Community Safety and Well-Being Plan

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In 2021, City Council approved Ottawa’s Community Safety and Well-Being [ 1 MB ] Plan. The plan sets out how the City works with community partners to improve the safety, health and well-being of Ottawa residents.

[Donna Gray] Ottawa’s Community Safety and Well-Being Plan is a way to create the city we all want.

[Donna Gray] A place where we can access the services we need, and where we can all feel like we belong.

[Donna Gray] The plan’s six priority areas were identified through consultations with residents and community partners.

[Paul Lavigne] The plan is helping us make real progress on housing. We’ve built new units, created new housing subsidies to improve affordability, and invested in repairs to make community housing more sustainable.

[Sahada Alolo] The Community Safety and Well-Being Plan is about doing better to take care of each other— including people who are in mental-health or substance-use crises in Ottawa.

[Liz Wigfull] Ottawa needs a better crisis response system. The Guiding Council recognizes the need for diverse partnerships in building that system.

[Donna Gray] Collaboration between the City and the community is inspiring progress in all six priority areas. But there is still much to do.

[Donna Gray] We invite you to learn more—and get involved.

The goal of the plan is to create a sustainable community where everyone:

  • Is safe
  • Has a sense of belonging
  • Has access to services
  • Can meet their needs for education, health care, food, housing, income, and social and cultural expression


The plan addresses local risks to safety and well-being at the community level in six areas. These were identified by Ottawa residents as being the most pressing issues during the engagement process:

  • Discrimination, marginalization and racism
  • Financial security and poverty reduction
  • Gender-based violence and violence against women
  • Housing
  • Mental well-being
  • Integrated and simpler systems


Our plan’s proposed actions require ongoing collaboration with all levels of government, internal and external stakeholders, community groups, agencies and residents to mitigate risks and challenges for these priorities. To ensure we’re meeting all these criteria, we are moving forward with the following items: 

  • Detailed actions 
  • Financial strategy
  • Governance structure
  • Evaluation framework

Caring for Community

The Community Safety and Well-Being Office, in partnership with the Ottawa Public Library, presents “Caring for Community”, a travelling photo exhibit.  

The subjects of the exhibit are twenty individuals dedicated to making Ottawa’s communities healthy, safe and inclusive. The exhibit will be featured at select Ottawa Public Library branches and community centres between May and December 2023. From May 31, the exhibit will be at the Ottawa Public Library – St-Laurent branch. The calendar with all the dates will soon be available on this page and on the Ottawa Public Library website

We encourage you to visit the exhibit at your nearest branch. You can also read the stories below: Caring for Community

Get involved

Stay engaged with us as we move into the next phases:

  • Sign up for our e-newsletter to receive the latest information on the plan!
  • Visit our Engage Ottawa page for new engagement and consultation opportunities!

Advisory committee

Chair: Donna Gray, (she/her), General Manager, Community and Social Services Department, City of Ottawa

Donna Gray has over 25 years of experience leading complex transformation initiatives at the City of Ottawa. In her current role as General Manager of Community and Social Services Donna has been leading the City’s human services pandemic response through the Human Needs department, leading human services integration and leading the delivery of services in Long Term Care, Housing, Children’s Services, Gender and Race Equity, Inclusion, Indigenous Relations and Social Development, Employment and Social Services and Community Safety, Well-Being, Policy, and Analytics. 

In past roles at the City, Donna has been involved with other large transformation projects including: a universal program review of all City services, the redesign of social services into an integrated delivery model; managing the creation of a new department that integrated lower tier recreation services with public health and social services; and leading the strategy and project management for the amalgamation of emergency services from 11 departments into one.  

Portrait of Donna Gray

“It is an honour and privilege to serve as the Chair of the Advisory Committee and work alongside other leaders to build a meaningful and inclusive plan for the safety and well-being of all residents. Realizing our ambitions will require putting the needs of our diverse community at the centre of our strategies and approaches. It will also require breaking down silos between sectors, committing to sustainable solutions, and investing in our key stakeholders. We will strengthen our collaboration with our community partners to share perspectives and build on each other’s strengths.”

