Board of Health Corporate Seal

Ottawa Board of Health
Monday, November 1, 2021, 5:00 PM
By Electronic Participation
Contact for the Ottawa Board of Health:
Diane Blais, Board of Health Secretary
613-580-2424, ext. 21544
[email protected]

Board Members:
Chair: K. Egli
Vice-Chair: T. DeGiovanni
Members: E. Banham, J. Cloutier, E. El-Chantiry, G. Gower, T. Kavanagh, L. Leikin, S. Menard, S. Pinel, P. Tilley

The Ottawa Board of Health met via Zoom on Monday, November 1, 2021 beginning at 5:00 PM.

Councillor Keith Egli, Chair of the Board of Health, presided over the meeting.



All members participated.



No regrets were filed.



No declarations of interest were filed.



Confirmation of minutes of the meeting of September 20, 2021.




Four communication items have been received (held on file with the Board of Health Secretary).



Motion 19/1

Moved by Member Leikin

BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Chair of the Board of Health Verbal Report, the Medical Officer of Health Verbal Report, and the reports titled: Ontario Public Health Standards - 2021 Activity Reports - Risk Management, Ottawa Public Health’s Strategic Plan for 2019-2022 – Update from Quarter Three of 2021, Ottawa Public Health’s Strategic Plan for 2019-2022 – 2022 Annual Refresh, and 2022 Ottawa Board of Health Meeting Schedule, be received and considered;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Rules of Procedure be suspended to receive and table the report titled “2022 Draft Operating Budget for the Ottawa Board of Health”.



Following a ‘Consent Agenda’ process, the Board considered the held items in the order in which they appear on the Agenda.






That the Board of Health for the City of Ottawa Health Unit receive this verbal report for information.




As part of his verbal report, Chair Egli congratulated Dr. Etches as well as Dr. Robert Cushman from the Renfrew County and District Health Unit, Dr. Paul Roumeliotis from the Eastern Ontario Health Unit and Dr. Paula Stewart from the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit, and their respective teams on their Community Builder of the Year Award from the United Way of Eastern Ontario. He reported on City Councils recent adoption of a new Official Plan and took the opportunity to recognize Ottawa Public Health’s Inge Roosendaal, Senior Planner with the Healthy Communities branch, and Birgit Isernhagen, Program Planning and Evaluation Officer with the Environmental Health team, for their collaboration with the City’s Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development (PIED) department and their work to integrate health perspectives into Official Plan policies. He then talked about November being Radon Awareness Month and the fact that OPH has been invited to participate in the 100 Radon Test Kit Challenge, organized by the Take Action on Radon organization and funded by Health Canada. In closing, he highlighted recent milestones in local COVID-19 vaccination coverage.

The discussion on this item lasted approximately 10 minutes. The report was then received by the Board. The attached memo includes the Chair’s Verbal Update.







That the Board of Health for the City of Ottawa Health Unit receive this verbal report for information.




In her verbal report, Dr. Etches provided updates on: the current COVID-19 situation and immunization in Ottawa; OPH’s work to support schools this fall; the fall influenza immunization campaign; and school catch-up immunization.

In the context of Dr. Etches’ verbal report and as part of the update on the first topic (current COVID-19 situation and immunization in Ottawa) Marie-Claude Turcotte, Manager of Immunization, and Phil Jansson, Program Manager of Communications, spoke to a PowerPoint presentation in which they provided an update on OPH’s COVID-19 plans for vaccinating additional populations over the coming months.

Staff then responded to questions from Board Members. The discussion on this item lasted approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. The report was then received by the Board. The attached memo includes the Medical Officer of Health’s Verbal Update.


At approximately 6:40 p.m., before moving on to Agenda item 3, the Board approved a motion to extend the time of the meeting beyond 7:00 p.m.

Motion 19/2

Moved by Member Leikin

BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Board of Health approve that the meeting time continue to be extended past 7:00 p.m. pursuant to Subsection 8(1)(c) of the Procedural By-law.








That, at its meeting of November 1, 2021, the Board of Health for the City of Ottawa Health Unit:

1.            Receive and table the 2022 Draft Operating Budget for the Ottawa Board of Health; and


            RECEIVED and TABLED


2.            Direct staff to forward the 2022 Draft Operating Budget for the Ottawa Board of Health to Ottawa City Council on November 3, 2021, as part of the City Council’s tabling of the City of Ottawa 2022 Draft Operating and Capital budget.




Chair Egli and Dr. Etches provided opening remarks, after which Ms. Svetlana Valkova, Manager of Performance and Corporate Services, spoke to a PowerPoint presentation which served to provide Board Members with an overview of the 2022 Draft Operating Budget. A copy of her presentation is held on file with the Board Secretary.

Following the presentation, staff responded to questions from Board Members.

The discussion on this item lasted approximately 20 minutes. The report recommendations were then put to the Board and voted on separately.







That the Board of Health for the City of Ottawa Health Unit receive this report for information.









