• Education and the Economy Summit fosters increased collaboration between local government, education and business leaders to promote economic opportunity

    The Education and the Economy Summit, held today at Ottawa City Hall, laid a strong foundation for ongoing collaboration between local school boards, postsecondary institutions, government and private sector partners, NGOs, and students, with the goal of generating more opportunities for students and increasing the long-term prosperity of the city with more start-ups and jobs.

    “The Education and the Economy Summit is only the beginning of the conversation among the key partners from the education and economic sectors,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “This collaborative approach to education makes Ottawa an even more attractive place to receive an education and pursue a career, providing students with greater employment opportunities and the skill-set required in today’s workforce.”

    Close to 250 students and stakeholders attended the one-day Summit, which featured remarks by His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, Mayor Jim Watson, Councillor Riley Brockington, Chair of the Summit, and Jonathan Lister, VP Americas, Sales Solutions and Canada Country Manager at LinkedIn.

    “The Summit highlighted the commitment of all key partners to provide students with opportunities to develop the skills and experience they need to excel once they enter our local workforce,” said Councillor Brockington. “The result for students will be greater access to training, internships and employment bridging opportunities, and our city will benefit from having an innovative and entrepreneurial workforce.”

    “Our goal is to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce,” said Mr. Lister. “With more than 60 per cent of the workforce on LinkedIn, we have a wealth of data insights into national and local labour markets. We are proud to be partnering with the City of Ottawa to encourage further collaboration between employers and educators.”

    During the day, Summit participants attended workshop discussions on topics such as student attraction and retention, work integrated learning, entrepreneurship and pathways to employment.

    Summit workshops were led by notable education and business community leaders, including:

    • Dr. Jaswinder Kaur, Director, India and Emerging Markets, Kivuto Solutions Inc.
    • Scott Bowman, Director, Government Relations, Futurpreneur
    • Ritch Dusome, President and CEO, Centre of Excellence in Next Generation Networks
    • Kathy McKinley, President and CEO, Ottawa Network for Education (ONFE)
    • Dr. Malcolm Butler, Dean, Faculty of Science, Carleton University
    • David Ritonja, Vice President, Broadband Access Business Unit North America, Nokia Networks
    • Bruce Lazenby, Head of Business Development, Regional Group of Companies
    • Christine Donoghue, Acting President, Public Service Commission of Canada

    The Summit reinforced important components of the City’s economic development strategy for maintaining the growth and resiliency of our local economy:

    • Drawing students and talent to the city from across the country and the globe
    • Keeping talent in Ottawa
    • Attracting business and financial investment

    Nurturing and supporting entrepreneurship and small business

  • Mayor’s inaugural Gala for the Arts raises $75,000 for the Ottawa Art Gallery Expansion and Arts Court Redevelopment Project

    Ottawa – The inaugural Mayor’s Gala for the Arts, which was held on Saturday, October 15, in the Horticulture Building at Lansdowne Park, was a huge success.

    Through generous sponsorship, donations and ticket purchases, the Mayor’s Gala for the Arts raised $75,000. These proceeds will be directed towards the Ottawa Art Gallery Expansion and Arts Court Redevelopment Project.

    “Next year, our rich, vibrant and diverse Arts Community will find a new home in Ottawa’s premier arts hub: the newly expanded and renovated Ottawa Art Gallery and Arts Court facility,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “The Gala’s beneficiaries, the Ottawa Arts Council and the Ottawa Art Gallery, work diligently to grow and support the professional development of our Arts Community. This is why hosting this Gala and supporting the arts is so important: by investing in the arts, we invest in our City.”

    260 guests attended the sold-out Gala and enjoyed memorable performances by internationally acclaimed pianist Angela Hewitt, the Ottawa Symphony, the Aboriginal Experience Dance Troupe and Bear Nation Singers, the Ottawa Dance Directive, Fresh Meat Theatre, The Yips and the upbeat musical group Swing.

    The Ottawa Art Gallery displayed artwork from their extensive collection, and local Arts Court partners ArtEngine, Saw Video and Saw Gallery brought a modern, fresh and technological facet to fashion and visual arts.

