Some Answers to your FAQ’s on COVID-19

Some Answers to your FAQ's on COVID-19

As we navigate how the city will continue to do business during this period of social distancing, staff have put together a list of answers to frequently asked questions. Please take the time to read these and see if they might answer some of yours, and if they don't please email my office at and we will get you the answer as soon as we can.

  • On March 13, 2020 the City entered Activated Operations in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic.
  • On March 17, 2020 the Province of Ontario declared a provincial state of emergency.
  • The City continues to work with Ottawa Public Health and local health partners to help prevent the further spread of COVID-19 in Ottawa.
  • We are monitoring the spread of the virus and will provide updates when they are available.
  • is the best source of local information on COVID-19.
  • is the best source of information for the City’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Self-isolation and COVID-19 testing

  • Even if you do not have symptoms, it is recommended to self-isolate for 14 days if:
    • You have travelled outside Canada, including the United States.
    • You live with, provided care for or spent extensive time with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, is suspected of having COVID-19 or has a fever, cough or shortness of breath that started within 14 days of travel outside Canada. 
  • If you have mild symptoms, where you are not short of breath and can manage your symptoms reasonably at home, do not call Ottawa Public Health. Self-isolate until 24 hours after your symptoms have fully resolved. Most people with mild symptoms will recover on their own at home.
  • If you have escalating symptoms, such as a new or worsening cough or fever and have either travelled outside of Canada or been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 14 days, either visit the COVID-19 Assessment Centre (you do not need a referral from Ottawa Public Health) or call your health care provider. If both are closed, go to the hospital emergency department and follow special signs.
    • The assessment centre is at Brewer Arena, 151 Brewer Way. It is open daily from 9 am to 8 pm. Do not bring healthy people, including children.
    • Take children under 6 months of age meeting these criteria to CHEO.
  • If you have severe symptoms, like frequent shortage of breath, and cannot manage your symptoms at home, go to the hospital emergency department and follow special signs. If this is a medical emergency, please call 9-1-1 immediately.
  • Social distancing is critical to help flatten the curve and to protect as many people in our community as possible, including your friends and loved ones.

City services currently available

  • Property taxes:
    • You can pay online by credit or Visa debit or through your financial institution.
    • You can pay in person by cheque. Ensure that the amount on the cheque reflects the exact amount owing and includes the 19-digit tax roll number shown on your tax bill. Please drop the chequeoff in the secure payment box outside the main entrances of:
      • Kanata Client Service Centre at 580 Terry Fox Drive
      • Orleans Client Service Centre at 255 Centrum Boulevard
    • Payments are processed on business days only.
  • Water bills:
    • Pay online with My ServiceOttawa or through your financial institution.
  • Provincial offences and parking tickets:
    • Call 3-1-1 and follow the prompts.
  • Other online services:
  • If you are unable to access City services online, please call 3-1-1 so we can assist you.

Changes to City facilities and services

  • We ask for your patience as we work through this unprecedented situation. There may be a delay in providing some regular City services. Business continues, but it may not be exactly business as usual.
  • The main foyer at City Hall is open to the public, however only City employees have access to work areas.
  • The Chief Licensing Inspector will extend the renewal dates for licenses expiring in March and April.
  • Only property standards complaints with immediate health and safety risks and vital services complaints will be reviewed.
  • The Spay/Neuter Clinic will triage clients before their appointment. If you are sick, caring for someone who is sick or have recently travelled, please reschedule your appointment.

Closed City facilities and services

  • The following City facilities and services are closed to the public based on the Ministry of Health’s guidance to limit mass gatherings to help prevent the spread of COVID-19:
    • All counter services
    • All Ottawa Public Library branches
    • All City of Ottawa client service centres
    • All OC Transpo customer service centres
    • All municipal child care centres
    • Mary Pitt Centre at 100 Constellation Drive
    • Ben Franklin Place at 101 Centrepointe Drive
    • Trail Waste Facility
    • Building Code Services counters
    • Rooming house inspections
    • Taxi inspections
    • All hearings by the Animal Control Tribunal and the Property Standards and License Appeals Committee
    • Interior noise meter readings between 7 am and 11 pm
    • Child car seat inspections
    • CPR/First Aid training sessions
    • Palliative Care Program
    • The Provincial Offences Act courthouse. All Provincial Offences Act matters scheduled from Monday, March 16, 2020 to Friday, April 3, 2020 will be adjourned and rescheduled. You will receive a 4 notice of your new court date by mail at the address on file with the court.
    • All recreation and cultural facilities, including recreation complexes, community centers, arenas, swimming pools, theatres and museums.
      • Rental fees will be refunded automatically.
      • All Active Ottawa fitness memberships will be extended automatically for the duration the facility is closed, beginning March 16, 2020.
    • City programs, including March break camps and fitness classes.
      • Program fees will be refunded automatically.
    • Performances at the Shenkman and Meridian Theatres.
    • In-person public consultations, including for the Ward Boundary Review and the Community Safety and Well-being Plan.

