• Annaka Boucher receives certificate of bravery from City

    August 31, 2016 – Mayor Jim Watson and Innes Ward Councillor Jody Mitic presented 13-year-old Annaka Boucher with a Commendation for Bravery today in recognition of her actions to protect her younger brother and sister during a July 5 kitchen fire.

    Annaka was babysitting her younger siblings when she heard the smoke alarm go off and smelled smoke coming from the kitchen, where a toaster had caught fire. Annaka quickly enacted the family’s fire-escape plan and evacuated her brother and sister to a neighbour’s home.

    “I encourage all residents to follow the example of Annaka and the Boucher family by establishing and practicing a home fire-escape plan,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “Although the fire caused some damage, we are thankful that there were no injuries in a situation that could have been much worse”

    In addition to practicing the plan, the Boucher family had discussed why it is important to get out fast and not search for the family’s two cats during an emergency. Thankfully, firefighters were able to safely locate both pets which had retreated to somewhere safe in the house.

    “Annaka’s quick thinking was instrumental in this fire being stopped quickly and, most importantly, in keeping everyone safe,” said Councillor Mitic. “I also want to commend our emergency responders for their quick and professional actions that day.”

  • Frances and Ronald MacDonell receive Mayor’s City Builder Award

    August 31, 2016 – Mayor Jim Watson and Osgoode Councillor George Darouze presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Frances and Ronald MacDonell at today’s City Council meeting.

    Mr. and Mrs. MacDonell have devoted a great deal of time and energy to their vital community charity work. They have spent over two decades collecting, cleaning and distributing an array of goods to many local charities. This they always do with admirably good humour, rain or shine.

    Among their notable charitable efforts, the couple has tirelessly contributed to the Saint-Louis Residence’s twice-a-year bazaar. Over the years, with the help of the MacDonells, these bazaars have become the most significant fundraising events for the Saint-Louis Residence, with funds going directly to the improvement of the residents’ lives and comfort. The MacDonells also take the time to shop at the bazaar and encourage their granddaughters to participate.

    Between Saint-Louis Residence bazaars, the MacDonells collect items such as clothing, kitchenware, food and so much more for other charitable organizations like The Ottawa Mission and The Sisters of Charity of Ottawa. Thanks to the MacDonells, newcomers have been given warm clothing to help them cope with their first long Canadian winter.

    The MacDonells are known for always having a positive outlook, being good natured and having generous hearts. The community they serve is certainly improved by their hard work.

  • More than 250 people housed as part of City’s Housing First initiative

    Mayor Jim Watson and Councillor Diane Deans, Chair of the Community and Protective Services Committee, held a community celebration at City Hall today marking the first 250 participants to secure permanent housing as part of the Housing First initiative, a priority of the City’s Ten-Year Housing and Homelessness Plan.

    “The Housing First initiative launched in June 2015 with an initial goal of housing 250 long-stay emergency shelter clients by December 2016. I am excited to announce that we have achieved this goal earlier than expected,” said Mayor Watson. “As of today, more than 297 individuals have been permanently housed with the supports they need to keep their housing and remain stable.”

    Housing First finds permanent, affordable housing for individuals experiencing homelessness and provides the support services and connections to community-based help that people need to stay housed.

    “This a significant milestone for the city, for our residents, and for our community partners who are working with us to provide those in need with a safe and affordable place to call home,” said Chair Deans. “Housing First is a key initiative that helps people experiencing homelessness find housing and access the resources they need to live healthy, fulfilling lives.”

    As part of the event, a painting entitled ‘Transitions’ was unveiled representing the journey from homelessness to being housed.  Local artist Chi Wei Lee developed the artwork drawing from his own personal experience with homelessness. It was framed by Mark Andrew Buttigieg and will be hung in Jean Pigott Place in City Hall.

    Council approved A Home For Everyone: Our Ten Year Plan 2014-2024 in 2013. The plan focuses on three priorities: everyone has a home, people get the support they need, and working together. The overall objective of the plan is to eliminate chronic homelessness by 2024.

  • Join me in celebrating Olympic Gold Medallist Erica Wiebe

    Dear Residents,

    This week I had the privilege of joining countless members of our community in welcoming home Olympic gold-medal winner and Stittsville-born Erica Wiebe in her triumphant return from Rio.

