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Update From This Week's City Council Meeting (April 3)

Council today approved a spending plan for up to $176.3 million promised to the City through the Housing Accelerator Fund (HAF) – a $4-billion federal fund that aims to create more supply of housing at an accelerated pace. The spending plan allocates 90 per cent of those funds to non-profit housing providers to build affordable housing.


The remaining 10 per cent would support the other initiatives outlined in the action plan. These include accelerating disposal and preparation of City-owned lands for housing, streamlining planning approvals, implementing an affordable housing community improvement plan, and preparing a new comprehensive zoning by-law.


The approved spending plan provides the best opportunity for the City to achieve growth targets and remain eligible to receive the full amount of its HAF allocation. That funding will be conditional on the City issuing building permits for more than 37,500 new dwellings by the end of 2026, 5.5 per cent of which will need to be for affordable housing.


Council was briefed on the Ottawa Paramedic Service’s new dispatch system which will help meet response-time targets for life-threatening calls. The Province has determined that Ottawa’s central ambulance communications centre will transition on Wednesday, April 10 to the Medical Priority Dispatch System (MPDS). MPDS is globally recognized as an industry best practice for emergency call triage and will ensure paramedics are dispatched more quickly and to the highest priority calls. The new system uses a more detailed triage protocol than the current dispatch system to better prioritize calls and determine the most appropriate responses.


Council learned about steps taken to address urban flooding. The City continues to improve Ottawa’s sewer and stormwater systems to protect against extreme rainfall and climate change impacts. Over the past four decades Council has made considerable investments to strengthen our infrastructure against urban flooding, including the Combined Sewage Storage Tunnel, the Sandy Hill Storage Tank, the Preston Combined Sewer System, and flood mitigation projects in both Ottawa’s west end and in Orléans.


Homeowners can take advantage of two City programs to prepare for rainfall events. The Residential Protective Plumbing Program provides financial assistance to property owners to install devices such as sump pumps and storm and sanitary backwater valves to prevent water and sewage from flooding homes. Rain Ready Ottawa offers home assessments and grants to help residents better manage rainwater and improve drainage on their properties.


Council approved the Economic Development Strategy and Action Plan, which aims to build a diverse and prosperous economy and enhance Ottawa’s competitiveness, reputation and quality of life. The strategy sets out seven priority areas for economic development, supported by a series of actions over the short and medium terms. The City will continue to offer its existing economic development grant programs and funding for its key local service delivery partners: Invest Ottawa, Ottawa Film Office and Ottawa Music Industry Coalition.


Council also approved the 2024 Tax Policy and Other Revenue Matters report. The tax ratios and by-laws affecting property taxes or other revenues determine the tax burden on the various property tax classes. It also sets the tax due dates for next year. In 2025, the interim tax due date is March 20, and final payment is due June 19. Tax reductions and policies for commercial and industrial properties in the 2024 tax year include a 15-per-cent reduction or $3,600 in savings for the average small business and would benefit more than 10,000 businesses. The ratio for shopping centres continues to be competitive at 1.56 compared to commercial at 1.9 which encourages investments towards a vibrant economy. The report also recommends specific tax reductions and mitigatio



ns for farmers, including a 0.05 ratio reduction that would result in a $200 reduction for the average farmer paying $800 in taxes. The City will continue the Farm Grant program, which enables eligible farmers to defer their final tax bill payment to December.


Council also received a report from the Office of the Auditor General on the City’s programs and structures to support new affordable housing construction. The report found that the City has the structures, programs and tools in place to improve the delivery of affordable housing. While the City has not achieved targets for new affordable housing units in recent years, that shortfall is due in part to funding from all levels of government and conditions within the development industry. The changes being made to implement the audit recommendations will enhance and accelerate the City’s ability to ensure more residents can find safe, affordable and appropriate housing.


For more information on City programs and services, visit ottawa.ca, call 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-2401) or 613-580-2400 to contact the City using Canada Video Relay Service. You can also connect with us through Facebook, X (Twitter) and Instagram.


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