Capital Ward Bulletin: Black History Month, LRT Inquiry and Public Health Updates

Ongoing Disruption Downtown

Throughout the pandemic, we have been having robust debates about public health measures and COVID-related restrictions. These discussions have occurred among individuals and with every level of government, trying to strike a balance to keep communities safe. I have openly pushed back against some proposed restrictions including the closure of park space, playgrounds and the need for repurposing outdoor space among many other issues. These discussions can and should continue—we must discuss what is effective, as well as the impact on civil liberties, livelihoods, and overall health.

But the demonstration we are seeing downtown is not that. It is not a peaceful protest. It is a campaign that purports to focus the federal government but which consists of targeted harassment, debilitating noise and violence towards the people of Ottawa. It should not be accepted.

I am disappointed in the lack of leadership from the senior levels of our city. In the absence of any clear plan communicated to residents, here is what I believe needs to occur:

  1. Every action should be geared toward protecting the residential areas of Ottawa and stopping the noise, violence and harassment people are enduring.
  2. Existing vehicles that are part of the convoy and illegally parked in our residential area should be ticketed and towed, when it is safe to do so.
  3. Allow for protest on Wellington and in the Parliamentary precinct. Begin cordoning off that area for protest.
  4. Protect residents accessing services through community support. Don’t engage the convoy occupation, but protect one another from harassment, defensively.
  5. The city should have a court injunction to permit removal of convoy vehicles from residential areas.
  6. The federal government needs to get involved and take over the management of the area where this occupation is occurring.
  7. Our services should not be held hostage, our libraries and social agencies should be operating and should be protected.
  8. Set deadlines with strict fines imposed on the occupation if they are not moving to designated areas focused on the federal government.
  9. Support each other with buddy systems and demonstrated actions such as clean ups and peaceful assembly.
  10. Do not allow further trucks and vehicles into the occupation this weekend, nor the free flow of gas cans to refuel them.
  11. We don’t need mass arrests, that would be unwise and unproductive.
  12. The city and OPS should apologize to Ottawa residents for the complete mishandling of this situation.

In the coming days I will be applying pressure on our authorities to take action to keep people safe and will be supporting neighbourhoods who help each other in the absence of that safety.

LRT Public Inquiry

The Ottawa Light Rail Transit Public Inquiry was established under Order in Council 1859/2021 on December 16, 2021. The Honourable Justice William Hourigan was appointed Commissioner to lead this independent public inquiry.

As Commissioner, Justice Hourigan has a mandate to investigate the commercial and technical circumstances that led to Stage 1 breakdowns and derailments of the Ottawa Light Rail Transit system (OLRT1). The Commissioner will present his findings in a final report, along with recommendations to help prevent these issues from happening again. The final report is to be delivered to the Minister of Transportation on or before August 31, 2022.

Applications for Standing and Funding are now available on the Commission’s website for individuals and groups to complete on or before February 28, 2022. If interested applicants have any questions they can contact the Commission at the following email address: [email protected]. Applicants can also view the Rules of Procedure and the Rules of Standing and Funding, which are also posted on the website.

Last fall, we joined with a handful of councillors in support of a public inquiry, and we are happy to see this work get under way.

Black History Month

February is Black History Month—a time dedicated to speaking of, learning about and exploring the experiences, stories and history of Black people in Ottawa and throughout the country. As we collectively grapple with issues of systemic racism, racial inequality and white privilege, Black History Month helps provide a focus on the daily and historical experiences of Black people and Black communities.

Black History Ottawa is hosting many worthwhile events this month exploring and celebrating the history, culture, traditions and experiences of Canadians of African descent. You can learn more about these events and register for them at Black History Ottawa’s website.

Winter Market at Lansdowne!

The Winter Market inside the Aberdeen Pavilion features 50+ artisans and farmers, who produce their edible goods and intricate crafts within a 100-km distance from the City of Ottawa. The market showcases the best of this region, with many agricultural, craft, baked goods, personal care products, and prepared food artisans in attendance. Each of our market vendors is committed to providing the freshest local products the season has to offer, including grocery staples such as fruits and vegetables, eggs, fresh bread, dairy, meat, marinades, and preserves! The hours of operation are 10:00 am to 3:00 pm every Sunday. Below is the promotional graphic with OFM branding. 

Your Capital Ward

Photo by Caroline Warburton

If you have a photo you’d like to share in an upcoming bulletin, please send it to [email protected], with the subject line Your Capital Ward. Please give us your name for attribution…of tell us if you’d rather not have your name shared.

Sidewalk Delivery Robots

This week at Transportation Committee, we were able to pass a motion re-iterating that “micro-utility devices” (MUDs) are not allowed to operate on city streets, sidewalks or anywhere within the city right-of-way. We brought this forward after learning that some “Tiny Mile” delivery robots had been deployed on the sidewalks of the Glebe and Centretown.

