Good afternoon everyone. Bonjour à tous.

Today’s provincial announcement has completely blindsided Ottawa residents and small businesses, who have been diligently following the rules for months.

The Province sets the rules; we follow them; and they move the goalpost.

We follow the new rules, and then they change them again.

Despite the fact that we have the best numbers of any large Canadian city, we are now facing a 28-day lockdown that will likely have a devastating impact on our local economy.

When asked about this potential lockdown on Friday, Ottawa Public Health was not in support, as they did not think it was necessary at this time.

Dr. Etches has always supported a balanced approach to controlling COVID-19 in our community – and she believes we are still on that balanced path in Ottawa.

Santé publique Ottawa n’était pas en appui à cette décision.

This summer, Premier Ford’s government had put in place a system where regions were colour-coded based on their incidence of community transmission – recognizing that one size does not fit all.

That framework is based on local realities and relies on local data to make decisions for each health unit – and I very much supported that data-driven approach.

As we face this provincial decision today, there are simply no facts to support a lockdown in the city of Ottawa.

Il n’y pas de données pour appuyer cette décision du gouvernement de fermer les commerces pendant 28 jours.

It is not based on our numbers or on the professional advice of OPH to the provincial Chief Medical Officer of Health.

Ottawa registered 31 new cases of COVID-19 today, compared to 611 and 480 in Toronto and Peel, respectively.

Our positivity rate of COVID-19 tests is at 1.4% – among the lowest rates in the province – while Peel is at 8.1% and Toronto at 5.4%.

We have fewer than 20 COVID hospitalizations, and we have had no one in ICU for COVID in three days.

Our weekly incidence rate – which is the number of cases per 100,000 residents – stands at 27, while theirs is at 170 and 210.

Despite these stark differences between our regions, we are all being lumped in under the same measures – which is complete overshooting when it comes to Ottawa.

Last Thursday, the Ontario Hospital Association sent an open letter asking the government, and I quote: ‘’implement and robustly enforce a four-week lockdown in every public health unit with an infection rate of 40/100,000 population or higher.’’

Ottawa – with an incidence rate of 27 – is far from meeting that threshold.

Today’s announcement unfortunately goes back to one-size fits all – and it punishes regions like Ottawa, where residents and businesses worked so hard to flatten the second wave of COVID-19.

That said, Northern Ontario is getting off the hook with a 14-day lockdown, which creates another double-standard across the province.

When the Province imposed the closure of restaurants and gyms in October, we asked them to share the data that supported the closures.

When they did, this data indicated very low rates of transmission linked to restaurants and gyms in Ottawa.

The Province is now once again going down this path of imposing widespread closures without any data to support their decision.

I can’t reiterate this enough: we should always rely on data to make these tough decisions that affect thousands of small businesses and livelihoods in our community.

Otherwise how can we maintain public confidence in the public health guidelines we have put in place – guidelines that residents and business owners have been diligently complying with for months.

Nous devons continuer à utiliser les données locales pour que les résidents et les entreprises continuent à avoir confiance dans nos mesures de santé publique.

Businesses have played a key role in our fight against COVID-19, and once again, they are being treated like they’re a leading source of transmission – which they are not.

And now not only is there no reward for the good behaviour of our residents and business owners, I fear the overcrowding that will take place over the next few days, as residents rush to stores and shopping centres across the city to make up for Boxing Day.

I have been communicating these concerns to Premier Ford and our local ministers last night and this morning, and I have asked them to reconsider their decision to impose a 28-day lockdown in Ottawa, in recognition of our low numbers and positive trends.

I believe they understand our situation, and I remain hopeful that they will reconsider the measures imposed in Ottawa in the coming days.

Wherever they land, we will have to live with the public health measures that are imposed on us by the Province.

Through these difficult times, I want to encourage everyone to support our small businesses – by ordering take-out, buying gift cards and getting local deliveries.

Nous avons tous un rôle à jouer pour continuer à appuyer nos petites entreprises et les milliers d’emplois qui en dépendent.

Thank you / Merci