That the Board of Health for the City of Ottawa Health Unit receive this report for information.









That the Board of Health for the City of Ottawa Health Unit approve the re-alignment of Ottawa Public Health’s strategic work, as described in this report and outlined in Document 1, attached.









That the Board of Health for the City of Ottawa Health Unit approve the 2022 meeting schedule, as outlined in this report.







Ottawa Public Health Collaboration with Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development on the New Official Plan






Motion 19/3

Moved by Member Leikin

BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Chair of the Board of Health Verbal Report, the Medical Officer of Health Verbal Report, and the reports titled: Ontario Public Health Standards - 2021 Activity Reports - Risk Management, Ottawa Public Health’s Strategic Plan for 2019-2022 – Update from Quarter Three of 2021, Ottawa Public Health’s Strategic Plan for 2019-2022 – 2022 Annual Refresh, and 2022 Ottawa Board of Health Meeting Schedule, be received and adopted;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the report titled “2022 Draft Operating Budget for the Ottawa Board of Health” be tabled, for consideration at the Board of Health meeting of November 29, 2021.




Motion 19/4

Moved by Member Leikin

WHEREAS the timelines between receiving information about the Association of Local Public Health Agencies (alPHa) 2021 Fall Symposium and publication of the Board of Health’s November 1, 2021 meeting agenda did not allow sufficient time for the preparation of a report to be included on the November 1, 2021 Board of Health Agenda;

AND WHEREAS the Fall Symposium is being held before the next meeting of the Ottawa Board of Health, resulting in urgency for the Board to consider this matter today;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Rules of Procedure be suspended to consider a motion with respect to Board Members’ participation at the alPHa Fall Symposium, to be held virtually on November 19, 2021>


WHEREAS Ottawa Public Health is an active member of the Association of Local Public Health Agencies (alPHa), an organization that provides leadership to boards of health and public health units in Ontario as well as advises and lends expertise on the governance, administration and management of health units;

AND WHEREAS participation in alPHa meetings is strongly encouraged, including by the Medical Officer of Health, Associate Medical Officers of Health and Members of the Board of Health;

AND WHEREAS on October 19, 2021, Board Members were canvassed on their interest in attending the alPHa 2021 Fall Symposium, with Chair Egli and Members Banham, Cloutier and El-Chantiry indicating they were available;

AND WHEREAS the cost per delegate is approximately $170 (taxes included) to participate in this virtual event and funds are available within the Ottawa Board of Health operating budget;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Board of Health for the City of Ottawa Health Unit approve the participation of Chair Egli and Members Banham, Cloutier and El-Chantiry at the Association of Local Public Health Agencies’ (alPHa) 2021 Fall Symposium, to be held virtually on November 19, 2021.




There were no Notices of Motion (for consideration at a subsequent meeting).



Motion 19/5

Moved by Member Leikin

BE IT RESOLVED THAT Confirmation By-law no. 2021-5, a by-law of the Board of Health for the City of Ottawa Health Unit to confirm the proceedings of the Ottawa Board of Health at its meeting of November 1, 2021, be read and passed.







The Board adjourned the meeting at 7:07 p.m.



Regular Meeting

Monday, November 29, 2021 - 5:00 PM


_____________________________                    _____________________________

BOARD SECRETARY                                           BOARD CHAIR

Chair’s Speaking Notes
November 1, 2021 Board of Health Meeting

Good evening, Bonsoir, Kwey (pronounced k-way), Aingai (pronounced i-ng-nye), Taanishi (pronounced tawn-shai),

Community Builder of the Year Award

To begin my verbal update tonight, I am pleased to share that, in a virtual event held on Tuesday, October 5th, the United Way of Eastern Ontario jointly awarded their Community Builder of the Year Award to Eastern Ontario’s Medical Officers of Health and their respective health units.

Specifically, this CBYA award recognized these Medical Officers of Health and their units for their continued efforts to bring equity and social justice into health care practices—especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Even before the onset of the pandemic, local public health authorities from across the region have recognized the complex impacts that poverty, systemic racism, discrimination, and unequal access to information have on an individual’s or group’s health outcomes. However, the pandemic compelled these teams to be a guiding voice for how public health, and other community institutions, can better support the most marginalized people, and why this is critical for the health of communities at large.

Dr. Etches participated in this virtual event alongside her peers – Dr. Robert Cushman from the Renfrew County and District Health Unit, Dr. Paul Roumeliotis from the Eastern Ontario Health Unit and Dr. Paula Stewart from the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit. Together, they accepted this award and recognition on behalf of their teams.

As CBYA recipients, their names will be also engraved permanently on one of UWEO’s four Walls of Inspiration, based on their health unit’s district.

Congratulations to Drs. Etches, Cushman, Roumeliotis and Stewart and to their respective teams!

Adoption of the City’s New Official Plan

I am happy to report that last Wednesday, October 27th, City Council considered and approved its new Official Plan. This new Official Plan is the primary document that will guide planning for Ottawa’s growth and redevelopment for the next 25 years and getting to this point – of having a Council-approved new Official Plan - has been a long and arduous process.

