Catherine McKenna
Hon. Catherine McKenna
Member of Parliament for Ottawa Centre
Together Apart: COVID-19 Update #23

Le français suit l'anglais


January 24, 2021

Dear Residents,

Going into the new year with added restrictions in Ontario has not been easy, but is necessary. Our COVID-19 case numbers in Ottawa spiked significantly over the holidays and it is critical that we continue to follow public health directives and stay home. 

In hopeful news, vaccines have been administered in Ottawa Centre to long-term health care residents and essential public health workers, with million of doses arriving over the coming months. Our government is focused on supporting provinces and territories so they can distribute these vaccines as quickly as possible to protect Canadians. As the Prime Minister has said, we are on track to give every Canadian who wants a vaccine to receive one by September. While this is good news, additional vaccines won’t help anyone who contracts COVID-19 now. Until everyone is protected from this virus, we need to continue to follow public health advice, including wearing masks, download the COVID Alert app – and stay home whenever possible. I know this isn’t easy, but we will get through this. 

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, local organizations and many constituents, I hear your frustration and I know how challenging this has been.

Let’s remember that we need to take care of our mental health. It’s incredible hard, and many of us are struggling. Check in with you loved ones, call or zoom a friend, go for a walk. Also know that there are resources available in Ottawa Centre such as the Distress Centre, a 24/7 help line you can reach at 613 238 3311.

Let’s take it day by day. We will meet these challenges with resilience, kindness and by working together to support each other and our community. There is a more hopeful future coming and remember that we’re in this together.




In the News



Government Programs



As we get through the stay-at-home order, our federal government programs are here to provide support. Here are our programs listed below as well as information on provincial programs:

Federal Government Programs:


Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS): Maximum subsidy rate of 75% and it is extended until June 2021

Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS): Rent and mortgage support until June 2021. Additionally, eligible businesses restricted by a mandatory public health order can receive an additional 25% of rent support through the Lockdown Support.

Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA): Loan of $60,000 in which $20,000 is forgivable if paid before Dec 31, 2021.

Regional Recovery Relief Fund (RRRF): provides liquidity in the form of loans for businesses unable to access relief benefits.

Employment Insurance (EI): program has changed to support more Canadians through the pandemic.


Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB): Income support if you are self-employed or are not eligible for Employment Insurance.  

Canada Recovery Caregiver Benefit (CRCB): Income support if you must stop work to care for dependents due to closures, high risk and caregiver availability.

Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB): up to two weeks of support if you are sick or must self-isolate due to COVID-19.


Please find more information on all of these programs here. 



Provincial Government Programs:


Ontario Small Business Support Grant: $10,000-$20,000 grant which will help small businesses who must close or significantly restrict services due to Provincewide Shutdown.  

Rebates for PPE, property taxes or energy bills: The province will provide grants for eligible businesses to help cover the cost of personal protective equipment and property taxes and energy bills. 

Main Street Relief Grant: will help small businesses with 2-9 employees with the cost of PPE.


Find out more about these programs here. 


Federal Government Updates 




Vaccine updates


Last week, Minister Anand confirmed that Pfizer would be temporarily reducing vaccine deliveries to Canada for four weeks due to the expansion of one of the company’s manufacturing facilities. This reduction will not impact our goal to have enough vaccines for all Canadians by September 2021.   

Thanks to our work with provinces and territories, as well as with the National Operations Centre, which is tracking vaccine delivery and distribution, Canada’s immunization program is still ahead of schedule. We also have one of the most diverse vaccine portfolios in the world, with seven vaccine agreements and the largest number of COVID-19 vaccine doses per capita of any country.  This strategy will ensure our long-term vaccination plan remains on schedule.

While Canadians continue to get vaccinated, we still have a ways to go. That’s why we need to keep doing everything in our power to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in Canada and save lives. This means not leaving the house unless for essential reasons, wearing masks, keeping our distance from others, and using the COVID Alert App. Find more info on Canada’s vaccine rollout plan here.




Testing Requirements at Airports

Since the onset of the pandemic, our government has put measures in place to keep Canadians safe by securing our borders and limiting international travel. 

