OTTAWA — Children roll up their sleeves to get the COVID-19 vaccine, the Ottawa Police Services Board finalizes the 2022 budget and the Senators return to the ice following a week long COVID-19 break.
CTVNewsOttawa.ca looks at five stories to watch in Ottawa this week.
COVID-19 VACCINES FOR KIDS
The first doses of COVID-19 vaccines for children ages five to 11 years-old will be administered in Ottawa and eastern Ontario this week.
Ottawa Public Health is preparing to begin administering COVID-19 vaccines to 77,000 children on Friday following Health Canada’s approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
“We’re working hard to make sure the booking system will show the appointments available as of Tuesday, and people will be able to have the appointments booked starting on Friday,” said medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches during an interview with CTV Ottawa.
COVID-19 vaccines for children will be available at seven mass vaccination clinics in Ottawa, neighbourhood vaccination clinics and at 73 schools.
The Renfrew County and District Health Unit says parents in Renfrew County can begin booking appointments on Tuesday.
The COVID-19 vaccine for children will be available as COVD-19 outbreaks rise at elementary schools in Ottawa. As of Sunday, there were outbreaks at 16 elementary schools. An outbreak at Holy Family Elementary School has 12 student cases.
SENATORS RETURN TO THE ICE
The Ottawa Senators will face the Colorado Avalanche Monday night in Denver following a one-week break due to COVID-19.
The NHL postponed three Senators games last week as the team dealt with a COVID-19 outbreak that saw ten players and a coach placed in the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol.
It’s the first time the NHL postponed games this season due to a COVID-19 outbreak.
“We’ve got to put it behind us and we’ve got to stop the noise,” said head coach DJ Smith on Saturday as the Senators returned to practice. “It happened. It’s unfortunate. It’s a global pandemic, and we’re just lucky that no one had it really, really bad. We’re just going to move forward and continue to get better every day. We just want to get back to playing hockey.”
Two players remained in the COVID-19 protocol on Sunday – Drake Batherson and Nikita Zaitsev.
The Senators play Colorado Monday night, San Jose Wednesday night, Anaheim on Friday and Los Angeles on Saturday.
OTTAWA POLICE BUDGET
The Ottawa Police Services Board will finalize its 2022 budget Monday evening.
The $346.5 million proposed operating budget includes $14 million in new funding for the Ottawa Police Service in 2022. It includes $5.1 million in efficiency savings and forgoes plans to hire 30 new officers next year.
Community groups, including Horizon Ottawa and 613-819 Black Hub, have called on police to freeze spending in 2022.
Police Chief Peter Sloly says the budget tries to find a balance to address the needs and wants of the community.
“I think it’s always important for us to have a very healthy debate about any public institution and the funding going into it, and the police shouldn’t be exempt from that in any case in any jurisdiction,” said Sloly in an interview on CTV News Ottawa.
“It’s a healthy thing to have a good robust budget discussion and a budget build that gets presented and publicly discussed, and that’s what’s been happening. In fact, this year the Ottawa Police Services Board and the Police Service has gone through the most extensive effort to present a budget as transparently and fully as possibly and to have a healthy debate around it, and that’s a good thing.”
If approved, the 2022 Ottawa Police Service Budget would add $19 to the average property tax bill.
OTTAWA’S LRT SYSTEM
Service is expected to continue to ramp up on the Confederation Line this week, as the second week of full service begins following the derailment.
As of Friday, eight trains were in operation along the light rail transit line, with trains stopping at stations every seven to eight minutes.
Transportation services general manager Renee Amilcar told the Transit Commission on Wednesday that service will “gradually increase” as more trains clear inspection and become available. The goal is to have full service with 11 trains running by the end of November.
Amilcar has said 11 trains should be running for the free transit month in December.
The Ontario government has called a public inquiry into Ottawa’s LRT debacle. Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney says a commission will be appointed and the terms of reference finalized in the coming weeks.
SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Members of Parliament return to Ottawa this week for the start of the 44th Parliament.
The new session begins on Monday, when MPs elect a new Speaker of the House of Commons.
On Tuesday, the newly re-elected Liberal government will outline its priorities for the new session of Parliament with the speech from the throne. The speech will be delivered by Gov. Gen. Mary May Simon, with the event getting underway at 1 p.m.
As of Monday, anyone who wants to enter the House of Commons and Senate buildings within the parliamentary precinct must be fully vaccinated under new COVID-19 vaccination rules.
EVENTS IN OTTAWA THIS WEEK
Ottawa Police Services Board meeting – 4 p.m.
Ottawa Senators at Colorado Avalanche – 8:30 p.m. (TSN 1200)
Federal speech from the throne – 1 p.m.
Ottawa Carleton District School Board meeting – 7 p.m.
Ottawa Catholic School Board meeting – 7 p.m.
Ottawa City Council meeting – 10 a.m.
Ottawa Senators at San Jose Sharks – 10:30 p.m. (TSN 5 and TSN 1200)
Ottawa Planning Committee meeting – 9:30 a.m.
Lansdowne tree lighting and launch of the Christmas Market
Ottawa Senators at Anaheim Ducks – 4 p.m. (TSN 5 and TSN 1200)
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