Guide to services and programs for older adults

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This guide provides an overview of the services and resources available to residents of the City of Ottawa, with specific reference, where appropriate, to older adults.  

The term older adult refers to a general stage of life and can include adults 50 years of age and older (including seniors 65 and older).  Phone numbers and links are subject to change.  If you experience any difficulty with phone numbers or web links, please call 3-1-1.

Contact information

ServiceOttawa is your first stop for City information and services.

Contact ServiceOttawa for information, such as:

  • Recreation programs for all ages and skill levels
  • Financial assistance options, such as  the tax deferral program
  • Social housing and long-term care homes
  • Volunteering, public transportation, snow removal, garbage collection
  • Reporting a problem or a compliment, and more
  • To learn about City of Ottawa services and programs, submit applications and report issues.
  • The Older adult section of the website provides information on services specific to older adults.

General Information line - 3-1-1

  • Call 3-1-1 for information about City of Ottawa services and programs or to make a report about City issues.
  • Available 24 hours a day, every day.
  • Staff can answer your questions in more than 170 languages.
  • TTY: 613-580-2401

Client Service Centres

Visit a centre that’s close to where you live. Seven Client Service Centres provide information about City of Ottawa services and programs. 

The City of Ottawa’s urban Client Service Centres’ business hours are Monday to Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, except for the City Hall Government Service Centre, which is open Monday to Friday 8:30 am to 5 pm.

Urban Centres

1. City Hall Government Services Centre (Federal, Provincial, and Municipal services)

110 Laurier Avenue West, Ottawa

2. West/South - Ben Franklin Place Client Service Centre

101 Centrepointe Drive, Nepean

3. East - Orléans Client Service Centre

255 Centrum Blvd., Orléans

4. West - Kanata Client Service Centre

580 Terry Fox Drive, Main level, Kanata

Rural Centres

Call 3-1-1 to confirm the hours and days of operation for rural Client Service Centres.

5. Metcalfe Client Service Centre

8243 Victoria St, Metcalfe

6. West Carleton Client Service Centre

5670 Carp Rd, Kinburn

7. North Gower Client Service Centre

2155 Roger Stevens Drive, North Gower

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2-1-1 - Community Information Centre of Ottawa

For community information or services you do not see in this guide:

  • Call 2-1-1 if you need help to find community, government and health services
  • 2-1-1 provides services in more than 150 languages
  • Available 24 hours a day every day. It’s free and confidential

Getting around the City

Accessible Parking Permit

Accessible Parking Permits are available for both on-street and off-street parking.

People with physical disabilities may apply to the Ontario Ministry of Transportation for an Accessible Parking Permit (APP). Drivers or passengers who display this permit are entitled to special parking privileges in public parking areas and on public roadways. 

To apply for an Accessible Parking Permit:

  • Visit the local office of the Ontario Ministry of Transportation or visit the ServiceOntario website

To find out about City of Ottawa privileges for drivers with an Accessible Parking Permit:

Grit Box program

The City of Ottawa has placed "do-it-yourself" grit boxes at various locations across the City to make the sidewalks safe for everyone to walk on in the winter. The boxes, for residents use, contain the same winter grit used by the City's snow operations' staff.

The grit boxes are located close to steep hills, and in areas where there are many pedestrians, older adults and persons using mobility devices. All residents are encouraged to spread the grit on slippery spots on sidewalks and other problem areas.

For more information about the Grit Box program, view the Grit Box Locations webpage or call 3-1-1.

Public transit (OC Transpo)

OC Transpo makes travelling around the city easy for older adults. All vehicles are fully accessible with no stairs. Buses can lower to the curb for easy boarding. Other features to make travel easier include:

  • Bilingual announcements of each stop so you always know where you are along the route
  • Priority seating near the front of the bus and on the O-Train for anyone who has difficulty standing in a moving vehicle
  • Free Priority Seating cards and  Attendant cards
  • A free Travel Training program is offered to organizations to help you learn how to travel safely and independently
  • Safe Stop - after 7 pm, you can ask the driver to drop you off at a safe spot along the route closer to your destination
  • Let us know if you feel threatened or unsafe: complete an incident report, call Transit Law at 613-741-2478 (TTY 613-842-3699), use an emergency phone, or tell an operator or special constable

Discounts and free fares for seniors 65+

If you are 65 or older, take advantage of these services from OC Transpo:

  • Ride free on Wednesdays on all routes
  • Reduced cash and Presto card fares on regular routes
  • A discounted monthly pass, with unlimited travel on all routes (with valid ID or Presto card)
  • Free Rural Shopper’s Routes 201 to 205

For more information about these services:

  • Call the Access OC Hotline 613-842-3625 (TTY 613-741-5280)
  • Call 613-741-4390 (TTY 613-741-5280); staff can assist in answering your questions in more than 170 languages
  • Visit

Schedule information: For real-time arrivals of your bus 24/7, call 613-560-1000 or text 560560 plus your four-digit stop number.

