Public school board stifles with low enrollment

The OCDSB said they have a 1,600 student shortfall, leading to some students and teachers getting moved around.

Good morning!

I hope your week is trailing along well so far. I’ve been enjoying these beautiful summer days we’ve been having.

Today we are looking at the Ottawa Carleton District School Board which is struggling with low student enrollment. We also wrote about a South Keys walk-in clinic that is charging a $400 yearly membership fee for patients.

Let’s get to it!

— Charlie Senack, [email protected]

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Wednesday: 29 🌡️ 18 | ☀️

Thursday: 26 🌡️ 19 | 🌤️

Friday: 20 🌡️ 15 | 🌧️


OCDSB faces huge drop in enrollment

The issue: The Ottawa Carleton District School Board is facing a huge drop in enrolment, with some tough decisions needing to be made. The OCDSB said they have a 1,600 student shortfall, leading to some students and teachers getting moved around.

According to September 2023 data, there were 50,507 elementary students enrolled last year compared to 50,510 this year. The “lost” growth projections, as its being labelled, mostly impacted developing communities in the suburbs such as Findlay Creek, Riverside South, Barrhaven, Kanata and Stittsville.

Impact to students: SueEllen MacGowan said her two children in grades 5 and 6 attend Hopewell Avenue Public School. Both her kids were in split-grade classes for the last two years but were divided this September. That was until their desks were moved on Friday.

  • “It’s not good for a kid to have the rug pulled out from under them. In previous years, we knew full well it would be a split class,” she told the Ottawa Citizen. “We were excited to have them in separate classes. I notice that they’re happier when they’re not together all day.”

Provincial regulations: In Ontario schools, some grades have class sizes capped, whereas others do not. The maximum class size for kindergarten is capped at 29 students with one teacher and one early childhood educator. For grades 1, 2 and 3, no class can be above 23 students and 90 percent of classes must have 20 or fewer students. And for grades 4 through 8 there is no maximum size, but the average across the board must be 24.5 students per class.

Repeated problems: This is not the first time the OCDSB saw a drop in enrolment. In 2020 some elementary class sizes were made larger due to almost 1,900 fewer students enrolled, according to reporting from the Ottawa Citizen at the time. That led to about $24 million less in revenue.


🏡 $3.2M: The price of this year’s CHEO Minto Dream Home. [Ottawa Business Journal]

🙎🏼‍♂️1: The number of people that are dead after a driver struck two pedestrians in Sandy Hill. [CTV]

👮‍♂️ 2: The number of arrests made for public intoxication after Sunday’s Panda Game party. Seven people were arrested last year [CTV]


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👩‍⚕️ Two Ottawa doctors say they were shocked to see their bios on the South Keys Health Centre website, despite never working there or having any contact with the walk-in clinic. [CTV]

☕️ There is debate in Manotick, centred around a redevelopment that, if approved, could land a Starbucks with a drive-thru on the village's Main Street. There are concerns it could bring more traffic and congestion. [CTV]

🔥 Ten people have been displaced by a fire at a long-term care home in Gatineau overnight. [CityNews]

🎭 Tickets are now on sale for Spinning Yarns: The Millworker’s Musical, playwright Fern Martin’s theatrical ode to the vibrant and fascinating story of Almonte’s former textile industry. [Inside Ottawa Valley].


Ontario government threatens to shut down South Keys medical clinic

The issue: A walk-in medical clinic in South Keys is charging patients $400 a year for service, but claims it’s doing so legally, according to the Ottawa Citizen. The province however sees it differently and is vowing to “shut down bad actors taking advantage of patients,” said Ontario Health Minister Sylvia Jones.

The clinic opened last week and is offering regular care services by a nurse practitioner.

Political response: Ottawa South MPP John Fraser has written a letter to Jones asking the health ministry to investigate.

  • “The primary foundation for our publicly funded healthcare system is equal access to all,” MPP Fraser’s letter said, according to CityNews. “It is not based on your ability to pay. Access to primary care services should be through your OHIP card and not your credit card.”

Health care laws: It is illegal for doctors to charge a fee for services that are covered by OHIP. Nurse practitioners, however, do not fall under that law.

Clinic response: The clinic said they are filling a desperate need for primary care in the community. They will also charge a separate fee per visit.

