Submitted by Catherine McKenna, MP Ottawa Centre
Dear Ottawa Centre residents,
The last few months have been very challenging with the resurgence of COVID-19 numbers in Ottawa. This is challenging for individuals, organizations, businesses and the community overall. I want to thank everyone for following public health advice, supporting local businesses and for supporting each other, especially our most vulnerable.
I am in constant contact with Dr. Vera Etches and Ottawa Public Health, the mayor and local councillors, local community and business organizations and others to look at how we can help support the health and economic response to COVID-19.
Through the Safe Restart Agreement, we’ve invested over $5 billion in Ontario. This includes $2.3 billion towards testing, contact tracing and PPE, $287 million for vulnerable communities and $1 billion towards public transit. Below, I note some of the new programs to support individuals and businesses amid COVID-19.
There are several new programs and modified existing programs that will help support residents of Ottawa Centre.
- Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit will provide two one-week periods of benefits.
- Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit provides 26 weeks of benefits.
- Canada Recovery Benefit provides 13 two-week periods of benefits.
The federal government has also introduced a new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy which responds to concerns, including from businesses in Ottawa Centre, about challenges accessing rent support through landlords. The new rent subsidy will provide easy-to-access rent and mortgage support until June 2021 for qualifying organizations.
The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy has been extended until June 2021 and will continue to protect jobs by helping businesses keep employees on the payroll and encourage employers to re-hire their workers.
An expanded Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) will enable businesses, and not-for-profits eligible for CEBA loans, to access an interest-free loan of up to $20,000, in addition to the original CEBA loan of $40,000.
In September, I was joined by Minister Hussen to make an exciting announcement for Ottawa. We announced the largest investment in affordable housing in our city’s history. This $167.9 million investment in Ottawa Community Housing for three sites on Gladstone Avenue will create 698 affordable, energy efficient units while creating 2,600 jobs.
We are committed to tackling the housing and homelessness crisis in Ottawa, including working with the city on modular housing and the possibility of acquiring hotels.
Another exciting update was when I was joined by Mayor Watson and others to break ground to start the construction for Stage 2 of the LRT. Our government recognizes the critical role of public transit in getting essential workers and employees to and from work and children to school. Notably, 77 per cent of Ottawa residents will live within 5 km of the LRT, and Stage 2 will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 110,000 tonnes, helping to get cars off the roads.
As Ottawans already know, Ottawa is Canada’s tech hub with an ecosystem of established and start-up technology companies. I joined Minister Joly, Mayor Watson and Invest Ottawa to announce a $7 million federal investment through FedDev Ontario to help launch Invest Ottawa’s Area XO, a world-class facility to develop and test autonomous vehicles. This will support the next generation of digital infrastructure and help to grow our regional economy, drive innovation and create good local jobs.
A reminder that I am here with my staff to support you. If you need any help navigating federal support programs, please reach out. You can email us at Catherine.McKenna@parl.gc.ca or call us at 613-996-5322.
We are going through very hard times. We will get through this pandemic and emerge stronger by supporting each other and working together.