Income Tax Season
The end of February marks the time of year when most of us start to think about filing our annual income tax returns. More and more often, government benefits and social programs are only accessible to those who file income tax.
211’s provincial blog talks about benefits accessible to low income households through filing income tax and offers some links to resources. In general, if you are looking for a free income tax clinic, you can either call 211 to find out about local options or you can check CRA’s website which also lists information on volunteer income tax clinics that will file returns free of charge.
Due to the ongoing restrictions of the pandemic, demand may be higher than availability if clinics are running at a reduced capacity. We encourage you to seek information early so you can get the help you need.
The Orléans-Cumberland Community Resource Centre is offering a modified bilingual income tax clinic by phone.
- Resident of Orléans-Cumberland catchment area
- Completed last year’s Income Taxes
- Family living with a low-income (see chart on their website for details)
- Register by phone ONLY at 613-830-4357, ext. 310 from February 16th to April 16th, 2021
Who is ready for spring? One thing we can do from home while watching the snow melt is to start some plants from seed in our homes. There are many resources online to help anyone give growing from seed a try whether or not you consider yourself a green thumb.
Here’s comprehensive guide developed by the Community Gardening Network of Ottawa and shared by Just Food: http://justfood.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/CGN_Garden_Guide_2015.pdf
If you have children at home and would like to get them involved and excited about growing plants from seeds, Ottawa Public Health produced this handbook that includes several activities you can do with children to help them learn about seeds and caring for plants: https://www.ottawapublichealth.ca/en/public-health-topics/resources/Documents/I-love-to-garden-Program-Manual_EN-Accessible.pdf
Lastly, did you know that Ottawa has a Seed Library? (or are you wondering what a seed library is?) In basic terms, the seed library is a repository of seeds donated by other local growers. Anyone can donate seeds at the end of the growing season or take seeds early in the season. Just Food has two seed programs locally – the Ottawa Seed Library and the Regional Seed Program. You do not need to be an experienced or large scale grower to get involved. Find out more here: https://justfood.ca/seed-saving-projects-and-events/
Ongoing high-end vehicle thefts
[From a Public Advisory released by Ottawa Police] (Ottawa) –The Ottawa Police reminds the community that the risk of thefts, and repeat thefts, of high-end Lexus and Toyota vehicles in Ottawa remains present, particularly with Tacoma and Highlander.
There have been 5 luxury vehicle thefts in Kanata (Bridlewood area) in a single overnight. There have been multiple vehicles stolen recently in the Crystal beach and Orleans areas as well. There is no suspect description available at this time.
The Ottawa Police have received over 200 reports of newer model Lexus/Toyota SUVs and Tacomas over the course of 2020 and a further 35 so far this year. Investigators are asking that any Toyota/Lexus SUV or Tacoma owners who notice damage to the driver’s door handle file an information report online. This will assist in identifying the scope of the problem and help direct proactive efforts to the right neighborhoods.
Anyone with information about any of the vehicle thefts is asked to call the Ottawa Police Central Criminal Investigations Section at 613-236-1222 ext. 4127. Anonymous tips can be submitted by calling Crime Stoppers toll-free at 1-800-222-8477 or at crimestoppers.ca.
Investigators would like to advise the public that previously targeted addresses have been repeatedly targeted on multiple occasions, with that in mind we would like to remind car owners of the following tips to protect their vehicle:
- Make your vehicle less vulnerable to theft by parking it in a locked garage and or by blocking it in tightly with a second vehicle. Exterior lighting and video surveillance around the driveway can also serve as a deterrent.
- Consider installing an after-market electronic immobilizer device, which can interfere with the starting of the vehicle.
- Be vigilant that there is no damage to the door locks mechanisms, as this could be an indication that your car has been targeted.
- Consider protecting your vehicle with such devices as car alarms or steering wheel locking devices such as “The Club”.
- GPS tracking devices have become increasingly popular. Some even allow the vehicle owner to electronically “fence-in” their vehicle, whereby an alarm cue would occur if the vehicle were to leave the fenced-in area without authorization.
- Locks to restrict access to the on-board diagnostic plug exist and when applied can impede a thief from re-programming a key.
- If you are selling your vehicle, be wary not to let anyone have access to your car keys and do not let your vehicle out of your sight. This prevents a thief from copying your key during a “test drive” so they can return to steal it.
- Finally, good old-fashioned neighbourhood watch is a great deterrent. Be vigilant and call 911 to report any suspicious vehicles in your neighbourhood. Most thefts occur between midnight and 5am in the morning.
Investigators have not yet seen the use of signal amplifiers in Ottawa. In the event that this technology makes its way to Ottawa, a simple line of defense is to consider keeping any vehicle with a proximity key fob inside a radio frequency shield device (RFS device). This will prevent the key fob’s signal from being amplified to the vehicle from inside the house, protecting it from being driven away.
More safety tips are available online.