We have an IPD memo listed on tonight’s Agenda, which is our third update on this subject, so Board Members have become somewhat familiar with this effort. However, I wanted to take the opportunity tonight to recognize the efforts of OPH staff in the development of Ottawa’s new Official Plan and the integration of health perspectives into Official Plan policies.

Though this work has been supported by many at OPH – and all should be commended for it – I especially want to recognize Inge Roosendaal, Senior Planner with our Healthy Communities branch, and Birgit Isernhagen, Program Planning and Evaluation Officer with our Environmental Health team, for their work, dedication and commitment to this innovative partnership with the City’s Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development (PIED) department.

I also want to thank PIED’s General Manager, Mr. Stephen Willis, and his team for their openness to working with OPH over the past 2+ years.

Congratulations to everyone involved!

Radon Awareness Month – 100 Radon Test Kit Challenge

November is Radon Awareness Month. For those who may not be familiar, radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas released when uranium in soil and/or rock breaks down.

Studies by Health Canada have shown that radon concentrations vary a great deal across Canada, however we know that all areas of the City of Ottawa can be affected by radon, which can seep into a building through dirt floors, cracks in foundations or concrete, sump pumps, joints and basement drains. Well water can also contain trapped radon, which may be released into the air when water is drawn.

Though radon does not tend to be a health issue outdoors as atmospheric mixing dilutes the gas to low concentrations, in a confined space it can accumulate to high levels, which can present a health risk. In fact, exposure to high levels of radon gas over an extended period of time is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. For people who smoke, and those who are regularly exposed to second-hand smoke, this risk is even higher.

Because radon is invisible, odourless and tasteless, the only way to know if a home is affected by this invisible gas it to test for it.

Now for the good news - This year we have been invited to participate in the 100 Radon Test Kit Challenge, organized by the Take Action on Radon organization and funded by Health Canada. Organizers will be providing Ottawa Public Health with 500 free test kits for distribution. 

Given that we spend more time indoors during the winter months, this 100 Radon Test Kit Challenge provides the perfect opportunity to test our homes for radon gas.

All residents in the City of Ottawa are invited to participate in the 100 Radon Test Kit Challenge to learn more about radon gas and how easy it is to fix this problem, if it’s identified. 

Tomorrow I will be sharing more detailed information to Board of Health and Council colleagues about the 100 Radon Test Kit Challenge and asking them to pass it along to their respective networks to encourage Ottawa residents to register for one of 500 free test kits starting on Thursday November 4th.

COVID-19 Vaccination

I am pleased to share that on October 18th, Ottawa reached another important milestone in our local COVID-19 vaccination efforts, with 90% first dose vaccination in the City of Ottawa among the eligible population. This is a great accomplishment and I would like to thank Ottawa residents for helping us get here. I would also like to extend my sincere appreciation to employees at OPH and the City of Ottawa for supporting this great milestone.

Still on the subject of COVID-19 vaccination coverage, as I reported to you in my last verbal update, in early September OPH updated its Employee Immunization Policy to include a requirement for all employees to be fully immunized against COVID-19 and the City introduced a new Mandatory Vaccine Policy requiring all City employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

I would like to thank City Manager, Steve Kanellakos and his team for reaching over 90% confirmed vaccination coverage among city workers. Thank you also to every city employee who got vaccinated and then provided their proof of vaccination to the City.

That concludes my Verbal Report. I would be happy to take any questions.

Board of Health Meeting
Dr. Vera Etches – Verbal report
November 1, 2021

Good afternoon, Kwey, Ulaakut, Taanishi, Bonjour,

In tonight’s Verbal Report, I will provide an update on the local COVID-19 situation and vaccine rollout in Ottawa, talk about OPH’s work to support schools this fall, including increased access to COVID-19 testing, and provide an update on our influenza and school catch-up immunization campaigns.

Current COVID-19 Situation and Immunization in Ottawa

I continue to wish to express my gratitude to people in Ottawa, our partners across the City of Ottawa, many health, social services, education, business and other sectors for persevering through this COVID-19 pandemic. / Je tiens toujours à exprimer ma gratitude aux gens d'Ottawa, à nos partenaires de la Ville d'Ottawa, à de nombreux secteurs de la santé, des services sociaux, de l'éducation, des affaires et autres pour avoir persévéré pendant cette pandémie de la COVID-19

The situation is better. Mortality rates have dropped, hospitals are busy working on catching up on procedures and surgeries and more people have access to the social supports they need in their lives. We are getting there and a cautious approach is keeping COVID-19 manageable.

I want to specifically thank the OPH managers and all OPH team members who continue to work hard on so many fronts, and to congratulate them on the Community Builder award that recognizes their work.  From surveillance reporting, through communicating to many stakeholders ever changing information, the significant efforts to keep increasing immunization rates and keep outbreaks from happening or growing, as well as the efforts to return key supports like dental, mental health and substance use, sexual health and healthy growth and development services to the community, the OPH team is putting clients first and demonstrating ongoing adaptability.

