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4 federal budget items that will impact Ottawa

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CTVNewsOttawa.ca looks at four things in the federal budget that will have an impact on the city of Ottawa.

Housing for asylum claimants

The federal government will spend $1.1 billion over three years to help provide housing for asylum claimants to Canada, but there is no funding specifically earmarked for the city of Ottawa.

Last week, the Ottawa Mission released a report calling for new federal funding and supports for newcomers, saying a spike in asylum seekers has stretched shelters to the limit and forced people to sleep in chairs.

The budget outlines $1.1 billion for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada to extend the Interim Housing Assistance Program. Funding in 2026-27 would be conditional on provincial and municipal investments in permanent transitional housing solutions for asylum claimants.

Federal officials say the funding would be available for municipalities.

"We were hoping to see something in the budget for a welcome centre for Ottawa. This is an urgent crisis in our city," Mayor Mark Sutcliffe tells CTV News Ottawa Tuesday evening.

"We are really struggling right now. We're seeing the shelters in our city beyond capacity and a huge percentage of the people in the shelters are new arrivals to the city."

A report for next week's community services committee meeting shows the city is requesting $32.6 million in federal funding for a newcomer reception centre and scattered transitional housing units. Last year, the city created an enhanced housing allowance to provide 120 new housing allowances, with a price tag of $2.1 million.

Staff say they are continuing to work on updates to the proposal following discussions with Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada.

The new agreement between the Ontario government and the city of Ottawa announced last month included a request for the federal government to provide $228 million for refugee and asylum-seeker support to the city.

The Ottawa Mission is seen in this undated photograph. (CTV News Ottawa)

Transit funding

No new federal cash will be dropped into OC Transpo fare boxes from the federal budget.

The federal government continues to signal "permanent public transit funding" will start in 2026-27, with $3 billion a year for transit projects across Canada.

OC Transpo and city officials have been calling on the upper levels of government to provide funding for public transit, as ridership is slow to return following the COVID-19 pandemic.

The transit service ended 2023 with a $29 million operating budget deficit, and is projecting a $49.8 million deficit this year.

Sutcliffe says the city of Ottawa is still digesting the details of the budget.

"I would have liked to see more money going towards transit, I would have liked to see more money going towards a new welcome centre but there are encouraging signs in this budget," Sutcliffe said.

"We're always ready to work with the federal government to solve the challenges that we are facing; the unique challenges Ottawa is facing."

An OC Transpo bus is seen in this undated file image. (Leah Larocque/CTV News Ottawa)

NAC funding

The National Arts Centre will receive $45 million in funding over three years.

Budget 2024 says the funding, starting in 2025-26, will, "ensure continued support for artists and productions across the country."

The NAC is Canada's largest bilingual performing arts centre, supporting more than 1,400 arts events in Ottawa and across the country every year.

The 2023 federal budget included $28 million in funding over 2023-24 and 2024-25 to support the NAC.

Budget 2024: The National Arts Centre will receive $45 million in funding over three years.

Canada's National Holocaust Monument

Canadian Heritage will launch a new project to "review and renew" the National Holocaust Monument in Ottawa, according to the budget.

The federal government says the review will look to broaden the "monument's visibility and engagement in Ottawa and with Canadians across the country."

The National Holocaust Monument at the Chaudiere Crossing commemorates the six million Jewish men, women and children murdered during the Holocaust. It officially opened to the public in 2017.

A new National Holocaust Remembrance Program is also being created, with the budget allocating $5 million over five years, and $2 million after that, for the Department of Canadian Heritage to support initiatives that "seek to preserve the memory of the Holocaust and help improve Canada's understanding, awareness towards the Holocaust and Antisemitism."

The National Holocaust Monument is seen before the official opening ceremony in Ottawa, Wednesday, September 27, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

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