These robots contravene both the Traffic and Parking By-Law, and the Use and Care of Roads By-Law. Our sidewalks are not built to have pedestrians mingle with these devices, and I am glad that the city will not be allowing them to operate illegally.

As part of the motion, city staff will also notify any companies intending on using these devices that they are not permitted.

If you encounter one of these devices obstructing the sidewalk, you may report it by calling 3-1-1, emailing [email protected] or through

Civic Hospital Update

The design proposal for the new Civic Hospital parking garage is scheduled to be reviewed by the city’s Planning Committee on Thursday, February 10 at 9:30 am.

If you wish to speak at the committee meeting, please contact the committee coordinator, Eric Pelot, at (613) 580-2424 ext. 22953 or [email protected].

I do not believe this is an appropriate proposal for our community, and I will be presenting a motion to have any decision delayed until after the city’s Accessibility Advisory Committee is given the opportunity to review the proposal.

You can read our comments on the proposal here.

Future Homes Ottawa Survey

Future Homes Ottawa is a pilot program led by EnviroCentre and the Ottawa Energy Collective. It aims to mobilize community participation in the kind of deep energy retrofits our city needs to transform our neighbourhoods into the low-emissions, resilient, climate-proofed communities of the future.

The first phase of the Future Homes Ottawa pilot project is wrapping up—share your feedback for a chance to win a $25 IKEA gift card and help expand support for energy efficiency across our city! Survey closes February 7.

Parkland Dedication By-law Review and Replacement

Save the Date! Information Session

Please join the Parkland Dedication By-law Review and Replacement project team for an online information session on Tuesday, February 15 from 6:30 to 8:00 pm to learn more about:

  • Why the project is taking place (Legislative requirement)
  • Project scope
  • Stakeholder input
  • Next steps
  • Project timeline

As the project is still in the beginning phases, there are not yet any changes proposed to the by-law. Discussion of proposed changes will take place during online information sessions held in the next phase of the project.

This session will be held in a webinar format. Staff will present and participants can enter questions and comments for the project team’s response and consideration. The information session will be bilingual, and accommodations will be available if requested in advance.

This page will be updated with a link for the information session as we get closer to the date. The presentation will be posted on this page after the information session.

For more information, visit Engage Ottawa.

Fight for a City Free of Developer Influence

Throughout Capital Ward and across our city, we’ve seen the effects of undue influence that developers can have. This manifests in many ways - urban boundary expansion with increased speculation occurs, trees might be an afterthought, planning guidelines may get shuffled aside and political donations.

Throughout this term of council, we have been making suggestions to curtail development industry influence. We presented and passed a motion at Council on the revolving door between the industry and staff and examining the potential of a cooling off period, while trying to bring more balance to city-planning.

In February, our office is hosting a Town Hall meeting on developer influence. If you’re interested, please join me, Councillor Catherine McKenney and others as we discuss the issue and its broader implications for the city. The meeting will occur on Thursday, February 24th from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. For more information, visit our website at

Development Consultation for 1400 Bank Street

On Wednesday February 9 from 7:00 to 8:30 pm, our office is hosting a public consultation on a proposal for a high-rise mixed use apartment building at the corner of Bank Street and Belanger Avenue. This proposal seeks to amend not only the current zoning for the lot, but also the Official Plan (via the Bank Street South Secondary Plan). Visit our website for more information or to RSVP for the event.

The Future of Queen Elizabeth Drive and Colonel By Drive

Parkways for People are holding their third public event on Canal Parkways to discuss visions for Queen Elizabeth Driveway and Colonel By Drive as public spaces.

I will be participating in the event, along with NCC CEO Tobi Nussbaum, Councillors Catherine McKenney and Mathieu Fleury, MP Yasir Naqvi, and MPP Joel Harden. The event will be moderated by Lucy van Oldenbarneveld.

For more information, or to register, click here.

Bringing an Abbeyfield House to Old Ottawa South

Seniors Watch Old Ottawa South (SWOOS) is looking for people to help bring an Abbeyfiled House—or something similar—to Old Ottawa South.

Started in England, the Abbeyfield House concept has spread across many countries, including Canada. Abbeyfield Houses Society of Canada tells us that most homes provide private bed-sitting rooms with ensuite bathrooms, but residents share living/dining/kitchen facilities. The rent is kept lower than for-profit retirement residences, and usually includes one or two meals a day. Generally, large private homes have been renovated to accommodate 10-20 residents, but new apartments have also provided this form of housing spread out over one or more floors.

SWOOS is looking for individuals who will help make a new Abbeyfield a reality by:

  • serving on a four- or five-member organizing group to help get the project off the ground;
  • serving on a governing board to guide the project and provide accountability; or
  • serving as an advisor to the group based on their expertise or skill in specific areas.

If you have a desire to be involved and a willingness to make the project successful, or if you would like more information, please contact [email protected].