In terms of accomplishing non-COVId-19 focused work, it is no small thing that the City Official Plan has a public health emphasis to it. How our City is built affects the population’s level of physical activity and social connection and mental health. I am thankful to Inge Roosendaal, Birgit Isernhagen, and Mike Ferguson for working to improve health through the City plan, which will have an impact for decades to come.

COVID-19 rates in Ottawa have been declining slowly in recent weeks, with rates highest among 5-11 year olds, where an increase was seen last week. The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 remained around 10 throughout October. The COVID-19 wastewater viral signal has been low and continues to fluctuate.

Outbreaks are most often detected in schools, though other workplaces like a hospital, shelter and restaurant are currently affected. While people in school or of school-age account for 45% (98 ) of all people testing positive for COVID-19 last week, the majority of these situations have not led to an outbreak; 38 people in school are linked to an outbreak, which is defined as 2 people testing positive within 14 days who are linked and where at least one person could reasonably have acquired the infection in the school.  However, this number of people testing positive is disrupting children’s learning and families’ ability to work when close contacts have to isolate.

Though Ottawa continues to make progress in increasing our COVID-19 vaccination coverage, uptake has been declining week over week. People 18-39 years of age have the lowest rates.

Vaccination coverage continues to be generally lower in Ottawa neighbourhoods with less socioeconomic advantage than in neighbourhoods with higher socioeconomic advantage. The gap in vaccination coverage between the most advantaged (quintile 1, or Q1) and least advantaged (Q5) neighbourhoods continued to narrow, with Q5 neighbourhoods seeing more gains in coverage. The percentage point difference between Q1 and Q5 neighbourhoods for at least one dose now stands at 10 (compared to 11 percentage points on Sept 27th) and for fully vaccinated is 12 percentage points (compared to 14 percentage points on Sept 27th). The risk of COVID infection among individuals who are unvaccinated or who have only received one dose is 9-fold higher than it is for people who are fully vaccinated. / Le risque d'infection par le COVID chez les personnes non vaccinées ou ayant reçu une seule dose est 9 fois plus élevé que chez les personnes entièrement vaccinées

As Chair Egli has noted, on October 18th we reached the milestone of 90% first dose vaccination among Ottawa’s eligible population. In terms of vaccination coverage for our total population, as of last night, 79% have received one dose and 76% are fully vaccinated.

COVID-19 vaccines continue to be available to people born in 2009 or earlier at our community clinics, pop-up clinics, neighbourhood vaccination hubs across the City, some family physicians’ offices, and a large number of participating pharmacies as well as at the Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team clinic.

Workplaces, community organizations, places of worship and other groups can also still  request a mobile vaccination team to administer first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine on-site, at their own location.

We are expecting new eligibility announcements soon. I’m going to turn it over to Marie-Claude Turcotte, OPH’s Manager of Immunization, to outline plans for vaccinating additional populations over the coming months.

(PowerPoint speaking notes)

COVID-19 Vaccination Plan Update

Slide 1 (Intro):

Thank you Dr. Etches. My name is Marie-Claude Turcotte and I am the Manager of Immunization. I am joined by Phil Jansson, OPH’s Program Manager for Communications. We will be providing an update on our COVID-19 Vaccination Plan, priorities and strategies for the upcoming months.  Our goal remains the same – to decrease COVID transmission and severe outcomes with the protection of the COVID-19 vaccine at a level of 90%+ coverage amongst all eligible populations. / Notre objectif reste le même : de réduire la transmission de la COVID et les conséquences graves grâce à la protection du vaccin contre la COVID-19 à un niveau de couverture de plus de 90 % parmi toutes les populations éligibles

Slide 2 (Ottawans are Highly Vaccinated):

Ottawa administered its first COVID-19 vaccine on December 14th, 2020 and since then we have operationalized 16 community clinics, over 40 pop-up clinics, more than 100 mobile vaccination teams, and have now administered over 1.7 million doses in less than 12 months.

As noted, we reached the milestone of 90% first dose vaccination among Ottawa’s eligible population and continue to focus on narrowing the gap in vaccination coverage between the most advantaged (Q1) and least advantaged (Q5) neighbourhoods. We are seeing a steady increase in demand in our neigbhourhood vaccine hubs, and I am happy to report that we have administered over 10,000 doses in the hubs and mobile clinics.

These efforts would not have been possible without the many community partners and city-wide efforts. And of course, Ottawa residents, for doing their part by getting their COVID-19 vaccines. 

Slide 3 (Expanded Eligibility):

In the coming weeks we are expecting announcements on expanded eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccines.

Last Friday, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) updated its recommendations on third doses. These recommendations now call for third doses to be administered 24 weeks after their second dose to individuals that are 70 and over, First Nations, Inuit and Métis adults and frontline healthcare workers. This is in addition to the existing recommendations for third doses for severely and moderately immunocompromised individuals and residents of long-term care homes, retirement homes and high-risk congregate care settings. We expect the Province to adopt these expanded recommendations in the coming days.