    Erica competed in the Women’s Freestyle 75-kilogram wrestling category, earning Canada’s fourth, and final gold medal in the Rio Summer Olympics.

    In keeping with the momentum of Erica’s homecoming, I am thrilled to invite all residents to the Goulbourn Recreation Complex this Thursday, August 25 at 7 p.m. for a reception in Erica’s honour.

    The Goulbourn Recreation Complex, or GRC, is located at 1500 Shea Road, just beside Sacred Heart High School where Erica’s road to podium began through developing her skill and passion for wrestling. The gym is a second home to many aspiring Olympians who have spent countless hours honing their skills to one day share in Erica’s success.

    I hope you are able to join me on Thursday evening to celebrate Erica’s outstanding achievement and express the pride we as a community feel for her representing Canada and Ottawa so proudly.


    Jim Watson


    City of Ottawa

  • Councillor Mark Taylor to serve as Mayor’s Special Liaison on Housing and Homelessness


    August 24th, 2016 – Mayor Jim Watson has designated Councillor Mark Taylor to serve as Special Liaison on Housing and Homelessness issues in addition to his current role as Deputy Mayor.

    In 2013, City Council established a 10-year plan to eliminate homelessness and to ensure that everyone in our community has access to appropriate and affordable housing.

    Given that this issue involves a number of committees and agencies, Mayor Watson has asked Councillor Taylor to work closely with the Chair of the Community Protective Services Committee (CPSC), Councillor Diane Deans, the Chair of the Planning Committee, Councillor Jan Harder and the Chair of Ottawa Community Housing Councillor Mathieu Fleury to see how the City can accelerate its progress on the 10 year plan.

    “This is an opportune time to give our efforts a fresh start – now that we have the benefit of working with willing partners at both the provincial and federal levels” said Mayor Jim Watson.

    Councillor Taylor’s key role will be to work with the three chairs, community agencies and funding partners with a focus on breaking down silos and accelerating the City’s progress on housing and homelessness issues.

    In addition to coordinating the City’s housing and homelessness efforts, Mayor Watson has asked Councillor Taylor to specifically review the City’s progress in reducing its reliance on emergency shelter stays, a key commitment he made two years ago.

    Councillor Taylor will be providing a progress report to CPSC in 2017 and 2018, or more frequently – or as deemed appropriate in collaboration with the Chair of CPSC.

    “I believe that Mark is in a strong position to foster collaboration, dialogue and progress on these issues”, said Mayor Jim Watson. “His current mandate as a member of the AMO Task Force on Housing and Homelessness, his role on the Board of Ottawa Public Health and Ottawa Community Housing – as well as his current involvement on the Board of the United Way position him as the right lead on this important issue”.

    Mayor Watson also thanked Ottawa residents, members of Council and community agencies that partner with the City for their ongoing support of the City’s housing and homelessness plan, as the City strives to fast-track collaborative efforts over the course of the next two years.

    For more information on the Housing and Homelessness 10 year plan, visit: http://ottawa.ca/en/residents/social-services/housing/our-ten-year-plan.


    For more information:

    Livia Belcea
    Press Secretary
    Office of Mayor Jim Watson
    613-580-2424, ext. 21526

  • New federal-provincial funding agreement makes 57 public transit projects possible in Ottawa

    The governments of Canada and Ontario, as well as municipalities across Ontario are making investments that will help create jobs and grow the middle class now while building a strong foundation for a sustainable economic future. Catherine McKenna, Member of Parliament for Ottawa Centre, on behalf of the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, and Yasir Naqvi, Member of Provincial Parliament for Ottawa Centre, and His Worship Jim Watson, Mayor of the City of Ottawa today announced that 57 transit infrastructure projects totaling $155,900,000 will be getting under way in Ottawa thanks to the signing of an agreement with the Province of Ontario that brings a new federal infrastructure funding program into effect: the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund (PTIF).

    The PTIF will make over $2.97 billion in combined funding available to Ontario communities for public transit projects that will help ensure residents across the province get to work on time and back home safely at the end of a long day.

