COVID-19 UPDATE FOR MARCH 27TH, 2020
Below you will find the latest updates from my team regarding COVID-19.
Once again, it is so important that we continue to support each other in our community through this situation, and to seek out accurate updates.
Please continue to visit: OttawaPublicHealth.ca/Coronavirus.
In this update:
- Ottawa Public Health Update
- Federal Government Announces Support for Small Businesses
- Ottawa Launches #BuyLocal Campaign
- City Parks
- All Service Canada Offices Now Closed
- Applications Now Open for Ottawa’s Property Tax Hardship Program
- Grace Period for Property Taxes
- Grace Period for Unpaid Water Bills
- Grace Period for Corporate Accounts Receivable Invoices
- Hotline for Businesses
- Ontario Government COVID-19 Aid Package
- The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
- Vehicle Access to Greenbelt Temporarily Closed
- Early Reopening of Multi-Use Pathways
- O-YA Virtual Youth Centre
- Rideau Valley Conservation Authority Update
- South Nation Conservation Update
Ottawa Public Health Update
- As always, Ottawa Public Health is the best resource for all COVID-19 updates. Please continue to use their website to stay informed and to stay safe.
- Ottawa Public Health is urging everyone to practice physical distancing. More information on physical distancing for you and your family can be found on their website.
- Our efforts are needed as a community. The actions you take will affect not only you but your loved ones and our community’s most vulnerable residents. While we appreciate that people are thinking of their loved ones, now is not the time to visit them in person. Luckily, we have technology available, which enables us to communicate in other creative ways like video chats and group phone calls.
- Physical distancing by all is IMPERATIVE to limit transmission in the community. Here are some ways that you and your family can practice physical distancing:
- Talk to your supervisor, manager, or employer about the possibility of working from home where possible.
- Avoid visiting elderly friends or relatives. Use the telephone, video chats or social media to stay connected unless the visit is absolutely necessary.
- Avoid all non-essential trips outside your home.
- Keep the windows down if you have to go into the community for an essential trip via taxi or rideshare.
- Cancel group gatherings and limit your contact to those within your home.
- Hold virtual meetings or get-togethers.
- Spend time outside and in settings where people can maintain a two-metre (six feet) distance from each other.
- Take precautions to maintain distance in shared spaces in multi-unit dwellings.
- Avoid crowded elevators (wait for an empty one if you can).
- Avoid using the mail room or laundry room at the same time as other residents (keep to a small number at a time to maintain distance).
- Physical distancing does not mean emotional distancing. Check in with others by phone or other technology. Check in with yourself. It’s ok not to be ok. Please know that help is available, and we encourage you to reach out to the Distress Centre of Ottawa to connect with someone at 613-238-3311 if needed. Here’s more information on available resources.
- Many people are returning home from March Break or winter travel and will need groceries and essential items. All returning travellers now have a legal obligation to self-isolate for 14 days. This means that groceries and essential items should be picked up by a family member or friend, or through on-line ordering options. Ottawa Public Health has been working with the Ottawa International Airport to ensure this is being communicated clearly to returning travellers.
- You also need to self-isolate if you live with, provided care for, or spent extensive time with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, OR is suspected to have COVID-19, OR who has respiratory symptoms (fever, cough, or shortness of breath) that started within 14 days of travel outside of Canada.
Federal Government Announces Support for Small Businesses
- This morning the Prime Minister announced that the federal government will cover 75% of wages for qualifying businesses so that they can keep paying their staff.
- The subsidy will be backdated to March 15.
- Storefront businesses will also qualify for up to $40,000 in loans, with up to $10,000 forgiven. These loans will be interest-free for the first year.
- Business owners will have until June to pay GST and HST payments while taxes on imports will also be suspended.
- “We hope these new measures will encourage employers who felt forced to lay off their employees to keep them on the payroll, and for those who did lay off their employees will hire them back,” – Prime Minister Trudeau.
- Further details are expected to be released on Monday.
Visit the Federal Government’s website for small business support.
Ottawa Launches #BuyLocal Campaign
- Many of our local shops are struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The City of Ottawa has launched a #BuyLocal Campaign to support small businesses.
- The campaign encourages residents to support their favourite small businesses by taking these steps:
- Buy from local businesses online
- Purchase gift cards from local businesses to use later
- Order delivery or takeout from area restaurants
- Send local businesses messages of support on social media
- Please note that all park amenities are closed. You can still walk past parks, but you should not be using any of the amenities. Staff will be installing signage.
All Service Canada Offices Now Closed
- As of this morning, all in-person Service Canada locations in Ottawa and across Canada are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Canadians are being encouraged to apply online for employment insurance, pension benefits and other Service Canada services.