    The culinary arts were also proudly showcased. Guests savoured delectable creations from an impressive dinner menu elaborated exclusively for the Gala through collaboration between the chefs of The WhalesboneAtelierBeckta and Thyme and Again.

    “There are many priorities in any municipality but great cities can attest to culture remaining one of the key pillars, and Ottawa is no exception. On behalf of the Ottawa Art Gallery, we thank Mayor Watson for his inspired support of the arts in our city and his leadership on the OAG Expansion and Arts Court Redevelopment project,” said Alexandra Badzak, Ottawa Art Gallery’s Director & CEO.

    “We are delighted to have had Mayor Watson’s unwavering support for the Ottawa Art Gallery Expansion and Arts Court Redevelopment,” said Peter Honeywell, Ottawa Arts Council’s Executive Director. “Proceeds from this inaugural Gala will contribute to improving arts spaces that will be enjoyed by thousands of visitors for decades to come.”

    Mayor Watson would like to acknowledge Platinum levels sponsors CF Rideau Centre and the Downtown Rideau BIA and Gold level sponsors Groupe Germain and the Rideau Transit Group, who rose to the occasion and showed not only their support for the arts community, but for the community at large.

    Click here to view photos of the evening.

  • Louise Staranczak and Frances Kane receive City Builder Award

    October 12th, 2016 – Mayor Jim Watson and Gloucester-South Nepean Ward Councillor Michael Qaqish presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Louise Staranczak and Frances Kane at today’s City Council meeting.

    For the past four years, Ms. Staranczak and Ms. Kane have been the driving forces behind the rejuvenation of the gardens surrounding the Carleton Lodge Long Term Care Facility. Both these women have brought beauty and peace to the Carleton Lodge in an immeasurable way. Because of their tireless work, the immaculately kept gardens brimming with colour and life is inspiring to all who walk by.

    Together they have officially logged more than 700 hours of work on the gardens this year alone. Most at the Carleton Lodge know the two spend countless more hours unofficially working on the gardens. It is also known that Ms. Staranczak and Ms. Kane are incredibly humble about their work, as they seek no praise or gratitude.

    Ms. Staranczak and Ms. Kane have been instrumental in the complete reconstruction of the aviary garden at the main entrance of the Carleton Lodge. They have also added an entrance garden near the ramps gardens and completely refurbished a courtyard and chef’s garden. In addition to their daily work on the gardens, Ms. Staranczak and Ms. Kane supervise and mentor a group of volunteer gardeners of all ages, from teenagers to seniors.

    The duo does not rest in the winter months. They take advantage of this time to propagate plants for the next season and care for the many indoor plants. Undoubtedly, the two bring joy to the residents, staff and visitors of the Carleton Lodge year-round.

    The Mayor’s City Builder Award is a civic honour created to recognize an individual, group or organization that has, through outstanding volunteerism or exemplary action, demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to making our city a better place today and for the future. This may include lifelong service, outstanding acts of kindness, inspiring charitable work, community building or other exemplary achievements.

    Individuals, groups or organizations may be nominated by members of City Council or the public.

    The award is presented at the beginning of each City Council meeting.

  • Government funding supports a cleaner and healthier Ottawa River

    Ottawa, Ontario— Infrastructure investments are vital to creating jobs, strengthening the middle class and building more inclusive and healthy communities where families can work, learn and play. The Combined Sewage Storage Tunnel (CSST) project will help protect the environment, prevent floods, and ensure that middle class Canadians and their families can enjoy recreational activities like swimming and kayaking on a cleaner and healthier Ottawa River.

    Today, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Member of Parliament for Ottawa Centre, on behalf of the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, the Honourable Bob Chiarelli, Ontario Minister of Infrastructure and Member of Provincial Parliament for Ottawa West–Nepean, and his Worship Jim Watson, Mayor of Ottawa, announced that more than $232 million in government funding will go to the CSST project. The Honourable Andrew Leslie, Chief Government Whip and Member of Parliament for Orléans, also participated in the announcement.

