The year 2020, Councillor Jan Harder, City of Ottawa


The year 2020, Councillor Jan Harder, City of Ottawa

The year 2020 is finally coming to an end and I think it’s fair to say we are all relieved. This is a year that has brought unexpected challenges to us all. At this time last year, most people were setting new year’s resolutions and hoping for a positive start to 2020. None of us could have predicted or prepared for a year which brought along with it a global health pandemic that has infected millions of people.


As we end the year, however, we are doing so on a positive note.  Amazing progress is being made on the vaccine front and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said 80 per cent of Canadians who want the vaccine will have it by September 2021. Three vaccines are now waiting for approval in Canada and distribution will start in the first quarter of next year — most likely sometime in March. The UK was the first country to approve the vaccine and the first members of the public will start getting it next week.


While we are all anxiously awaiting its arrival here in Canada, we can’t help but look at this as a positive thing. While we will have to wait a little longer than other countries, we will have the added reassurance of knowing that any possible kinks in the vaccine will be worked out.


We of course are all hoping for a better year in 2021 and we all are craving that sense of normality. We all want to take part in festivals and concerts again and we all want to socialize with our friends and family. The end of this pandemic is in sight and we have learned so much about ourselves and the world as we all went through this together. Little things we used to take for granted like seeing our friends or going to a concert will now be activities we appreciate and enjoy more.


With that being said we are still in the thick of this pandemic and we cannot get complacent. Scientists and health experts have warned us that the darkest days of this pandemic are still to come. By saying this it’s not fear mongering and it’s something we can easily avoid if we all do our part. Ottawa is currently one of the best cities in the country for beating the virus. As daily COVID case numbers rise in other parts of Ontario and Canada, we have bended the curve and now remain relatively stable. This is thanks to every single Ottawa resident who has done their part by wearing a mask, social distancing from others, avoiding all unnecessary activities, and of course regular hand washing and sanitizing. Many of these are easy steps which don’t take a lot of effort to achieve. By doing this now we can ensure that 2021 will be more normal of a year. We can also ensure that we keep our loved ones safe.


We will all get through this pandemic together and we will all be able to come together and celebrate once it’s over. Plans are already in the works for big celebrations in Barrhaven once we can gather as a community again. This holiday season let’s not lose hope and remain optimistic about the new year which is to come because it can be better.