• Update on Ottawa Police Response to Recent Shootings

    Mr. Eli El-Chantiry, Chair, Ottawa Police Services Board

    I wanted to provide you with an update on some of the comments we are making to the community and media related to the recent shootings in Ottawa.

    As we have discussed, we are actively investigating eleven shootings since January 1 which have resulted in 6 victims, 2 of which have died.  The issue of gun violence is very concerning to us and we have members from across the service actively engaged on this issue.

    We are confident in the investigations that are being conducted on these files and are following up on all investigative leads so that that those responsible will be held accountable.

    Our investigations are finding that the motives from these activities are consistent with the trend we have seen both here in Ottawa and other communities.   The evidence so far links these shootings to a small number of criminals, often involved in drug trafficking and other serious criminal offences, who are using the weapons for protection, retribution and to intimidate their competitors.

    We actively work with our partners in the Provincial Weapons Enforcement Unit (PWEU) to curb the access of illegal guns on our streets.  The guns that we finding are usually either imported from the United States or acquired through break and enters locally.  We actively target both sources of guns.   We are also working with other law enforcement partners, including the OPP, RCMP as well as the Canadian Border Services Agency on joint enforcement efforts and information sharing.

    We believe the shootings have all been targeted and the intended targets are usually uncooperative with our investigators. While that hampers investigations, we have other investigative methods available to us.  We continue to message in the public that it is important for witnesses to assist in our investigations, encouraging the community to take an active part in solving this issue.  This messaging will need to be sustained as we move ahead, as the public play an important part in addressing this.

    The police role on this issue is one of enforcement. We continue to make arrests, seize guns and carry out investigations targeted at these criminals as we saw during Project Sabotage where 14 people were arrested and 24 illegal guns were seized.

    While these investigations and enforcement continue, we continue to work with partners like the John Howard Society, Crime Prevention Ottawa and our local School Boards on longer term solutions related to this type of criminal violence and early intervention with those who are engaged in it.  Prevention and Intervention activities with our community partners is the longer term solution to this problem and one that will take work from many different groups.

    We will continue to keep you updated on this issue.  Know that this violence and the risk that it is putting to public safety is a key focus of our efforts today and every day.

    Steve Bell
    Deputy Chief, Investigations and Support

  • Mayor Jim Watson calls for increased protection measures for cyclists and pedestrians

    Ottawa – On September 22, Mayor Jim Watson wrote to the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Marc Garneau, to request that further research be conducted on truck side guards and other safety measures that would reduce fatal collisions between cyclists, pedestrians, and heavy trucks.

    Mayor Watson’s letter was sent following a meeting with key local cycling and pedestrian groups earlier this month, organized with the Chair of the City’s Transportation Committee, Councillor Keith Egli.

    Today, following a meeting with his provincial and territorial counterparts earlier this week, Minister Garneau announced the creation of a task force to look at measures to increase safety. He also announced the launch of a new Transport Canada study that will examine new technologies that could reduce collisions involving cyclists, pedestrians, and heavy trucks.

    “I am pleased that Minister Garneau has heard our call and is committed to enhancing safety measures; I look forward to seeing the results of their discussions and the proposed study,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “While it is impossible to completely eliminate incidents, the City of Ottawa will strive to reduce their likelihood and severity.”

    “I’m pleased to work with my provincial, territorial and municipal colleagues to explore options to reduce collisions and improve safety for everyone on Canada’s roadways. Whether it’s through technology, equipment, or an educational approach, we need to find out what works best in order to improve safety for Canadians.”  said Minister Garneau.

    For more information on the Transport Canada study, please visit this link.

  • Mayor Watson announces support for proposed federal measures to improve transit operator safety

    Ottawa – Mayor Jim Watson today announced his support for Bill C-533, recently tabled by the Member of Parliament for Wascana, Honourable Ralph Goodale, as well as Bill C-402 presented by the Member of Parliament for Burnaby—New Westminster, Peter Julian. The bills are focused on addressing assaults on transit operators by amending the Criminal Code to make assault of on-duty transit operators an aggravating factor for sentencing purposes. Mayor Watson will work with Transit Commission Chair Diane Deans to table a motion at the next City Council meeting on November 13 to formally support the federal bills.

