As Canadians, including seniors, continue to adapt to the realities of COVID-19, local governments and community partners across the country are adapting their spaces and services to keep residents safe and healthy, support economic recovery, create jobs, and build vibrant, resilient communities.
To this effect, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, today joined His Worship Jim Watson, Mayor of the City of Ottawa, Tais McNeill, Senior Associate, Ottawa Community Foundation, and Suzanne Nash, President, Plant Pool Recreation Association, to announce $74,238 in federal funding from the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative for the Shade Sails Seniors’ COVID-19 Compliant Park Programming project.
The Shade Sails Seniors’ COVID-19 Compliant Park Programming project will increase the safety and vibrancy of the play area behind the Plant Recreation Centre in Ottawa by installing Shade Sails over a sunny part of the play area and park benches. It will also support the purchase of outdoor recreation equipment and games which can be played while respecting public health rules on social distancing as well as the hiring of a park animator to encourage seniors to get out, gather under the shade, meet new people, walk, and use the COVID-19 compliant games equipment available.
Through the $31-million Canada Healthy Communities Initiative, the Government of Canada, alongside Community Foundations of Canada, is building safer spaces and ensuring a higher quality of life for people across the country, by helping communities adapt to the challenges presented by COVID-19.
On April 19th the Government of Canada tabled Budget 2021: A Recovery Plan for Jobs, Growth, and Resilience, which includes new measures to support Canada’s seniors, including a one-time payment of $500 in August 2021 to Old Age Security (OAS) pensioners aged 75+ as of June 2022. The plan also proposes an increase of 10% to OAS payments for seniors over the age of 75, to be implemented July, 2022. In the City of Ottawa, over 150,000 seniors receive Old Age Security.
“Many Ottawa seniors spent the last thirteen months isolated from their friends and family. Federal funding for the Plant Pool Recreation Association’s project presents an opportunity for seniors to get out, gather under the shade, meet new people, and participate in COVID-safe games. Through the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative, we’re helping communities build safer spaces, adapt to the challenges of COVID-19, and ensure a higher quality of life for people across the country.”
The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities
“This federal investment on the grounds of the Plant Recreation Centre will help Seniors rediscover the joys of being outside and socializing in a way that is safe to them and to others. After more than a year of being isolated, this is a valuable investment that will reap social benefits this summer and for years to come.”
His Worship Jim Watson, Mayor of the City of Ottawa
“The Healthy Communities Initiative is supporting organizations in Ontario to bring people together in our communities both in person and digitally, while respecting public health measures. These projects show us the creativity and resourcefulness of communities as they create temporary and longer-lasting solutions that enable people to connect and access public spaces safely.”
Andrea Dicks, President, Community Foundations of Canada
“The Plant Pool Recreation Association (PPRA) is thrilled to learn that its grant application has been accepted. Plouffe Park is very important for our community since it is located in a high density area where people have little back yard space. The need for shade by the children’s play structure in the Plouffe Park is not new, but the pandemic has demonstrated that need even more. The park has become a safe place for people to stay active and meet outdoors with other people under COVID safe conditions. Providing a shaded area will be welcomed by our Seniors who are underserved by activities available at Plouffe Park. Getting people outside and participating in free recreation activities is what the PPRA is all about.”
Suzanne Nash, President, Plant Pool Recreation Association
The Canada Healthy Communities Initiative was created to help communities adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic and create safe ways for residents to access services and enjoy the outdoors. The Initiative is designed to fund eligible projects between $5,000 and $250,000 that fall under three main themes: creating safe and vibrant public spaces, improving mobility options, and digital solutions.
Community Foundations of Canada together with its partners, including the Canadian Urban Institute, is working with community foundations across the country to manage the funding process and serve the distinct needs of communities across Canada, including equity-seeking groups, interested in applying.
The first intake for projects was launched on February 9, 2021 and closed on March 9, 2021. Successful projects from the first intake have been and will continue to be announced in the coming weeks.