Back to school, ramping up vaccinations and another pandemic Labour Day: Five stories to watch this week
Ottawa's English public and catholic school boards get back to school this week, Ottawa city council meets after the summer break, and the federal party leaders meet in Gatineau for two debates.
CTVNewsOttawa.ca looks at five stories to watch this week in Ottawa.
BACK TO SCHOOL
Students in the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board and the Ottawa Catholic School Board get back to school this week amid a new wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The OCDSB's first day is Sept. 9, while the OCSB returns two days earlier on Sept. 7.
The OCDSB passed a motion last week to mandate vaccinations for all staff by Sept. 30. The Ottawa Catholic School Board says employees who are not fully vaccinated will be required to take part in COVID-19 testing regularly. OCSB trustees will consider a mandatory vaccination policy at the next board meeting on Sept. 14.
CITY COUNCIL MEETINGS RESUME
City councillors will meet in a full council meeting Wednesday for the first time since the summer break.
The previous council meeting was held July 21.
City staff have determined that council meetings will remain virtual this fall because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the rising cases in Ottawa. Over the summer, several councillors told CTV News Ottawa that they were fully vaccinated and would be willing to return to council chambers in person.
Virtual meetings have led to higher engagement at some committee meetings, including the planning committee, the finance and economic development committee and the police services board.
FEDERAL LEADERS' DEBATES
Five federal party leaders will meet at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau this week for two debates.
Justin Trudeau (Liberal), Erin O'Toole (Conservative), Jagmeet Singh (NDP), Annamie Paul (Green), and Yves-Francois Blanchet (Bloc Quebecois) will debate first in French on Sept. 8 from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. and then in English on Sept. 9 from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.
People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier is not participating in either debate as the party did not meet the qualifying criteria.
The topics for both debates will be announced on Sept. 6.
The debates will be available on TV, radio, and online platforms. The English-language debate will also be available via translation in French, Cantonese, Mandarin, Arabic, Punjabi, Plains Cree, Inuktitut, Dene, Tagalog, American Sign Language and Quebec Sign Language.
The French-language debate will be available in East Cree, Ojibwe and described video, in addition to the languages noted above, with the exception of Plains Cree, Inuktitut and Dene.
WILL OTTAWA REACH 90 PER CENT VACCINATED?
With COVID-19 cases rising in the capital, city officials continue to insist on the importance of COVID-19 vaccination.
Mayor Jim Watson told the CTV News at Six on Saturday that increasing the vaccination rate would help stave off the possibility of another lockdown.
"The last thing we want to see in this community and this country is another shutdown of businesses," Watson said. "We have to do everything we can to get more people vaccinated."
As of Friday, 80 per cent of eligible residents were fully vaccinated, according to data from Ottawa Public Health. OPH officials said there was a notable uptick in vaccinations after the Ontario government announced its proof of vaccination program, which is set to come into force later this month.
Ottawa will experience another Labour Day under the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Ottawa and District Labour Council is holding its annual Labour Day march this year after the 2020 event was held virtually.
The ODLC says the 2021 march will take place rain or shine. It will leave Ottawa City Hall at noon Monday. Masks and physical distancing are requested.
For a list of other events taking place this long weekend, click here.
To see what's open and closed on Labour Day, click here.