Due to the rise in cases in many countries, as of January 7th, we've added another layer for incoming travellers who must have a negative COVID-19 test before boarding. The test must be conducted within 72 hours of your scheduled departure. These tests combined with quarantine requirements and symptom reporting, will help keep our imported cases of COVID-19 low in Canada. Travellers entering Canada must continue to follow mandatory isolation or quarantine requirements.

Read more here.

Canada Summer Jobs

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on young Canadians who are trying to find work. Employers also face challenges when recruiting and hiring workers while adapting to the realities of the pandemic. Canada Summer Jobs provides a great opportunity for youth to gain meaningful experience and learn new skills. Are you an employer in Ottawa Centre?

Apply to Canada Summer Jobs by January 29th. More info here. 


Two billion trees planted over the next 10 years 


In December, the Government of Canada’s plan to plant two billion trees over 10 years was launched, with an investment of $3.16 billion.

Meeting this commitment will help Canada address climate change by reducing carbon pollution. This plan is a key part of Canada’s goal to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Read more here

Increasing the Canada Child Benefit

The COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on families, with students separated from their classmates and friends, and their parents having to either juggle child care and work, or leave their job to look after their children.

To further help parents and children, our government will be temporarily increasing the Canada Child Benefit by almost 20% in 2021 for low and middle income families, and we will be laying the groundwork for a Canada-wide child-care system in partnership with provinces, territories and Indigenous communities, which will allow more parents to fully participate in the economy. We are in this together!



Local Updates 

Call with local BIAs

Last week I spoke with local BIAs on how hard the lockdown and the stay-at-home order has been for small businesses in Ottawa. Small businesses are the heart of our communities and our government is committed to continuing to provide support. Thank you for your thoughtful ideas and feedback on how we can continue to support you. We know how difficult this has been, and we will get through this. Let’s all keep doing our part and shop local if you have the means. 



New Voluntary Self-Isolation Site


In December, our government invested $4.7M in Ottawa Public Health to create a safe, and voluntary isolation site. This site will provide a safe place for individuals to self-isolate and will help reduce high rates of COVID-19 transmission in densely-populated neighborhoods.

A huge thank you to Dr. Vera Etches and the Ottawa Health team for your dedication to ensuring Ottawa residents stay informed and safe throughout the pandemic. 

Call with the Ottawa Community Foundation

Last week, I had a great discussion with Rebecca Aird and Steve Winkelman from the Ottawa Community Foundation to discuss the upcoming launch of LC3 Canada’s Ottawa Climate Action Fund. Looking forward to working together to drive ambitious climate action that will create jobs, support businesses with clean solutions and build a cleaner future for our kids and grandkids. 

Connecting with St. George Elementary School


So pleased to hear from Ms. Allison’s Gr. 5 class at St. George Elementary School. Among thoughtful questions, the students were enthusiastic about sports & outdoor activities like cycling, hiking and sledding. I know things are really hard right now with virtual learning and other changes because of the pandemic, and these kids are working really hard to do their part to stay safe. It was so great to hear from them! 

M.P. Podcast with Dave "The Groomer" Adams 

This conversation was recorded in January, 2020.

With all the snow we've had in Ottawa Centre, I’m so eager to get on the SJAM Winter Trail!

Prior to the pandemic, I had the pleasure of hosting Dave Adams on “The Builders”. In our conversation we learn a little more about Groomer Dave and what led to him developing the SJAM trail. Tune in and hear about winter activities that the whole family can enjoy


Listen to the full discussion here. 

Download the COVID-19 Alert App

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.


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 Tom Brown Arena, 141 Bayview Station Rd.  

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 dynamic format for reporting on COVID19 in Ottawa is now available. Data is updated dailyand more in-depth reports will be shared weekly.


Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC):


How risky is it to get a haircut or go to the gym? 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]


Share this E-Newsletter 


Please forward this newsletter to anyone who might find the information helpful. 


To subscribe to my digital "M.P. Newsletter," click here. 



Main office - Ottawa
107 Catherine Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K2P 0P4


Show Map

Hill Office
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6


Show Map