Pfizer has submitted their application to Health Canada for approval of their COVID-19 vaccines for children 5-11 years old. This application is going through the regular vaccine review and approval process and we expect a decision to be made in the coming weeks.

These anticipated announcements would result in 77,000 five to eleven year olds becoming eligible for vaccination as well as about 106,000   individuals who are 70 and over becoming eligible for a third dose over the next several months. Additionally, we expect around 17,000 health care workers and over 21,000 First Nations, Inuit and Métis adults to also becoming eligible.

As you will see in the coming slides, our team is ready and able to expand operations to administer a COVID-19 vaccine to any resident who wants one.

Slide 4 (Current Vaccination Strategies):

It is in the context of this expanded eligibility that we will be adjusting our COVID-19 vaccination strategies and priorities.

Immediately upon Provincial guidance and direction being provided, our operations will focus on rapidly vaccinating as many 5-11 year olds as possible. Once approved and adequate supply is available our current planning scenarios project being able to offer a vaccine to everyone who wants one within the first four weeks and our goal is to reach 90% coverage.

Our second priority will be to continue the ongoing administration of first and second doses for the people born in 2009 or earlier, with an objective of achieving 90% full vaccine coverage by the second week of December.

Concurrently, operations will be expanding following changes to third dose eligibility and we will continue to support the administration of the influenza vaccine.

Slide 5 (Partnerships)

The progress we have made, and our upcoming goals and priorities, would not be possible without the partnerships and collaboration of many teams and organizations. / Les progrès réalisés, ainsi que nos objectifs et priorités à venir, ne seraient pas possibles sans les partenariats et la collaboration de nombreuses équipes et organisations

The City of Ottawa continues to be an important partner in supporting the vaccination efforts providing supports and expertise from various departments for the vaccination rollout. We are grateful for this partnership.

We are currently working with Kids Come First Health Team to proactively plan operations and communication strategies for vaccinating 5-11 years olds. We have also partnered with all the school boards to proactively plan for pop-up clinics after educational hours to increase ease of access to vaccination.

We are exploring the possibility of standing up additional clinics with first Nations, Inuit and Métis organizations. Our hospital partners, CHEO and The Ottawa Hospital are also supporting the vaccination of people with allergies and complex medical conditions.

As part of our ongoing efforts in narrowing our gap between Q1 and Q5 neighbourhoods we have been partnering with Ontario Health Teams, including The Ottawa Health Team – Équipe Santé, which brings together many partners and expertise for supporting the vaccination of vulnerable populations.

Pharmacies continue to be an important partner, with over 200 locations across the city. They will continue to be an easy and convenient access point for residents and will be able to administer both COVID-19 vaccines for 5-11 year olds and influenza vaccines.

The number of physicians and community pediatricians who have put up their hand to assist in the vaccination efforts continue to grow and we welcome additional support from primary care. Currently, there are about 60 physicians assisting mobile teams in providing third doses to residents in congregate care settings and over 100 have signed up to assist either at our multipurpose clinics, school pop-up clinics and some are administering vaccines in their offices.

Slide 6 (COVID-19 Vaccine Plan: 5-11 Year Olds):

Pfizer has made a submission to Health Canada for regulatory approval of their COVID-19 vaccines for children and we expect a decision to be made in the coming weeks.

Immediately following provincial guidance and direction on the administration of COVID-19 vaccines our team is ready and able to mee the additional demand by scaling operations to seven clinics, seven days a week. / Immédiatement après les conseils et les directives de la province sur l'administration des vaccins COVID-19, notre équipe est prête et capable de répondre à la demande supplémentaire en étendant nos opérations à sept cliniques, sept jours par semaine

Our team has partnered with school boards to proactively plan school pop-up clinics. These targeted pop-up school clinics after educational hours will start no later than seven days after provincial direction and guidance is provided and adequate supply is available in Ottawa.

The prioritization of the first round of school pop-up clinics was done with the objective of lowering the burden of COVID-19 transmission in the 5-11 population. This was done by considering various elements, including the vaccination coverage of the surrounding school community, geographical and school board distribution and other operational considerations including input from school boards. For parents this means that the distribution of school pop-up clinics does include both rural and urban areas and several schools are represented from each school board.

To support parents in planning for their children’s vaccinations Ottawa Public Health will continue to work closely with school boards and proactively share the schedule for these clinics in the coming weeks. / Pour aider les parents à planifier la vaccination de leurs enfants, Santé publique Ottawa continuera de travailler en étroite collaboration avec les conseils scolaires et communiquera de façon proactive le calendrier de ces cliniques au cours des prochaines semaines

Our partners continue to support the rollout of vaccines for the 5-11 population. As part of ongoing operations will be offering specific clinics for Indigenous populations and CHEO will be hosting vaccinations clinics for medically complex individuals. 

This means that on day one, parents with 5-11 year old children will have various options and supports to receive a vaccine as quickly as possible.