    The project will include the construction of two tunnels: an east-west tunnel through the downtown core from LeBreton Flats to New Edinburgh Park, and a north-south tunnel along Kent Street from Catherine Street to existing infrastructure, just behind the Supreme Court of Canada. This project will greatly reduce the frequency of sewage overflows into the Ottawa River during storms, reduce the risk of basement flooding for several low-lying lands in the Glebe/O’Connor area, and increase operational flexibility and redundancy to major collector sewers. Once rainfall has subsided, this water will be treated and returned safely to the Ottawa River.

    Construction has already begun on the CSST project, the largest portion of the Ottawa River Action Plan, to help ensure that the Ottawa River is sustainable into the future. Today’s investment demonstrates a clear commitment to investing in local infrastructure projects that will ensure Canadians have access to a healthy local environment and reliable public services for years to come.

    The governments of Canada and Ontario are each providing $62.09 million. In addition, the City of Ottawa has committed $107 million.


    “The Government of Canada is committed to investing in infrastructure that will support a healthier environment, create job opportunities, strengthen the middle class, and better meet the needs of Canadians. The Combined Sewage Storage Tunnel will help protect the environment, reduce basement flooding, and ensure that middle class Canadians and their families can enjoy recreational activities on a cleaner and healthier Ottawa River.”
    The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Member of Parliament for Ottawa-Centre, on behalf of the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

    “Our government is committed to building Ontario up, while ensuring our communities thrive today and for generations to come. This project will make the Ottawa River safer and healthier, improve the environmental sustainability of the surrounding community and generate economic activity in the Ottawa area, all while creating local jobs.”
    The Honourable Bob Chiarelli, Ontario Minister of Infrastructure and Member of Provincial Parliament for Ottawa West–Nepean

    “The Combined Sewage Storage Tunnel is one of the most important projects of the Ottawa River Action Plan, which is the City of Ottawa’s roadmap for protecting the health and vitality of the Ottawa River for present and future generations. Federal and Provincial funding for the CSST project demonstrates a vote of confidence in our Council’s commitment to protecting our local environment, including one of our most precious resources, our water.”
    His Worship Jim Watson, Mayor of Ottawa

    Quick facts

    • The CSST will hold up to 43,000m3 of sewer overflow during major rainfalls, the equivalent capacity of approximately 18 Olympic-sized pools.
    • In February 2010, Ottawa City Council approved the Ottawa River Action Plan, a collection of 17 projects aimed at improving the health of the Ottawa River and funded in part by the Ottawa River Fund, a cost-sharing program with the Province of Ontario and Government of Canada.
    • Completion of the project is anticipated in late 2019 with the intent of having the CSST in full operation by mid-2020.
    • Portions of the project are located on lands contributed by the National Capital Commission.
    • Dragados Tomlinson has been selected as the construction team building the project.
    • Ontario is making the largest investment in public infrastructure in the province’s history – about $160 billion over 12 years, which is supporting 110,000 jobs every year across the province, with projects such as roads, bridges, transit systems, schools and hospitals. Since 2015, the province announced support for more than 475 projects that are helping to keep people and goods moving, connect communities and improve quality of life.

    Associated links

    Investing in Canada, the Government of Canada’s new $120 billion infrastructure plan: http://www.infrastructure.gc.ca/plan/index-eng.html.
    Federal infrastructure investments in Ontario: http://www.infrastructure.gc.ca/map-carte/index-eng.html.
    New Building Canada Plan: http://www.infrastructure.gc.ca/plan/nbcp-npcc-eng.html.
    City of Ottawa programs and services: CSST@ottawa.ca / http://ottawa.ca/en/residents/water-and-environment/ottawa-river-action-plan
    Building Ontario – infrastructure plan: www.Ontario.ca/BuildON

  • Trick or Treat with the Mayor!

  • Underpass murals celebrate the Rideau Canal

    October 6th, 2016 – New murals were officially showcased today on Queen Elizabeth Drive and Colonel By Drive under the Laurier Avenue Bridge. This is the third year of the Murals on Underpasses program intended to feature local artists and beautify the City.

