• City of Ottawa named one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers

    February 24, 2016 – For the fifth consecutive year, the City of Ottawa has been named one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers in a competition that recognizes organizations for their exceptional workplace diversity and inclusion programs.

    The winners were selected by editors at MediaCorp and are featured in a special section of today’s Globe and Mail.

    “The City is working to implement best practices for creating a diverse workforce by strengthening partnerships with community organizations and building new ways to enhance diversity and inclusion,” said Mayor Jim Watson.

    The competition judges recognized the municipality for its commitment to reflect, in its workforce, the diversity of the Ottawa community. In particular, the judges selected the City as a national leader for:

    • its immigration strategy, which incorporates employment initiatives and economic development programs. The judges lauded the Annual Immigrant Entrepreneurship Awards, which recognizes the achievements of new Canadians, and the Professional Internship for Newcomers Program, which provides temporary work placements for newcomers.
    • its partnership with Hire Immigrants Ottawa to host an annual coaching event for new Canadian job-seekers
    • its role as a member of the Employment Accessibility Resource Network (EARN), an initiative to help persons with disabilities find employment, and as the host for EARN’s annual career fair, which attracted more than 155 job-seekers with disabilities in 2014, the career fair’s first year

    “We are shaping the City’s future with a Corporate Diversity Plan and departmental strategic plans that outline how the City will continue to remove barriers and create opportunities for residents,” said City Manager Kent Kirkpatrick.

    The Mayor and City Manager thanked and congratulated City employees, who are continuously developing ways to improve services, access and business practices to reflect the community’s burgeoning diversity.

  • Elizabeth Dessureault receives Mayor’s City Builder Award

    February 24, 2016 – Mayor Jim Watson and Kitchissippi Ward Councillor Jeff Leiper presented a Mayor’s City Builder Award to Elizabeth Dessureault at today’s City Council meeting. She was recognized for her contributions to lung cancer awareness, research, treatment and patient advocacy.

    In April 2015, Elizabeth, a lifelong non-smoker, was diagnosed with stage IIIB (late stage) lung cancer. She was 25 and five months pregnant for her first child. She was told her cancer was incurable and she was given a year at most to live.

    As a teacher, newlywed (to Dax Dessureault, an RCMP officer) and mother-to-be, she refused to accept the prognosis and had her tissue sent to the United States for genetic testing. The tests revealed a rare genetic mutation called ROS-1, which meant her tumour could be treated with a pill.

    She also intensively researched lung cancer and found that, while it is the most frequent killer among cancers, the stigma attached to lung cancer as a smoker’s disease means a disproportionately low share of cancer research funding is allocated to it. She decided to become an advocate for lung cancer awareness and to do all she can to change the image, and the conversation, around lung cancer.

    She offered her services as a spokesperson and fundraiser to Lung Cancer Canada and Team Draft, a lung cancer awareness, research and advocacy organization in the States founded in 2011 by NFL player Chris Draft and his late wife Keasha. Elizabeth’s central message is “If you have lungs, you can get lung cancer”.

    She raised funds for lung cancer awareness last fall by designing and manufacturing white leather “Just Breathe” bracelets, which raised over $10,000 during November and December for Lung Cancer Canada, Team Draft, and the Ottawa General Hospital to help fund their planned Molecular Oncology Diagnostics Laboratory. Having a laboratory in Ottawa will help make genetic profiling of tumours a standard part of medical care, allowing physicians to determine which medications will work best for a particular patient.

    She blogs about her battle with cancer at fromlizzieslungs.wordpress.com.

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  • Ottawa 2017 Arts, Culture and Heritage Investment Program

    The Ottawa 2017 Bureau and Mayor Jim Watson, in collaboration with lead partner CIBC, today announced an investment of $250,000 in a new funding program that will enable the capital’s arts, culture and heritage communities to add vibrancy to the celebrations of Canada’s 150th anniversary.

    The Ottawa 2017 Arts, Culture and Heritage Investment Program is a one-time dedicated funding opportunity available to eligible groups in Ottawa’s diverse arts, cultural and heritage sectors for projects in Ottawa during 2017 celebrating Canada’s sesquicentennial.

    “This investment will enhance the celebrations of Canada’s 150th birthday throughout our city with projects that ignite pride, creativity and passion,” said Mayor Watson. “By launching this new funding program, we’re providing increased opportunities for arts, culture and heritage groups to create inspirational experiences that will contribute to a vibrant and positive image of Ottawa.”

    In partnership with Ottawa 2017, the program will be stewarded by the AOE Arts Council, the Council of Heritage Organizations in Ottawa and the Ottawa Arts Council.

