Federal Update: Continuing to invest in active transportation

Submitted by Catherine McKenna, MP for Ottawa Centre

As we say goodbye to winter and welcome spring, I hope you are doing well and staying safe and healthy. With the days getting longer and temperatures rising, I hope you are able to get outside and enjoy a walk or other physical activity.

Our government shares the urgency of Canadians to ensure access to life-saving vaccines as rapidly as possible, and we are operating with this sense of urgency every single day. 

By the end of March, Canada had received more than 9.5 million vaccines. We will be receiving 36.5 million doses by the end of June. This puts us on track to have enough vaccines for every Canadian who wants one by the end of September. 

Ottawa Public Health is working extremely hard to ensure our most vulnerable communities are prioritized to receive the vaccine as quickly as possible. 

As well, the launch of the provincial booking system marks an important milestone in the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. To find out if you are eligible, and to book a vaccine appointment, visit covid-19.ontario.ca/book-vaccine

As we move closer to providing vaccine protection for everyone, it’s important to remember that we aren’t out of the woods yet. It’s critical that we follow the public health measures in place, including maintaining physical distance, wearing a mask, washing your hands and staying home if you’re sick.

In other news, I am very happy to share that the federal government is continuing to invest in active transportation through the Active Transportation Fund, the first national project of its kind! I was glad to make this announcement at Bushtukah, a local bike and outdoor adventure shop in Ottawa Centre. 

The fund will invest $400 million in new and expanded community pathways, trails and pedestrian bridges. Just like our investment in the Flora Footbridge, this initiative will make it easier for people to get around on foot, bikes, scooters, wheelchairs and e-bikes. It will also create jobs, connect communities and protect the environment in Ottawa and across the country. 

Additionally, in March, the federal government announced an investment of $2.75 billion to help transit agencies acquire new electric city and school buses, including new charging equipment that will support Canada’s electric vehicle charging network. 

These 5,000 new electric school and city buses will help tackle climate change, create good jobs, and support manufacturing right now, here in Canada. 

Locally, Ottawa is acquiring four 40-foot battery-powered New Flyer buses this year and is looking at the potential to add more electric buses. These buses have the latest electric-bus technology that is significantly better and more reliable. 

It’s now been over a year since COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic. On March 11, we held a National Day of Observation to honour and mourn those we have lost. Together, we remember them and together we will get through this. 

A reminder that my constituency office is virtually open and ready to assist – call us at 613-946-8682 or email us at catherine.mckenna@parl.gc.ca

A huge thank-you to the frontline workers, healthcare and essential workers who are working so hard to keep us safe. And a thank-you to Ottawa Centre residents for doing your part: I know this has been really hard and we will get through this. Let’s continue to keep supporting each other!

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