    The Ottawa projects include the purchase of two sets of trains for the second stage of the Ottawa light-rail system, 17 new vehicles for Ottawa’s bus fleet, extensive improvements to bus routes and transit corridors, and pedestrian and cycling bridges to connect pathways to light rail stations. This work will improve the flow of public transit in the city and prepare for future construction of the light-rail and other important projects.

    These are among 168 projects approved for funding so far under the new program in Ontario.


    “Good public transit infrastructure is fundamental to economic growth and building an inclusive society. I’m very pleased to see that, amongst many beneficial projects, this collaborative funding program will provide support to the construction of a pedestrian and cycling bridge to connect Old Ottawa East, Old Ottawa South and the Glebe. This bridge will make walking and cycling safer options for Ottawa Centre residents and will contribute to a more livable and environmentally sustainable city.”

    Catherine McKenna, Member of Parliament for Ottawa-Centre

    “Building, maintaining and modernizing transit is a key priority for our government. As cities and towns grow, we need to invest in projects that will strengthen our regional transit networks and improve quality of life for the people who live and work in this province. I am thrilled that all levels of government are working together to help build our province up.”

    Yasir Naqvi, MPP, Ottawa-Centre

    “Federal investment in Ottawa’s pedestrian, cycling and public transit systems will provide long-term benefits for our residents and their families”, said Mayor Jim Watson. “This is a new era of collaboration during which our three levels of Government work together to make transformative investments that will improve the lives of Ottawa residents.”

    Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

    Related products

    List of all Ontario PTIF projects approved to date: http://www.infrastructure.gc.ca/pt-sp/pt-sp-on-eng.html

    Quick facts

    • PTIF funding is part of Phase 1 of Investing in Canada, the Government of Canada’s historic $120-billion plan to support public infrastructure across the country over the next 10 years.
    • Phase 1 provides more than $11.9 billion in investments to support public transit systems, green infrastructure projects, and social infrastructure projects. Details on Phase 2 of Investing in Canada will be announced over the next year.
    • Under the PTIF agreement, the Government of Canada has made its funding retroactive to April 1, 2016, so projects can proceed without delay to ensure a productive construction season.

    Associated links


    News Release issued by the Office of Catherine McKenna, M.P., on behalf of the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities
    August 23, 2016

  • LED lights are saving the City energy and money

    The City of Ottawa is in the process of converting 58,000 streetlights to Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology, an initiative that, upon completion, will save the City an estimated $6 million annually.

    The work is being done in partnership with Energy Ottawa, a subsidiary of Hydro Ottawa. Under the agreement, Energy Ottawa will install and maintain the new light infrastructure over a six-year period.

    “I’m pleased to see the City of Ottawa and Energy Ottawa working together to spend money, energy and resources more efficiently,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “Even at this early stage of the conversion, we are already experiencing savings.”

    Street lighting accounts for 17 per cent of the electricity used by the City. The conversion is expected to reduce energy consumption by 50 per cent per fixture. Since converting 750 lights on Carling Avenue in 2015, the City is already saving more than $72,000 annually.

    “The City of Ottawa is committed to energy management as a key component of its operations,” said Councillor Keith Egli, Chair of the City’s Transportation Committee. “Extensive improvements in efficiency, output, and costs of LED over the last few years have made this technology the best choice for Ottawa residents, both in our neighbourhoods and in our wallets.”

    In addition to energy reduction, the LED infrastructure provides the following benefits:

    • reduced maintenance costs
    • automatic notifications when lights fail
    • greater light control
    • greater light quality
    • reduced light pollution

    “Streetlights beautify our neighbourhoods and make our city a safer place to live,” said Bryce Conrad, President and CEO of Hydro Ottawa. “This was true in 1885, when Ottawa became the first city in the world to light all of its streets with electricity, and it’s true today as we update streetlights to energy-efficient LED technology that will decrease light pollution, improve light ambiance and save Ottawa residents millions of dollars in electricity every year.”