    “We have a dynamic cultural capital full of creativity and ideas just waiting for this type of opportunity,” said Victoria Steele, Executive Director, AOE Arts Council. “The funding is timely as it will enable planning to get underway so that local artists and arts groups will be ready to offer programming that contributes to the celebration in a meaningful way.”

    “Ottawa’s cultural community is brimming with original ideas to be explored in 2017. Our creative sector is by nature entrepreneurial, and can take modest investments and turn them into something extraordinary. I’m confident we will see some exciting results through this program’s encouragement and contribution,” said Peter Honeywell, Executive Director of the Ottawa Arts Council.

    “We’re very pleased to help steward this special sesquicentennial cultural funding initiative,” said Catherine Lindquist, Executive Director, Council of Heritage Organizations in Ottawa. “We’ll be especially excited to see proposals come forward that showcase Ottawa’s rich heritage in marking this important historic milestone of Canada’s 150th anniversary in the capital,” she said.

    Several arts, culture and heritage organizations were gathered at Orange Art Gallery for the announcement, which included a performance by local singer-songwriter Gabrielle Giguere (Her Harbour). At the event, a challenge was issued to the local community to begin planning an unprecedented year of artistic and cultural programming in the capital.

    “As co-host for the Ottawa 2017 festivities, CIBC is pleased to invite arts, culture and heritage groups to share their talents with celebration-goers,” said Monique Giroux, Vice-President, Sponsorship Marketing & Strategy, CIBC. “Their participation will broaden the array of activities that Canadians can enjoy in the capital throughout next year.”

    Speaking on behalf of the Province, Minister Yasir Naqvi (MPP, Ottawa Centre) noted that “Projects funded through this initiative will have a wide reach across the region and will serve to deepen our understanding of each other and strengthen our connections as Canadians.”

    “This investment program is a win-win all around. The funding will engage Ottawa’s arts, culture and heritage communities to showcase excellence and creativity in cultural fields while providing residents and visitors with an increased quantity, quality and diversity of ways to celebrate Canadian culture and history in 2017 across the city,” said Guy Laflamme, Executive Director of the Ottawa 2017 Bureau.

    At a glance:

    • Application deadline: Thursday, March 24, 2016 at 4 p.m. EST;
    • A total of $250,000 in project funding is available;
    • Projects will be funded at a minimum of $5,000 and up to a maximum of $25,000 each;
    • Projects should be a new or enhanced activity for 2017;
    • All project activities must take place within the geographic boundaries of the City of Ottawa and must occur between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017;
    • Projects should be open and accessible to the general public.

    An independent five-member jury, with representation from the Ottawa arts, cultural and heritage communities and one representative from the Ottawa 2017 Bureau, will assess the applications.

    For full details on the Ottawa 2017 Arts, Culture and Heritage Investment Program, please visit: www.ottawa2017.ca/get-involved.

    Today’s announcement is the second in a series of three announcements concerning community investment for Ottawa 2017 celebrations. In November, Ottawa 2017 announced $150,000 towards the Ottawa Civic Events Funding Program to help local organizations plan unique celebrations for Canada’s Sesquicentennial all across the city. An announcement regarding festival funding will take place in the coming months.

    Canada’s 150th celebrations will offer Canadians and visitors from around the world an exceptional and memorable year of high-caliber experiences while bringing a record number of visitors to Ottawa in 2017 to celebrate this important milestone for our country.

    Stay informed on plans for Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations in the capital. Visit ottawa2017.ca, follow us on Twitter @2017ottawa (#Ottawa2017) and on Facebook.

  • Mayor’s City Builder Award – Bruce Brayman

    Mayor Jim Watson and Osgoode Ward Councillor George Darouze presented a Mayor’s City Builder Award to Bruce Brayman at today’s City Council meeting. He was recognized for his contributions, through generous ongoing volunteering and inspiring leadership, to the quality of life of Greely residents.

    He and his family moved to Greely in 2006, and six months later he joined the Greely Community Association (GCA) as its secretary. He has also served as the GCA vice-president and has been the association president for five years. He works tirelessly to make Greely an attractive place for families and seniors to live.

    Volunteering is a family affair for Bruce and Linda Brayman and their children. Bruce, with the help of his family, the GCA and other Greely residents, has been instrumental in beautifying parks, ensuring there is a community outdoor rink in winter, and planning, organizing and recruiting volunteers for the community Canada Day and Winter Carnival celebrations.

    He is also a founding member of the Greely Business Association, and he manages the Greely Seniors Walking Club. He works with the community’s Councillor, George Darouze, City of Ottawa standing committees, 17 home owners’ associations and various other organizations to optimize all that Greely has to offer.