     “These underpasses are key gateways to Ottawa’s downtown, and it’s only fitting that the artists have celebrated the historical and social significance of the Rideau Canal,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “These murals are fun and whimsical and yet help document Ottawa’s unique communities and their histories.”

    Somerset Ward Councillor Catherine McKenney and Rideau-Vanier Ward Councillor Mathieu Fleury also participated in today’s showcase.

    Queen Elizabeth Drive

    Artists:  Cassandra Dickie and Dodo Ose

    This mural is a surrealist approach to the evolution of the Rideau Canal, inspired by a combination of double exposure photography and watercolour technique. Large historical images and smaller detailed contemporary scenes reflect a journey down the canal, from nature to urban sprawl, summer to winter, and past to present.

    Colonel By Drive

    Artist:  Ryan Smeeton

     This mural highlights the significance of the Rideau Canal and reflects upon the aspects that make it so important to Canadians as a source of leisure, history and commerce. The imagery references its engineering and construction as well as its everyday function.

    “These murals bring recognition to local artists, enhance our neighbourhoods and have proven to be effective in managing graffiti vandalism,” said Councillor Egli. “They give downtown visitors out for a walk or a skate even more reasons to stop, and gaze and enjoy their surroundings.”

  • Mayor Watson announces transit pass for low income residents

    Ottawa — Today, Mayor Jim Watson, along with the Chair of the Transit Commission Councillor Stephen Blais, announced that a low income transit pass will be included in the City of Ottawa’s 2017 budget.

    The low income transit pass will be available at a significant discount on the adult general monthly fare for those residents who are at or below the income cut-off (LICO) as defined by Stats Canada. It will be available to residents with an annual individual income of approximately $20,000 or less, or a family income of approximately $38,000, for a family of four. The specific discount of the pass will be revealed when the budget is tabled at Council on November 9.

    This announcement comes after a year during which options to provide a low income transit pass were thoroughly debated in our community. Time and again, Ottawa residents have indicated that they support the City’s efforts towards providing lower income residents with affordable access to transit.

    “The low income transit pass will provide a more viable transit option for our working individuals who live on low wages,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “Significant progress needs to be made wherever and whenever we can to make Ottawa a better place to live for all our residents. By offering a low income transit pass, the City is helping those who would otherwise not be able to afford to get around the City, either to maintain or find meaningful employment, or access healthcare.”

    The low income transit pass will be offered as a new type of monthly transit pass and will not be subsidised by the cost of other transit passes. City Council’s policy on the amount that OC Transpo collects from its riders versus the amount it collects from taxpayer contributions to transit will remain the same.

    “Introducing a new transit pass for low income residents will reinforce OC Transpo’s commitment to providing world-class, affordable transit for all Ottawa residents,” said the Chair of the Transit Commission, Councillor Stephen Blais. “This new transit option will help us create an even more affordable City for unemployed residents seeking employment, single parents, recent immigrants settling in Ottawa, or those temporarily out of work due to injury.”

    This affordable transit pass could benefit as many as 8,800 eligible low income transit users.


  • Red-light cameras being installed at locations across the city

    October 3, 2016 – Today, Mayor Jim Watson, Councillor Keith Egli, Chair of the City’s Transportation Committee, and Orléans Councillor Bob Monette unveiled a new red-light camera at the intersection of St. Joseph Boulevard and Old Tenth Line Road, making it the first of five new red-light cameras that will be installed throughout the city in 2016 with 15 more to be installed in 2017.

    These 20 new red-light cameras will be in addition to the existing 34 red-light cameras currently in operation at locations across Ottawa. The City installs cameras at intersections based on collision rates.

    “Road safety is a top concern in neighbourhoods across Ottawa and as a Council we are committed to making sure that all of our road, path and sidewalk users feel safe,” said Mayor Watson. “In the 2016 budget, Council approved the expansion of the red-light camera program as another tool we can use to ensure our streets are safe for everyone.”