    “Our transit operators have chosen to serve the public by getting us home safely – they deserve to be respected and to have a safe work environment,” said Mayor Watson. “I am pleased that ATU Local 279 is supporting the legislation. I hope my Council colleagues will join me in supporting this bill in an effort to improve safety for our operators and passengers.”

    Mayor Watson shares Mr. Goodale’s view that assaulting a transit operator is especially serious because it also puts riders at risk. According to Mr. Goodale, this principle has already been expressly recognized by Canadian courts as a basis for imposing a higher penalty with the objective of specifically denouncing and deterring such conduct. Across Canada, 2,061 bus drivers were assaulted in 2011, with attacks ranging from being spat on and punched in the head, to knife attacks and sexual assault. Locally, OC Transpo recorded 59 incidents of violence against drivers in 2012.

    Ensuring the safety and security of its customers and employees is a paramount priority for OC Transpo and is integral to the business of providing safe and reliable transit service. In August, the Transit Commission rolled out a 10-point safety action plan, which includes an expanded Night Stop program and several public awareness efforts. Further, vehicles are equipped with safety features such as emergency phones, a Transitway surveillance system with over 400 closed-circuit TV cameras, passenger assistance alarms and direct radio links between operators and the OC Transpo control centre.

  • This morning's tragic accident

    As most Ottawa residents know by now, there has been a tragic collision between an OC Transpo bus and a VIA Rail train which occurred at around 8:50 this morning.


    Emergency personnel are on the scene and have reported some fatalities as well as a number of persons injured.


    We join with all Members of Council in expressing our deepest condolences to all those who are affected by this terrible tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have lost loved ones, have been injured or have loved ones who have been injured.


    A Family Reunification Centre has been opened by the Ottawa Police Service at the Nepean Sportsplex. Families looking for loved ones may also contact 311.


    The City’s Emergency Operations Centre has been activated and all available resources are being deployed to ensure that care is being provided to all persons involved at the scene.


    We have asked that City flags be immediately placed at half mast to signal the City of Ottawa’s sadness for the tragic loss of life.


    A number of agencies will be looking into what transpired this morning, including the Ottawa Police, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada and the Coroner, but our focus as a City today is to care for those families who have lost a loved one as well as ensure we provide the best possible care for those who have been injured and affected by the accident.


    Residents of Ottawa and City staff will be kept informed as developments unfold.


    Jim Watson                                               Diane Deans, Chair
    Mayor                                                       Transit Commission
  • City of Ottawa first to receive gold-level Bicycle Friendly Community Award

    Ottawa – Today the City of Ottawa had the honour of being the first city in the province to receive the gold-level Bicycle Friendly Community Award by Share the Road Cycling Coalition, a cycling advocacy organization that works with Ontario municipalities to make their communities more bicycle-friendly. The award was presented to Mayor Jim Watson at the Annual Association of Municipalities Ontario conference.

    “The City of Ottawa and my Council colleagues are delighted to receive this distinction,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “I’m proud of the progress we are making and excited about the additional plans we have underway to become an even more bicycle-friendly city.”

    Ottawa ranked high in all five evaluation categories – engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement and evaluation and planning. The gold-level recognition reinforces the fact that Ottawa is moving in the right direction with its bicycle-friendly policies and initiatives.

    Ottawa has achieved several bicycle-friendly accomplishments to date, including over 10,000 bike parking spaces, over 1,500 ring-and-post racks, 50 per cent of city busses equipped with rack-and-roll mechanisms, and approximately 350 km of bike lanes and paved shoulders. As well, the City of Ottawa has over 70km of additional bike lanes and various other improvements planned for the coming years, including:

    Main Street cycle track

    Hampton Park Pathway/Bikeway

    Sawmill Creek Pathway – Phase 2

    Churchill Avenue cycle track

    East-West Bikeway

    Hartwell Locks Bicycle Channel

    “Ottawa’s bike culture is vibrant and growing and it’s vital that we at the City respond with the support and infrastructure to further encourage its growth and evolution,” said Keith Egli, Chair of Ottawa’s Transportation Committee. “An investment in cycling is an investment in the future health of our city.”

