Committee united on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

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The Finance and Economic Development Committee today moved to have the City observe the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation starting in 2021.

The federal government established the new federal holiday earlier this year to honour First Nations, Inuit and Métis Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of their history and the legacy of residential schools remains a vital part of the reconciliation process. It is to be observed each year on September 30. Mayor Jim Watson would make an official proclamation marking the day, and, at sunset, the Heritage Building and Marion Dewar Plaza at City Hall and the OTTAWA sign in the ByWard Market would be illuminated orange to recognize the impact the residential school system has had on Indigenous communities.

City employees would be entitled to a holiday with pay, and service levels that day would be adjusted. Administrative buildings and Client Service Centres would be closed, while OC Transpo services may operate on a reduced schedule. Recreation and cultural facilities would be open, and recycling and garbage collection would operate on normal schedules. Council will consider this report on Wednesday, September 8.

The City is anticipating an overall year-end surplus of $8.1 million in 2021, including a projected surplus of $6.1 million for tax-supported programs and $2.1 million for rate-supported services, like water and sewer. The Committee received a status update on the 2021 budget, which includes projections to the end of the year. The City ended the second quarter with an overall surplus of $13.4 million, including a surplus of $12.5 million for tax-supported programs and $865,000 for rate-supported services.

The projected year-end surplus includes $136 million in COVID-19 costs, offset by $135.2 million in funding from senior levels of government. The Province will cover the forecasted $11.8 million in costs for the City’s portion of its vaccination program.

The Committee received a progress update on the City’s Corporate Diversity and Inclusion Plan, which aims to build a workforce that reflects the community it serves and provide an inclusive work culture. This approach seeks to promote public confidence and ensure that a diversity of minds, experiences and perspectives are shaping the City’s stakeholder engagement, operations and services.

The plan includes an equitable hiring strategy, increased community engagement, new learning initiatives and better data-collection tools. By 2024, the City aims to achieve targets for workforce representation of employment equity groups based on Canada’s 2018 regional workforce availability rates. Since 2019, City workforce representation has gone up for Indigenous peoples, visible minorities, and persons with disabilities.

The Committee approved an agreement with Waste Management for their planned landfill site at the West Carleton Environmental Centre on Carp Road. To compensate neighbouring communities for the burden of hosting an active landfill, the agreement would reduce the landfill’s service area and require Waste Management to collect fees per metric tonne of waste deposited each year at the site – fees that would be used to benefit the neighbouring communities. Staff would report back in the first quarter of 2022 with recommendations on how the collected fees might be used.

Recommendations from today’s meeting will rise to Council on Wednesday, September 22, unless otherwise indicated.

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