    The program’s objective is to improve intersection safety by decreasing the number of red-light running occurrences. Collisions resulting from red-light running tend to be more severe than other intersection collisions because they usually involve at least one vehicle travelling very quickly. In 2014, there were 655 reportable angle collisions at signalized intersections in the city.

    “Keeping residents safe as they travel through the city is of vital importance,” said Councillor Egli. “By implementing tools such as red-light cameras, with enforcement and education, we can improve the level of safety for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists on our roads. These cameras also allow police to focus on other enforcement needs.”

    Red-light cameras take two photographs: the first is taken when a vehicle is about to enter an intersection with a red light, the second photograph shows the offending vehicle in the intersection. The fine for running a red light is $260, plus a $5 service fee and $60 victim surcharge.


  • New Federal Homelessness Funding Available for Municipalities

    News release from Municipal Advocacy Solutions. September 30, 2016

    Housing has been in the news a lot lately. Whether it is high home prices, families who require safe, affordable housing, or the consultations being led by CMHC on a National Housing Strategy, there is a lot to talk about.

    Just today, FCM’s Big City Mayor’s Caucus released 7 ways to help fix the housing crisis affecting the Country. You can read that article here.

    This week the Federal Government also announced funding for Municipalities to help alleviate homelessness. The funding stems from the 2016 Federal Budget and the infusion of $112 million into the Homelessness Partnering Strategy.

    There are 2 funds Municipalities can apply for:

    • Innovative Solutions to Homelessness – Contribution projects
      Applicants are invited to submit proposals for projects that develop innovative and effective best practices or innovatively build capacity to prevent or reduce homelessness in Canada. Successful applicants will receive funding between $25,000 to a maximum of $500,000 to create and/or evaluate concrete and potentially groundbreaking best practices that can be used to improve client outcomes. (DEADLINE: NOV 14th, 2016)
    • Innovative Solutions to Homelessness – Microgrants
      Applicants are invited to submit proposals for small scale experimental projects or prototypes up to a maximum of $25,000 in grant funding to develop and/or evaluate effective, innovative and potentially groundbreaking practices, tools, or initiatives that prevent or reduce homelessness in Canada.(DEADLINE: OCT 21st, 2016)

    If you require any assistance with ongoing funding opportunities, federal advocacy, or strategic advice, please feel free to contact us.

    Shawn Menard
    Municipal Advocacy Solutions

  • Angela Hewitt to perform at the Mayor’s Gala for the Arts

    Ottawa – Mayor Jim Watson is proud to announce that internationally acclaimed pianist Angela Hewitt is the feature performer at the inaugural Mayor’s Gala for the Arts, which will take place on on Saturday, October 15, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. in the Horticulture Building at Lansdowne Park.

    Angela Hewitt is one of the world’s leading pianists and recipient of numerous awards and honorary distinctions. As an Ottawa native, Angela spent her formative years in the Nation’s Capital before launching her international career and settling in Europe. Angela has been described as one of the reliably mesmerizing musicians of the day and her performance will undoubtedly dazzle guests.

    Mayor Watson will also welcome the Ottawa Symphony and performances by local dance, musical and theatrical artists, along with art exhibits and displays by local Arts Court artists.

    The Mayor’s Gala for the Arts is an opportunity for the community to come together and celebrate the achievements of Ottawa’s local artists, while supporting the upcoming talent of tomorrow.

    Mayor Watson is pleased to welcome CF Rideau Centre and the Downtown Rideau BIA as Platinum level sponsors of the inaugural Mayor’s Gala for the Arts and Groupe Germain and the Rideau Transit Group as Gold level sponsors.

    The culinary arts will also be proudly showcased as guests will savour creations prepared by the chefs of The WhalesboneAtelierBeckta and Thyme and Again.

    The beneficiaries of the 2016 inaugural event are Ottawa Arts Council and the Ottawa Art Gallery. Proceeds from the Gala will be directed towards the Ottawa Art Gallery Expansion and Arts Court Redevelopment Project.

    The Mayor’s Gala for the Arts will outline the vibrancy, diversity and charisma of Ottawa’s local arts community. Together, let’s Fall for the Arts.

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