Ottawa General Hospital has third-longest ER waits

The ER at the General has wait times that are the third worst in the province.

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Good morning!

It is nearly March Break for all those that celebrate. Fear not, the Lookout will be publishing all week. (Who knows, perhaps next year we’ll take it off, go sit on a beach somewhere? We’ll see.)

It’s getting to that point in the winter where I certainly wish it wasn’t winter any more. Lousy Smarch weather

Today we’ve got a story about healthcare wait times and underfunding, why the police had to be called to a school board meeting, and our weekly wrap-up of food news.

Let’s get to it.

— Robert Hiltz, managing editor

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Weather Report

Friday: -1 🌡️ -5 | ☁️

Saturday: +2 🌡️ -8 | ⛅/❄️ (chance of flurries)

Sunday: +2 🌡️ -5 |

Monday: +1 🌡️ -6 | ❄️ (periods of snow)


General Hospital ER has third-longest waits in the province

What happened: Wait times at the General campus of the Ottawa Hospital are the third worst in the province, and nearly double the provincial average. It takes an average of 3.4 hours from arrival to get a first assessment from a doctor, CTV reported. The provincial average is 1.8 hours.

The wait times at the city’s other adult hospitals are better, but still above the provincial average:

  • Queensway Carleton Hospital, 2.3 hours

  • Civic Hospital, 2.3 hours

  • Montfort Hospital, 2.3 hours

Some improvement: CHEO, which suffered from significant delays late last year as respiratory viruses surged, has seen much improvement. Wait times were down to an average of 1.6 hours to see a doctor in January, down from 3.6 hours in November, CTV reported.

Underinvestment: Meanwhile, the provincial government will spend $2.1 billion less over the next six years than the system requires to keep up with demand for healthcare and long-term care services, according to a new report from the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario (FAO).

Shortfalls: The FAO report said that despite the investments the province has made into health care, “these increases in capacity will be more than offset by increases in demand for these services from Ontario’s growing and aging population.… Ontario will have less hospital capacity, similar home-care capacity and less long-term care capacity compared to what it had in 2019-20.”

On top of the investment shortfall, the province will also continue to face staffing issues. By 2028, Ontario will be short 33,000 nurses and personal support workers.

The conclusion: Overall, the FAO said the province hasn’t allocated enough money to account for an aging population, and has not done enough to bring more healthcare workers into the system. “Challenges are expected to persist across Ontario’s healthcare system.”


🥅 3: The number of groups confirmed to have bid to buy the Senators. There is a possibility a fourth has bid. [Ottawa Citizen]

🎖️ 100: The age of Elsa Lessard, a Second World War veteran honoured by the Navy this week for her contributions as a morse code operator during the war. [Ottawa Citizen]


How to combat the hidden crisis costing Canada’s healthcare system $3.9 billion every year

People running in place

Here’s the truth — Canada is facing a silent crisis that’s costing us money and our health.

49 percent of adults and 29 percent of children and youth are not getting the recommended amount of physical activity.

It costs a staggering $3.9 billion to our healthcare system annually.

But the solution isn’t complex. A $2,000 investment in helping a person get more physically active pays for itself in less than one year on average.

At a time when Canadians need to get moving again – for their physical health, but also for their mental health – ParticipACTION is uniquely positioned to lead the way.

  • The organization needs renewed funding in the upcoming federal budget, to tackle the inactivity crisis across the country. 

Here’s why this funding is so critically important.


Police called to school board meeting


What happened: Police were called when attendees at an Ottawa-Carleton District School Board meeting began to protest, the Ottawa Citizen reported. A man signed up to make a statement about bullying policies, but instead began to question the use of bathrooms by transgender students.

The chair of the meeting, Dr. Nili Kaplan-Myrth cut the man off and called a recess to the meeting, at which point several people began to protest. The group left after police were called.

  • “We didn’t know what he was going to say until he started to speak. … There is no way to frame it other than transphobia. This space has to be a respectful space,” Kaplan-Myrth told the Citizen.

“Individually-held beliefs or feelings of discomfort are not a justifiable reason for discriminating against trans and gender-diverse community members,” the board said in a statement.

Possible solutions: Kaplan-Myrth said she did not want to see school board meetings take the same approach as the police board, where public debate has been limited by the rules. Nor does she want to add security to meetings because it puts up barriers to the public. She has suggested moving public delegations online during meetings, allowing them to remain public.


🌊 Because of the heavy snowfall this winter, the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority warned there could be flooding along the Rideau this spring, depending on how fast it all melts. [CTV]

📵 The city announced in a memo yesterday it would be restricting access to TikTok on all city devices, and personal devices that have access to city IT infrastructure. The city is following the lead of the province and federal government.