Brianna Dusome, (she/they), Director of Programs and Community Partnerships, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ottawa

Brianna is the Director of Programs and Community Partnerships for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ottawa (BBBSO). Brianna is the vice-chair of the National Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) Quality Assurance Committee, and a member of the BBBS Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Taskforce. She facilitates a youth mentoring community of practice with the goal of capacity building within Ottawa’s youth serving community organizations.

As a transracial adoptee, Brianna recognizes how oppression and intergenerational trauma have resulted in ongoing issues such as the overrepresentation of Black, Indigenous, and racialized children in care outside of their families and communities. She is committed to addressing barriers, providing equitable services, and creating intentional and safer programs that center lived experience. Brianna holds Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work degrees, and has over 15 years of experience with human resources, community work, social work, teaching, and leadership.

“Living with intersecting identities, has shaped my lens on social inequalities and fosters a passion for the work I do as a social worker and leader. I see this committee as an actionable step towards addressing the inequities and barriers that exist within our community, and I look forward to collaboratively contributing to this work.”

Portrait of Brianna Dusome

Claire Kendall, (she/her), Associate Dean, Social Accountability, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa

Claire Kendall is the Associate Dean, Social Accountability with the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottawa.  She is an Associate Professor with the Department of Family Medicine, University of Ottawa; Clinician Investigator at the Bruyère Research Institute; and practicing family physician with the Bruyère Family Health Team. She holds a University of Ottawa, Faculty of Medicine Clinical Research Chair in Strengthening Primary Care for Integrated Health Equity with a program of research aimed at improving the delivery of primary health care for underserved populations.

“I feel incredibly excited to bring my perspectives in primary care and health equity to the Advisory Committee. Ottawa has always been my home, so I feel especially privileged to be able to contribute to the health of our city with the priorities and voice of the community as central to our shared work.”

Portrait of Claire Kendall

Isabelle Jasmin, (she/her), Deputy City Treasurer, Corporate Finance, City of Ottawa

Isabelle Jasmin is the Deputy City Treasurer, Corporate Finance for the City of Ottawa.  She has over 35 years of financial management and advisory services experience.  She joined the City of Ottawa in 2014 and in that time has led the development of the City’s Long Range Financial Plans for Tax, Rate and Transit, the annual Operating and Capital Budgets, the Financial Statements and Annual Report and management of the City’s debt and investments.  Prior to joining the City, she was the CFO at United Way Ottawa, and, prior to that, she worked for sixteen years as a consultant for a large firm, providing financial advisory services.  

“What excites me is providing guidance and expertise to this team to help develop a sustainable and affordable financial strategy for the Community Safety and Well-Being Plan.” 

Portrait of Isabelle Jasmin

Karen Green, (she/her), Director, Ottawa Aboriginal Coalition

Karen, from Tyendinga Mohawk Territory, is a lawyer who has spent her career advocating and promoting the rights of First Nations People, particularly those of First Nations women and children.  She worked for most of her career with the Department of Justice where she held senior positions, most notably, as the Executive Director of the Federal Centre for Conflict Management, and the Director of the Diversity and Gender Equality Unit.  Karen was the main writer and advisor of the women’s chapter of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples Report. Since leaving government, Karen has worked as a Senior Advisor on Indigenous Issues for Ottawa University, and as the Director of the Equity Office at Carleton University.  Karen continues to do work with the Department of Justice and comes to this committee with the work she does with the Ottawa Aboriginal Coalition (OAC).

“I am pleased to sit on the Community and Safety and Well-being Advisory Committee on behalf of the Ottawa Aboriginal Coalition (OAC) to ensure that an Indigenous voice is reflected and that the work of this committee complements the ongoing work of the OAC.”

