Good morning everyone. Bonjour tout le monde.

Today we table the draft 2021Budget for public input – the City of Ottawa’s 3rd budget in this term of Council.

Aujourd’hui, nous présentons le budget 2021.

This year’s budget is being developed under extraordinary conditions.

COVID-19 has profoundly altered our fiscal reality and injected a high level of uncertainty in our budgeting efforts as a city.

The budget process mirrors, in many ways, the economic and social uncertainty that our residents have faced since the start of the pandemic.

And we enter this budget process very mindful of the devastating impact that the pandemic has had on employment levels for many of our fellow residents.

I believe that the City of Ottawa must strive to protect our city and its residents against this uncertainty and insecurity.

There are some who would want us to reduce our investments in programs and services.

Others will want us to reduce our full-time municipal workforce during the pandemic.

If we were living in times of broad economic growth and rising employment levels, it might make sense to consider strategic targeted reductions in the municipal workforce.

But let’s think this through.

Pensons-y bien.

Where are the jobs that people could apply to in this paralyzed economy?

It is important for members of Council to know that every part of the City’s workforce has been stretched to maintain the services our residents count on and to respond to the Provincial orders.

The demand on City services has not gone down with COVID – it is higher than ever.

This includes building permits, development applications, By-law enforcement, surging 311 call volumes, and increased demand for social services.

We are also witnessing unprecedented needs to be met in our Long-term care facilities, disruptions to child care services, increases in employment assistance, exploding paramedic demand, and the list goes on.

Our workforce is also not immune from the devastating impacts of Covid-19 – our employees are struggling with the same issues everyone else in our community is struggling with.

 

This includes managing kids in school, the illness or loss of loved ones, spouses or family members experiencing employment loss, or supporting ageing parents in isolation.

Here’s just one practical example of how City staff are working to maintain essential services during the pandemic:

The City of Ottawa issued building permits for $3.9 billion of construction from January to October 2020, compared to $2.7 billion in the same period last year. That 45% year-over-year increase is helping to protect construction jobs and sustain our local economy through these tough pandemic times.

And so, we will continue to need our municipal employees to be able to respond quickly when we move into a post-pandemic environment.

Donc, nous aurons besoin de notre personnel plus que jamais lors de la phase poste-pandémique

I believe that the public will expect us to be at the ready when that happens.

I want to take this opportunity to thank Premier Doug Ford and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for recognizing that we need their support to sustain social solidarity in these challenging times.

Merci à Monsieur Trudeau et Monsieur Ford de leur solidarité durant ces moments difficiles.

And for recognizing that we will emerge in a better position, socially and economically, if we continue to invest in our people, in our residents, in our small businesses and in our key municipal services and programs.

Now is not the time to be cutting back on key investments that will continue to drive our prosperity and generosity as a society for the coming years.

Investments in our people, in our roads, in our facilities, in our programs and services, in our transfer payments to agencies that serve the most vulnerable.

These investments sustain and underpin our social solidarity as much as they underpin our local employment levels.

That is why I am proud of the work I have led with the City Manager, and all members of Council, to table a budget that is both prudent and balanced.

I am also proud to introduce a budget that meets the tax cap of 3% I proposed in 2018 and endorsed by Council in each of our three budgets since then.

Le débat sur le budget est la discussion la plus importante que nous avons à chaque année.

I also want to take this opportunity, early in this presentation, to thank all our city employees for keeping our core services going during these challenging pandemic times.

Thank you for ensuring that our recycling gets picked up on a regular schedule, for keeping our drinking water clean and safe and for maintaining our parks and roadways.

Thank you to our OC Transpo staff for getting residents to work safely by bus and LRT.

Merci à notre personnel d’OC Transpo de permettre à la population de se rendre au travail en toute sécurité.

Thank you for remaining vigilant and compassionate in the service of our most vulnerable residents, ensuring basic health, shelter and other needs are met.

Of course, a special thank you to our first responders for the incredible work they’ve done throughout this pandemic.

On behalf of all members of Ottawa City Council, I thank you for your continued professionalism and diligence on behalf of Ottawa residents.

Au nom de tous les membres du Conseil municipal d’Ottawa, je vous remercie.