    Ottawa is also well attuned to the role of cycling in urban planning and sustainability. According to Peter Hume, Chair of the Planning Committee, “Cycling is here to stay. It’s part of our urban fabric and plays an essential role in strengthening our public health and environment. Any planning or development that doesn’t take cycling into consideration on some level is simply not building with the future in mind.”

    For more information on Ottawa’s cycling initiatives, visit ottawa.ca

  • Bucket Brigade keeping downtown core clean

    Ottawa – City of Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson today announced the official start of the City’s Bucket Brigade program during a media event at City Hall. The Bucket Brigade is a crew of summer students hired to reduce litter in downtown neighbourhoods that see an increase in both tourist and pedestrian traffic during the summer months.

    “Ottawa is a vibrant, beautiful city,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “As the weather gets warmer and we head outdoors, it is important to remember that everyone must do their part in keeping our streets litter-free.”

    The Brigade will help maintain the area bordered by Westboro to the west, Vanier to the east, the ByWard Market to the north and the Glebe to the south. The Brigade will be on shifts Monday to Friday until August 31.

    “Residents of Ottawa will see a difference in the cleanliness of our downtown core as a result of the Bucket Brigade,” said Councillor Keith Egli, Chair of the Transportation Committee. “But it is everyone’s responsibility to maintain that state by putting litter in its place.”

    Littering costs everyone – the City spends about $5 million a year, on average, cleaning litter. There are ways for residents to get involved in community projects that help keep the City clean and green. The City administers initiatives such as the spring and fall Cleaning the Capital campaigns, the Anti-littering campaign, and the Adopt-a-Park/Adopt-a-Roadway program.

    For more information on the City’s anti-litter initiatives, visit ottawa.ca.

  • Ottawa Police Services Board Announces New Deputy Chief of Police

    large_keeley_photoOttawa– The Ottawa Police Services Board is pleased to announce that it has   selected Edward (Ed) Keeley, currently Executive Officer and Superintendent – Office of the Chief Directorate, as Deputy Chief of the Ottawa Police Service.  Effective immediately, he will fill the position that became vacant in March when Charles Bordeleau was appointed Chief of Police.  His appointment is the culmination of an internal search conducted by the Police Services Board over the past two months.

    Deputy Chief-Designate Keeley is a 27 year veteran of policing, having served with the Ontario Provincial Police and then the Ottawa Police Service following amalgamation of police services in the region.  He brings a broad range of experience including generalist policing, specialized Investigative sections and Executive Services.  He understands the diverse needs of the community, having worked with various cultural communities and served in both urban and rural settings during his career.  Deputy Chief-Designate Keeley is also actively involved in the community and serves on the Board of Directors of the Ottawa Boys and Girls Club.  He has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Policing Studies.

    Board Chair and City Councillor Eli El-Chantiry stated, “Deputy Chief-Designate Keeley is very well respected by members of the Police Service and is an advocate for accountability, trust and transparency to the community.  These traits and his commitment to the Police Service will assist him in supporting Chief Bordeleau and in providing leadership within the organization and in the community.”  Chief of Police Charles Bordeleau added, “Supt. Keeley’s years of experience, keen insight, and strong relationships are an asset to the organization, and I look forward to welcoming him to my Executive Command team.”

    Deputy Chief-Designate Keeley, commented, “I am extremely pleased and honoured to take on this new role within the organization, and look forward to working with Chief Bordeleau, members of the Police Service, the Board, and community partners to continue to provide the highest level of safety and security in the City of Ottawa.”

    The Ottawa Police Services Board is a seven-member civilian body established under Provincial legislation that is responsible for governing the Ottawa Police Service and for recruiting the Chief of Police and Deputy Chiefs of Police.


  • STEP to weigh in on drivers operating unsafe and heavy vehicles and impaired drivers

    Ottawa – The City’s Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) will focus on unsafe heavy vehicles and impaired drivers during the month of July.

    Unsafe vehicles: 
    In 2010, 181 reportable collisions on Ottawa roadways involved unsafe vehicles – resulting in 58 injuries; six were life-threatening and two were fatalities. Causes of these collisions included defective brakes, steering, tires, lights, engine controls, trailer hitches, suspension, as well as obscured vision.

