Catherine McKenna
Hon. Catherine McKenna
Member of Parliament for Ottawa Centre
Together Apart: COVID-19 Update #25

March 28, 2021


Great chat with grade 5 student Aimee, for her school project on women in politics. 

Dear Residents,


I hope you are doing well and staying safe and healthy.


Vaccines continue to be our priority as a government, and we remain on track to vaccinate every Canadian who wants a shot by the end of September. Locally, Ottawa Public Health has expanded its vaccine eligibility. Residents from anywhere in the city who were born in or before 1946 (75 years old and older) are eligible. 


Nationally, we've made exciting announcements this month including, $2.75 billion in more electric buses and school buses, charging stations and more, to contribute to cleaner air and good jobs across Canada. We also announced our plan to create an active transportation fund, investing $400 million in new and expanded community pathways, trails, and pedestrian bridges.  


I recognize this year has been incredibly difficult for everyone. It was just over a year since COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic. On March 11th, 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. There are resources in Ottawa Centre that can provide support, such as the 24/7 Distress Line you can call at 613-238-2211 or text at 343-306-5550. 


Lastly, a huge thank you to the frontline workers, healthcare and essential workers who continue to work so hard to keep us safe. Let's keep supporting each other! 





In the News





Federal Government Updates 




Vaccine updates

Now that we have four free, safe, and effective vaccines approved for use in Canada - Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Janssen, Canada is on track to receive 9.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses by the end of March and tens of millions more doses between April and June. This is good news for our parents, grandparents, healthcare workers, and everyone waiting for their loved ones to get vaccinated.

To date, more than 4.9 million vaccine doses have been administered to Canadians, and we've delivered more than 6 million doses to the provinces and territories. We will continue to work with provinces and territories to ensure that all Canadians who want a vaccine are vaccinated by the end of September. 

It remains critical that everyone does their part to stop the spread of COVID-19. This means getting vaccinated as soon as you are able, following public health measures, avoiding all nonessential travel and using the COVID Alert application.  

For more information regarding federal vaccine distribution and rollout, click here. 


Update on Ottawa Public Health's vaccine rollout 



As information on vaccines here in Ottawa is rapidly evolving, please visit the Ottawa Public Health website for the most up to date information.


You can check your eligibility through Ottawa Public Health's screening tool here.  


Who has become eligible? 

How to book an appointment?

Extension on government COVID-19 supports


We recognize as a government, the fight against the COVID-19 virus is not over yet. That is why we announced we are extending the current rates for the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS), and Lockdown Support from March 14 to June 5, 2021. 


Find out more here.


We also extended the deadline for new Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) applications from March 31-June 30, 2021. This will help small businesses: pay their bills, keep doors open and protect jobs.  


Find out more here.  



Investments in active transportation 


We are creating an active transportation fund, the first national project of its kind! The active transportation fund will invest $400 million in new and expanded community pathways, trails, and pedestrian bridges. Just like our investment in the Flora Footbridge, this will make it easier for people to get around on foot, bikes, scooters, wheelchairs & e-bikes. 


It was great to announce this great news at Ottawa Centre's own Bushtukah, an incredible business dedicated to helping residents get out, get active and enjoy nature. This announcement will create jobs, connect communities and protect the environment in Ottawa and across the country. 


To learn more about the announcement, click here


Investments in electric buses




We are going electric! We recently announced we are investing $2.75 billion in more electric buses and school buses, charging stations and more that support Canada's electric transit system. This means 5000 electric school and city buses across Canada.


I know how important clean transportation is to residents of Ottawa Centre. Ottawa is acquiring four 40-foot battery-powered New Flyer buses this year and is looking at the potential to add more electric buses. This will provide additional clean public transit options to get to and from work - and/or take your kids to school. This will create jobs and reduce emissions right here in Ottawa and across the country. 


To learn more about the announcement, click here.



Canada Community-Building Fund


As a government, we will continue to support communities to get more projects built, create jobs and restart our economy. We intend to double our support through the Canada Community-Building Fund, formally the Gas Tax Fund (GTF). This means $2.2 billion for more broadband, transit and rec centres across the country. 


Last year, the city of Ottawa received over $56 million in federal support through the GTF for investments in infrastructure; doubling will make a big difference in getting things built for Ottawans while helping to restart the local economy and create good jobs.


To learn more about the announcement, click here.

Filing your taxes   



What is the deadline to file taxes this year?  

For more information on deadlines, click here. 



When will your receive your T4A slips from the CRA?

Most who received COVID-19 emergency and recovery benefits from the CRA should have received your T4A slips by now and are encouraged to file your 2020 income tax benefit return on time.

If you have any addition questions about T4A slips, learn more here.  



Where can you find tax help from the CRA? 


Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP): 

In Ottawa you can use this program to have your returns completed for 2020 (and previous years) and filed for free.

To find a tax clinic near you, click here. 

If you need any assistance with this, please contact my office. We are happy to help.   



Local Updates 


International Women's Day 

This month we celebrated International Women's Day. This day is so important because while we have made progress, we still have a lot of work to do to achieve gender parity.


On this International Women's Day, I challenged women and girls to run. Run for council, run for provincial or federal politics, run for school trustee or run for school president. Whatever it is, get inspired and motivated to throw your hat in the ring! 


Check out my interview about International Women's Day in Ottawa's local Kitchissippi Times here

Connecting with local women's organizations

Ahead of International Women's Day, I connected with amazing women's organizations in Ottawa. We had a really insightful discussion about how the pandemic is disproportionately impacting women, especially marginalized women, and how to tackle short-term and systemic issues. Thank you for taking the time to speak with me! 


The New Horizons for Seniors Program

So glad to hear from both the Ottawa Trinity Anglican Church and the Abbotsford House about our government's New Horizons for Seniors Program and how its made an impact on connecting seniors through technology and engaging programs. Thank you for all the amazing work you do for seniors in Ottawa Centre and beyond.

The New Horizons Seniors Program supports projects offered by organizations that make a difference in the lives of seniors and their communities in many ways including; promoting volunteerism among seniors and other generations, engaging seniors in the community through the mentoring of others, supporting the social participation and inclusion of seniors, and more.

To learn more about the New Horizons for Seniors program, click here.


Virtual Seniors' Tea



I really enjoyed hearing from Seniors in Ottawa Centre for our Annual Seniors' Tea with The Good Companions. Although it was virtual this year, it was so nice to hear from you. We had a great conversation about the vaccine rollout, our government's supports for those with disabilities and how our government can continue to help seniors during COVID-19 and beyond. Thank you so much for joining me!  


The Builders podcast


If you have the chance, check out my podcast "The Builders." Through a series of episodes, I feature incredible people whose vision, talent, and hard work make Ottawa Centre a great place to live, work, and play! 


Click here to listen now. 


Download the COVID-19 Alert App

Stop what you're doing and take one minute to download the COVID Alert app! This app notifies 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 daily and 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]



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