additional protection, the Ontario government is encouraging everyone to download the new COVID Alert app on their smart phone from the Apple and Google Play app stores.


100 days of COVID-19 in Ottawa

Friday marked roughly 100 days since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic – a first since the organization’s inception in 1948. On the same day, March 11, Ottawa Public Health confirmed the presence of COVID-19 in the community. And on March 17, Premier Doug Ford declared a State of Emergency in the Province of Ontario.
In the blink of an eye, the people of Ottawa were presented with one of the most significant challenges in a generation. Life as we knew it changed as cities, towns and villages across Canada shut down. Businesses closed their doors, causing an unprecedented economic downturn. Residents were confined to their homes without knowing what the future held.
It was clear that the city needed to act quickly to protect residents from COVID-19. In response, staff and resources were quickly redeployed to provide for our community’s critical needs. We expanded online and remote services to continue serving our residents while much of the city’s workforce continued to deliver services in the field or from home.
The response to the pandemic in our nation’s capital has been tremendous due in large part to the phenomenal work of the staff at Ottawa Public Health and our local health partners who have been working around the clock to keep our residents safe.
In a short period of time, the Champlain Health Region Incident Command (CHRIC), in collaboration with OPH, opened an assessment centre that has so far seen more than 30,000 people present for testing. Shortly thereafter, two care clinics were opened to take some of the pressure off emergency rooms and family medicine clinics.
Of course, our ability to flatten the curve ultimately rests in your hands, Ottawa, and you have risen to the challenge. Since the people of our city have been so patient and respectful of public health guidelines, the province has given Ottawa the green light to move to Stage 2 of the provincial reopening plan. This has allowed us to gradually reopen the local economy and resume some of our municipal programs. Ottawa was the largest municipality in Ontario to be allowed to move to Stage 2 of reopening. Your efforts to flatten the curve are the reason we made it here.
Stage 2 has allowed many small businesses, like restaurant patios and barbershops, to serve patrons once again. New guidelines and measures have been put into place to ensure the safety of all employees and clients.
Supporting our local businesses has been a significant priority for the city. The health of our economy and of our community goes hand in hand. To support businesses, we created an Economic Partners Task Force to provide us with “on the ground” feedback from the business community as the pandemic evolved. The city has also put in place a property tax deferral program and created a Business Reopening Toolkit that provides advice and guidance on how to safely reopen.
While we have moved one step closer to a new normal, we need to remind the residents of Ottawa that COVID-19 has not gone away – the virus is still present in our community and we need to be COVIDwise. It is vital that as we continue to gradually reopen we remember what got us to this point.
We must all remain vigilant and continue to follow public health guidelines: staying at home when sick; practicing physical distancing; wearing cloth masks on public transit and when physical distancing is not possible; and washing your hands frequently.
And tens of thousands of residents who are not yet back at work need our support so that we can move on to the next phase of reopening as safely as possible.
There is no doubt that these past 100 days have been some of the most challenging times for our city. Since Day 1, we’ve witnessed incredible acts of kindness, such as neighbours picking up groceries for their sick or elderly neighbours, people sewing hundreds of cloth masks for those in need or a young girl donating all the savings in her piggy bank to her local food cupboard. Throughout these 100 days, we’ve been constantly reminded of the generosity and kindness of the people of Ottawa.
It has been 100 days. To some, this may already feel like too many. Rest assured, if we continue to support each other and work together to combat this pandemic, the people of Ottawa will come out of it stronger than ever.

Photo attributed to Postmedia.


Samia Hirani receives Mayor’s City Builder Award

Mayor Jim Watson and Alta Vista Ward Councillor Jean Cloutier presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Samia Hirani at City Council today in recognition of her dedication to volunteering and fundraising.

Shortly after joining the Aga Khan Foundation Canada (AKFC) as a volunteer guide, Samia Hirani expanded her volunteerism role to act as the local marketing lead for the AKFC’s World Partnership Walk starting in 2010. The Walk is Canada’s largest annual fundraising movement dedicated to fighting global poverty. Funds raised support development initiatives that allow women and men around the world to lift their communities out of poverty and build a brighter future.

Ms. Hirani also helped establish a Corporate Engagement Team for the Walk, volunteering over 100 hours to organize the team and help it achieve its fundraising targets. At the same time, Ms. Hirani was always available to assist and encourage other team leads in organizing their Walk efforts.

In this year’s Walk, Ms. Hirani raised funds by engaging her own workplace through their youth network and by creating the ‘Public Servants Shattering Poverty’ team, raising over $2,000. Samia Hirani also volunteered with the AKFC’s World Partnership Golf tournament and organized numerous fundraising efforts on behalf of the Walk throughout the year.


Agnes Warda and June Girvan receive Mayor’s City Builder Award

Mayor Jim Watson, Knoxville-Merivale Ward Councillor Keith Elgi and Rideau-Vanier Ward Councillor Mathieu Fleury presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Agnes Warda and June Girvan at City Council today. Ms. Warda was recognized for her dedication to her community and community association while Ms. Girvan was recognized for her service to children, youth and immigrant families.

Agnes Warda has been influential in transforming the Glens neighbourhood. She moved to the area in 1998, started working with the Glens Community Association in 2002 and has been president since 2004. Her commitment to the community has helped make the Glens a vibrant, green, family-friendly neighbourhood. Ms. Warda was also instrumental in establishing the Knoxdale-Merivale Council of Community Associations, which she chairs.

