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Age-Friendly Ottawa - What's New

International Conference on Age Friendly Cities

Ottawa was well represented at the 2ND INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON AGE-FRIENDLY CITIES that was held in Québec City from September 9 – 11, 2013. The City of Ottawa and the Council on Aging gave a joint presentation on the collaborative process that led to the development of the Older Adult Plan and the Age-Friendly Ottawa Community Framework.

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What's New?

Age-Friendly Ottawa

Find Out More: Building an Age-Friendly Business Community

Update August 19, 2014:

Age-Friendly Ottawa is looking for volunteer mentors and participants to take part in a pilot project to improve health literacy among seniors in Ottawa.

The six 1.5 hour small group sessions to be conducted during the period of October 6 through November 21, 2014. The focus of the mentorship program is improving communications and better accessing available community resources across a number of topics, including Staying Healthy,Talking with your Doctor, Dealing with the Unexpected, Dealing with Major Illness & Hospitalization, Choosing to Age at Home and Staying Socially Connected.

To register or find out more contact Maureen Forsythe at maureen.forsythe@coaottawa.ca or (613) 789-3577 ext. 15


Update: June 19, 2013

Age-Friendly Ottawa is launching it's Community Framework and the Building an Age-Friendly Business Community project today, at the Council on Aging's Annual General Meeting. You can find the Age-Friendly Ottawa Community Framework under the publications section of this website or by following the link below. The framework outlines recommended objectives, proposed strategies and examples of community actions that will increase the age-friendliness of our community. For printed copies, please contact us during office hours.


Building an Age-Friendly Business Community Project

The goal of this age-friendly project is to engage seniors in recognizing, acknowledging and highlighting exemplary age-friendly business practices in Ottawa.


We can visit your seniors group!

We welcome the opportunity to talk to your group about Age-Friendly Ottawa and about the Building an Age-Friendly Business Community project. Please contact coa@coaottawa.ca or call 613-789-3577 ext. 11 to find out more.


Update: March 4, 2013

On March 6th, 2013 THE CITY OF OTTAWA, in co-ordination with its community partner THE COUNCIL ON AGING OF OTTAWA held an event with His Worship Jim Watson, Mayor of the City of Ottawa to officially launch the Older Adult Plan and announce the city being internationally recognized as a member of the World Health Organization`s Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities and Communities.


Age Friendly Ottawa was congratulated by the Ontario Minister responsible for Seniors, Mr. Mario Sergio, for being internationally recognized as a member of the World Health Organization`s Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities and Communities.

Click to view letter


Update: December 20, 2012

Seasons Greetings!  In January 2013, Age Friendly Ottawa will work with seniors to create an “Age-friendly business recognition program”.  Seniors will target specific establishments frequented by seniors, propose age-friendly improvements and publicly recognize those who take action to adapt their services and environments to the needs of older adults.

We will soon release the  AFO Community Action Plan that will align with the Municipal Older Adult Plan,  and bring about concrete and measureable improvements to the lives of Ottawa seniors. An age-friendly city is friendly to everyone and will succeed thanks to the contributions of all who share our vision!

Up-date: December 11, 2012

Age Friendly Ottawa is currently developing a community action plan that will address some of the issues raised by seniors during the public consultations in November-December 2011. Age-Friendly Ottawa is working to identify gaps in services, to recognize existing community organizations working in these areas, and  to act as a catalyst for Age-Friendly ventures within the community.  We will select one project from priorities identified by seniors and implement will in 2013 with the full participation of seniors. The AFO Community Action Plan will also align with the recently approved Municipal Older Adult Plan. Stay tuned for more information about the Age Friendly Action Plan and the seniors engagement project.

Municipal Older Adult Plan

On October 24, 2012 Ottawa City Council adopted the Older Adult Plan, an action plan that includes 74 actions that will improve environments for seniors in Ottawa. See the City of Ottawa website for more information. The Council on Aging congratulates the City of Ottawa on this first step towards making Ottawa an Age-Friendly City!


Up-date: October 17, 2012

The Municipal Older Adult Plan will be presented at the Community and Protective Services Committee meeting on Thursday, October 18

Materials are available for viewing online at:


You can access the documents by clicking on “agenda” and by scrolling to the end of the document to find the links to the three documents on the Older Adult Plan..

Note that the plan will be presented for approval at City Council on October 24, 2012. The City is also planning for an official launch event for the Older Adult Plan following Council’s approval. We congratulate the City of Ottawa bringing forth this important initiative!  Age Friendly Ottawa is currently working on a list of recommendations for community action that will build on the new municipal  Plan. 