  • Mayor Watson announces Cher and many more high-profile world leaders & celebrities attending 2016 One Young World Summit

    Opening Ceremony to take place on Parliament Hill

    Ottawa, ON – Today, Mayor Jim Watson announced the high-profile names of world leaders from politics, entertainment, business and the community who will be attending the 2016 One Young World Summit taking place in Ottawa from September 28 to October 1, 2016. The Summit, which is considered the world’s premier global youth forum, will welcome 1,300 exceptional young leaders aged 18-30 from around the globe.  Attendees will be treated to a dynamic and colourful opening ceremony, which will take place on the lawn of Parliament Hill.

    “One Young World 2016 marks the first time the forum will take place in Canada and we are very excited to welcome the world to our city,” said Mayor Watson. “There are still opportunities for organizations to engage with this Summit to ensure Ottawa’s top young leaders are represented. Companies and organizations can still get involved through sponsorship and visibility opportunities as well as hosting breakout sessions and even home dinners for delegates.”

    The line-up of distinguished One Young World Counsellors that will be speaking at the Summit and mentoring delegates includes:

    • Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary General
    • Cher, Activist and Musician
    • Professor Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
    • Sir Bob Geldof, Activist and Musician
    • Mary Robinson, UN Special Envoy for Climate
    • Senator Murray Sinclair, Senator and former chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission
    • Jon Landau, Oscar winning producer of Titanic and Avatar
    • Minister Marc Garneau, First Canadian in Space and Minister of Transport
    • Harley Finkelstein, COO Shopify
    • Full counsellor list available at ottawatourism.ca/OYWmedia

    “Hosting One Young World is a real feather in Ottawa’s cap,” said Michael Crockatt, President and CEO of Ottawa Tourism. “Showcasing our innovative and exciting city to such a diverse group of current and future leaders is an honour, and to be able to incorporate Parliament Hill, one of the most recognizable symbols of Canada, is particularly special.”

    The One Young World Summit Opening Ceremony on the lawn of Parliament Hill on September 28, 2016 will showcase Canada’s diverse culture, a 196-nation flag ceremony as well as One Young World Counselors, community leaders and senior government leaders.

    One Young World’s Canada Director, Antoine Pouliot remarked “One Young World is excited to be coming to Canada for the first time this fall, with our best-ever lineup of high-profile Counsellors and what promises to be a world-class opening at one of Canada’s most cherished landmarks. Young leaders are the centre of so many of the changes making our city into the vibrant, innovative and diverse capital that it is.”

    Over 100 blue-chip companies have made One Young World an integral part of their development of global talent and corporate social responsibility initiatives, with companies increasing the size of their delegations each year.  With AB Inbev and Barclays as strategic partners, One Young World 2016 will also feature an A-Z of companies including Coca-Cola, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, Facebook, Google, Janssen, KPMG, L’Oreal, Siemans, Telefonica, Unilever, Volkswagen and Westpac.

    Ottawa Tourism thanks the members of its One Young World Advisory Board, Local Organizing Committee and especially those companies and organizations which are hosting breakout sessions and/or which have committed to sponsoring the Summit, including Destination Canada; its Canadian Advisory Partner, KPMG; EY; and Microsoft Canada.

    “Destination Canada is also pleased to support One Young World 2016 in Ottawa,” says David Goldstein, President & CEO of Destination Canada. “We know that these young leaders from around the world are drawn to Canada’s vibrant cities, cultural attractions and welcoming people. We encourage delegates to take some time to explore what Canada has to offer.”

    Ottawa was chosen to host One Young World because it is a leading global capital that knows the value of young leaders. A challenge has been extended to the Ottawa community to ensure that 30 of its top young leaders will represent Canada’s capital at the Summit. Local businesses and organizations are encouraged to attend, or to support the attendance of local delegates. To learn more, e-mail OYWdelegates@ottawatourism.ca to ensure Ottawa’s top young stars will represent at the 2016 One Young World Summit.

    About One Young World

    Founded by David Jones, founder of You & Mr. Jones, and Kate Robertson former Global President, Havas Worldwide, the annual One Young World Summit is a unique event that offers international decision makers powerful insight into where our world may be heading.

    Since its inception, One Young World has hosted over 7,000 delegates between the ages of 18-30. No youth-dominated event other than the Olympic games represents as many countries as One Young World does. The reach of the event is exemplified as 8.9 million people have already been positively affected by delegate-led initiatives.

