OTTAWA — Ontario set to unveil plans for a COVID-19 proof of vaccination system, thousands of Ottawa students return to school and the federal election campaign hits the midway point.
CTVNewsOttawa.ca looks at five stories to watch in Ottawa this week.
COVID-19 VACCINE PASSPORTS
The Ontario government will unveil a COVID-19 vaccine passport system this week, after calls from medical officers of health and the business community for a vaccine certificate system.
A senior government source told CTV News Toronto on Friday that the certificate will be required in non-essential settings, like restaurants and movie theatres.
Ottawa small business advocate Michael Wood told Newstalk 580 CFRA on Sunday businesses are looking for some direction from the Ontario government and public health units.
“Business people will know the 80-20 rule, where 80 per cent of your business comes from 20 per cent of your customers as a rule of thumb,” said Wood, owner of Ottawa Special Events.
“I think that this idea of a vaccine certificate falls into that. I think that 80 per cent, give or take, of small businesses want some sort of guarantee or process that will reduce any further chance of a lockdown.”
Wood says businesses can’t afford to take on another cost, so any vaccine passport system will need to be subsidized by the government.
Quebec’s proof of vaccination program begins on Sept. 1, which would bar anyone who is not fully vaccinated from non-essential activities, including restaurants and sporting events.
Organizers of the Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival say they will be checking the vaccination status of visitors during the festival over the Labour Day weekend.
BACK TO SCHOOL
Tens of thousands of Ottawa students return to class this week for the start of the school year.
The first day of classes for both the the Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est and the Conseil des ecoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario is Tuesday.
New rules for the school year include mandatory face masks for all students and staff, including Junior Kindergarten and Kindergarten students.
The CECCE says there will no field trips until October.
The Ottawa Catholic School Board kicks off the school year on Sept. 7, while the Ottawa Carleton District School Board begins classes on Sept. 9.
MANDATORY VACCINES FOR OCDSB TEACHERS
The Ottawa Carleton District School Board will vote Tuesday evening on a motion to make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for all teachers, staff and volunteers in schools.
Trustee Lyra Evans has introduced a motion to make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for staff, eligible students and anyone accessing the school board property.
A summary of a legal option for the Ottawa Carleton District School Board says the board has the legal authority to require staff to be vaccinated to attend the workplace.
“In order to minimize the legal risk to the extent possible, the district would need to demonstrate that the policy was a reasonable exercise of management rights and was implemented in a reasonable manner, not arbitrarily and not in bad fair,” said the report for the board.
Trustees will also vote on a motion to make masks mandatory for all Kindergarten and Junior Kindergarten students.
The 44th federal election campaign will hit the halfway point of the 36 day campaign this week.
Monday is the deadline for candidates to submit their nomination papers, with the list of official candidates released on Wednesday.
On Thursday, the federal leaders will meet face-to-face in the first debate of the federal election campaign. Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, Conservative leader Erin O’Toole, Bloc Quebecois leader Yves-Francois Blanchet and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh will participate in the debate on TVA.
Canadians head to the polls to vote on Monday, Sept. 20.
OPTOMETRISTS THREATEN TO WITHDRAW SERVICES
Ontario’s optometrists are threatening to stop conducting eye exams covered by provincial health insurance on Sept. 1, unless there’s a new deal with the province.
The Ontario Association of Optometrists has said it has been subject to “years of underfunding.” The association says the province paid optometrists $39.15 on average for an exam in 1989 and now pays $44.65 for the service. The group said the situation has left optometrists absorbing 45 per cent of the cost of an eye exam.
The Ontario Health Insurance Plan covers one annual major eye exam for residents aged 19 and younger, 65 and older, and those with specific medical conditions.
EVENTS IN OTTAWA THIS WEEK
First day of class for West Quebec School Board students
First day of class for CECCE and CEPEO
University of Ottawa residence move-in begins
Ottawa Carleton District School Board meeting – 6 p.m.
Ottawa Transportation Committee meeting – 9:30 a.m.
Carleton University residence move-in begins
Ottawa Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee meeting – 10 a.m.
Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival begins
Shawville Fair begins
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