Para Transpo

If you are unable to use OC Transpo some or all of the time because of a disability or health concern, consider using Para Transpo’s door-to-door service. Registered Para Transpo customers may also join the Taxi Coupon program to get lower rates for taxis.

To apply for Para Transpo or to get more information:

Rural transportation options

If you are a senior or an adult living with a physical disability in rural Ottawa, there are many options available to help you travel to, from, or within your community. The City of Ottawa partners with Rural Community Support Services to offer additional transportation options.

Please contact the Community Support Service organization serving your area for more information:

  • Western Ottawa Community Resource Centre - serving Nepean, Kanata, and West Carleton 613-591-3686
  • Rural Ottawa South Support Services - serving Osgoode and Rideau-Goulbourn 613-692-4697
  • Eastern Ottawa Resource Centre - serving Gloucester, Orléans and Cumberland 613-741-6025

Accessible Pedestrian Signals

Accessible Pedestrian Signals (APS), formerly known as audible pedestrian signals, communicate information about the WALK and flashing DON'T WALK intervals to blind, visually impaired, or deaf-blind pedestrians at signalized intersections. Information identifying the "right-of-way" to cross a roadway is available through various means including locator tones, audible tones, vibrotactile indicators, raised tactile arrow points in direction of crossing, or any combination of these non-visual methods.  All APS deliver sounds when activated that indicate when pedestrians can start crossing an intersection and in which direction. Currently, over 800 signalized intersections are equipped with audible tone components throughout the city and the number continues to grow every year.

Using Accessible Pedestrian Signals (APS):  To activate the audible and/or vibrotactile indicator portion of the walk signal, pedestrians must push and hold a crosswalk button for a minimum of three seconds. The audible signal and/or vibrotactile indicator function will not be activated if the button is held for less time.

For more information about Accessible Pedestrian Signals, please e-mail or call 3-1-1 (TTY 613-580-2401)

Map of public washrooms

If you want to find a public washroom when exploring the city, take a look at this map. It has over 170 public and portable washrooms in City buildings and parks. It shows locations, hours of operation and level of accessibility.

Help around the home

Caregiver Support program

Ottawa Public Health provides telephone counselling, information and services to support people who care for older adults.

For more information, contact Ottawa Public Health:

Garbage collection (special considerations)

If you or someone you care for needs to have weekly collection of waste diapers or incontinence products, you can register for the City’s Special Consideration Waste program. Participating households can place one bag of waste diapers and incontinence products out for collection every week.

To register for the Special Consideration Waste program:

Organics recycling is an important part of the City of Ottawa’s long term waste strategy.  Roughly 45 per cent of Ottawa’s garbage (by weight) is compostable organic material that can be put into the green bin.  Seniors (65+) and people with a disability can request a smaller green bin by calling 3-1-1.

Home Support Services

Home Support Services can help you with light housekeeping tasks such as sweeping floors, cleaning bathrooms, changing bed linens, and laundry.

The program is available to people who:

  • Receive support from Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) OR
  • Have a low income and limited assets
  • And live with some type of limitation so they are unable to complete these tasks on their own

You must apply for the program and provide financial information. To apply or get more information:

  • Call 3-1-1, select your language of choice, then press 4 for Social Services, then press 3 to apply

Library Delivery Service (Homebound Services)

Homebound Services provides free delivery of Ottawa Public Library (OPL) materials to Ottawa residents who are unable to visit the Library regularly due to age, illness or disability. OPL delivers to individual homes, retirement residences and long-term care facilities.

To find out more about the Library’s Homebound Services:

Snow clearing (Snow Go and Snow Go Assist)

There are two Snow Go programs funded by the City of Ottawa to help older adults (60+) and people with disabilities.

  • The Snow Go Coordination program can help you find a contractor and get snow cleared from your private driveway and walkway at your own cost. 
  • Through the Snow Go Assist program you may qualify for financial help to pay for snow clearing, if you have a low income, and are unable to clear the snow yourself. You must apply and provide financial information to the seniors community support agency providing the Snow Go programs in your neighbourhood.