Portrait of Karen Green

Krista Ferraro, (she/her), Executive Director, Ottawa Police Services Board

Krista Ferraro is the Executive Director of the Ottawa Police Services Board. She has been working for the Board for a little over five and a half years providing strategic advice and support on a range of matters involving policy, governance, community engagement and labour relations. Prior to joining the Board, she was a member of the Ottawa Police Service for nine and a half years, working in a wide range of roles from the Call Centre to Court Liaison, Media Relations, Corporate Communications, and a number of special projects. Her collective experience over the last 15 years has provided her with a solid understanding of policing and community and the need for strong partnerships and collaboration.

“I strongly believe that the multi-disciplinary, collaborative, and intersectional approach outlined in the Community Safety and Well-Being Plan, coupled with the ongoing engagement of the public and stakeholders, is the best way for Ottawa residents to collectively work together to mitigate harms in our community and promote safety and well-being in both the short and long term. I view Community Safety and Well-Being like a puzzle and we all have a piece in it. I am really looking forward to doing my part and contributing to this important work in any way that I can add value.”

Portrait of Krista Ferraro

Leslie Wells, (she/her), Director, Ottawa Health Team

Leslie Wells is the Director of the Ottawa Health Team (OHT), where she facilitates efforts across over sixty health and social care organizations to transform local health care delivery and move towards a system that is integrated, equitable, and client-centered. Prior to joining the OHT, Leslie worked in the mental health and substance use sector, both in frontline service provision and systems planning capacities.  

“I'm excited about the opportunity to work with the Community Safety and Well-Being Advisory Committee because it offers an opportunity to address the foundational social determinants of health within our community.”

Portrait of Leslie Wells

Meseret Haileyesus, (she/her), Founder and Executive Director, Canadian Centre for Women’s Empowerment

Meseret Haileyesus is a multi-award-winning leader. She is the founder of the Canadian Centre for Women’s Empowerment, the only Canadian organization addressing economic injustice with a keen interest in addressing systemic barriers and other challenges that prevent marginalized women’s economic empowerment through ground-breaking policy advocacy, research, education, and economic empowerment. 

She serves on the Board of Directors at Centertown Community Health Centre, End FGM Canada Network, and is a member of the Network for the Advancement of Black Communities Public Policy Advisory Council to address systemic racism and mental health challenges faced by Black youth and their families in Canada. She is also the founder of Maternity Today, an international organization that improves and promotes the health of women and newborns through superior advocacy, research and education. Haileyesus is also an ambassador for various global initiatives working toward the UN Sustainable Development Goals, particularly on Maternal, Child, and Newborn Health.

Portrait of Meseret Haileyesus

“As a leader, the CSWB Plan is a big opportunity for me to work together and find innovative ways to improve our complex equity issues including systemic barriers that affect marginalized communities' economic well-being, and health inequalities. I hope this allows the City to be responsive by using data and lived experience to make evidence-informed decisions through evidence, innovation, civic engagement, and collaboration. I am looking forward to working collaboratively with the Advisory Committee alongside the community to accomplish our shared goals and keep our community safe after the pandemic.”

Michelle Groulx, (she/her), Executive Director, Ottawa Coalition of Business Improvement Areas

Michelle Groulx is an Ottawa native who has spent her twenty-two year career facilitating positive change within the high-tech, non-profit and civic sectors. As the Executive Director for the Ottawa Coalition of Business Improvement Areas (OCOBIA), Michelle plays a key role as advocate, partner, and resource for the nineteen unique Business Improvement Areas in the greater city and the 6,400 business members they serve.  Through OCOBIA, Michelle strives to assure that Ottawa’s Business Improvement Areas are the economic development pillars of thriving distinct neighbourhoods, and that the businesses within these areas are the drivers of a healthy and vibrant community.

“What excites me the most about contributing to CSWB as a member of the Advisory Committee, is that we will be working towards removing barriers and improving quality of living in Ottawa; especially for those who need it the most. Dignified, equitable, safe and affordable living impacts our entire ecosystem, from residents to businesses. It excites me to be part of this committee to both contribute and to learn from others.”

Portrait of Michelle Groulx

Steve Bell, (he/him), Interim Chief, Ottawa Police Service

Interim Chief Steve Bell is a 26-year veteran of the Ottawa Police Service (OPS), where is currently Interim Chief since February 2022.