 

I now want to provide an overview of the building blocks of the 2021 Budget.

In my remarks today, I will start by outlining where we stand from a Budget perspective at this point in time as we close out the 2020 Budget year.

I will then outline Council’s plan for strengthening our investment in housing for our most vulnerable residents.
And how we will continue to support and protect our community’s safety and our most vulnerable residents during and after the pandemic.

I will also provide an overview of how Budget 2021 follows Council’s direction to continue investing in our infrastructure.

Which is a building block of our community’s current and future success.

I will then provide an overview of how we are supporting our small businesses.

And the need for a unified, city-wide effort on this front as we head into the new year.

I will also discuss how we propose to continue to make transit affordable for both Ottawa residents and taxpayers heading into 2021.

Clearly we need to reconcile affordability for our transit passengers with the affordability of the transit system Council has decided to build over the long term.

I also want to provide an overview of how the City is expanding its efforts to protect the environment and invest in greater climate resiliency.

We will do this by supporting projects that pay for themselves through savings over time.

 

Let me start by discussing where we stand going into the 2021 budget

The City of Ottawa Draft 2021 Budget forecasts a total operating budget of $3.9 billion and a total Capital investment of $781 million.

As we review the highlights and details of the budget document, it is important that we be transparent about the assumptions and risks we are mitigating in this current budget.

As I mentioned earlier, the Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario have increased financial support to municipalities in 2020, without which we would be going into a very different budget exercise.

We were notified recently that the City of Ottawa received the second round of COVID-19 funding.

This includes $74.9 million for transit and $49.3 million from the municipal stream of the restart funding.

This is a very solid down payment of $124.2 million towards our $181 million in COVID financial pressures for 2020.

To date, this represents 68 percent of our overall COVID related funding needs.

I have been reassured in my dealings with the Premier of Ontario and Transportation Minister Carolyn Mulroney that our City will be made whole on the remainder of our 2020 COVID related deficit.

I also spoke to Premier Ford about reimbursing the City for Ottawa Public Health’s essential contribution to the fight against COVID which has created a 2020 pressure of $12 million.

He assured me that the Province is supportive of helping public health units across Ontario.

Il m’a assuré que le gouvernement provincial veut appuyer les bureaux de santé dans toute la province.

Staff are preparing the Phase 2 submission to the province now.

Deficit projections have been restated to reflect lower costs and ongoing cost containment measures.

The 2021 Budget presentation from staff will outline how COVID is expected to continue impacting municipal operations.

At a high level, staff are forecasting a deficit of $153.5 million related to COVID should the pandemic last another 12 months.

Ottawa Public Health is also expecting COVID-19 to continue to have a very significant impact on its budget.

We will expect the Government of Ontario to continue supporting the City as it backstops the essential work being undertaken by our team at Ottawa Public Health.

OPH is estimating that the gap for 2021, if COVID continues for the full twelve months, could be upwards of $22.5 million.

This year’s budget forecasting work has been quite challenging given all the unknowns.

I would like to thank the City Manager and the Chief Financial Officer for their hard work on the 2021 Draft Budget.

Thanks also to the Senior Leadership team and our teams across the City, including all teams in our partner agencies, for their work on the 2021 Draft Budget.

Tomorrow, the Province of Ontario will table its 2021 budget and our staff will review and report on its impact on our City and on our municipal finances.

I want to remind Members of Council, and residents watching today, that Ottawa has maintained  AAA credit rating as a result of its strong Financial Management, despite these very challenging economic times.

 

 

I now want to talk about how Budget 2021 strengthens our investment in housing and supports our most vulnerable residents while keeping our residents safe.

Increasing house prices, job losses as a result of COVID and the constraints imposed by social distancing.

These have resulted in an increase in the number of homelessness and a significant increase in the number of people at risk of homelessness.

Seniors, the working poor, newcomers and others on fixed incomes are disproportionally impacted.

I am pleased to announce that the 2021 Budget includes a $15 million investment in affordable housing.

Je suis fier de cet investissement dans le logement abordable dans notre ville.

This brings the City’s total capital contribution to $45 million since 2019.