- See statement from Social Development Minister Ahmed Hussen.
- A reminder that until further notice, you do not need to renew these products, even if they have expired:
- health cards
- driver’s licences
- licence plate stickers
- Ontario Photo Cards
- Commercial Vehicle Operator Registration certificates
Applications Now Open for Ottawa’s Property Tax Hardship Program
- Ottawa has launched the 2020 Property Tax Hardship Deferral program to assist qualifying residents as well as businesses that have an assessed property value of up to $7.5 million.
- The program extends both the interim property tax deadline (March 19) and the final property tax deadline (June 18) to Friday, October 30. The application form is now live: APPLY HERE.
Grace Period for Property Taxes
- Property owners have a grace period for payment of interim property taxes and will not incur a penalty if they were unable to pay before the deadline of March 19. The grace period extends the deadline to April 15.
Grace Period for Unpaid Water Bills
- The city is providing an interest-free 30-day payment grace period on all unpaid water bills issued before Wednesday, April 1. For water bills issued between April 1 and October 30, the city will grant a 30-day extension on the due date.
- Those on pre-authorized payment plans with water bills issued between April 1 and October 30 will also have their due dates extended.
- The City has extended suspension of all water service disconnections until October 30.
Grace Period for Corporate Accounts Receivable Invoices
- All unpaid Corporate Accounts Receivable invoices that the City issued before Wednesday, April 1 will have an extra 30 days to pay, interest free. All Corporate Accounts Receivable invoices issued between April 1 and April 30 will also have a 30-day due-date extension.
Hotline for Businesses
- Ontario businesses with questions about how COVID-19 emergency measures impact their business or employment can call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.
- Help is available Monday-Sunday, from 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
- More information here
Ontario Government COVID-19 Aid Package
- The provincial government has released Ontario's Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19.
- Here are highlights of what the plan includes for residents:
- Parents of children 12 and under will see a one-time payment of $200 per child and $250 for a child with special needs to help families pay for the extra costs associated with school and daycare closures. This applies to students in public and private schools. Parents can apply for assistance on a web portal to be launched soon.
- Low-income seniors who receive Guaranteed Annual Income System payments will see their benefits double for six months.
- Students will see OSAP payments loan payments suspended for six months.
- Here are highlights of what the plan includes for businesses:
- For companies that pay less than $1 million in payroll, there will be a temporary increase in the Employer Health Tax exemption.
- Five months of interest and penalty-free relief for businesses to file and make payments for the majority of provincially administered taxes.
- Employers will be allowed to defer WSIB payments for up to six months.
- More information available here.
The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
- Those who are losing income due to the pandemic can apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), which offers $2,000 per month for up to four months.
- Applications are expected to open April 6th and will be able to be made through CRA MyAccount or My Service Canada Account or by calling a toll-free number that has not yet been announced.
- If you are already receiving EI as of today, you would continue to receive these benefits and should not apply to the CERB.
- EI eligible Canadians who have lost their job can apply for EI here.
- More information available here.
For a complete breakdown of Federal Government COVID-19 support, including the increased Canada Child Benefit, click here
Vehicle Access to Greenbelt Temporarily Closed
Like many organizations, the National Capital Commission (NCC) is doing its part to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
With that objective, we are temporarily closing vehicle access to the Greenbelt as of 9 pm on Friday, March 27, 2020, until further notice. All parking lots at trailheads and off-leash dog parks will be closed. This is consistent with the decision made on March 23 to temporarily close Gatineau Park, and end its winter recreation season.
We recognize that this decision will affect residents’ enjoyment of the Greenbelt, but we must make every effort to protect employees, contractors and trail users from COVID-19, and ensure compliance with public health directives from all levels of government, particularly the call to avoid all non-essential trips.
We encourage everyone to enjoy the outdoors close to home — on foot or by bike — rather than driving to a destination further from home. Trail users arriving in a vehicle will be unable to park in the trailhead parking lots or on adjacent roadways. Local authorities will enforce these parking prohibitions.
Accordingly, people who live near a trailhead or a dog park and can access it locally may still do so, provided they respect public health recommendations, including physical distancing.
Early Reopening of Multi-Use Pathways
The NCC is striving to facilitate National Capital Region residents’ safe access to the outdoors closer to their homes.
We are now working at progressively reopening NCC multi-use pathways as quickly as possible, relying on heavy machinery to clear ice and snow, along with the help of Mother Nature. Please check our social media feeds for updates regarding pathway openings.
At this time, we are currently not considering roadway closures of either the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway or the Sir George-Étienne Cartier Parkway to vehicle traffic due to logistical challenges, staffing requirements and the need to ensure continued access for transit and emergency services.
