Community Update

Finally HERE – last phase of construction work for Rideau and William Street

Rideau Street is now closed between Sussex Drive and Dalhousie Street until the end of 2020 for the last portion of the complete renewal of Rideau Street. #RideauStRenewal

This closure is needed to complete the final phase of work on Rideau Street and will include the renewal of William Street. Work on William Street between George and Rideau streets will start in early fall. The contractor selected for this project is Tomlinson.

Work on Rideau Street includes improved sidewalks, cycling and transit facilities, benches, bicycle parking, pedestrian lighting, landscaping and more.

Work on William Street includes an improved pedestrian experience, with seating, trees, lighting and bicycle parking.

During this time, many changes will occur. Numerous businesses will remain open and city services will continue to be offered. For this reason, it is important to stay up-to date throughout this project. For more information on the project, you may visit the project website here and sign-up for the e-newsletter here. To learn about the impacts to transit service, visit the OC Transpo website here.

OCH Adapting Operations to Support Tenant Needs During COVID-19

While it is not business as usual, OCH continues to serve tenants, supported by a dedicated team of staff, contractors and volunteers who are all stepping up during these unprecedented times. Housing is an essential service and while OCH offices remain closed to the public and tenants, OCH continues to offer a 24/7 call-centre for all urgent and essential needs for tenants.

To keep tenants and employees safe increased frequency of cleaning in buildings and offices continues in addition to tenant lounges, parks and other common areas being closed to reduce exposure to the virus. OCH continues to work closely with Ottawa Public Health (OPH) and is following OPH recommendations and guidelines to ensure the health and well-being of tenants and staff.

Since mid-March, OCH’s Community Development team have been connecting with close to 5,000 at-risk residents & 900 tenant leaders to gather information on how communities are doing and offer what supports they can. In partnership with the City’s Human Needs Task Force, Red Cross volunteers have also been going door knocking to support OCH Seniors and other vulnerable tenants. OCH has also created a dedicated page on their website for tenant resources (

Stay up to date with OCH’s COVID-19 response here:

Community Gardens

We are happy to announce that the province of Ontario now permit the use of allotment gardens and community gardens across the province. These gardens are an essential source of fresh food for some individuals and families, including those who face food insecurity. Local medical officers of health will provide advice, recommendation and instructions that the gardens must meet in order to operate, such as physical distancing, and cleaning and disinfecting commonly used equipment and surfaces.

Here’s the list of community gardens in our community

  • Fatima Manor for Seniors – 280 Montford
  • Vanier Community Garden – Richelieu Park, 300 Des Peres Blancs
  • Lowertown Community Garden – 40 Cobourg Street
  • Angel Square Community Garden – 40 Cobourg Street
  • Oasis Food Growing Project – 221 Nelson Street
  • St. Joes Supper Table Community Garden – 151 Laurier Avenue
  • University of Ottawa Office of Campus Sustainability – 141 Louis-Pasteur Private
  • Sandy Hill Community Garden – 154 Mann Avenue
  • Strathcona Heights Community Garden – 430 Wiggins Private

Farmer’s market

I’m pleased to advise that, in consultation with the Government of Ontario, the City of Ottawa is working with our community’s farmers’ markets to re-open in a safe manner.

The information that follows has been compiled by staff from PIED, Emergency and Protective Services and Ottawa Public Health.

Farmers’ Markets Ontario (FMO) has received clarification from the Province that farmers’ markets, “as businesses that primarily sell food, are considered essential workplaces under the current Order.” In addition, the Municipality has consulted and received confirmation from relevant provincial ministers that farmers’ markets are considered an essential service, as sanctioned by the Minister of Agriculture, so long as they respect guidelines outlined by FMO.

In collaboration with Ottawa Public Health (OPH), guidelines have been prepared regarding safe market operations. OPH is currently supporting local market operators to resume business safely, and this guidance includes information with regards to maintenance of physical distancing, and proper handwashing and sanitizing protocols in market settings. This information will be posted on their web site shortly.

Local Businesses and University of Ottawa Coming Together to Support Essential Workers

This week, I had the opportunity to speak with staff and students at the University of Ottawa along with Canadian Hydro Components about their incredible work in supporting healthcare workers in Ottawa.

Over the past month the University of Ottawa has been working with different medical professionals to create a reusable face shield to protect essential workers, made up of three key parts: a headband, the transparent shield and an elastic like tourniquet.

There are over 25 volunteers who have donated everything from 3D printed bands and packing supplies to home cooked lunches. In addition to these volunteers, companies like Canadian Hydro Components, Lumentum and Luzchem have been involved in making  the 3D printed bands. ETM Industries also developed an injection mold for one of the headband designs to speed up the 3D printing process.

This group has been able to distribute over 7000 face shields to healthcare workers with a focus on Ottawa major hospitals, retirement/long term care homes, and clinics, including those supporting our most vulnerable at Ottawa Inner City Health. More information about these efforts can be found here:

What a great example of passion and innovation quickly coming together to support our essential workers. Bravo!