I am also pleased to say that $5 million of the $15 million investment is an increase to the Affordable Housing base budget.

This is in addition to the $1 million base budget increase in 2020.

We can anticipate that the City’s contribution of $15 million will leverage at least the equivalent amount of new federal and provincial investment.

This is expected to result in the creation of up to 250 new supportive and affordable housing units.

This increased base budget will contribute $60 million in new funding over ten years.

We expect this amount to be topped up by $10 million from projected development charge revenues and $10 million from the sale of surplus land.

Obviously, the City of Ottawa cannot go it alone in the fight against homelessness.

De toute évidence, la Ville d’Ottawa ne peut mener seule la lutte contre l’itinérance.

On September 10, 2020, Ottawa Community Housing received the largest single investment in affordable housing in its history from the Federal Government.

Thanks to a mortgage of $168 million from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

Ottawa Community Housing will build Gladstone Village, which is about 700 new units.

This investment will create over 200 affordable rental units close to public transit – complete with community and support services.

The City is also working on a proposal for 1010 Somerset Street West for greenspace and community supports for Gladstone Village.

We hope to have an announcement on this property early in the New Year.

We recently received notification from Minister Hussen, that Ottawa has been allocated $32 million through the Rapid Housing Initiative.

This funding will target rapid housing solutions to meet those most in need across our community.

This new funding brings the City’s total commitment to $47 million for 2021 for the construction of new affordable units.

We will also be funding $33 million going to housing and homelessness agencies in 2021.

This amount will support case management, housing loss prevention and operating funding for supportive housing.

When you factor in the City’s operating spending of $112 million in support of housing, and the $47 million in new Capital funding, the city will spend a historic amount in 2021.

That’s a total investment of $159 million to build and support affordable housing and other homelessness initiatives.

I look forward to working closely with all Members of Council on providing more housing for the most vulnerable members of our community.

With a cost of living increase of $485,000, the Community Funding Program will benefit from a total investment of over $25 million.

This amount will go to support community non-profit social service providers who deliver valuable services to residents facing the greatest needs across the city.

Budget 2021 also includes $500,000 to fund agencies as we transition to the new Community Funding framework.

Cette revue du financement communautaire mènera à des recommandations plus tard en 2021, et j’ai hâte d’en voir les résultats.

In addition, the City has invested in emergency funding to community agencies for COVID related expenses and emergency programs.

That’s a total envelope of just under $500,000 to respond to COVID related needs.

The childcare and early years sector in Ottawa has been drastically impacted by the high rates of COVID-19 in our community.

The City of Ottawa is grateful to its Provincial and Federal partners for the investments received to date in our response against COVID-19.

As the COVID-19 impacts continue to evolve, additional supports will be required.

This will ensure the continued sustainability of the child care and early years sector and assist in the economic recovery of Ottawa and Ontario.

It is hard to speak about COVID-19 without thinking about the devastating impact this pandemic has had on seniors.

Especially seniors living in long term care homes.

Surtout les aînés en soins de longue durée.

I want to thank Dean Lett, the City’s Director of Long-Term Care and his incredible team.

Their commitment and dedication to the residents in their care is unrelenting.

Since the start of the pandemic, our Long-Term Care team has implemented safety protocols to prevent the spread of the infection in the homes.

Staffing levels have been increased, and enhanced infection prevention and control measures are now in place.

I would like to send a special shout out to all the dedicated employees of our long-term care homes.

Without your dedication and perseverance there is little doubt that the situation in Ottawa could have been much worse.

To support your work Budget 2021 includes the following investments:

Over $9 million will be invested in staffing, PPE and infection control to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The City is also providing $7.5 million for renovations, equipment and accessibility improvements to its four Long-Term Care Homes.

This will support the safety, care and comfort of residents.

Budget 2021 also delivers on Council’s commitment to investing in the safety of our residents.

Nous faisons d’autres investissements importants pour garder notre communauté en sécurité.

The City needs more paramedics to keep pace with our fast-growing city and to keep our response times in line with current standards.

At the start of this term of Council, I promised to work with Council to hire 54 additional paramedics over the next four years.