🌲 Advocates wonder if a city bylaw preventing tree cutting has been written too loosely, after developers got the go-ahead to clear-cut a forest for agricultural purposes in the east end near the future Tewin housing development. [CBC]

🚨 Two people in Cornwall found Apple AirTag tracking devices that had been hidden on their vehicles without their knowledge. The OPP said it was likely thieves looking to find an opportune time to strike. [CTV]

🚔 Former police chief Peter Sloly said the convoy inquiry that called into question his leadership and decision-making has left him “almost completely vindicated.” [CBC]

⚠️ The city declared intimate partner violence an epidemic, in a motion passed on International Women’s Day. It’s the first of 86 recommendations following the 2015 murders of three women in the Ottawa Valley. [CTV]

💐 Friends and neighbours are mourning Shirley Bennett, a 67-year-old woman killed in a Sandy Hill apartment fire this week. Bennett’s dog also died in the fire. [CBC]

🚨 For a second time this week, Ottawa police have shot at someone. An officer fired his weapon at a man wielding a sword. The man was not shot. The province’s Special Investigations Unit is reviewing the incident. [CTV]

🏘️ The city also passed a motion to wind up temporary shelters in community centres and into permanent housing. [The Canadian Press]

🪚 The province announced a new program to allow Grade 11 students finish their studies on the job as an apprentice in a skilled trade. [The Canadian Press]


Your weekend guide


🎨 Munnings War Artist, 1918, until March 19: A collection of war art, primarily of Canadian mounted units, in the First World War, painted by Sir Alfred Munnings. At the Canadian War Museum, 1 Vimy Pl. Tickets $18.

🖼️ Building Bridges, Indigenous Women and Art, Sunday 5 pm: In celebration of International Women’s Day, an evening of speakers, dinner, a market and more to share the experience of women in art. At 335 Michael Cowpland Dr. Tickets start at $20.


🎸 Yngwie Malmsteen, tonight 8 pm: If you’re into guys who play guitar real good, you’ll know Malmsteen, and you’ll know why tickets are pricey. It’s a small event, so act quick. At the Brass Monkey, 250 Greenbank Rd. Tickets $80.

🎹 Brahms, ein deutsches Requiem, Saturday 8 pm: A performance of the chamber version of A German Requiem. At St. Matthew’s Church, 130 Glebe Ave. Tickets start at $20.

🪩 Mamma Mia Sing-a-Long, Sunday 2:15 pm: The Company of Fools are hosting this fundraiser for their yearly fall school tour, a screening of the movie at the Mayfair Theatre where singing along is encouraged. 1074 Bank St. Tickets $12.

💃 Salsa Party with Fiesta Cubana, Sunday 8 pm: Head on out to Queen St. Fare for a party featuring Miguel de Armas and Fiesta Cubana. 170 Queen St. Tickets $17.


🍻 Festibière d’hiver, until Saturday: The winter edition of the Gatineau beer festival is here. With 350 beers from over 30 brewers in Quebec and Ontario, there’s plenty for everyone. Plus great food and live music, and plenty of activities for kids. At Place des festivals Zibi, 60 Rue Jos-Montferrand. Tickets $24.


🤡 Carlingwood March Break Fun Zone, Saturday through Friday: Lego artwork, superheros, airbrush tattoos, plenty of treats, reptiles, sciences presentations and so much more. Different activities every day of the week, at the Carlingwood Shopping Centre. Free!


🇬🇭 Ghana Independence Day Celebration, Saturday 6 pm: A celebration of Ghanaian independence. Buffet dinner with a cultural dance, scholarship awards, community award and more. At the Ukrainian Banquet and Convention Hall, 1000 Byron Ave. Tickets start at $44.


📦 LCBO Career Fair, Saturday 10 am: The liquor board is hiring workers for the LCBO warehouse on Bank Street. Different shifts are on offer, the job will require loading and unloading between 40 and 60 pounds. 1980 Bank St. Free reservations.


What happened in food this week

Ralf Joneikies/Ottawa Lookout

Every week our team at Capital Eats scours Ottawa for the best places to eat, drinks to try and events to attend. Here’s a breakdown of all the biggest stories.

🍣 Good takeout sushi can be hard to find, but thanks to a tip from a reader, our food editor thinks he’s found a spot where you’ll get fresh food at a great price. Don’t miss out on the Ika nigiri!

🍶 Saké can be a difficult drink to get into, so why not start with a classic. Ralf goes into the history behind one of the world’s most famous sakés.

🍕 (Insiders) Manotick is home to one of the city’s best pizza joints. Now that it’s under new management, could it hold that title? (Spoiler: it sure can.)

🍝 (Insiders, scroll down) Downtown is home to some classic restaurants. Unfortunately, this Italian restaurant did not live up to its reputation.

  • If you need help making your Vacant Unit Tax declaration for your property taxes, the city is running a series of clinics around town next week to help you get it done.

  • The Garlic King helps break down the rising cost of a shawarma in the city. [CBC]

  • Who has the best pizza in Brockville, Luna or 1000 Islands? [CTV]

  • The Ottawa Jazz Festival has announced its summer lineup. The festival will run June 23-30.

  • Potholes in the city have claimed the life of another tire, this one the Citizen’s city columnist’s. [Ottawa Citizen]

  • Want to have your announcement featured? Contact our partnership team for more info.


Congrats to Julia, the only person to get this week’s Ottawa Guesser. It is indeed Cedarview Road heading north toward Hunt Club. Sorry to those of you who didn’t get this one, especially anyone who had their winning streak broken.

Can you get this week’s Ottawa Wordle? Play now.


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