Medical masks and N95 respirators should not be worn by healthy community members. For health care workers looking for information on personal protective equipment, please refer to our section on Infection Prevention and Control.

Non-medical masks may include those that are made from cloth (for example cotton); those that have pockets to insert filters; and those that are used to cover other masks or respirators to prolong their use. Wearing a non-medical mask is NOT a replacement for physical distancing, hand washing, and monitoring your health. Wearing non-medical masks may offer additional protection especially when physical distancing is hard to maintain (e.g. in a grocery store, on the bus).

However, non-medical mask may help protect others around you.

To protect yourself from COVID-19, follow public health recommendations: stay home, wash your hands often, and don’t touch your face. Homemade cloth face coverings, or non-medical masks, have not been proven to protect you from COVID-19 and have a number of limitations. Wearing a non-medical mask can increase your risk of infection if you touch your face more frequently: readjusting it or if you do not wash your hands before putting it on and taking it off.

For more information about non-medical masks, visit Health Canada’s website About non-medical masks and face coverings.

COVID-19 Assessment Centre

COVID-19 Testing update: The list of symptoms and individuals requiring testing for COVID-19 has expanded.

The COVID-19 Assessment Centre is an out-of-hospital clinic where people will be assessed by a health-care provider and tested for COVID-19 if required. It is operated by The Ottawa Hospital (TOH) and CHEO, in partnership with Ottawa Public Health (OPH) and the City of Ottawa.

If you are in distress (e.g. significant trouble breathing, chest pain, fainting, or have a significant worsening of any chronic disease symptoms), do not go to the Assessment Centre or a COVID-19 Care clinic. Go to the nearest Emergency Department or call 9-1-1.

  • COVID-19 has common symptoms such as fever, cough, or difficulty breathing.
  • COVID-19 also has less common symptoms such as unexplained fatigue, delirium (a serious medical condition that involves confusion, changes to memory, and odd behaviours), falls, acute functional decline, worsening of chronic conditions, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, chills, headaches, croup, or loss of taste/smell.
  • COVID-19 may also present as new or worsening respiratory symptoms such as: sore throat, runny nose, sneezing, nasal congestion, hoarse voice, or difficulty swallowing

The following list of individuals are recommended to be tested for COVID-19 IF they have at least one common symptom of COVID-19 OR one less common symptom of COVID-19 OR one new or worsening respiratory symptom (see list of symptoms above):

  • Healthcare workers or staff who work in health care facilities and members of their households
  • Residents and staff in long-term care homes, retirement homes, correctional facilities, homeless shelters, mental health institution, hospice, and other congregate living settings
  • Hospitalized individuals and those who likely will be hospitalized
  • Members of remote, isolated, rural, and/or indigenous communities
  • Caregivers and care providers
  • First responders such as firefighters, police, and paramedics
  • Individuals with frequent healthcare contact such as patients with cancer or undergoing chemotherapy, dialysis therapy, pre- or post-transplant, pregnancy, and newborns

The following list of individuals are recommended to be tested for COVID-19 IF they have at least one common symptom of COVID-19 such as fever, cough, or difficulty breathing.

  • Close contacts of confirmed or probable cases
  • Returning international travellers who seek medical attention
  • Critical infrastructure workers – this includes grocery stores, food services, maintenance and transportation workers, and utilities.

Patients who meet the criteria above will be tested for COVID-19, which involves taking a sample from the throat or nose with a swab.

Important: You do NOT need to contact Ottawa Public Health before going to an assessment centre.

Brewer Park Arena Location and hours:
151 Brewer Way
Accessed from Bronson Avenue opposite Carleton University
Open 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. , 7 days a week

Update from the City’s Human Needs Task Force

On April 9, the City received $6.6 million of a $13.3 million commitment from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing through the Social Services Relief Fund for 2020-2021. This funding is in addition to the $4.8 million previously received through the federal Reaching Home funding under Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, bringing the total immediate funding to $11.4 million. This funding is intended to support the needs of vulnerable people during this crisis including: people at risk of or experiencing homelessness; people living in community or supportive housing; people with low incomes; social assistance recipients; or others who require social services.

The complete Social Services Relief Fund Terms of Reference and simplified Application Package can be found on the City of Ottawa’s COVID-19 Supports and Assistance page. We will continue to work closely with community agencies to ensure that all Social Services Relief Fund related inquiries are appropriately triaged and responded to in a timely fashion to enable a smooth and effective funding allocation process. We are targeting to have these funds distributed by early May.

Food Security
The Human Needs Task Force created and distributed Food Resource Fact Sheets to provide residents with information on key pick-up and delivery food service options in their communities. A shorter fact sheet specifically for seniors is also available. The Food Resource Fact Sheet has been translated into English and French and is being translated into six other languages.

Community and Family Shelters
Physical distancing remains one of the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Overcrowding in shelters, coupled with a tendency for clients to congregate, increases the risks of rapid spread should an outbreak occur. Housing Services and its community partners have been working to mobilize new facilities to support this particularly vulnerable population by enabling this important prevention strategy.


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