Budget 2021 provides funding to hire 14 new front-line paramedics, the 3rd installment on our 4-year goal.

In partnership with the Ottawa Hospital, our community paramedics have also been deployed to the “Red Zones” in Long-Term Care Homes across the city that are in active outbreak.

Budget 2021 also includes $7.5 million to build a new fire station in Kanata North and $2 million to build a paramedic deployment facility in the west-end.

Earlier today, the Ottawa Police Service tabled their draft budget that comes in at 3% on the tax side, plus 1.5% in new assessment growth dollars.

The OPS is a vital partner working alongside Ottawa Public Health, Community and Social Services, and other external organizations.

Working together we can to better address issues like mental health, poverty and community supports.

I agree that community safety is a shared responsibility.

As a society we need to take a more holistic approach to solving crime and addressing social issues.

That is why the OPS and the City have been working together to shift the focus towards expanding community-led health and safety initiatives.

The City and OPS are also actively refining our Community Safety and Wellbeing Plan.

This plan will seek to address the more deeply rooted causes of crime; focus on prevention; leverage partnerships; and take a multi-faceted approach to community safety.

The Community Safety and Well-Being Plan aligns ongoing initiatives to achieve outcomes and tangible results. The Plan includes the:

  • Housing and Homelessness Plan;
  • Child and Early Years Strategy;
  • Community Funding Framework;
  • Mental Health Strategy;
  • Women and Gender Equity;
  • Race and Veterans;
  • Social Assistance Modernization;
  • Poverty Reduction;
  • Food Security; and the,
  • Priority Neighbourhoods Strategy.

The draft 2021 Budget maintains support for the addition of 85 new police officers approved for this term.

The OPS expects to see 30 new officers join the service in 2021.

I would like to thank Chief Sloly and the new CFO, Jeff Letourneau for their budget stewardship.

Merci à vous trois pour votre leadership durant ce processus budgétaire.

I and many members of Council are impressed by their willingness to look for new ways of finding efficiencies, streamline operations around community needs and find ongoing savings.

 

 

Budget 2021 is also about investing in our infrastructure for future prosperity.

Funding to maintain and renew assets such as roads, sidewalks and City facilities will increase by $25 million this year – bringing us to $171 million invested in 2021.

The existing infrastructure funding gap will be fully addressed within seven years.

Instead of the projected 10 years – while adding no new debt.

As Members of Council, we hear consistently from our residents that they want us to invest in our city’s roads and infrastructure.

La condition de nos routes et de notre infrastructure est une priorité dans toutes nos communautés.

That’s why in 2021, the road resurfacing budget will increase to $45 million – up from the yearly average of $35.5 million over the last Term of Council.

This investment in road resurfacing includes:

Hunt Club Road westbound from Paul Anka Drive to Airport Parkway in River Ward;

  • L’avenue Kilborn à Alta Vista;
  • Blanchfield Road in Osgoode;
  • Fallowfield Road from Southwest Transitway to Woodroffe Avenue in Barrhaven;
  • La rue St. Georges à Orléans; and
  • Merivale Road, from Slack to Viewmount Drive, and West Hunt Club, from Merivale Road to Antares Drive, in Knoxdale-Merivale, to name a few.

Our rural infrastructure investments will reach $40 million in 2021, up from the four-year average of $39.7 million.

Some of our rural investments include:

  • $4.1 million to repave Bank Street between Marionville and Mitch Owens roads;
  • $2.7 million to repave River Road between Flag Station and Mitch Owens roads;
  • $2.5 million to build 27 drainage culverts in Osgoode;
  • $2.3 million to construct 43 drainage culverts;
  • $2 million to upgrade the Carp Wastewater Pumping Station; and
  • $1.6 million to repave Thomas A. Dolan Parkway between Dunrobin and Sixth Line roads in West Carleton-March.

 

Budget 2021 also invests over $57 million for road growth projects, which are funded almost entirely by development charges. Examples include:

  • $9.7 million to widen Strandherd Drive between Maravista Drive and Jockvale Road;
  • $7.3 million to widen the Airport Parkway from Brookfield to Hunt Club; and
  • $18.9 million to widen Bank Street between Leitrim and Dun Skipper Drive.