City Prepares Restart of Drop-In Recreation Activities, Reduces Winter Registered Programs

With the Province of Ontario relaxing restrictions on Monday, January 31, the city will resume drop-in recreation and cultural activities at select locations with 50% capacity levels.

Select facilities listed on will open for drop-in activities and facility rentals at 50% capacity starting on Monday. Access to most activities will require a reservation in advance and proof of vaccination will be required for everyone 12 years and older. Reservations for drop-in activities can be made under the “schedule” tab of the facility page.  

Many of the planned winter registered programs will be cancelled due to limited time remaining in the winter session and capacity restrictions. You will be contacted if your program has been cancelled and receive a refund. The following registered programs will still take place beginning Saturday, February 5:

  • Advanced aquatic certification programs (modified schedule)
  • Outdoor programs at Mooney's Bay Ski Centre at the Terry Fox Athletic Facility
  • Learn to Skate programs
  • Hockey programs
    • 4-on-4 for ages seven to 12 
    • 50+ Game Play 
    • Night Adult Game Play 
    • Ray Friel Hockey League
    • Instructional powerskating
  • Nepean Visual Arts Centre programs
  • Inclusive Recreation programs, including Social Recreation
  • Seniors Centres programming
  • “I Love To” programs 
  • Modified rural program offerings (check the guide for availability in your community)
  • Virtual programs
  • Before and After school programs
  • March Break camps will be offered with registration opening on Wednesday, February 16 at 9:00 pm.

These programs will run as staff availability permits. It’s a good idea to check for cancellations before heading to your program.

ACFO Ottawa and Bilingual Ottawa PresentsWinning stratégies : Funding your project

Bilingual Ottawa and ACFO Ottawa are hosting a series of 4 webinars that will discuss strategies to help you in the successful development and implementation of your project. Regardless if your funding is from Bilingual Ottawa or from another funder, these webinars will be useful in sharing tips and tricks for all your future grant writing endeavours. 

1:00 pm (French) / 2:00 pm (English) 

Participation is not limited to having received funding from Bilingual Ottawa in the past. The participation link will be shared with you a few days prior to the event

  1. Developing a project idea - December 13th
    In this first of four webinars, we will be discussing the steps to properly develop a project idea. We will be sharing strategies and elements that are essential to the development of grant-funded projects.

  2. Developing a budget and financial calendar - January 17th 
    Learn the importance of having a budget before submitting a project and how to tie it to a financial calendar during this second webinar. 

  3. Submitting a grant application - February 15th
    In this third webinar, we will focus on the process of writing and submitting a grant application as well as important considerations to increase your chances of funding. 
  1. Implementing your project - March 18th
    In our final of four webinars, we will discuss the implementation of a successful project and what common mistakes are made. 

Sign up for free here.

Government COVID-19 Support Program/Resources for Small Businesses

City of Ottawa

Province of Ontario

Ontario COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grant

  • Program provides eligible small businesses subject to full closure with a grant of $10,000.

Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program: applications opening January 18, 2022

  • Program provides rebate payments to eligible businesses for portion of property tax and energy costs.

Improving cash flows for Ontario businesses

  • Program provides a six-month interest- and penalty-free payment period for most provincially administered taxes.

Government of Canada

COVID-19 wage and hiring support for businesses

  • Program provides eligible businesses with a subsidy to support a portion of employee wages.

Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program (THRP)

  • Program provides eligible businesses, charities, and not-for-profit organizations with a wage and/or rent subsidy.

Hardest-Hit Business Recovery Program (HHBRP)

  • Program provides eligible businesses and organizations with wage and commercial rent support.

Local Lockdown Program

  • Program provides eligible businesses and organizations with wage and commercial rent support.

Canada Recovery Hiring Program (CRHP)

  • Program provides eligible employers with a subsidy to cover a portion of new employee wages and increase existing employee wages or hours.

Government extends loan forgiveness repayment deadline for the Canada Emergency Business Account

  • The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) program has provided interest-free, partially forgivable loans to nearly 900,000 small businesses and not-for-profit organizations. The deadline to qualify for partial loan forgiveness has been extended from December 31, 2022 to December 31, 2023 for eligible borrowers in good standing.

Vaccination Update

The Ontario Science Tables update on February 1 shows that unvaccinated people currently have a six-fold higher risk of being in the hospital and a 12-fold higher risk of being in the intensive care unit (ICU) compared to people who received two or three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. Getting a booster dose provides important protection while COVID-19 levels remain high in the community. 

Ottawa’s rates of vaccination coverage for COVID-19 boosters are now at 61% of eligible Ottawa residents having now received their third dose. Between Friday, January 28 and Sunday, January 30, 10,382 residents were vaccinated across all channels. The vaccine appointment bookings at City Clinics have slowly increased this week with children aged five to11 years old coming back for their second doses.

Getting vaccinated is important. That is why we have pushed for the city to open vaccination clinics during the ongoing disruptions downtown.

Quick links:

You can stay up-to-date on the latest COVID news by visiting Ottawa Public Health’s website.

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