COVID-19 UPDATE FOR MAY 15, 2020
Below you will find today’s updates on the COVID-19 situation.
My team and I are monitoring the situation closely and sharing resources and information here in our daily newsletter, on our COVID-19 Information Hub, on Facebook, and on Twitter.
Our goal is to help you have the latest facts at your fingertips during this challenging time.
I hope everyone is ready for the long weekend and taking some time to relax and recharge. As we heard yesterday, some businesses are set to reopen. This is an exciting development. Let’s enjoy getting out and supporting our local businesses again while being sure to continue physical distancing.
- Heads up: City Services on Monday
- Watch yesterday’s virtual townhall
- Status of school year – update coming Tuesday
- Ontario Federation of Agriculture COVID-19 website
- OFA student bursary
- Emergency wage subsidy extended until end of August
- Support for research staff
- Benefit, tax grace period
- Students can now apply for Federal aid
- Wild Parsnip Notice
- O-YA Virtual Update
- Boat launches open Saturday
- Traffic Impact in Rural Ottawa
Heads up: City Services on Monday
Watch yesterday’s virtual townhall
- Yesterday afternoon, Mayor Watson hosted a second virtual town hall to discuss the city’s response to COVID-19.
- City leaders provided updates and answered your questions.
- You can view it here, if you missed it.
Status of school year – coming Tuesday
- The Education Minister will announce Tuesday whether the school year will be cancelled. All indications are that it will.
- We’ll also learn about the status of childcare on Tuesday.
Ontario Federation of Agriculture COVID-19 website
- The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) has launched a webpage with agri-food sector FAQs and a breakdown of government updates.
- The site has information on everything from financial aid to mental health supports.
- Access the page here: https://ofa.on.ca/information-and-resources-covid-19/
OFA student bursary
- The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is once again offering three $2,000 bursaries to students of OFA families.
- If you’re pursuing an education in an agriculture-related field, find out more here.
- The deadline to apply is August 31, 2020.
Emergency wage subsidy extended until end of August
- Prime Minister Trudeau announced today that the 75% federal wage subsidy program is being expanded by three months, until the end of August. (Last week he announced that the subsidy would be extended beyond the original June 6 end date but hadn’t given a new date).
- The subsidy is meant to help businesses keep staff on payroll or re-hire workers who were laid off. It covers up to 75% on the first $58,700 of an employee's salary – a maximum of $847/week.
- To be eligible, businesses (including non-profits and charities) must have seen a reduction in revenue of at least 15% in March 2020, and 30% in the following months.
- This subsidy is retroactive as of March 15, 2020.
- Go here for information on how to apply. Note: you won’t be able to keep both the wage subsidy and the CERB. It’s one or the other.
- Finance Minister Bill Morneau also announced expansions today to the eligibility criteria, aimed at helping get more people back on the job, including those who work for private schools and for sports associations.
Support for research staff
- The prime minister announced $450 million to help Canada’s academic research community during COVID-19.
- The temporary wage support will be delivered through federal granting agencies.
- The financial support aims to prevent the layoffs of up to 15,000 researchers at hospital-based research institutes who, due to a technicality, don’t qualify for the wage subsidy.
- Government news release
Benefit, tax grace period
- The Prime Minister announced today that an added grace period is coming for parents who receive the Canada Child Benefit and people who claim the GST/HST credit.
- He said that while everyone should still try to file their taxes by the extended date of June 1, those who don’t get their paperwork in by then won’t automatically see their benefits cut off.
- Both of those benefit programs will be continued until the end of September.
Students can now apply for Federal aid
- As of today, students can apply for the Canadian Emergency Student Benefit (CESB).
- CESB provides high school students, post-secondary students and recent graduates that are unable to work with financial relief through COVID-19.
- Students can apply here.
Wild Parsnip Notice
The 2020 Wild Parsnip Program will start on May 19, 2020, weather permitting. Similar to years past, the goal is to reduce the growth of wild parsnip in areas that are highly infested while ensuring that environmentally sensitive areas and public safety are not adversely impacted.
The 2020 Strategy consists of the following:
- Continue and expand Clearview herbicide application to highly infested areas
- Continue with mowing, adjusting frequency and timing to best coincide with herbicide applications
- Re-map infestation levels
- Continue the communication and awareness campaign in collaboration with partners in Ottawa Public Health (OPH), Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP), National Capital Commission (NCC), etc.
- Staff will prepare weekly updates for Councillors on roadside and parkland spraying locations within each ward
- Communication materials (a postcard and an information sheet) are available for distribution to Councillors for their constituents.
- Approximately 1,200 lane km of roadsides/pathways and over 150 locations of parkland will be treated this year.
- Roadside cutting is currently underway and additional herbicide application may be considered again for the fall season.
- Rather than placing signs every 100 m along roadside spraying locations, an MECP-approved “Notice of Herbicide Use” advertisement will appear in local newspapers on May 16th, 2020.
- In public access points for parks, signs will continue to be posted every 100 m.
- Rural residents who do not wish to have the roadside adjacent to their property sprayed have been given the option to opt-out of the Wild Parsnip program.
- It will become their responsibility to manage any Wild Parsnip infestation adjacent to their property, as required by the Weed Control Act, 1990.
- Information has been shared on how to opt-out as part of the communications to residents on our website and in print materials.
- For additional information on wild parsnip, please consult the City of Ottawa’s website.
O-YA Virtual Update
An amazing new mental health initiative has just been launched in Ottawa! Counselling Connect provides free access to a same-day or next-day phone or video counselling sessions.This service is for children, youth, adults and families in Ottawa and the surrounding area. There is no waiting list. The website is extremely easy to use, and is backed by 13 community based, trusted and reliable partner agencies. If you are finding life challenging, please check them out! https://www.counsellingconnect.org/
Boat launches open Saturday
- Boat launches at City parks will open on Saturday, May 16, as permitted in the Province of Ontario stage-one reopening.
- For the further lifting of other park restrictions, the City, in consultation with Ottawa Public Health (OPH), continues to carefully examine the stage-one guidelines and how they pertain to the use of other City outdoor sports and recreation facilities.
- The City will announce next week any other details on the further lifting of park restrictions on sports fields, courts and ball diamonds.
- Over the long weekend, the current City Emergency Directives, with the exception of green spaces and boat launches, will remain in place.
- While the use of boat launches is now permitted, it is important to note that even in normal times, it is never permitted to launch watercraft – such as boats, canoes and kayaks - from beaches.
- The Parks and Facilities By-law also prohibits watercraft from being launched in areas that are not specifically designated for launching watercraft.
- It is important to note the Province’s first stage of re-openings will not change the current Provincial Emergency Order restricting gatherings of more than five people – unless they are members of the same household.
- OPH continues to advise that limiting activities to members of your own household remains important, and that physical distancing of at least two metres from non-household members be maintained during these activities.
Traffic Impact in Rural Ottawa
Metcalfe Street – Metcalfe Street will close between Frank and Lewis streets from Tuesday, May 19 to Tuesday, May 26 for deep sewer and watermain work as part of the Elgin Street renewal. Local access will be maintained and signed detours will be in place.