    The focus of this initiative will also include heavy vehicle inspections. These inspections will be done to ensure compliance with weight restrictions, that loads are properly secured, and that heavy vehicles are not being driven on restricted load roadways. Properly maintained documentation, certificates and logs will also be verified.

    Impaired driving: 
    In 2010, there were 372 collisions, 22 serious injuries and five fatalities involving impaired drivers.

    These initiatives support the larger Safer Roads Ottawa Program, a leading partnership between Ottawa Fire Services, Ottawa Paramedic Service, Ottawa Police Service, Ottawa Public Health and the Public Works Department committed to preventing or eliminating road deaths and serious injuries for all people in the City of Ottawa, through culture change, community engagement, and development of a sustainable safe transportation environment.

    Ottawa residents have identified traffic safety as a top priority. The Safer Roads Ottawa Program is committed to using available resources to make Ottawa roads safer for residents.

  • Positive trends in crime and deaths on local roadways in 2011

    Ottawa – The number of crimes against people, homicides and motor vehicle fatalities decreased in 2011, according to a report that will be presented to the Ottawa Police Services Board Monday night.

    The 2011 Crime, Police and Traffic Statistics Report also found that while calls for service to the Ottawa Police were up by about 1%, the overall level of reported crime fell by over two percent in 2011.

    “The report provides an overview of police activities and initiatives, as well as crime and performance statistics for the past year,” said Councillor Eli El-Chantiry, Chair of the Ottawa Police Services Board. “The data in this report is good news and, along with community feedback received in the 2012 public survey, helps to enhance our future problem solving efforts.”

    Ottawa Police received 390,000 calls for service in 2011 with 36,622 Criminal Code of Canada offences being reported, down by 860 incidents.

    The report also found;

     – An overall reduction in crimes against persons, almost 5%, which resulted in a 14% decrease in homicides, from 14 in 2010 to 11 in 2011.

     – There was a slight decrease in reported property crimes, with 3,000 fewer offences for a total of about 27,150 offences in 2011.  About 2,700 of these were categorized as break and enters.

     – There were 17 fewer fatalities from motor vehicle collisions in 2011 (36 in 2010, 19 in 2011), down by 47% from 2010.

     – The overall solvency rate for total criminal code offences has remained consistent year over year at 39% citywide.  The solvency for 2011 homicides was 66%.

    “These positive numbers show that Ottawa is making gains against crimes and preventable deaths on our roadways,” said Ottawa Police Chief Charles Bordeleau. “We want to see these positive trends continue and we will move forward in our work and with our partnerships in the community to continually work for a safer community.”

    Recognizing the positive findings, there are also areas of increases in types of crime such as robberies, illegal guns and gang activity that OPS is actively engaged in reducing.

    The Ottawa Police Service is a proud member of the Safer Roads Ottawa Program ,which is a leading community partnership committed to preventing or eliminating road deaths and serious injuries for all people in the City of Ottawa, through culture change, community engagement, and development of a sustainable safe transportation environment.

    A key contribution by the Ottawa Police Service to the Safer Roads Ottawa Program is the Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) which targets two specific traffic enforcement initiatives each month.

  • Cycling safety and speeding are STEP priorities in June

    Ottawa – Cycling safety and speeding are the focus for the City’s Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) in June as part of its ongoing commitment to keeping Ottawa’s roads safe.

    Cycling safety

    In 2010 alone, six cyclists lost their lives and 243 were injured – 12 of them seriously – on Ottawa roads.


    Speeding or not slowing down for road and weather conditions, took its toll on Ottawa roads in 2010. It was attributed to 2,833 reportable collisions – claiming 20 lives and injuring 863 (63 were serious).

    These initiatives support the larger Safer Roads Ottawa Program, a leading partnership between Ottawa Fire Services, Ottawa Paramedic Service, Ottawa Police Service, Ottawa Public Health and the Public Works Department committed to preventing or eliminating road deaths and serious injuries for all people in the City of Ottawa, through culture change, community engagement, and development of a sustainable safe transportation environment.

    Ottawa residents have identified traffic safety as a top priority. The Safer Roads Ottawa Program is committed to using available resources to make Ottawa roads safer for residents.