We made it to 2021! Vaccines are here and their availability is anticipated to quickly increase in the months ahead. However, we need to continue to do our part in staying safe as COVID-19 is still with us.
The pandemic and its long-term consequences will continue to test us in exceptional ways, but we will meet these challenges with resilience, kindness and by working together to support each other and our community.
Thank you for continuing to follow public health guidelines and for contributing to keeping our loved ones and our vulnerable populations safe and healthy.
Throughout the pandemic, the federal government listened to Canadians. We developed programs to support businesses, workers, individuals and various sectors to get us through these hard times. In speaking with business owners, I know it’s been extremely challenging, we will get through this.
There has been some exciting progress locally that I am so pleased to share.
Since 2015, I have advocated to secure funding for the new “Super Library” and to make it net-zero. Through a strong partnership with the City of Ottawa and Library and Archives Canada, the federal government has delivered on investing in a net-zero carbon joint facility. This was a team effort and I know how important this is for Ottawa residents.
Some more great news; I was so pleased to end the year announcing federal funding for four new electric buses and charging stations in Ottawa, alongside Mayor Watson. This is something I committed to as Member of Parliament and it was incredible to reach this achievement with the City of Ottawa. This is yet another example of how our government believes in better transit that is cleaner, sustainable and resilient.
Now let’s talk about housing. This was another commitment I made – to advocate and deliver more affordable housing for Ottawa. Through many discussions with my colleague, Minister Hussen, and ongoing collaboration with the City of Ottawa and Mayor Watson, we have delivered on more affordable housing in Ottawa.
In 2020, we invested $167.9M in Ottawa Community Housing through our government’s National Housing Strategy and we also allocated $31.9M to Ottawa under the Rapid Housing Initiative. Between these two programs, over 800 new units of affordable housing will be built to provide homes to those who need it most. Many of these units will be energy efficient, accessible and close to public transit. But we know there is more work to do. This pandemic has shown us just how precarious the situation is for people who are without safe, affordable housing. As a government, we will continue to support our most vulnerable and build inclusive communities.
Lastly, I would like to share the exciting announcement our government made on Canada’s strengthened Climate Plan: A Healthy Environment and Healthy Economy. This plan will meet and exceed our 2030 targets and put us on a pathway to resilience and clean growth. It will cut energy waste to make life more affordable. It will make clean transportation and power available across the country. It will make sure pollution isn’t free and you’re better off. It will build Canada’s clean industrial advantage and it will use nature to make our communities healthier. This historic climate plan delivers on our commitment to building a stronger, cleaner and more resilient Canada.
As we reflect on the past year, I want to thank all the healthcare professionals and essential workers, the non-profit organizations and the volunteers – who continue to work tirelessly during this unprecedented time. I know our community will continue to come together to help those in need.
I wish you a happy and healthy new year, with feelings of renewed hope and optimism.