Health and support services

Ottawa Public Health

Ottawa Public Health helps older adults maintain their health and independence by offering the following programs:

  • Better Strength, Better Balance!: Register for a free fall prevention exercise and education program for seniors 65+ or ask about other exercise programs that are suitable for you
  • Preventing Falls: Assess your risk of falling by completing the Staying Independent Checklist and obtain practical information on how to prevent falls
  • Community Connect offers information sessions on how to identify and connect at risk older adults to a network of agencies that can provide information, support and services
  • Flu clinics: Have you had your flu shot? Free clinics are offered at many locations each year in the fall
  • Smoking Cessation: Have you been thinking about reducing or quitting smoking? Do you want to help a loved one quit? The MyQuit program can help you set a quit date and can connect you with resources in your community

For information about these and other programs:

  • Call Ottawa Public Health at 613-580-6744 to speak with a nurse
  • Visit
  • Call the MyQuit program at 1-877-376-1701 or visit the website:

Essential Health and Social Supports

The Essential Health and Social Supports program is available to people with a low income and limited assets. The program provides financial help for health-related items, such as prescription drugs, eyeglasses, dental care, diabetic supplies, incontinence supplies, bathroom aids, respiratory supplies, and mobility devices.

You must apply for the program and provide financial information. To apply or get more information:

  • Call 3-1-1, select your language of choice, press 4 for Social Services, then press 3 to apply

Long-Term Care Homes

The City of Ottawa operates four Long-Term Care Homes. These homes offer many services and programs for residents. If you would like to take a tour of any of the City of Ottawa’s Long-Term Care Homes, call for an appointment.

  • Centre d’accueil Champlain (Vanier) – 613-746-3543
  • Garry J. Armstrong (Porter Island) – 613-789-5100
  • Peter D. Clark (Centrepointe) – 613-274-2671
  • Carleton Lodge (Nepean) – 613-580-2953

To apply for long-term care:

  • Contact the Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) – 613-745-5525 – for information. The CCAC coordinates applications and admissions for all Long-Term Care Homes in Ontario

Residential Care (domiciliary hostels)

The Residential Care (domiciliary hostel) program provides financial support for housing to adults who cannot live on their own and need some help with daily living activities.

Housing is in private or non-profit residences (also known as domiciliary hostels). To be considered for the program, you must apply and take part in a financial and personal assessment.

For more information:


Ontario Renovates program

This program provides financial support for home repairs and renovations to help seniors (65+) and people with disabilities live independently. It is open to:

  • Seniors who own their home and have a low income
  • People with disabilities who own their home and have a low income
  • Landlords who want to modify existing units or buildings to make them more accessible

To apply for the Ontario Renovates program or to get more information:

  • Call the Ontario Renovates program at 613-580-2424 (extension 12300)
  • Call 3-1-1

Property tax deferral for seniors

If you are aged 65 or older, own your home, and are living on a low income, you may qualify for one of the City of Ottawa’s tax deferral programs. The City offers two programs – Full and Partial Property Tax Deferral. Both programs allow eligible people to defer payment of some or all property tax. These programs are also open to people with a disability who have a low income.

The two programs have different requirements. To find out more about Property Tax Deferral:

Secondary dwelling units (space for live-in care or for renting out)

You may be able to create a secondary dwelling unit (also called an in-law suite) in your home. A secondary dwelling unit is a self-contained set of rooms that includes both a kitchen and a bathroom. You must meet a number of conditions before starting.

For more information about secondary dwelling units:

  • Call 3-1-1 and ask to speak to a Development Information Officer

Social housing

If you have a low income, you may be able to apply for social housing. Rent for these units is geared to your income. The Social Housing Registry of Ottawa maintains a centralized waiting list for all social housing in Ottawa.

To apply for a social housing unit:

  • Visit the Social Housing Registry website
  • Call the Social Housing Registry at 613-526-2088
  • Visit 2197 Riverside Drive, 5th floor

Recreation and leisure

Social and physical activities

The City of Ottawa offers many different recreation and cultural programs for older adults 50+. Keep your mind and body active through programs such as painting, fitness, sewing, computer use, bridge, swimming, guest speakers, sports, and more.

  • Residents 65+ receive a 10% discount on City of Ottawa program registration fees. To receive the discount, you must include your date of birth on your account
  • Fitness memberships are available at a reduced cost to seniors 65+
  • To register for specific programs or take part in drop-in activities, call 3-1-1 or visit the Recreation and leisure for older adults webpage

Residents are welcome to enjoy City museums or theatres.

Adult day programs

Carleton Lodge and Centre d’accueil Champlain offer adult day programs for seniors 65+ who are frail, have dementia or face other barriers that prevent them from taking part in regular activities. Small group activities promote good health and social interaction for participants. The programs also provide a break for caregivers.

