Canada ends pre-arrival COVID-19 test requirements for vaccinated travellers and winter continues: Five stories to watch in Ottawa

Canada lifts the pre-arrival test requirements for vaccinated travellers and Ottawa’s transit commission meets for the first time in 2022.

CTVNewsOttawa.ca looks at five stories to watch in Ottawa this week.

CANADA LIFTS PRE-ARRIVAL TESTS FOR VACCINATED TRAVELLERS

Fully vaccinated travellers will not need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test to enter Canada starting Friday.

The federal government is lifting the pre-arrival COVID-19 testing requirements for fully vaccinated travellers at land, air and marine borders as 12:01 a.m. on April 1.

Passengers may still be subjected to random PCR testing on arrival at Canadian airports. The federal government says travellers selected for mandatory random testing are not required to quarantine while awaiting their test result.

All travellers will still be required to submit their mandatory information in the ArriveCAN app before arrival to Canada.

Currently, all fully vaccinated travellers must show proof of a health professional-administered negative rapid antigen test before a flight or crossing at a land border.

Canada is lifting its PCR test requirement at border crossings for fully vaccinated travellers. Ottawa, Ont. Feb. 16, 2022. (Tyler Fleming / CTV News Ottawa)

ALL EYES ON COVID-19 NUMBERS

All eyes will be on the COVID-19 situation in Ottawa this week, one week after the mandatory mask mandate for indoor settings was lifted.

Last week, Ottawa Public Health warned there was “evidence of an increase in COVID-19 transmission” in Ottawa, with the wastewater viral signal and test positivity rate increasing.

“Given the lifting of public health measures, increased mobility, social gatherings and the return to school following March Break, we can expect to continue to see evidence of increased transmission in the community,” deputy medical officer of health Dr. Brent Moloughney said.

Moloughney says public health will work with Ontario health officials on “potential options” if key indicators “shift in a concerning way.”

Ottawa Public Health is encouraging people to wear masks in indoor public places.

Downtown Ottawa offices have remained virtually empty as many employees work from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Colton Praill/CTV News Ottawa)

TRANSIT COMMISSION MEETS FOR FIRST TIME IN 2022

Ottawa’s transit commission will meet for the first time in 2022 this weekend, giving councillors and transit riders the first update on the state of the $2 billion Confederation Line this year.

The transit commission was scheduled to meet in February, but all committee meetings were cancelled due to the “Freedom Convoy” demonstration.

The first item on the agenda is an update on the Confederation Line and bus service update. Staff will provide the first update on the Confederation Line since mid-November, when LRT service had just resumed following a train derailment in September.

Transit commissioners will also vote on a motion calling on the federal government to cover the cost of any operating deficit while federal workers continue to work from home.

A motion from Coun. Riley Brockington and Carol Anne Meehan notes the vast majority of federal public servants have been working from home since March 2020, and “OC Transpo has not realized millions of dollars in fare revenue.”

OC Transpo posted a $15 million surplus last year, due to unfilled staffing vacancies and lower O-Train maintenance costs. Federal and provincial funding helped cover fare revenue losses in 2021.

An east-bound OTrain pulls in to Rideau Station on the Confederation Line of the Light Rail Transit system in Ottawa, ON. (Brenda Woods/CTV Ottawa)

NEW OTTAWA POLICE SERVICES BOARD

The Ottawa Police Services Board will hold its first meeting with all seven new members on Monday, after the previous board members resigned or were removed from their positions by council.

On Friday, the Ontario government appointed Salim Fakirani, Peter Henschel and Michael Doucet to the board. They join Coun. Eli El-Chantiry, Jeff Leiper, Cathy Curry and council appointee Suzanne Valiquet on the new board.

Monday’s agenda will include debate on a motion to ask the city’s Auditor General to review the Ottawa Police response to the “Freedom Convoy” demonstration.  The motion from chair El-Chantiry asks the city’s auditor general to review several areas, including the operational approaches, planning frameworks, operational readiness and enforcement strategies.

The board will also discuss the reinstatement of background check fees for vulnerable sector volunteers.

The Ottawa Police Services Board meeting will be held in-person at Ottawa City Hall, beginning at 4 p.m. 

THE RETURN OF WINTER

The calendar says spring, but Mother Nature is reminding us that winter is not over yet for Ottawa.

Residents woke up to flurries on Sunday morning.

Environment Canada’s forecast calls for a low of -15 C overnight, which could set a record for the coldest March 28 in Ottawa history.

The high on Monday will be -8 C.

Temperatures are expected to remain below normal for most of the second week of spring; however, there will be a high of 13C on Thursday.

Parliament Hill and the Fairmont Chateau Laurier in Ottawa are seen during the winter in this undated photo. (Photo by Erik Mclean of Unsplash)

EVENTS IN OTTAWA THIS WEEK

Monday

Ottawa Police Services Board meeting – 4 p.m.

Tuesday

Ottawa Carleton District School Board meeting – 7 p.m.

Ottawa Catholic School Board meeting – 7 p.m.

Ottawa Senators at Nashville Predators – 8 p.m. (TSN 5 and TSN 1200)

Wednesday

Ottawa transit commission meeting – 9:30 a.m.

Thursday

Ottawa community and protective services committee meeting – 9:30 a.m.

Friday

Ottawa Senators at Detroit Red Wings – 7:30 p.m. (TSN 5 and TSN 1200)

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