 

Budget 2021 will allow the City to resurface, renew or rehabilitate approximately 116 kilometres of roads across the city.

We know that Ottawa has one of the largest municipal transportation networks in Canada.

City teams regularly clear 6,000 kilometres of roads and 2,300 kilometres of sidewalks throughout the city.

I am pleased to say that the Winter Operations budget now reflects the latest 3-year average actuals for the period from 2016 to 2018 – for a total of just over $81 million.

This year more than ever, we will need to encourage people to get outside and enjoy winter.

Cette année plus que jamais, nous devrons encourager les gens à sortir et à profiter de l’hiver.

That is why I am pleased that the City will again provide over $35,000 to the Winter Trails Alliance for distribution to its members.

We expect that their partnership with the NCC will contribute another $25,000 for ski and snowshoe trails.

Budget 2021 also includes $2 million for Neighbourhood Traffic Calming Measures.

Each Councillor will receive $50,000 for road safety initiatives in their community.

There is also $512,000 set aside for Pedestrian Crossovers, which will help us improve the safety of pedestrians at key crossings across the city.

Budget 2021 also includes $12 million for intersection improvements.

The Intersection Control Measures program, which delivers new traffic signals and addresses safety concerns in growth areas.

Revenue from the Automated Speed Enforcement cameras is budgeted at $6 million.

And an increase of $1.8 million is expected to be generated by 10 additional red-light cameras.

$1.2 million of this revenue will be transferred to the Ottawa Police Service budget in 2021.

The remainder will be invested in road safety initiatives already approved as part of the Road Safety Action Plan.

As you know, Automated Speed Enforcement cameras have been in place since we launched the pilot project in mid-July.

There is a total of eight sites – all located near schools – and four cameras are currently used to enforce speed restrictions.

By the end of September, over 37,000 tickets had been issued, which could generate upwards of $3.1 million for the City.

At the request of myself and the City Manager, Transportation Services have been asked to purchase four additional cameras.

These will be deployed at the outstanding locations in the coming months.

The revenue generated from these four cameras will be reinvested into road safety measures – including priority intersection improvements.

Ce projet pilote connaît beaucoup de succès et nous permet d’investir davantage dans la sécurité routière.

Budget 2021 also includes:

  • A $4 million investment towards the Road Safety Action Plan
  • $2.4 million for the New Traffic Control Devices Program;
  • $806,000 for the Temporary Traffic Calming Measures Program
  • $512,000 towards the Pedestrian Crossover Program;
  • Over $1 million for the Safety Improvement Program;
  • $389,000 for Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Program; and
  • $107,000 towards the Cycling Safety Improvement Program.

Again, this year, Budget 2021 includes funding for active transportation – with an investment in both the Pedestrian and Cycling Plans of $12.5 million.

This includes:

  • $5 million for cycling facilities;
  • Just under $3 million for pedestrian facilities;
  • $2.5 million for cycling and pedestrian major structures; and
  • $1.2 million to connect missing links.

The City is also investing in parks, recreational and community facilities including:

  • the Blackburn Arena Expansion in Innes Ward;
  • Laroche Park in Kitchissippi;
  • the Corkery Community Building expansion in West Carleton-March;
  • the Cobble Hill Park redevelopment and expansion in Barrhaven;
  • Riverchase Park in Kanata-North; and
  • The Riverain Park redevelopment in Rideau-Vanier… just to name a few.

 

Again in 2021, we will continue to fund the $2.4 million ward-specific Recreation Infrastructure Investment Fund.

This fund provides each Member of Council with a total of $100,000 to be used for the remainder of this term of Council.

Budget 2021 also includes $6 million in park investments, supporting projects such as:

  • the new gazebo at McNabb Park;
  • new sports lights at Kars Recreation Centre, and;
  • new asphalt for tennis courts in Carson Grove Park.

Budget 2021 also includes $100,000 to complete a preliminary design.

And to undertake community consultations for the Beacon Hill North Community Centre expansion.

Budget 2021 also invests $500,000 to advance the planning for a new East Urban Library Branch to be located in Cumberland Ward.

Our City’s vibrancy also relies on the key investments made by small businesses in our communities.

