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Federal government planning three-day work from office mandate

The federal government is reportedly planning an extended mandate to work in the office, much to the surprise of public service unions.

Good morning!

Well, it’s good to be back in the saddle again after a week off. Was nice to get out with the family to a few museums, and perhaps the odd mall, and just generally recharge.

I wanted to extend my deepest thanks to Charlie Senack, who did a great job handling the newsletter in my absence. I knew the Lookout was in capable hands while I was gone. Thanks Charlie!

Today, we’ve got news on a possible extended back-to-the-office order for public service workers, a proposed new way to handle automated tickets, and more.

Let’s get to it.

— Robert Hiltz, managing editor

Editor’s note: In Monday’s version of the newsletter an outdated and incorrect term was used to refer to an Indigenous burial ground. The Lookout regrets the error.


Wednesday: 15 🌡️ 8 | 🌧

Thursday: 19 🌡️ 7 | 🌤

Friday: 19 🌡️ 10 | 🌤


Federal workers look to be mandated in the office three days a week

What happened: The federal government is set to mandate workers back in the office three days per week, Le Droit reported. The increase by one day per week to the current hybrid work schedule has come as a surprise to the federal unions, who said they were not consulted.

While it wouldn’t confirm that an announcement was imminent, the federal Treasury Board told CTV that it was “committed to hybrid work” and “continue to assess how hybrid work is implemented and optimized across the public service, adapting as necessary.”

Labour strife? The recent public service strike was largely fought over hybrid working policies for public servants. The Public Service Alliance of Canada said it had heard nothing from the government, and said any changes without consultation would be a betrayal of the agreement made just last year.

  • “If the Treasury Board does decide to move in this direction, then it completely flies in the face and goes against all the commitments they made at the bargaining table to work with the union to achieve flexible hybrid work arrangements for public service workers,” a PSAC spokesperson said to CTV.

Local reaction: Mayor Mark Sutcliffe said the move by the federal government to adopt widespread hybrid working arrangements since the start of the pandemic has had a detrimental effect on the downtown. But, perhaps hoping not to anger a significant bloc of voters in the city, he has stopped short of calling outright for workers to return to the office five days a week.

  • “We need to work with the federal government on a solution, and many solutions to make sure that we have economic prosperity in the downtown core, that small businesses and restaurants and shop owners are protected, that our finances as a city are protected,” Sutcliffe said according to CTV.

What it means: With a downtown core largely devoted to white collar workers, the city is years away from transforming itself so more people live in and around the business district. Transit, small businesses, and more have suffered because of the changes wrought by the pandemic. The transition has been a painful one. But hybrid work is here to stay, even if it’s one fewer day per week.

  • The mayor’s balancing act is an interesting one, because it’s clear he doesn’t want to upset public service workers, while it’s fairly clear he sees it as a positive that more workers will be mandated into the office. He uses a lot of words to not say that’s what he’d like to see, while standing beside Premier Doug Ford, who is more than happy to say federal workers should be in the office.

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⚖️ 6: The sentence, in years, the Crown is seeking for the man who struck and killed Franco Micucci in Westboro while trying to escape police last year. [CBC]

💐 3: The number of people who died in collisions over the weekend in the region. Another three people were taken to hospital with injuries suffered in those crashes. [CBC]


⛓️‍ Communities throughout rural eastern Ontario said years of provincial neglect and underfunding mean critical bridges and other infrastructure are in such bad shape they may have to be closed. [CBC]

🚧 A proposed roundabout on Jeanne d’Arc in Orléans has raised the ire of residents. OC Transpo wants the roundabout built to give buses easier access to the new LRT station which will open with Stage 2. [CBC]

🏛️ The township of Russell appointed Coun. Mike Tarnowski as mayor, rather than hold a byelection. Former mayor Pierre Leroux resigned last month from the job to take a bureaucratic position with The Nation municipality. [CTV]

🏥 To offset some of the cost of a new CT scanner, the Almonte General Hospital will start charging visitors $4 per day for parking in the fall. The hospital is one of the few in the province that does not currently have a parking fee. [CTV]


City hopes to take photo radar tickets out of provincial court

What happened: City staff are recommending that Ottawa set up an in-house system to resolve disputed photo radar and red light camera ticket disputes, instead of relying on provincial courts.

  • The introduction of an “administrative penalty system” would see the city appoint screening officers to certify tickets before they are sent out, and hearing officers to consider and rule on challenges to automated tickets.

Elsewhere: Other cities in the province, including Toronto, Hamilton and several others, already use an administrative system for dealing with parking infractions. City staff said those cities are also considering expanding it to red light and speed cameras. 

  • Two years ago, the Ontario government changed provincial rules, allowing cities to set up systems like the one proposed by the city to take pressure off the provincial judicial system.

Overburdened system: Provincial courts have only about two-thirds of the capacity they did pre-pandemic, staff say. At the same time, automated enforcement tickets and parking infractions now make up about 95% of the provincial offences the city hands out. Creating an in-house administrative system, staff said, would free up scarce resources.