  • “We have had a very good response. We have a list of about 10,000 people,” said Osman Nor, clinical director at the South Keys Health Center. “Two million Ontarians are without a primary care physician today. We see long lineups everywhere. The health-care system in Ontario is severely broken.”

Zoom out: The BC government also recently cracked down TELUS Health, which charged for physician services, according to the Vancouver Sun. The company reached a settlement with the province and one of the conditions was to stop offering publicly available, medically necessary services.

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💴 The organization that regulates retirement homes in Ontario says it is looking into allegations that a retirement home charged an Ottawa woman thousands of dollars for services provided through the public health system. [Ottawa Citizen]

🎙️ Greg Fergus, the MP for neighbouring Hull—Aylmer, first came to the House of Commons as a page, sitting at the foot of the Speaker’s chair and serving water to MPs — only one of whom is still a sitting member of Parliament. Now, he’s serving as the first Black Canadian to serve as Speaker of the House of Commons. [Ottawa Citizen]

🚌 The chief administrative officer and general manager of the Ottawa Student Transportation Authority (OSTA) is taking a leave of absence. The sudden move comes after the organization has faced harsh criticism for their lack of yellow school buses and available drivers. [CTV]

🦠 With coronavirus levels in the city's wastewater on the rise and Ottawa Public Health (OPH) warning of another bad respiratory virus season, COVID-19 rapid tests could soon be in high demand once again. Here is where you can get testing kits. [CBC]

👮🏼‍♀️ An Ottawa police officer is facing discreditable conduct charges after being found guilty of threatening to kill a woman. Constable Yourik Brisebois, a detective with the Ottawa Police Service’s child exploitation unit, is facing two charges under Ontario’s Police Services Act. [Ottawa Citizen]

🛻 The far-right ‘Save the Children Convoy’ is currently gathering at a rural base camp outside Ottawa. Leaders of the convoy, which revolves around various pedophile conspiracies, say they are planning daily marches through Ottawa. [Press Progress]

🏫 At école élémentaire publique Louise-Arbour, fridges, photocopiers and filing cabinets are stashed in the hallways and stairwells due to being over capacity. Parents are now anxiously awaiting a new school to be built at Preston Street and the Trillium Line in Little Italy. [CBC]


A spa and sauna? This home getaway out in Chelsea is your vacation spot that’s not all that far from Ottawa. With three bedrooms and two bathrooms, beautiful wood panelling and a living room designed for entertaining guests, this is a real special place.

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  • The city of Ottawa is seeking public input on a plan to bring the tree protection bylaw in the suburbs in line with the urban core. [CTV]

  • The third annual Tagwàgi (Autumn) Festival is back October 14-15 at Mādahòkì Farm. Featuring an Indigenous Makers and Farmers Market, workshops, Indigenous harvest meals and more!*

  • Free skating is being offered at Cardelrec Recreation Complex-Goulbourn for youth and children. [Stitsville Central]

  • The Stittsville Goulbourn Horticultural Society learned a great deal about vermicomposting in September. [Stitsville Central]

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Seafood shines at Portuguese restaurant Caravela

Capital Eats is written by our food editor Ralf Joneikies.

The Portuguese know something about seafood and at Caravela they do it very well.

When it comes to comfort appetizers or bar snacks, deep fried calamari is almost as popular as chicken wings. (Visit Del Piacere or EVOO on Preston Street and you’ll enjoy two of Ottawa’s other best examples.)

Then we have the oft-neglected grilled calamari. It’s certainly healthier than the fried version but is it as satisfying to eat?

If you go to Caravela you’ll be well served by everything the kitchen conjures. There are however very few times that I’ll write the phrase it’s worth the drive just for this dish. That’s how good the grilled calamari is and at $13 it’s an outright steal.


🏈 In his final Panda Game as a University of Ottawa Gee-Gees kicker, Campbell Fair scored winning field goal at midfield after being down a single point with one second remaining. [49 Sport]

🥅 For the first time in over four years, the Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame held a live induction ceremony Wednesday evening at Lansdowne Park’s Horticulture Building. [Ottawa Sport Pages]

🏒 Tough Ottawa Senators winger Zack MacEwen plays on with his father on his mind. A clot that started in his dad’s heart went to his brain. There was surgery, complications and a brain bleed. [Ottawa Sun]

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