The Ontario government delivers its throne speech, all eyes on hospitals facing staffing shortages and OC Transpo warns commuters that bus trip cancellations are possible again this week due to a shortage of drivers.
CTVNewsOttawa.ca takes a look at five stories to watch in Ottawa this week.
The Legislative Assembly of Ontario resumes
The Ontario Legislative Assembly will resume this week for the first time since the June provincial election, as the Progressive Conservative government faces health care staffing shortages, soaring inflation and continued the COVID-19 pandemic.
Premier Doug Ford and his government will introduce the new program during Tuesday’s Speech from the Throne.
The Canadian Press reports that Ford is expected to acknowledge health care and economic inflation, but it’s unclear if any new measures will be introduced in the throne speech and budget.
“The pillars of the program are the same as before and during the election campaign, including rebuilding Ontario’s economy, hiring more people in the skilled trades and getting ‘more homes, roads, highways, public transit and other key infrastructure,’ a senior government source told The Canadian Press.
“The government will also reiterate how it supports the healthcare system, particularly in light of current pressures. That said, we note that the context and climate in which this program operates is changing in response to global economic trends.
Emergency room closures
Patients and staff will wait to see if emergency room closures in Ottawa and eastern Ontario will continue this week, after staffing shortages forced temporary emergency department closures across the province. Montfort Hospital and Carleton Place this weekend.
Hôpital Montfort closed its emergency department from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, citing an “unprecedented shortage” of nurses. Carleton Place and District Memorial Hospital closed its emergency room for 24 hours.
The Ottawa Hospital has warned patients visiting the Civic Campus and General Campus emergency rooms that wait times will be “much longer” due to the closure of the Montfort Hospital emergency department.
“They’re overworked, morale is virtually non-existent, they don’t have any time off – it’s appalling,” said Rachel Muir, ONA Local 83 Bargaining Chair and RN at the University. Ottawa Hospital.
Muir says the staffing shortage is affecting care.
“Things are bad. Care is being given, but basic care,” Muir said on Saturday. “Nurses don’t have the time, the staff, or even the equipment to provide the care they are trained to provide.”
Queensway Carleton Hospital and CHEO have warned that wait times are longer than usual in the emergency department this weekend.
BUS TRIP CANCELLATIONS
OC Transpo warns that bus trip cancellations could continue this week as Ottawa’s transit service faces staff shortages.
More than 200 bus trips a day were canceled between Wednesday and Saturday in Ottawa, leaving hundreds of customers waiting for a bus.
“We anticipate that customers may continue to be impacted by non-delivery of rides next week due to a few short-term factors, including the number of employees who worked overtime last week while repairing the line 1 of the O-Train, higher than usual sick days and normal seasonal vacations,” OC Transpo General Manager Renee Amilcar said in a statement.
“OC Transpo is working hard to improve service reliability for the remainder of August and prepare for September.”
Amilcar says customers can expect service reliability to increase in mid-August, when dozens of new recruits graduate as bus drivers.
Commuters will also face service disruptions starting later this week when overnight work begins on the O-Train.
Between August 12 and 25, sections of the O-Train will be out of service from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. for maintenance. Work will include rail grinding and profiling, as well as proactive measures such as switch heater calibration and rail repair and replacement. Work was originally scheduled to take place in June but was postponed due to a shipping delay.
Rail service will resume at 5 a.m. weekdays and 6 a.m. Saturday.
Section of the Queensway closed for four days
A section of the Queensway will be closed next weekend for the Booth Street Bridge replacement.
The Queensway will be closed between Metcalfe and Carling/Kirkwood from 8 p.m. Thursday, August 11 until Monday, August 15 at 6 a.m. for construction.
Work was originally scheduled for July 14-18, but was delayed due to labor disruptions.
The following ramps will be closed on the Queensway:
- Westbound O’Connor
- Lyon heading west (in progress)
- Westbound Bronson (Ongoing)
- Rochester looking west
- Parkdale looking west
- Eastbound Maitland
- Carling/Kirkwood eastbound
- Eastbound Parkdale
The City of Ottawa outlines the Queensway during construction.
- Westbound motorists should exit the highway at Metcalfe
- Westbound on Catherine Street
- Turn left on Bronson and travel south
- Turn right on Carling Avenue and head west
- Take the Highway 417 on-ramp westbound from Carling Avenue
- Eastbound motorists should exit the freeway at Carling/Kirkwood Avenue
- Drive east on Carling Avenue
- Turn left onto Bronson Avenue
- Drive north to Chamberlain Avenue and turn right
- Continue on rue Isabelle
- Take Highway 417 eastbound on the Metcalfe Street ramp
Canadian Elite Basketball League Championship Weekend
The Canadian Elite Basketball League champion will be crowned in Ottawa next weekend.
The CEBL is hosting its championship weekend at TD Place in Ottawa from August 10-14. The semifinals are scheduled for Saturday, with the BlackJacks playing at 7 p.m.
The league game is set for Sunday at 2 p.m.
For more information, visit cebl.ca.
OTHER EVENTS THIS WEEKEND
The Casino Lac-Leamy Sounds of Light Festival continues on Wednesday and Saturday evenings. For more information and tickets, visit https://feux.qc.ca/programmation/
Ottawa Greek Fest continues Friday through Sunday. For more information, visit http://www.ottawagreekfest.com/.
The Capital Fair begins Friday at the Rideau Carleton racetrack.
The Ottawa Titans host New York from Tuesday to Thursday and Quebec from Friday to Sunday