  • “Adoption of [the administrative system] in Ottawa is also expected to lower ticket processing costs by 35% and increase [provincial court] capacity to focus on adjudicating more serious offences,” staff said.



Modernity has its benefits, sure. But modernity often eschews the finer things in life. Finer things like crimson carpeted basements, with crimson carpeted stairs, and crimson carpeted bannisters, and crimson leather (pleather?) wet bars. This Overbrook home has all that, and more (bedrooms, bathrooms, a kitchen, etc). It’s being sold as-is, so this is your chance to preserve a little bit of suburban heritage.

House of The Week is a home selected by the Lookout team and is not a paid advertisement. All ads are labelled as such. If you’re a realtor who wishes to feature your home in our newsletter, please contact our sales team. 


Listings are provided by OttawaGigs.ca, the best place to discover live music in Ottawa. Check out Ottawagigs.ca for full listings across the city.

Annie-Claude Deschênes, Thursday 8 pm:  Multidisciplinary artist presenting the minimal pop and electronic sounds of her first solo project. At Club SAW, 67 Nicholas St. Tickets $15-20. 

Sharlee, Friday 7 pm: Orléans singer-songwriter with a range of styles from heartfelt ballads to powerful alternative rock. At Stray Dog Brewing, 501 Lacolle Way. Tickets $15.

Big Dave McLean, Friday 8 pm: The veteran Canadian blues guitarist, harmonicist, singer and songwriter presents his latest release. At the Rainbow Bistro, 76 Murray St. Tickets $30. 

Go Long, Friday 9 pm: Ottawa super group with influences from jazz to folk to rock, to hip-hop. At Irene’s, 885 Bank St. Tickets $15.

Walk off the Earth, Saturday 8 pm: Juno Award-winning, multi-platinum pop.At theNational Arts Centre, 1 Elgin St. Tickets $56.


🧑🧑🧒 TIPES, a local charity that provided services for children with autism and their families, abruptly shut down operations with only a few days’ notice, and parents are scrambling to find replacement assistance. [CBC]

🏃‍♀️ After the absurdity of keeping the LRT closed in the pre-race hours last year, this year trains will start running at 5 am for Ottawa Race Weekend so runners can make the start line. [CTV]

👔 The province will open up a “regional office” as the bureaucracies of Queen’s Park and the city work to implement a new-deal cash injection, mainly for road infrastructure. The office will be headed up by Sean Webster — a PC Party candidate who lost in Kanata-Carleton last election and lobbyist who has represented Shoppers Drug Mart, among others. Local MPP Lisa MacLeod refused to attend the announcement, saying the office was a “not a great idea.” [Global]

📢 The University of Ottawa warned protestors not to set up an encampment on school premises as part of pro-Palestinian demonstrations. Students have staged sit-ins and other demonstrations on campus in recent days. Protests have spread to multiple campuses after police violently cracked down on similar encampments at several American universities in recent weeks. [CTV]

🪧 Coun. Stéphanie Plante hopes to rename Emond Park after Mary Papatsie, who went missing from Vanier in 2017. Papatsie’s remains were found in 2022 at a construction site in the area. It may require a policy change, but Plante said the community had been supportive of her proposal. [CBC]

🍎 A boycott of Loblaws grocery stores begins today. The largest grocery chain in the country has become the target of customers’ ire in Ottawa and elsewhere as inflation has pushed prices and profits up. [CTV]

  • Because of the recent cool, wet weather, people are being asked to stay off city sports fields until at least the weekend when it’s hoped they can open for the year. [City of Ottawa]

  • Love restaurants in Ottawa? Subscribe to Capital Eats, our free food newsletter beloved by 19,000+ Ottawa foodies. Subscribe instantly now.

  • This year, Gatineau’s Festibière will move to Casino du Lac Leamy for its summer session, which will run From July 17-27. [CTV]

  • Have you seen this cat? She went missing recently in the Chapel Hill area of Orléans. [Reddit]

  • That really was a lot of lightning early Sunday morning. [Reddit]

  • Want to have your announcement featured? Learn how here.


Qaisar’s breathes new life into Robbie’s location

Capital Eats is written by our food editor Ralf Joneikies.

From time to time we hear of institutions from our youth disappearing from the landscape. American diners come to mind. There’s a nostalgia that people sometimes indulge in at the passing of these institutions, whether they’ve experienced them or not. Perhaps it’s not a mourning of what’s passed but the experience of nostalgia as an emotion that becomes the main point.

Home-cooking is most definitely on the menu at Qaisar’s, the newly opened location of the Quebec-based chain operated by founders Qaisar Choudry and Rashid Quddoos. 

They’ve taken over the restaurant that was once Robbie’s, an institution for family get-togethers with a little Canadian-Italian flair. 


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Congrats to the 74% of you who knew that 19 councillors voted in favour of the Lansdowne 2.0.

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