As we can all witness in our respective neighbourhood, small businesses invest in significant ways.

They bring our main streets to life and turn them into the dynamic gathering places we have come to know.

But we know main street businesses have been hard hit by this pandemic and they need our help.

Through our work with the Economic Partners Task Force, the City has put in place several measures to help small businesses throughout the pandemic.

And that work is ongoing.

 

 

Supporting our local businesses will be even more important in the months ahead.

At the October 28 Council meeting, we approved a waiver of building permit fees required for a patio tent structure

This is intended to allow restaurants to provide alternative dining arrangements while indoor dining is restricted.

Consistent with Council direction this past summer, we are proposing that monthly patio fees remain at zero dollars in 2021.

This takes into account the severe impact of COVID-19 on restaurants and shops.

This foregone patio revenue is included in the overall COVID-19 pressures.

Following the presentation of the Winter Patio Program at Transportation Committee on Monday, our patio team will soon be launching a $150,000 grant program.

This will help BIAs and business associations deploy beautification or small capital projects to help them attract customers to their business districts.

As we head into the late fall and winter, I want to remind everyone of the importance of shopping local.

Please support our small businesses through these difficult times!

Je vous en prie – appuyez nos petites entreprises lors de cette periode difficile!

We should all go out of our way to shop in local and family-owned businesses – who need our support now more than ever.

Over the course of the coming weeks and months, we will need to chart a course for returning our city to prosperity.

For creating an environment that leaves no one behind in our attempts to bring back the jobs lost during the pandemic.

In the first few weeks of 2021, I will call on all members of Council and City partners to join in this united effort to rebuild our city’s economy.

This will require new ways of thinking, as well as unprecedented collaboration with our economic development partners and other levels of government.

We will need to take an “all hands-on deck” approach to rebuilding our local economy.

What is becoming clearer is that we must stay in lock step with our provincial and federal partners not only on the pandemic response.

For years to come we must work together on the much-needed economic stimulus and recovery plan that will be required to get our local economy firing on all cylinders again.

This is not about a flashy slogan or nice statistics.

It’s about striving to support our local businesses and ensuring that there are economic opportunities for all workers as we exit this pandemic.

 

 

Protecting the environment and investing in greater climate resiliency are an important cornerstone of our 2021 budget.

We all know that building safer and resilient communities requires a balanced approach to spending.

It’s also about planning for the future.

Il faut évidemment planifier pour l’avenir.

That is why the City recently carried an environmental strategy that targets an 80% reduction in GHG emissions by 2050.

With a contribution of $2.6 million provided through the Hydro Ottawa dividend, $11 million will be provided to support Energy Evolution.

Leveraging federal and provincial funds, the focus will be on energy efficiency, conservation and renewable energy generation projects.

The goal is to invest in projects where the initial investment is repaid over time by the annual energy efficiency savings.

The City’s highly successful partnership with Ottawa Hydro for the replacement of the City’s street lights with energy efficient LED lighting is a shining example.

Budget 2021 includes an additional $3 million for the Energy Management Investment Strategy for a total investment of $12 million over the term of Council.

We are also working on increasing the City’s capacity for climate resilience.

This includes $2.5 million to implement the Ottawa River Action Plan and the Wet Weather Infrastructure Master Plan.

Budget 2021 also includes $300,000 for the Wild Parsnip Management Program.

There is also $1.5 million to plant 125,000 trees and $1.2 million for solid-waste projects, including expanding the recycling in parks pilot.

 

 

I now want to touch on how we keep transit affordable while paying for and investing in the transit system we want

As a result of COVID, ridership and transit revenues have decreased significantly – not only in Ottawa, but across the country and around the world.

Cette année, nos services de transport en commun font face à de nouveaux défis.

This has created a 2020 transit shortfall of $123.7 million.

This deficit has been offset by $1.5 million in government funding to help pay for the cost of enhanced cleaning for buses and trains.

As well as $74.9 million in Phase 1 funding from the Safe Restart Fund.

The City is applying for Phase 2 Safe Restart funding for the remainder of 2020.

We are anticipating that provincial Safe Restart Funding will cover the first quarter to March 31, 2021.

