• Candice Vetter

Update on COVID-19 for March 19

Candice Vetter

Happy First Day of Spring! Yes, the vernal equinox (the moment when the sun’s most direct rays will cross from the southern hemisphere to the northern hemisphere at the equator) occurs at 11:49 p.m. EDT tonight. This year’s spring equinox is the earliest it has been in 124 years.

Tax deferrals are coming as a result of COVID-19.Federally, due dates for income tax payments are being deferred until August 31 without interest or penalties, and if you have not filed your return yet, you have until June 1.

In the City of Ottawa interim tax bills were due today, Thursday, March 19, but the City is extending a grace period to April 15. That change actually has to be approved at the March 25 Council meeting, but it is unlikely to be voted against. A longer hardship tax deferral is also being considered to aid persons and businesses which have been particularly hard hit by social distancing. That will need to be applied for. Watch for details when announced, but be aware that, so far, only property owners whose taxes are paid up to date will be considered.

City residents can also apply for utility bill deferrals. There is also a grant program for eligible farm property owners to allow the June final tax instalment to be deferred until December 8.

Student loan payments are also being deferred. Students with loans will be automatically enrolled in the National Student Loan Service Centre’s six-month payment pause. Students can choose to continue making payments or not during that period.

Additional City updates are provided by Councillor Diane Deans at

For our listeners in Russell Township, note that offices will be closed to the public. In-person services will be considered if the matter is urgent, through appointment only. Payments can be made using our outdoor dropbox, our various online services, and through your banking institution. Russell Transpo will continue to operate, and the operator will be undertaking additional measures to sanitize buses. We have also extended the expiration date of the 10-ticket yellow booklets to May 31, 2020. Dog tag renewals have been extended to May 31st. The Township continues to provide essential services such as water and sewer, garbage and recycling collection and road maintenance and clearing.

Here we repeat public health contact numbers for the epidemic.

Government of Ontario Every day at 10:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. ET, the province’s COVID-19)web page will be updated including the status of cases in Ontario. Telehealth Ontario: 1-866-797-0000 Ottawa Public Health 613-580-6744 Government of Canada:

Distress Centre of Ottawa and Region: Distress: 613-238-3311 Crisis: 613-722-6914 or 1-866-996-0991.

CJRO – Last on the dial, first for local news.


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