Catherine McKenna
Hon. Catherine McKenna
Member of Parliament for Ottawa Centre
Together Apart: COVID-19 Update #21

October 31, 2020

Dear Residents,

The last few months have been very challenging with the resurgence of COVID numbers in Ottawa. This is difficult 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, City Councillors, local community and business organizations, and others to look at how we can help support the health and economic response to COVID. 

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. We’ve also invested $31.9 million in Ottawa for housing through the Rapid Housing Initiative. 

A reminder that my staff and I are here to support you. If you need any help navigating federal support programs, please reach out. 
Lastly, I want to wish you all a Happy Hallowe’en! As Dr. Etches recommends, have fun making memories in a different way this year and avoid trick or treating. 

We will get through this pandemic and emerge stronger by supporting each other and working together. 


In the News

Federal Government Updates 

New and modified programs to support employers and workers include the following:

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS):

Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA):

Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS):

Canada United Small Business Relief Fund (CUSBRF):

Transition from CERB to EI:

Read more about these programs here.

Rapid Housing Initiative:

Our government launched the new Rapid Housing Initiative on October 27, 2020 that will invest $1 billion in funding, creating up to 3000 new permanent, affordable housing units across the country. Of this, $31.9 million is allocated to Ottawa for new affordable housing. 

As Member of Parliament for Ottawa Centre, I committed to delivering more affordable housing for residents. This initiative is another example of how the federal government is committed to eliminating homelessness across Canada.

Address by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance to the Toronto Global Forum: Canada’s plan for a strong economic recovery from COVID-19. 

On October 28, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland gave a speech at the Toronto Global Forum that laid out our government’s economic rationale that is driving our response to this global pandemic, and the strategy that underpins our phased plan for a robust, lasting recovery from the coronavirus recession. 

Read the full speech here: 

Canada one-step closer to zero plastic waste by 2030

In 2019, we made commitment when I was Environment Minister to ban single-use plastic to protect our water, wildlife, communities and now we are delivering on it. 

On October 7, our government announced that we will modernize Canada’s Environmental Protection Act and move forward with our plan to ban harmful single-use plastics by 2021. Read more about this here.    

Infrastructure plan to create jobs and grow the economy

On October 1st, Prime Minister Trudeau, myself and Infrastructure Bank Chair, Michael Sabia, announced a $10 billion plan for new investments in infrastructure.

This will create 60,000 new jobs, connect more households and small businesses to high-speed internet, strengthen Canadian agriculture, help build a low-carbon economy, and much more. Read more about this here. 

Download the COVID Alert application 

Stop what you’re doing and take one minute to download the COVID Alert app! This app was made to notify users of possible exposure to people who have tested positive for COVID-19. It is free, voluntary, and uses strong measures to protect your data. Users who test positive for COVID-19 will receive a one-time key from their health authority that they can enter into the app. Read more here.


                                                                   Local Updates

Small Business Week

Ottawa Centre has many wonderful stores and restaurant, please shop local.

During Small Business Week, I spent time visiting small businesses in Ottawa Centre, and had the opportunity to hear directly from business owners about what they are going through.

Despite the extreme challenges they face, it’s incredible to see the generosity of the Ottawa business community to others. 

A message I have to everyone who has the means is, see how you can support people. And please shop local if you are in a position to do so.

Mayor’s Breakfast

A huge thank you to Mayor Jim Watson and Ottawa Board of Trade for hosting my chat with Mark Sutcliffe.

We touched on many important topics in our discussion including that we need to focus on outcomes, continue to support businesses and adapt our programs based on your feedback. 


Invest Ottawa, Area X.O

As Ottawans know already, Ottawa is Canada's tech hub with an ecosystem of established and start up technology companies. Earlier this month, 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.


Ottawa Centre Youth Council

I want to give a shout out to my amazing Youth Council! They have embarked on a project to support businesses in Ottawa Centre, who have been hit hard by the pandemic, with a special focus to Black, Indigenous and immigrant owned businesses. They are showcasing the delicious and authentic foods and amazing products these businesses have to offer. Check out their Facebook page for more information.

Meals on Wheels

Meals on Wheels, a service that would usually have many volunteers deliver hot and frozen meals to seniors and people with disabilities, has experienced a large drop in volunteers since the end of March given that many were over the age of 70 themselves. 

They have an urgent need for volunteers. If you are able to help out, please get in touch. They are following all public health guidelines diligently to ensure safe contactless deliveries and would really appreciate the support. For more info, visit their website.


M.P. Podcast "The Builders"

Don’t forget to check out my podcast, “The Builders”, where I have great conversations with amazing community builders in Ottawa. My special guest in my most recent episode is Dr. Vera Etches!  

We hear from Dr. Etches on how to best protect ourselves and our families during this challenging time. We also learned more about Dr. Etches and how she came to be Ottawa’s first female medical officer of health. 

Listen to the full discussion here. 


Community Resources 

Groceries & Meals 

Visit or call the Community Information Centre of Ottawa at 2-1-1 for information on how to access food.


Respite Centre for Ottawa's Homeless

Free washrooms and showers are open at the McNabb Community Centre, 180 Percy Street. 


Kids Help Phone

Kids needing  help or to talk to someone about what they are going through can text or call the Kids Help Line, 24/7:

Text: CONNECT to 686868

Call: 1-800-668-6868

A Friendly Voice for Seniors 

A Friendly Voice is here to talk 8:00 am - 12:00 am at 613-692-9992. Calling is FREE.

The Distress Centre of Ottawa 

If these unsettling times are affecting your mental health, please know that it's completely OK to ask for help. The Distress Centre of Ottawa is there for you 24/7 at 613-238-3311

If You Feel Unsafe at Home

If you are dealing with physical, emotional, sexual, or other kinds of abuse at home text 613-704-5535 or chat online at This service is available 7 days a week, from 8:30 a.m. to midnight. 

COVID-19 Information and Updates   

Ottawa Public Health: 

Any Ottawa resident who is showing one or more symptoms of COVID-19,  can go for testing at the COVID-19 Assessment Centre or the COVID-19 Care Clinics

Ottawa Public Health’s NEW dynamic format for reporting on COVID19 in Ottawa is now available. Data is updated daily and more in-depth reports will be shared weekly.


Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC):

PHAC has set up a new tool for Canadians to gauge the risk levels of their plans outside the home.

The Government of Canada Novel Coronavirus website.

Canada COVID-19 Situational Awareness Dashboard.

PHAC Detailed Epidemiological Summary of COVID-19 in Canada report.


Stay in Touch Ottawa Centre 

My Constituency Office is virtually open and ready to support and serve you. 

Phone: 613-946-8682

Email: [email protected]

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