Fares will not increase in 2020, given Council’s directive earlier this year to freeze fares until LRT service improved markedly.

This fare freeze has resulted in a base budget pressure of $5.1 million in 2021.

To address this budget pressure using transit revenue, we would’ve had to increase fares by more than 5% in 2021.

This would disproportionately have hurt frontline workers who most need transit to get to work and to appointments during the pandemic.

We didn’t think that was a fair approach during these difficult times for so many vulnerable residents.

And that’s also why the cost of the EquiPass and Community Pass will both remain frozen at 2018 rates for the third consecutive year.

That’s an additional investment of $185,000 in affordable transit.

Regular fares will increase by 2.5% effective January 1, because we need to stay on track with our Long-Range Financial Plan for Transit.

This is our blueprint for making long-term investments in sustainable transit that the City can afford.

And I want to remind Council colleagues and residents about the largest single investment we are making in transit.

Our $4.6 billion investment in Stage 2 LRT.

We will spend just over $1 billion in 2021 on the construction of Stage 2.

This will bring the benefits of LRT south to Limebank and the Airport, east to Trim, and west to Moodie Drive and Algonquin College.

We will also be investing in other important transit capital projects.

Budget 2021 includes:

  • $13 million to improve Blair and Tunney’s Pasture stations;
  • $6 million for bus operator barriers to enhance the safety of our drivers;
  • $3 million to modify roads, signals and other traffic measures to improve bus reliability;
  • $1 million to install new bus pads, shelters and other improvements at bus stops; and
  • $500,000 to improve accessibility features across the transit system.

 

Before I conclude today’s remarks, I would like to say a few words about Ottawa Public Health.

This includes the work that the City of Ottawa has undertaken to protect our residents against the pandemic.

That work is shared across thousands of employees and hundreds of work units across the City.

Because of the broad range of municipal services that have been impacted by COVID-19.

It is difficult to describe the incredible work that the OPH team has spearheaded in 2020 to keep us safe and informed.

The close collaboration with our City Manager and Senior Leadership team and partner agencies has been impressive to say the least.

On behalf of Ottawa City Council, I want to once again thank Dr. Vera Etches, our Medical Officer of Health.

Thank you to her team for their outstanding work and for your unwavering dedication to our collective safety in these challenging times.

I also want to thank our City Manager Steve Kanellakos, who has provided exceptional leadership during these exceptionally challenging times.

This pandemic has forced many of us to make very difficult personal decisions.

Decisions about putting our children in school.

Hard choices about the living situation of our aging parents.

Many small business owners have had to make heart-wrenching decisions about letting employees go.

Plusieurs ont malheureusement dû fermer leurs portes.

Some have unfortunately had to make the very difficult decision of closing down.

The pandemic has caused us to reach out in new ways to vulnerable people in our lives.

It has changed how we work, behave, socialize and interact.

La pandémie a changée presque chaque aspect de nos vies.

I am convinced that Dr. Etches and her team, in close collaboration with the City of Ottawa team, have provided the best evidence-based advice.

I know that they are very aware of the huge ramifications of their recommendations on the lives of all our residents.

I want to thank Councillor Keith Egli for his leadership of our Board of Health.

He has proven to be a strong advocate for OPH through these tumultuous times.

I’m under the impression that he might be thinking that this mandate is a little broader than he bargained for when he agreed to chair OPH.

I also want to once again convey Council’s strong support for OPH’s Budget position.

This was clearly outlined at their Board meeting on Monday, November 2.

It will come as no surprise to anyone listening today that this is not a normal year for the Public Health budget.

Let’s break this down into three key pieces.

Firstly, OPH is currently awaiting confirmation that their forecasted $12 million dollar over-expenditure for 2020 will be fully funded by the province.
We hope to see language in the provincial budget tomorrow reconfirming that this support is forthcoming.

I raised this issue directly with Premier Ford last week and he reassured me that the Province supports public health here in Ottawa and across the Province.

Secondly, OPH expects to continue to have to absorb significant COVID-19 related costs into 2021.

The OPH board was briefed on the projected 2021 budget impact on Monday evening, which currently stands at $22.5 million.