Public transit

  • OC Transpo is committed to keeping customers and staff safe.
  • Do not use public transit if you have a fever, new cough or difficulty breathing, or if you have been in close contact with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19.
  • OC Transpo has taken measures, such as rear-door boarding and exiting, to help protect residents and staff.
  • To protect yourself and others while using public transit:
    • Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue or your sleeve, not your hand.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
    • When possible, consider social distancing (ideally two metres).
    • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water or use hand sanitizer before you touch your eyes, nose or mouth, and as soon as possible when you reach your destination.

Parking restrictions

  • All overtime parking, signed or unsigned, will no longer be enforced on residential streets until further notice. This is to encourage and support residents to stay at home to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • All other parking restrictions, including, no stopping, no parking, fire route, accessible parking, minimum distance from fire hydrants and no 5 parking on sidewalks to maintain emergency access and traffic flow, remain in effect.
  • Complaints for unauthorized parking on private property now require new electronic procedures for proof of authority.

Long-term care homes

  • Seniors are vulnerable to serious and life-threatening complications from COVID-19.
  • An extensive screening process has been instituted in our long-term care facilities.
  • Any visitors or staff who feel ill, have been in contact with someone not feeling well or have recently travelled outside Canada, should not visit to protect their loved ones and their fellow residents.

Child care for essential services

  • The City is currently seeking clarification from the Province on direction about child care centres and daycares.

How residents can help

  • If you are looking to support your community during this critical period, you can help by checking in with family, friends and neighbours who may be vulnerable, overwhelmed, lonely or in need of help.
  • Where possible, consider calling or video chatting. Do not visit in person if you have a fever, new or worsening cough or difficulty breathing, or if you have been in close contact with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19.
  • Help prevent the spread of harmful misinformation by only sharing content from trusted sources like Ottawa Public Health, the Ontario Ministry of Health and the Public Health Agency of Canada.
  • The City is not looking for volunteers to help with the COVID-19 situation at this time.

International travel

  • The Government of Canada recommends avoiding all non-essential travel outside Canada. Upon return to Canada, residents should selfisolate for 14 days from their arrival.

Drinking water

  • Ottawa’s tap water is safe.
  • Our water purification plants effectively handle all viruses, including COVID-19, by chlorine disinfection and other physical and chemical processes. We are continuously analyzing and monitoring the water disinfection process.

City staff

  • Thanks to City staff working on the frontlines, our emergency response personnel and City staff continuing to deliver essential services and information during these unprecedented times.
  • Thanks to the medical professionals in Ottawa who are working around the clock to provide exceptional care to our residents.
  • We are committed to working together to help protect our community and all our residents.

Economic Partners Task Force

  • We realize that the closures taking place are deeply affecting our local business community.
  • These are challenging times, and we must come together to find ways to support our small businesses, restaurants, tourism operators and special events, as well as the tens of thousands of workers who rely on these jobs to feed their families.
  • Following a call with the heads of our local business improvement areas, the Ottawa Board of Trade, le Régroupement des gens d’affaires, Ottawa Tourism and the Ottawa Festival Network, we created an Economic Partners Task Force.
  • Mayor Watson will co-chair this task force, along with Councillor Eli El-Chantiry, a former small business owner and the Mayor’s representative with the business improvement areas.
  • The task force will have the responsibility of advising City staff in many departments on how we can help the business community as this pandemic evolves.
  • We remain committed to working with all of our economic development partners as we work to support all of our small businesses to get through this difficult time.

Property tax deferral

  • City staff will table an interim property tax payment grace period and new 2020 property tax deferral for Council approval on March 25, or at the earliest available opportunity.
  • In response to the financial impact of the uncertainty of the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, a new 2020 Property Tax Hardship Deferral program will assist affected small businesses with an assessed property value of up to $ 2.5 million, as well as residents.
  • The program will extend the interim property and final property tax deadlines of March 19 and June 18, respectively, to Friday, October 30, 2020.
  • The City has also suspended all water disconnections due to nonpayment until further notice.
  • The City has existing property tax and water bill deferral programs for low-income seniors and people with disabilities. Under these programs, eligible homeowners can apply for partial or full deferral of their annual property taxes and a deferral of their water utility bills.
  • The City also has a Farm Grant Program that allows farm property owners to move the deadline of the final property tax payment to December 8, 2020.
  • For more information, residents can visit:

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