During his time with the OPS he has gained experience in various positions including: Chief Administrative Officer (April-December 2021); Interim Chief of Police (May-October 2019); Deputy Chief of Criminal Investigations, Support Services and Planning, Performance & Analytics Directorates; Neighborhood Officer, Drug Unit, Guns and Gangs Unit, Youth Section, Professional Standards, Courts and Temporary Custody and Resourcing and Development Directorate. 

Interim Chief Bell’s background gives him a solid understanding of both the community’s diverse needs as well as the needs of Police Service members. He is a demonstrated, innovative and strategic thinker who is successful at managing complex organizational change. He has played a key role on several significant projects including Gun Violence Suppression, Neighborhood Policing, Gender Audit, Service Initiative, and Wellness Strategy. 

Portrait of Steve Bell

“I am excited to continue to support the City of Ottawa’s Community Safety and Well-Being Plan. This work, alongside our partners, is vital to ensure we can incorporate a whole-of-community approach to public safety. We best move forward when we work together.”

Tom D’Amico, (he/him), Director of Education, Ottawa Catholic School Board

Tom D’Amico is the Director of Education with the Ottawa Catholic School Board.  He has over 32 years of experience in education and has had many roles including as a teacher, Principal, and Superintendent of Human Resources and Technology. He has been recognized with the Prime Minister’s Award for teaching excellence and with Canada’s Outstanding Principal award.  

A life-long resident of Ottawa, Tom is active as a Board member of the Ottawa Network for Education, Crime Prevention Ottawa Board, University of Ottawa Diversity circle,  Ottawa Student Transportation Authority Board, Ottawa Child Youth Initiative member, Ottawa Local Immigration Partnership leadership table, Digital Equity Ottawa Strategic Advisory Committee, and nationally with EdCan Network Board, C21-Canadians for 21st Century Learning and Innovation, ERDI-Education research development and innovation, and Canadian co-lead for New Pedagogies for Deep Learning. 

Portrait of Tom DAmico

“I'm excited to have an opportunity to provide strategic direction on this Plan.  The education sector provides an intersectional lens, and I hope that collective voices will continue to strengthen Ottawa's focus on safety and wellbeing across our great city.”

Dr. Vera Etches, (she/her), Medical Officer of Health, Ottawa Public Health

Dr. Etches was appointed as Medical Officer (MOH) of Health for Ottawa Public Health (OPH) in April 2018, having served as Deputy MOH for three years and Associate MOH for five years before that. She is passionate about preventing illness and injury and working with partners across many sectors to keep people well and to promote population health. Highlights include fostering a culture of community and client engagement and providing information to help people navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. She is also committed to public health work to address inequities in health status stemming from racism and colonialism.

Prior to joining OPH, Dr. Etches served as an Associate Medical Officer of Health, Acting Medical Officer of Health and Director of Clinical Services for the Sudbury & District Health Unit after completing her specialty training in Public Health and Preventive Medicine in 2005 at the University of Toronto.

Portrait of Vera Etches

“I am pleased to contribute to the CSWB work, which will get at improving some of the root causes of health and well-being in the city, such as by addressing discrimination, employment and housing needs.”

Wendy White, (she/her), Director of Service, Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa

Wendy White has over 20 years of experience in the child welfare field at the Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa (CASO). She began as a volunteer, then worked as a front-line worker, a supervisor, a manager, and is now a Director of Service. In her role she oversees various departments in the clinical and resource areas of the agency. In addition to this, Wendy carries the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion portfolio, which includes bringing intentional attention to systemic inequities in the delivery of service as well as striving for equitable outcomes for the children, youth, and families that work with CASO.

Wendy is part of several local, provincial and national equity, diversity and inclusion committees and initiatives such as the Ottawa Police Service Community Equity Council, the Ottawa Equity Partnership, and the African Canadian Equity and Inclusion Permanency Committee.

“This committee involves leaders in various sectors. This excites me because in order to make progress, improvement, and permanent progressive change, you must galvanize the community.”

Portrait of Wendy White