To apply for one of these adult day programs:

  • Contact the Champlain Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) 613-745-5525

Help to pay for a City of Ottawa recreation or cultural program

If you need help to pay the registration fee for a City of Ottawa recreation or cultural program or activity, you can get a Hand in Hand Recreation Fee Subsidy application form at your local recreation facility or any City of Ottawa Client Service Centre. You will be asked to provide financial information when you apply.

Ottawa Public Library – accessible services and collections

The Library’s accessible collections include large print books, children’s Braille books, audio books in various formats, captioned DVDs, DVDs with described video and eBooks.

All Library branches have assistive technology computer workstations which include a height adjustable desk, widescreen monitor, large print keyboard, trackball mouse, scanner, and software including ZoomText, JAWS, Dragon Naturally Speaking, Kurzweil 3000 and BrowseAloud.

For more information about the Library’s accessible services:

Ottawa Public Library – Talking Book Service

The Library offers a Talking Book Service for people who can’t read or use regular print material because of a disability. The service also lets you use the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) Library Partners Program.

Ottawa Public Library programs and workshops

The Ottawa Public Library offers free programs for older adults. For information about book clubs; writing workshops; healthy living and financial planning programs; along with tutorials to help older adults learn basic computer skills, use of email, and the Internet:

Seniors’ centres and drop ins

The City of Ottawa operates four Seniors’ Centres that offer programs and drop-in activities for older adults 50+.

Find out about programs:

1. Churchill Seniors Centre, 345 Richmond Road 613-798-8927

2. Heron Seniors Centre, 1480 Heron Road 613-247-4808 extension 2

3. Kanata Seniors Centre, 2500 Campeau Drive 613-599-4480

4. Nepean Seniors Recreation Centre, 1701 Woodroffe Avenue 613-580-2828

There are several other seniors’ centres managed by community organizations which offer a range of programming in both English and French.

For more information:


If you have an emergency, call 9-1-1.

Emergency preparedness

It is important that you know what to do and how to stay safe in an emergency. The City of Ottawa’s “Are You Ready?” program offers workshops and training for community groups and businesses. Find out what you need to prepare for an emergency such as a flood, severe weather, or a blackout. 

The Are You Ready program is tailor-made for the needs of the city’s diverse and multicultural community. Our newest expansion of this program, Ready Seniors, is exclusively for older adults. This program focuses on networks for older adults in emergency situations and provides them with specialized information.

For more information on promotional material or to book a workshop:

Ottawa Fire Services – fire safety

Learn about fire safety and fire prevention. Ottawa Fire Services can help older adults and people who work with older adults learn how to install and test a fire alarm, use a fire extinguisher, cook safely, and get out of the house safely in the case of a fire.

If you would like to book a fire safety presentation for your group:

Ottawa Police Service – elder abuse

Elder abuse is any act that harms or threatens to harm an older person. It can include physical, sexual, financial, and psychological abuse, as well as neglect.

The Ottawa Police Service – Elder Abuse Section investigates all reports of elder abuse. The Victim Crisis Section staff may assist to get help for the victim of abuse, or they may refer the report to the police for further investigation.

If you would like more information, or if you are concerned about an older person:

  • Contact the Elder Abuse Section at 613-236-1222, extension 2400 or 5433. This is not an emergency number. If you have an emergency, call 9-1-1

Ottawa Police Service – seniors fraud

The Ottawa Police Service – Organized Fraud Section investigates criminal activities that target older adults. They also make presentations with the ABCs of Fraud program to keep older adults from becoming victims of scams and frauds.

For more information about preventing fraud:

This is not an emergency number. If you have an emergency, call 9-1-1.


City of Ottawa volunteer opportunities

The City of Ottawa offers a wide range of volunteer opportunities for residents. You can get involved in programs at Ottawa's museums, theatres, libraries, archives, Long-Term Care Homes, individuals with disabilities programs, recreation programs, and much more.

If you would like more information about volunteering for the City of Ottawa:

2-1-1 - Community Information Centre of Ottawa

For community information or services you do not see in this guide:

  • Call 2-1-1 if you need help to find community, government and health services
  • 2-1-1 provides services in more than 150 languages
  • Available 24 hours a day every day. It’s free and confidential

Older Adult Plan

The City of Ottawa’s Older Adult Plan 2015-2018 supports a long-term vision for our community that values, empowers, and supports older persons and their quality of life. The Plan contains 51 actions to address the priorities of older residents and make Ottawa an age-friendly city.  The plan is organized under eight age-friendly areas:

  • Outdoor spaces and City buildings
  • Transportation and mobility
  • Housing
  • Communication and information
  • Social, recreational, and cultural participation
  • Civic participation and volunteering
  • Community supports and health services
  • Respect and social inclusion 

For more information about the Older Adult Plan, please email, call 3-1-1 or visit