In her roles, Ms. Warda had contributed to City plans such as the Greenbelt Master plan and the City’s Official Plan and has provided leadership on issues ranging from transportation and infill development to community policing and environmental issues. She has also worked with both the Quality Care Alliance, Ottawa Chapter and the Canadian Polish Congress to advocate for better home care for seniors.

June Girvan was born to teach and as a teacher and an Education Officer, she was always committed to nurturing, protecting and affirming children and youth. When Ms. Girvan retired, she opened the J’Nikira Dinqinesh Education Centre for children, youth and immigrant families, offering programming that fosters understanding, racial harmony and social justice.

Ms. Girvan has been recognized many times for her tireless efforts. She was awarded a Community Champion Special Award by the Canadian Race Relations Foundation and is a past recipient of the Martin Luther King DreamKeepers’ award for her distinguished community leadership and engagement. Ms. Girvan is also Acting President of Black History Ottawa, an organization that celebrates the history, culture, traditions and achievements of Canadians of African descent.

 


Graham Macmillan receives Mayor’s City Builder Award

Mayor Jim Watson and Rideau-Rockcliffe Ward Councillor Tobi Nussbaum presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Graham Macmillan at City Council today in recognition of his dedication to the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa (BGCO) and the Ottawa Senators Foundation.

In 2017, Mr. Macmillan stepped down as board chair of the BGCO after a decade at the helm. The club grew dramatically under his leadership from an average of 10,000 visits and just over 2,600 members in 2009 to 114,000 visits and 4,500 members in 2016.

While at the organization’s helm, Mr. Macmillan oversaw numerous capital campaigns to improve services, modernize program space and make the clubhouses more accessible for all residents. The BGCO is a key resource for children and youth in Ottawa. It offers after school, weekend and summer programs for kids aged 6 to 18 and provides them with opportunities for new experiences, confidence-building and social interaction in a safe and caring space.

Mr. Macmillan also served as the Chair of the Ottawa Senators Foundation, aligning the organization with the BGCO. Mr. Macmillan continues to serve as a BGCO and Ottawa Senators Foundation board member today.


Mary Ann Varley receives the City Builder Award

Mary Ann Varley was recognized for her community leadership in visual arts and cultural development. The City Builder Award was presented to her by Deputy Mayor Mark Taylor and Beacon Hill-Cyrville Councillor Tim Tierney on behalf of Mayor Jim Watson at yesterday’s Council meeting.

Ms. Varley has volunteered with Arteast, a not-for-profit organization that helps its members develop their abilities and interests in the visual arts, in a variety of leadership positions. She has served as the President and Vice President of the organization, and now helps guide Arteast’s board and mentor other members.

Arteast fosters the growth of visual arts in Ottawa and the surrounding regions. In support of the organization’s community outreach, Ms. Varley has led the Grow With Art speaker series since 2009, and supported other outreach activities and art exhibitions. A life-long artist that generously and selflessly gives her time, Ms. Varley is also an active member of the Ottawa Art Association.


Karen Taylor receives the City Builder Award

Mayor Jim Watson and West Carleton-March Councillor Eli El-Chantiry recognized Karen Taylor for her long-standing community leadership in Fitzroy Harbour, especially during the 2017 spring flood response, by presenting her with the City Builder Award at today’s Council meeting.

In her long-serving role as president of the Fitzroy Harbour Community Association, Ms. Taylor has been a master organizer of many successful local fundraising events and activities, such as Harbour Days summer festival, the Winter Carnival, the Spring Fling fundraiser, and the New Year’s Eve community event. Her leadership and community spirit were also key to securing the funding to improve the Fitzroy Harbour Community Centre.

Last May, Karen Taylor displayed the same passion and leadership for her community during the response of the 2017 spring floods. Her organizational skills were instrumental in organizing both volunteers and actions to help her community and neighbours in need.  Her community spirit has continuously brought together her fellow neighbours in both good times and bad.


Tony Mariani receives Mayor’s City Builder Award

Mayor Jim Watson and Kanata South Ward Councillor Allan Hubley presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Tony Mariani at City Council today in recognition of his dedication to volunteerism, particularly for Ottawa’s Italian community.

Mr. Mariani has been involved with organizing Italian Week in Ottawa since 1975, putting together a week-long program of events that celebrates the history, heritage and impact that Ottawa’s Italian community has had on the City. Mr. Mariani has been instrumental in organizing an annual gala for St. Anthony’s Church for the past decade. St. Anthony’s is the unofficial home of Ottawa’s Italian community.

Mr. Mariani, the CEO of Mar Gard Builders Limited, is also a proud supporter of Make-A-Wish Foundation Eastern Ontario and has worked tirelessly to raise funds. He has been named an Honorary Lifetime Board Member for his continued dedication.


Dallas Greeley receives Mayor’s City Builder Award

Mayor Jim Watson and River Ward Councillor, Riley Brockington, presented Dallas Greeley with the Mayor’s City Builder Award at today’s City Council meeting.

Dallas Greeley first started volunteering with the Billings Estate National Historic Site tea room 12 years ago. Since then she has branched out to support City of Ottawa museums in other areas, including children's programs, site maintenance such as painting fences and gardening, Doors Open Ottawa, as well as mentoring, training and interviewing prospective volunteers. Dallas has proven her reliability and passion for public service. She is a valuable ambassador to both the public and other volunteers.

Contributing over two thousand hours, Dallas has been a leading example of community involvement on the front line of museums by delivering exceptional customer service and by contributing feedback, ideas, and suggestions for improving operations.

Dallas' record of volunteerism at the museum is unrivalled at over these twelve years. She has spent a great deal of time ensuring that visitors of all ages feel welcome and accommodated during their museum visits and many of them enquire about her on subsequent visits.