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  • City Council selects Steve Kanellakos as next City Manager

    Ottawa City Council has appointed Steve Kanellakos as the City of Ottawa’s next City Manager at a special meeting this afternoon. Mr. Kanellakos is a former City of Ottawa Deputy City Manager with more than 30 years of experience overseeing key municipal services and projects.Steve Kanellakos - Low Res

    “We are delighted to have Mr. Kanellakos return to Ottawa City Hall to continue his great work on behalf of Ottawa residents. He is a trusted leader and consummate public servant with impeccable credentials in the planning and delivery of a broad range of municipal services,” said Mayor Jim Watson, the Chair of the hiring panel. “The City of Ottawa is undergoing unprecedented growth with the expansion of light rail transit, a new Innovation Centre, new cultural landmark facilities, and other city-building projects. Our Council, residents, employees, and stakeholders will be well served by the dynamic and prudent management style of Mr. Kanellakos as the City moves forward with its challenging, ambitious priorities.”

    On September 23, 2015 City Council approved a recruitment process that saw the Finance and Economic Development Committee act as the hiring panel for the new City Manager. All Members of Council were consulted on their expectations and the desired qualifications for the ideal candidate. Following an extensive search, the hiring panel reported back to City Council today with the recommended candidate.

    Mr. Kanellakos first began his career with the Gloucester Police Department in 1985. Over the ensuing three decades, he devoted his entire professional life to building a stronger national capital.

    Mr. Kanellakos served as a member of the City of Ottawa Executive Management Team between 2000 and 2015. As Deputy City Manager for City Operations, Mr. Kanellakos was responsible for the majority of the City of Ottawa’s employees and front-line service departments including: Parks, Recreation and Culture; Public Works; Emergency and Protective Services; Transit Services; Community and Social Services; Environmental Services; ServiceOttawa; Human Resources; and Information and Technology Services. Most recently, he was involved in key city-building projects such as the Arts Court redevelopment and Ottawa Art Gallery expansion, Shenkman Arts Centre, two Sensplex arena facilities, and a new paramedic headquarters.

    Mr. Kanellakos holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Public Administration from Carleton University. He has served as a volunteer on the board of directors of local organizations such as the United Way and Crime Prevention Ottawa.

    Mayor Watson took a moment to recognize the significant contributions of current City Manager Kent Kirkpatrick. He led the City of Ottawa in a period characterized by a great number of complex and challenging city-building issues such as the Lansdowne Park revitalization and the construction of the Confederation Line.

    Mr. Kanellakos is currently the City Manager for the City of Vaughan. He will assume his new post on May 2, 2016.

  • TD Place to Host Skate Canada’s 2017 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships

    TD Place is excited to announce that it will host the 2017 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships from January 16-22. The championships will be one of the first sporting event in Ottawa’s year-long celebration of Canada 150th anniversary.

    “We are thrilled to be hosting this marquee event,” said Mike Cerha, VP Entertainment and Venues at TD Place. “2017 is going to be an exciting year at TD Place and the National Skating Championships are just the first in a long list of events that will help celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary at Ottawa’s downtown sports and entertainment destination.”

    The pre-eminent all-Canadian sporting event will feature approximately 250 skaters in the men’s, women’s, pair, and ice dance disciplines, competing in three levels: senior, junior, and novice. Athletes will vie for spots on the Skate Canada National Team and the Canadian teams that will compete at the 2017 ISU World Figure Skating Championships, 2017 ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships, and 2017 ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships.

    “We are excited to be back in Ottawa for the 2017 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships. From our first championships in 1914 to our 100th anniversary of the event in 2014, Ottawa is a very special place for Canadian skating,” said Dan Thompson, Skate Canada CEO. “We are proud to be able to kick-off the National Capital’s celebrations for Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations. Like past years, we know the support from the community, fans and volunteers will allow for another amazing event that will inspire Canadians to embrace the joy of skating.”

    Ottawa hosted the very first National Skating Championships in 1914 as well as in 1922, 1925, 1929, 1935, 1940, 1949, 1953, 1958, 1987, 1996, 1999, 2006 and 2014. The 2017 event will be 15th time that Ottawa will have hosted the largest gathering of Canadian skating talent. Canada’s capital has also played host to several other Skate Canada produced events, including Skate Canada International in 1976, 1981, 1993 and 2008, as well as the ISU World Figure Skating Championships in 1978 and 1984.

    All-event ticket packages for the championships will go on sale later this year. Register at www.SkateCanada.ca for ticket sale notifications.