MP | 613 946 8682 | email Catherine.McKenna@parl.gc.ca
Vaccines continue to be our priority as a government and we remain on track to vaccinate every Canadian who wants a shot by September. In positive news, all residents of long-term care in Ottawa were vaccinated at the beginning of February. Vaccinations are ongoing for retirement residents, long-term-care home staff, essential caregivers, higher-risk health-care providers and seniors over 80. We are expecting to receive six million doses by the end of March – four million from Pfizer and two million from Moderna. This will require a significant ramp up by provinces and territories and we are working closely to support them in these critical efforts.
Since last spring, the Government of Canada has strongly advised against non-essential travel and we put in place among the strictest rules around the world for international travellers. To prevent new cases of COVID-19 from coming to Canada and to protect Canadians from new variants of the virus, the federal government announced further testing and quarantine requirements for international travellers arriving at Canada’s air and land ports of entry. These new measures will help prevent variants of concern from reaccelerating the pandemic, making it more difficult to contain. Our government continues to strongly advise Canadians to cancel or postpone any non-essential travel, including vacations, outside Canada. Foreign nationals should likewise postpone or cancel travel plans to Canada. For more details on travel restrictions, visit – Travel.gc.ca/travel-covid
It’s been a busy month and I have a few very exciting updates to share with you.
In February, our government announced an investment of almost $15 billion starting this year in new funding for public transit and active transportation projects across the country, including the creation of a permanent public transit fund of $3 billion a year starting in 2026. Our government’s investment in public transit now and into the future will shorten commute times, create jobs and support Canadian companies, reduce emissions, make our air cleaner, help drive emissions to net zero and transform cities and towns across the country. This transformation is happening already in Ottawa with the second phase of LRT underway and the announcement with Mayor Watson of federal funding for new electric buses.
The pandemic has highlighted how important communities are to the health and well-being of Canadians. The new Canada Healthy Communities Initiative that I launched this month, together with Community Foundations of Canada, will help Canadians enjoy safer, more vibrant and inclusive communities. This is a great opportunity for organizations and community groups in Ottawa to submit smaller, innovative projects to improve the quality of life of residents through COVID-19 and beyond – anything from pop-up bike paths and outdoor art installations to community gardens and wifi hubs. Successful applicants can get federal grants between $5,000 and $250,000. Visit the Community Foundations of Canada webpage at communityfoundations.ca or call 613-236-2664 for more details.
Lastly, this is a very hard time for everyone with respect to mental health. I find going for a walk outside, skating on the canal or going for a ski on the SJAM trail really helps me. Hopefully many of you are able to enjoy our beautiful local nature as well. As spring comes, it will be even easier to get outside. I know it’s been tough, but there is a hopeful future ahead. Remember that there are resources in Ottawa Centre that can provide support, such as the 24/7 Distress Line at 613-238-2211 or text at 343-306-5550. Let’s keep supporting each other through this.
Please note that my constituency office continues to be virtually open and ready to assist. Call us at 613 946 8682 or email at Catherine.McKenna@parl.gc.ca.