As was discussed at the October 14 Council meeting, it is my intention to continue working closely with Keith Egli as Chair of OPH.

Together, we will work with all members of Council to ensure that the Province honours its commitment to fully reimburse the City for the COVID related expenses we incurred in 2020 and for those expenses we will incur in 2021.

Until this happens, the City will continue to backstop OPH’s expenditure levels required to continue to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Thirdly, the OPH Board was also advised on Monday that OPH has had to prioritize the COVID response over the delivery of its other core services in 2020.

I am convinced that all members of Council support the Board’s approach to start to ramp up and reinforce the delivery of OPH core services to prevent negative health impacts.

Concurrently, it is important for all members of Council to know that Budget 2021 provides OPH with an additional base adjustment of $240,000.

This will allow OPH to undertake the 2021 fiscal year without having to reduce its FTE count.

I believe we can all agree this is not the time to be cutting employees at Ottawa Public Health.

I also want Members of Council to know that Chair Egli and I will engage with the Province of Ontario on this issue.

We need a clear signal from the Province that it is prepared to fund appropriate base increases to OPH’s budget now and into the future.

 

Concluding Remarks

Since I was elected Mayor, I have made a commitment to the residents of Ottawa to keep taxes low.

To keep our city affordable, and to invest in our infrastructure.

And most importantly, to care for our most vulnerable residents.

Never in my history as Mayor has this been more important and never has it required a greater level of resolve to achieve.

Je suis fier d’avoir respecté mes engagements envers les contribuables au cours des dix dernières années.

I am proud that we have worked especially hard on this prudent, affordable and balanced budget.

A budget that responsibly manages the risks associated with COVID-19.

The three-per-cent tax increase amounts to an extra $115 for the average urban homeowner.

And $88 for the average rural homeowner.

We have all heard from residents – and I believe they are prepared to contribute a modest increase to improve our transit, and to maintain our infrastructure.

To build for the future and to provide services that keep residents safe.

I think that Budget 2021 strikes the right balance in meeting Council’s approved priorities.

With Council’s support, I will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that Ottawa continues to secure its fair share of funding from upper levels of government.

This includes moving forward on city building priorities.

Such as extending LRT to Kanata, Stittsville, and Barrhaven.

On multiple city-wide Term of Council priorities such as roads, housing and the environment.

And the funding required to weather the current pandemic.

I also believe this budget has enough built-in flexibility to mitigate the uncertainty of what may come in the year ahead.

I am certain that most if not all members of Council accept that there is some degree of risk inherent in our 2021 budgeting exercise.

No one can accurately predict how soon the COVID19 pandemic will end.

Nor how it will impact the City’s economy and finances into the future.

I am convinced that you will agree that nothing is more important than maintaining our core services.

Perhaps more importantly now is the time to keep our collective eye on those most in need across our communities.

I want to thank all residents and Members of Council who contributed ideas to the Budget 2021 process.

Over the last few weeks, ward consultations have occurred on the budget.

We have heard from many residents regarding a wide range of often competing budget priorities.

More so than any other year, residents are realistic about the City’s fiscal capacity.

They know we must set a limit to the number of priorities we can achieve.

And they want us to live within our means.

This has not been the typical consultation process and I think we all miss the face to face dialogue on these critical issues.

Merci à tous nos résidents qui ont contribué au processus budgétaire 2021.

I also want to thank all the Chairs, Vice-Chairs and Committee members for their input to date.

Thank you for the work ahead to facilitate your budgets at your committee.

Merci à tous les conseillers pour leurs idées et leur participation importante à ce processus budgétaire.

I would like to thank my own team in the Mayor’s Office for working closely with:

  • the City Manager;
  • our new Chief Financial Officer, Wendy Stephanson on Budget 2021; and
  • all members of Council on the Budget 2021 proposal.

The year ahead poses challenges and contains many unknowns, but I believe that prudent financial stewardship has made our city resilient.

With the support of our residents and a continued commitment from our federal and provincial partners.

We are on solid footing as we work together to meet the challenges of the drastically changed world in which we live.

I will now pass it over to the City Manager. Steve, over to you.

Thank you. Merci.