Subject to, and consistent with, ongoing advice from public health agencies, and in consultation with partner municipalities, the NCC will reassess options for road closures, including Sunday Bike days, as the situation allows.
More information will be shared as it becomes available.
O-YA Virtual Youth Centre
Even though the O-YA building needs to remain closed due to COVID-19, we are starting the process of creating a Virtual Youth Centre so we can continue to offer support, resources and a sense of connection to Osgoode Ward youth during this crisis.
We are starting with a few initiatives to see how they go, and hope to grow this idea in the coming weeks.
For now, youth can look forward to:
- Virtual Teen Drop In this Friday, March 27 from 6 pm - 9 pm for youth in Grades 7 - 12 using Zoom (https://zoom.us/j/430532755?status=success) You should be able to click on this link with your Zoom account (you need to sign up for one; but it's free) and join our 'meeting'. If it's not working for you, email email@example.com and she can help you!
- O-YA Youth Workers as Virtual Pen Pals for our Before and After School participants (if you are a participant, you should already have received an email about this. If not, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com!)
- Lots of content on O-YA's Facebook & Instagram @oyacentre pages with activities, resources and ways to stay connected
As the O-YA building is currently closed, please direct all inquires to:
Or, visit our website at www.o-ya.ca
Rideau Valley Conservation Authority Update
The short-term forecast is calling for rainfall amounts of 35 mm or more on Sunday and into Monday with above zero temperatures. As such, water levels and flows across the Rideau Valley Watershed are expected to increase again.
A FLOOD WATCH is being issued for properties around Christie Lake and Wolfe Lake. In these areas, residents should expect freshet like water levels and flows. Parks Canada staff are closely monitoring the water levels in Bobs Lake and Christie Lake, and operations at the Bolingbroke Dam.
A FLOOD WATCH continues for the low-lying areas along Stevens Creek and Taylor Drain in the Village of North Gower; however, water levels are expected to be less than those that have already been seen this spring.
A FLOOD OUTLOOK is being maintained/issued for the following areas:
• Properties around Bob’s Lake and Tay River in the upper Rideau Valley Watershed. In these areas, residents should expect spring like water levels and flows. Parks Canada staff are closely monitoring the water levels in Bobs Lake and Christie Lake, and operations at the Bolingbroke Dam will take place as required, to balance the levels in Bobs Lake and Christie Lake.
• Properties around the Long Reach (Burritts Rapids to Kars) of the Rideau River.
• Properties around the smaller creeks and streams in the lower Rideau Valley Watershed, including the low-lying roads and waterfront properties adjacent to the Jock River (near Richmond).
• Any connected creeks or ditches.
Extreme caution should be exercised by everyone when near local waterbodies. Please note that riverbanks are very slippery at this time of year and it’s quite easy for a child or adult to inadvertently fall into the water. Parents should inform their children of the risks and provide appropriate supervision.
Residents in flood prone or low-lying areas, historically susceptible to flooding, should continue to take the necessary precautions to protect their property, such as:
• Ensuring sump pump is clear, in good working condition and has a backwater valve
• Ensuring easy access to a portable backup generator and pump
• Ensuring downspouts are clear and the outlet is at least 3 metres from the dwelling
• Securing items that might float away as flows increase
• Removing valuable items from basements or lower floors that could be subject to flooding
• Keeping emergency phone numbers handy
• Familiarizing yourself with your municipality’s Emergency Preparedness Plan
This watershed conditions statement is in effect until April 9, 2020, at 5 p.m. and will be updated at that time unless the forecast or conditions change.
South Nation Conservation Update
Environment Canada is forecasting rainfall of 25 to 30 mm on Sunday, March 29th into Monday, March 30th.
Water levels across the watershed are normal for this time of year but are expected to increase in the coming days.
Rainfall is likely to produce high water levels and possible nuisance flooding in low-lying areas across the watershed.
ACTION: Residents are advised to exercise caution when near watercourses as flows may rapidly increase and cause slippery or unstable banks. Parents are encouraged to explain these dangers to their children.
This statement is in effect until Wednesday, April 1st, 2020.
SNC monitors water levels and weather forecasts as part of the Flood Forecasting and Warning Program. Updates are provided as conditions change.
Please visit www.nation.on.ca for more information. To provide feedback with respect to changes in water related conditions please email firstname.lastname@example.org, post on our Facebook (/SouthNationConservation) or Twitter (@SouthNationCA).
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Omar Kana’n, Water Resources Specialist – Engineering, 1-877-984-2948, email@example.com.
Forwarded to: All Flood Forecasting and Warning Directory.