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Ontario lifts vaccine passport and new rules for travellers arriving in Canada: Five stories to watch in Ottawa this week

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Ontario lifts the COVID-19 vaccine passport requirements and a city committee prepares for year three of e-scooters on Ottawa streets.

CTVNewsOttawa.ca looks at five stories to watch this week.

VACCINE PASSPORT CANCELLED

Ontario will take the next step in easing public health measures this week, lifting capacity limits in all indoor public settings and scrapping the vaccine passport.

Effective Tuesday, capacity limits will be lifted in all remaining indoor public settings, including sports arenas, concert venues and theatres.  Remaining capacity limits for religious services, rites and ceremonies will be lifted.

Ontario will also lift the proof of vaccination requirements for all settings on Tuesday. Businesses and other settings may choose to continue to require the proof of vaccination to enter.

In Ottawa, the Bytowne Cinema, the Canadian Museum of Nature and the National Arts Centre will continue to require proof of vaccination to enter the buildings.

In Quebec, the government will lift a series of restrictions in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic on Monday. Bars and casinos can reopen at half capacity and restaurants, bars and casinos can stay open until 1 a.m. There will be no more capacity limits for auditoriums and arenas that have a capacity of 10,000 people or fewer.

A type of vaccine passport using a QR code is seen in this file image. (Shutterstock)

FEDS ELIMINATE PRE-ARRIVAL PCR TEST REQUIREMENTS

Full vaccinated travellers will no longer need to take a pre-arrival PCR test to arrive in Canada.

Starting Monday, the federal government says travellers can opt for a cheaper rapid antigen test approved by the country they are coming from, taken 24 hours before their scheduled flight or arrival at the land border.

Currently, all travellers – regardless of vaccination status - must provide proof of a negative PCR test within 72 hours of their scheduled flight or land entry into Canada.

Travellers may still be selected for random testing upon arrival but will no longer have to quarantine while awaiting their test results.

Passengers at the Ottawa International Airport on Friday, Oct. 22. (Leah Larocque/CTV News Ottawa)

THE SITUATION IN UKRAINE

Canadians will be keeping an eye on the situation in Ukraine this week, and the federal government's response to the invasion.

Ukrainian armed forces have managed to withstand many Russian attacks this weekend, despite being outmanned and outgunned.

On Sunday, Ottawa residents gathered outside the Russian Embassy in Sandy Hill to denounce Russia's military actions in Ukraine and show support for the Ukrainian people.

Canada has closed its airspace to Russian aircraft and imposed a number of sanctions on the country, targeting President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov specifically. 

Conservative leader Candice Bergen is calling on the federal government to expel Russia's ambassador to Canada and recall Canada's ambassador in Moscow. The Opposition also wants Canada to implement visa-free travel from Ukraine to Canada.

The Embassy of Ukraine on Somerset Street West in Ottawa. (Natalie Van Rooy/CTV News Ottawa)

FALLOUT FROM THE FREEDOM CONVOY

As streets continue to reopen and the secured area shrinks following the "Freedom Convoy" demonstration, Ottawa police say their investigation will continue for the days and weeks to come.

As of Feb. 21, 191 people had been arrested and 122 people charged in connection to the demonstration. On Sunday, police announced a 48-year-old man from Grenville, Que. is facing charges of mischief and counselling to commit mischief in connection with the demonstration.

The secured zone remains in place in the area of Bronson Avenue, Laurier Avenue, Wellington Street and the Rideau Canal.

Acting Deputy Chief Trish Ferguson said last week that police are now in an "observation" phase of the operation, to make sure no new protests pop up in the city.

"A strong, elevated police presence will remain in place for as long as is required and can be increased when needed," Ferguson said.

Protesters stand on Parliament Hill to oppose COVID-19 public health mandates Feb. 26, 2022, exactly one week after 'Freedom Convoy' demonstrators were forcibly removed by police following a three-week occupation of downtown Ottawa. (Jeremie Charron/CTV News Ottawa)

TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE MEETING

E-scooters, summer patios and an east end Transitway through the Greenbelt are on the agenda at Ottawa City Hall this week.

Ottawa's transportation committee will meet on Wednesday.

A report on the third year of the E-Scooter pilot project recommends reducing the number of e-scooters allowed in the city to 900, with two vendors operating the system instead of three.  The e-scooters will be required to emit a standardized noise to alert pedestrians and come with improved geofencing technology to prevent riding on the sidewalk and parking in no-parking zones.

Another change will see companies have only 15 minutes to retrieve a misplaced scooter.

Councillors will also vote on proposed changes to allow restaurant and café patios on streets and sidewalks again this summer.  The city will allow patios on the right-of-way to stay open until 2 a.m.

And the transportation committee will vote on the design of the Brian Coburn/Cumberland Transitway Extension. The proposal for the road/Transitway through the Greenbelt would cost $128 million for the roadway and $178 million for the Transitway. Staff note the NCC does not support the option, because it does not "conform to the NCC's Greenbelt Master Plan policies."

Bird is one of three e-scooter providers in Ottawa. (Peter Szperling/CTV News Ottawa)

EVENTS IN OTTAWA THIS WEEK 

MONDAY

Ottawa Board of Health meeting 5 p.m.

TUESDAY

Ottawa Finance and Economic Development Committee meeting 9:30 a.m.

Ottawa Carleton District School Board meeting

Ottawa Senators at Tampa Bay Lightning 7 p.m. (TSN 5 and TSN 1200)

WEDNESDAY

Ottawa Transportation Committee meeting 9:30 a.m.

THURSDAY

Ottawa Senators at Florida Panthers 7 p.m. (TSN 5 and TSN 1200)

With files from CTVNews.ca producer Sarah Turnbull

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