Ottawa city council finalizes the 2024 city budget, the Bank of Canada makes its final interest rate decision of 2023 and all eyes on Ottawa’s respiratory virus situation.
CTVNewsOttawa.ca looks at five stories to watch in Ottawa this week.
Council finalizes 2024 city of Ottawa budget
Ottawa city council will finalize how the city will spend your tax dollars in 2024.
Council will meet on Wednesday to finalize the 2024 city of Ottawa budget, which includes a 2.5 per cent property tax increase. The budget also includes a 2.5 per cent hike in transit fares and a 2.5 per cent increase in the Ottawa Police Service budget.
If approved, a 2.5 per cent property tax hike would see the average urban homeowner pay an additional $105 on their property tax bill in 2024. Water and sewer rates, garbage and recycling rates and fees for recreational services will also increase.
The city of Ottawa says the budget includes $21.8 million for affordable housing, $62 million in parks and building investments, $16 million in community safety investments and $140 million for bridge renewals and road rehabilitation projects. The city of Ottawa will also add 20 new automated speed enforcement cameras in 2024.
Wednesday is the final council meeting for 2023.
‘Canada’s Rally for the Jewish People’
Canada’s Jewish Federations, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs and JFC-UIA will host ‘Canada’s Rally for the Jewish People’ on Monday in Ottawa.
Organizers say members of the Jewish community and their allies from across Canada will “unite on Parliament Hill in solidarity with the hostages, the people of Israel and the safety of Jewish Canadians.”
“We will remind elected officials that we must all stand together as Canadians in support of the people of Israel based on our shared values that unite us with Israelis: human rights, democracy, and the protection of innocent life in the face of terrorism.”
The rally comes as the Israel-Hamas war nears the end of its second month.
Ottawa police say there will be an “increased presence” in downtown Ottawa to help mitigate traffic impacts.
Police say there will likely be road closures during the afternoon and into the evening rush hour on streets near Parliament Hill.
Flags continue to fly at half-mast outside the Soloway Jewish Community Centre in Ottawa on the fourth day of the Israel-Gaza war. Oct. 10, 2023. (Leah Larocque/CTV News Ottawa)
Bank of Canada
The Bank of Canada will make its final policy announcement of 2023 on Wednesday, when it announces its decision on the target for the overnight rate.
The central bank increased interest rates in July to 5 per cent, and elected to hold the rate at 5 per cent in September and October.
Economists tracked by BNN Bloomberg are calling for a hold at five per cent this week, with some saying they expect the central bank to be done hiking rates.
On Friday, Statistics Canada reported Canada’s unemployment rate rose to 5.8 per cent in November.
The Bank of Canada building is seen on Wellington Street in Ottawa, on Tuesday, May 31, 2022. (Justin Tang/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
All eyes on respiratory viruses
All eyes will be on Ottawa’s key respiratory virus indicators this week, with three weeks left until Christmas.
Ottawa Public Health reported last week that COVID-19 activity in Ottawa is increasing, while levels of influenza and RSV in wastewater surveillance data indicate high levels of the viruses.
Medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches told CTV News Ottawa hospitalizations linked to COVID, flu and RSV are rising.
“We unfortunately expect that to go up now that flu is also increasing,” Etches said. “But the useful thing to know right now is that you can still protect yourself against that influenza virus that’s rising. The COVID vaccine, the new one is here. And you can get both COVID and flu at the same time.”
In an advisory sent to school boards last week, Ottawa Public Health warned fall and winter “may be challenging with several respiratory viruses circulating at the same time.”
The health unit is encouraging people experiencing symptoms to stay home until fever-free and symptoms have been improving for 24 hours, cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze and get the flu shot and updated COVID-19 vaccine.
Trevor Fowler receives his flu shot from Barrhaven pharmacist Mohammed Manji. (Peter Szperling/CTV News Ottawa)
The final push for donations to charities in the Ottawa area this holiday season continues this week ahead of the Christmas season.
Tuesday is CTV News Ottawa’s day at Toy Mountain, helping to sort toys donated by Ottawa and area residents. The Toy Mountain campaign supported 27,000 children in Ottawa last Christmas, and the Salvation Army expects the need to rise again this year.
The Salvation Army’s Toy Mountain campaign collects and distributes toys for children in Ottawa under the age of 12. To find out how to donate, click here.
On Thursday, it’s the CTV Morning Live Holiday Helpers Food Drive. The fundraising drive will be held from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Bell Media building at 87 George Street. Drop off a food or cash donation to help support the Ottawa Food Bank.
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