Slide 7 (The Ottawa Vaccination Plan):

OPH has been administering COVID-19 vaccines for almost 12 months. During this process we have been able to build strong partnerships that have resulted in the expansion of locations offering COVID-19 vaccines, the reduction of barriers and an increased capacity to meet potential demand for vaccination.

Every partner plays an important role as we work towards community immunity. While each channel has a different capacity, OPH led clinics will be able to administer over 36,600 doses per week. This includes on average of 25 school pop-up clinics per week. Additionally, our four community clinics will transition to seven-day operations once third dose eligibility is announced and further expand to 7 community clinics to offer more locations for 5–11 year olds. Community clinics are the primary location and we encourage parents to book an appointment through the provincial booking system for their children. We will continue to have ten neighbourhood vaccine hubs in priority neighbourhoods to increase ease of access to the vaccine.

An easy and convenient option for residents are the over 200 pharmacy locations across the city that will be ready to administer third doses and 5-11 year old vaccines once eligibility is expanded.

For select frontline health care workers who work at local hospitals and are eligible for third doses, hospitals are taking a coordinated approach to offering vaccines and they will be providing further details to employees directly. Community health care workers who are eligible for third doses may book through the Provincial booking website at one of our clinics or receive vaccination at a pharmacy. Further details will be shared once eligibility is expanded.

There are many opportunities for residents to access COVID-19 vaccines and our operations will be ready and able to expand in order to meet the increased demand and ensure that every resident who wants a vaccine is offered one.

I will now turn it over to Phil Jansson who will talk about our communications and engagement strategies.

Slide 8 (Communications & Engagement Strategies for 5-11):

Thank you, Marie-Claude.  We know that our journey towards community immunity is not yet over – 5-11 year olds play a very important role in this massive task. With this next step, communications and engagement efforts will be critical in supporting parents in making the decision to get their children vaccinated.

Our communications strategy for this phase of the campaign has three key components. We will build on our experiences with the 12+ population to share clear and credible information to help build confidence in the COVID-19 vaccines for parents, caregivers and their children. We will leverage our communications channels to share critical information with residents on where to access a vaccination clinic, and we will collaborate with partners, and continue to innovate to reach diverse audiences in new ways to maximize impact.

Last week, we launched a website with the latest available information on vaccines for this age group, and we reached out to parents through our Parenting in Ottawa social media channels to learn more about their anticipated information needs, concerns and questions. We will continue to explore opportunities to hear from parents through our existing engagement channels and our many community partners.

Our team has been working with Kids Come First and CHEO partners to collaborate on communications and engagement initiatives, including messages and videos to help prepare parents and children for vaccination, as well as information sessions with local experts to respond to questions about the COVID-19 vaccines.

I would encourage parents to visit our website at and to follow Parenting in Ottawa on Facebook and Instragram for more information and updates on the vaccine roll-out for 5-11 year olds.

Slide 9 (Child Friendly Clinics):

To build a supportive environment for children, our clinic operations will look different. We will set our hours of operations around families’ and parents’ hectic schedules. Our staff are being provided enhanced training as we recognize children may be nervous to receive a vaccine.  / Pour créer un environnement favorable aux enfants, le fonctionnement de notre clinique sera différent. Nous fixerons nos heures d'ouverture en fonction des horaires chargés des familles et des parents. Notre personnel reçoit une formation améliorée, car nous savons que les enfants peuvent être nerveux à l'idée de recevoir un vaccin

We are exploring additional strategies for reducing needle discomfort and fear, like numbing spray for kids and our clinic layout will have more private areas to ensure that kids are provided with the most positive experience possible.

Slide 10 (It takes a community):

This concludes our update. I want to thank all our partners who have supported the rollout and residents of Ottawa who have rolled up their sleeves as we work together on building community immunity. Five to 11 year olds’ vaccinations will be a critical component of increasing our community immunity and we are ready to administer vaccines as soon as eligibility expands. / Je tiens à remercier tous nos partenaires qui ont appuyé le déploiement et les résidents d'Ottawa qui ont retroussé leurs manches alors que nous travaillons ensemble à renforcer l'immunité communautaire. La vaccination des enfants de cinq à onze ans sera un élément essentiel de l'augmentation de l'immunité de notre communauté et nous sommes prêts à administrer les vaccins dès que l'admissibilité sera élargie.

Thank you. Merci.

(Dr. Etches resumes)

I want to underline the rationale for immunization of children 5-11. While most children will not experience severe outcomes from COVID-19 infection, some will and vaccination decreases the risk of severe outcomes. As well, vaccination of 5-11 year olds helps them to stay in school and benefit from the social and developmental supports provided by in-person learning. Lastly, when children are less likely to transmit COVID-19 because they are immunized, they are helped indirectly by the benefits that come from keeping COVID-19 manageable in the community – more access to activities, parents and guardians with more access to employment, and less concern that adults they care about and depend upon will require hospitalization.