    More specifically, One Young World ambassadors are directly responsible for:

    • Immunising 1-in-3 children worldwide
    • Providing 94 million meals in 63 countries
    • Catalysing the first LGBT+ movement in Iraq
    • Founding the first rape crisis centre in Somalia
    • Supporting 10,000 health workers in 23 countries
    • Delivering free healthcare to 5,000 people in Oman
    • Educating over 80,000 people during the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone

    The key areas of focus at the 2016 Summit in Ottawa will include:

    • Education
    • Global Business
    • Health
    • Human Rights
    • Peace and Security
    • Environment
    • Indigenous Reconciliation

    To date, Summits have taken place in London (2010), Zurich (2011), Pittsburgh (2012), Johannesburg (2013), Dublin (2014) and Bangkok (2015).

    For more information about the Summit, please visit: www.oneyoungworld.com or follow @OneYoungWorld or @OYWOttawa

    For more information on City programs and services, visit ottawa.ca or call 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-9656).  You can also connect with us through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

  • Mayor Jim Watson’s statement on the passing of the Hon. Mauril Bélanger, M.P. for Ottawa-Vanier

    I was deeply saddened to hear of Mauril Bélanger’s passing. I have had the privilege of meeting Mauril on many occasions, both as a Member of Parliament representing Ottawa-Vanier, and when he was Chief of Staff to the Chair of the Regional Council of Ottawa-Carleton when I served on the Regional Council. I will remember Mauril as a kind, dedicated and passionate man who sought and achieved positive change through his relentless passion for human rights, his strong advocacy for Ontario’s Francophone community, and in the past year, his work with the ALS Society of Canada. I send my condolences to Catherine, his spouse, and to his family, his friends and to all those whose lives he has touched.

  • Ottawa International Airport becomes Official Supporter of Ottawa 2017 celebrations

    Major gateway to the city will be decked out in festive pageantry

    Ottawa – The Ottawa 2017 Bureau and Mayor Jim Watson, in collaboration with lead partner CIBC, are proud to welcome the Ottawa International Airport as an Official Supporter of Canada’s 150th anniversary celebrations in the nation’s capital. The world class facility announced today a contribution of $1 million in support of Ottawa 2017.

    As part of the partnership, the Ottawa International Airport will install Ottawa 2017 pageantry items throughout the building as well as roadway banners outside, a small sampling of which were on display at today’s announcement.

    “As Canada’s capital, our airport acts as a prime gateway for visitors from the rest of the country and around the world, making it an essential location to give a good first impression and set the tone for the celebrations,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “This is where we first unveiled our logo a little over three years ago, so it’s fitting that we return to the Ottawa International Airport to announce this major step forward with our city-wide Ottawa 2017 pageantry program.”

    “More than 4.6 million passengers pass through the Ottawa International Airport on yearly basis, and we expect that number to grow with Canada’s 150th birthday just around the corner,” said Mark Laroche, President and CEO of the Ottawa International Airport Authority. “Ottawa 2017 celebrations are sure to draw more tourists to our city. As a proud member of the community, we’re rolling out a warm welcome at our airport to ensure that from the moment visitors touch down, they’ll sense the excitement and feel part of something special.”

    “We’re proud of the high calibre of businesses that have joined the Ottawa 2017 group of partners and we welcome the Ottawa International Airport to the family,” said Monique Giroux, Vice-President, Sponsorship Marketing & Strategic Partnerships, CIBC. “Transportation hubs like this bring Canadians together, which will be even more pronounced next year when we’re celebrating our country’s sesquicentennial.”

    Guy Laflamme, Executive Director of the Ottawa 2017 Bureau noted that, “in addition to the ubiquitous Ottawa 2017 pageantry, there will be the opportunity to feature some of the major Signature Events at the airport as well, giving travellers a flavour of the events taking place when they arrive,” he said. “We thank Mark Laroche and the team at the Ottawa International Airport – a success story in its own right – for their role in contributing to the festive spirit of the celebrations.”

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

    Ottawa 2017 thanks our lead partner CIBC, premier partner Bell, and the Government of Canada for their contributions in helping to deliver twelve full months of bold events, immersive experiences and all-out celebrations.

    Photos for media use, courtesy Ottawa 2017: http://ow.ly/WntCV

    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.