Je veux souligner le bien-fondé de la vaccination des enfants de 5 à 11 ans. Si la plupart des enfants ne subiront pas de conséquences graves de l'infection par le COVID-19, ce ne sera pas le cas de tous, et la vaccination diminue le risque de conséquences graves. De plus, la vaccination des enfants de 5 à 11 ans les aide à rester à l'école et à bénéficier du soutien social et développemental offert par l'apprentissage en personne. Enfin, lorsque les enfants sont moins susceptibles de transmettre le COVID-19 parce qu'ils sont vaccinés, ils sont aidés indirectement par les avantages qui découlent du fait que le COVID-19 reste gérable dans la communauté - plus d'accès aux activités, parents et tuteurs ayant plus d'accès à l'emploi, et moins d'inquiétude que les adultes qu'ils aiment aient besoin d'être hospitalisés

OPH work to support schools this fall  

As I mentioned earlier, about half of the recently reported cases of COVID-19 are in people aged 19 and younger, which causes challenges with keeping children and youth in school and parents/guardians able to work. Given this, OPH’s work with schools and in supporting school communities is a top priority.

On October 15th, I issued an Open Letter to parents of school-aged children noting that while many parents and guardians now have the protection of vaccination, it is still very important for families to continue to be cautious and keep choosing actions that make COVID-19 transmission to children and youth less likely.  The most common source of COVID-19 infections for children and youth are household members.  Daily screening for COVID-19 symptoms, physical distancing, limiting the number of close contacts we have, wearing a mask when indoors or in close contact with others, getting vaccinated if eligible and staying home and getting tested when sick or identified as a high-risk contact continue to be very important. 

We continue to support schools with case and contact management and safety measures to ensure the school environment is as safe as possible. / Nous continuons à soutenir les écoles en matière de gestion des cas et des contacts et de mesures de sécurité afin d'assurer que l'environnement scolaire est aussi sûre que possible

When someone associated within a school tests positive for COVID-19, the entire school community is notified. We recognize that receiving such news can be stressful for parents and guardians and that waiting for more information can cause anxiety.

In September, OPH shared a “Return to School Letter” that included tools such as videos and factsheets for parents to support their child's mental health and well-being.  This letter also highlighted services offered by our community partners such as short-term counselling for children and youth from and mental health and substance use system navigation help for children and youth 21 and under using  If you are concerned about your child’s mental health, please access these services for support.

Also, OPH’s Parenting in Ottawa team has partnered with the Ottawa Collaborative for Parenting Support on a “Just Ask” series for parents to help build resilient families.  To learn more about how to explore different challenges of parenting visit

OPH investigates all situations where someone in school tests positive. We work closely with the school to determine high risk contacts and to quickly communicate with parents and guardians of students who are directly affected. Over 90% of the time, we are meeting our goal to reach people who have tested positive and their high-risk contacts for COVID-19 within 24 hours of OPH receiving confirmation of lab results. Usually, high risk contacts are limited to one cohort dismissed in relation to one person testing positive, but sometimes multiple cohorts can be affected due to a bus or recess exposure, for example. OPH uses the most cautious approach when assessing who is a high-risk contact.

When there is an outbreak of COVID-19 at a school, OPH will respond with targeted approaches to prevent wider spread. OPH may recommend school-wide testing and/or school closure as a last resort if we think there could already be wider spread across different cohorts/classes. We are finding larger outbreaks can happen with multiple different introductions of COVID-19 into the school from household and community sources.

In my October 15th open letter to parents, I invited their feedback, noting that it helps us improve our communications. As a result of recent feedback from parents, OPH has undertaken a review of how we correspond with the school community when someone tests positive for COVID-19 and when an outbreak is declared.

Finally, I’m happy to share that, in addition to the COVID-19 Assessment and Care Centres, there are many new options for parents and guardians to seek COVID-19 testing for their children and their families more easily, including school take-home test kits – now available in every school for students and staff when testing is needed, schools are able to send children home with a take-home test kit that can be returned to the school or one of the Assessment Centres.  As well, appointment-based ‘Do-It-Yourself’ test kits can be picked up and returned through the CHEO- Brewer Park Arena location.

School-wide PCR testing may be recommended for schools in outbreak if there is evidence of two or more cohorts in outbreak, if one cohort in outbreak may have exposed other cohorts, or if a substantial proportion of the school population has been dismissed due to potential exposure. If school-wide testing is offered to a school, parents, guardians and school staff are notified by invitation and given detailed instructions.

We are also working with the province to implement Rapid Antigen Testing as another option.  This form of testing provides results in 15-20 minutes, however it does not replace PCR testing when there is a greater risk of COVID-19 infection - such as for people with symptoms or who are high risk contacts. If a positive result is received on rapid antigen testing, follow up PCR testing is required to confirm the result as some positive rapid antigen results are “false positives”. It is important to note that given the current lower rates of COVID-19 in Ottawa at this time, widespread use of rapid antigen tests can result in more false positive results. Medical experts note that rapid antigen testing is most useful in contexts where COVID-19 cases and risk of transmission is high and if performed multiple times a week. We are exploring when rapid antigen testing might be a beneficial adjunct in the school setting.

More information will be shared when the program is available in Ottawa.

Fall Influenza Immunization

As mentioned by Marie-Claude, Ottawa Public Health is using a targeted approach for this season’s community flu vaccine clinics to accommodate the anticipated COVID-19 vaccination program for children aged five to 11 and the expansion of third doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for some individuals.

Therefore, for the 2021-2022 flu season, Ottawa Public Health will be offering flu vaccines by appointment for the following groups:

  • Children aged six months to two years and their household members
  • Individuals experiencing barriers to getting the flu vaccine which include:
    • Being a newcomer to Canada
    • Having no Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) card
    • Having no primary care provider, such as a doctor or nurse, and those who have had difficulty accessing the vaccine at a pharmacy.

Individuals in these groups can book their flu vaccine appointments by visiting, with appointments available starting tomorrow - November 2 at our four community clinics – that is, the Eva James Community Centre, the Ruddy Family YMCA-YWCA, the Minto Sports Complex and J.H. Putnam Public Schools.

New this flu season, individuals two years of age and older can visit participating pharmacies to receive their flu vaccine. Individuals aged six months and older may also receive their flu vaccine from their family doctor or nurse practitioner.

Anyone aged six months and older who lives, works or attends school in Ontario is eligible to receive the publicly funded flu vaccine at no cost. Getting your annual flu vaccine is an important way to help protect yourself, your family and high-risk individuals in your community against seasonal flu. / Toute personne âgée de six mois et plus qui vit, travaille ou va à l'école en Ontario est admissible à recevoir gratuitement le vaccin contre la grippe, financé par les fonds publics. Recevoir le vaccin annuel contre la grippe est un moyen important de vous protéger, ainsi que votre famille et les personnes à haut risque de votre communauté, contre la grippe saisonnière.

When we are vaccinated, we can help reduce flu transmission in the community and keep our hospitals from being overwhelmed.  

School catch-up Immunization

As previously reported to the Board, due to school closures over the past two school years, almost three cohorts of middle school students did not receive their required school health immunizations (i.e., HPV, Hepatitis B and meningitis vaccines). Our goal is to immunize over 30,000 students with an aim of reducing the risk of students acquiring vaccine preventable diseases and preventing cancers, such as cervical and anal cancers.

Ottawa Public Health is currently running in-school vaccination clinics, to provide students in Grades 7 and 8 with these vaccines.

We will be completing the first cycle for the HPV, Hepatitis B and meningitis vaccines in all schools by Friday, November 5th and are currently reaching out to all schools to plan the second cycle in spring 2022 to administer 2nd doses of the Hepatitis B and HPV vaccines and to immunize any students we may have missed in the first cycle. Students who did not participate in the first cycle in the fall are eligible to receive their vaccines in the spring. In Ontario, school vaccines can also be administered in primary care settings if the doctor or nurse practitioner has agreed to offer this service.

In conclusion, so many people, partners and dedicated OPH team members continue to keep COVID-19 transmission low through informed choices that emphasize lower risk activities. Thank you.

As we continue to open up new possibilities for COVID-19 transmission, Ottawa will benefit from also increasing the barrier to transmission provided by COVID-19 vaccination. The availability of approved, safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines for children 5-11 will be an important next aid in keeping children in school and parents at work. I look forward to seeing Ottawans take up this protection when it arrives.

As this period continues to be stressful for many, I want to end by reminding people there is a place to turn when things seem too difficult and there are supports available. / Alors que cette période continue d'être stressante pour plusieurs, je veux terminer en rappelant aux gens qu'il existe un endroit où se tourner lorsque les choses semblent trop difficiles et qu'il y a des soutiens disponibles

For parents who are expecting and for parents of children up to 6 years old OPH’s Healthy Growth and Development team offers multiple services.  Parents can call the Baby Help Line, seven days a week, at 613-580-2424 ext 23774 to speak to a PHN and get telephone support or be referred to the home visiting program. Parents experiencing perinatal mental health challenges are being prioritized for home visiting services.

In-person appointments are also available at our Parenting In Ottawa locations by calling the Baby Help Line.

To access support and speak to a public health nurse, there is also the possibility of calling Ottawa Public Health COVID-19 telephone line 613-580-6744 Monday to Friday from 8am-4:30pm, translation is available in multiple languages for residents with language barriers.

For parents of children of all ages, OPH continues to develop and promote resources to build resilience, positive coping strategies, and increase awareness and access to services for mental health and substance use health. We encourage everyone to learn more about what resources and services are available, such as short mental health videos for parents, multilingual fact sheets, conversations with experts, and more, through the OPH s PIO website ( the OPH website (, and for direct services through the website, which is available for all children, youth and families.

That concludes my Verbal Report. I would be happy to take any questions. / Cela conclut mon rapport verbal. Il me fera plaisir de répondre à vos questions.