Update: September 20, 2012

Our Fall activities include:

  • AFO support to the Municipal Older Adult Plan as it goes before City Council later this Fall
  • The development of a community action plan that will complement the Older Adult Plan
  • Visits to seniors groups to share the results from the community consultations
  • Work with seniors to select priority age-friendly projects that can be undertaken by older adults in the coming months.


Update: July 27, 2012


Click here to view the Summer 2012 Age Friendly Ottawa Newsletter.



Update: June 20, 2012

The AFO community forum was held on June 5 and brought together 63 participants for the French Session and 79 participants for the English session. We are still in the process of consulting some community groups, such as Native seniors, Multicultural seniors etc and the City of Ottawa is also engaged in Community Feed-Back Sessions for the Older Adult Plan in June.

We asked the community to help us identify priorities for community action, based on a list of suggestions from the community consultations with seniors that were held last fall. Participants were asked to vote for priority actions from a list of suggestions. We obtained many suggestions on how to improve the list of recommendations and we received a number of additional suggestions and comments for consideration.

Here are the suggestions that received the most votes:

  • Expand and improve access to preventative health care and homecare options – chosen by each group in top 5
  • Introduce “health and social system navigators” who can help vulnerable seniors to access complex heath and support services.
  • Have a central list of all activities for all seniors and make it broadly available
  • Challenge ageism through public education to foster respect between generations
  • Work with hospitals, clinics, medical centres to reduce parking fees
  • Find affordable (or free) space in the community for older adults groups to hold events

The input from seniors during this exercise will help us draft an Age Friendly Action Plan that will align with the Municipal Older Adult Plan. This plan will include recommendations for each of the 8 age-friendly areas. The timing for the release of both plans is the end of September 2012.


Dominique Paris-MacKay talks age-friendly

Lunch and Learn 23 May 2012
Age Friendly Ottawa and the municipal Older Adult Plan

Age-Friendly Ottawa and the City of Ottawa have been working in close collaboration since the beginning of the age-friendly ottawa initiative.

Click here to see the full presentation at a recent lunch and learn


Age Friendly Update: March 6, 2016


Key Findings-All Consultations: Life in Ottawa as an Older Adult

Consultation results: The Summary document from the consultations with older adults is now available on the City of Ottawa Website. Please see link below to access this document.

The City of Ottawa commissioned Nanos Research to conduct consultations with older adults in Ottawa as part of the Older Adult Plan. Part of the consultations was conducted in partnership with Age Friendly Ottawa. The consultations took place between October 3rd and December 2nd, 2011 among approximately 630 older adults and stakeholders in Ottawa. This document summarizes the findings from the Seniors Summit, consultation sessions and from the online, telephone and paper surveys (from the Nanos Research report Ottawa Older Adult Consultation Findings Summary).

Click here to review the Summary Report.
For a copy of the complete report contact seniors@ottawa.ca.

February 22, 2012 update:

Highlights - AFO STRATEGIC PLAN 2012

We are currently reviewing the data from the fall 2011 consultations with seniors to establish the current level of Ottawa’s age friendliness. (January – March 2012)

In response to invitations, we plan to return to some of the targeted focus group to validate findings and identify priorities for action.

We plan on sharing the results of the consultations and consult on priorities with the community of seniors and stakeholders by hosting community forums, presentations and by publishing a newsletter. (Spring – Summer)

We will support the development of the Older Adult city-wide action plan and align the Age Friendly Ottawa Action plan to the Older Adult Plan. The AFO plan will look into community action that will support city initiatives. 

We will develop an AFO community action plan that will complement the OAP in areas not under City responsibility and should engage older adults in the planning and implementation process.

We will develop indicators to monitor progress in targeted areas


December 2011 update:

Ottawa's WHO Age-Friendly City certificate.

Great news to start 2012!  The City of Ottawa’s joint application with Age Friendly Ottawa to the World Health Organization has been approved. This means that Ottawa has now joined the global network of age friendly cities and thus formally engaged in the process of becoming age-friendly.

After completing an environmental scan, the City of Ottawa invited seniors to offer their views on what it’s like to age in our city. This public consultation process was completed on December 2nd and a report on the findings is forthcoming.

The purpose of these consultations was to find out from older adults, about the positive aspects of living in Ottawa, the negative aspects and hear about some suggestions for improvements in the eight (8) age-friendly areas. These important findings will help inform the development of the Municipal Older Adult Plan and the project to make the city more age-friendly.  Please visit the City of Ottawa website for more information on the Older Adult Plan and other services for seniors.

The Consultation report will include data collected during the Mayor’s Seniors Summit on October 3rd, data from nine (9) city-led discussion groups, a city-led survey and 15 targeted Age Friendly focus groups.

The City of Ottawa adopted the WHO Age –Friendly methodology to develop the questionnaire and survey. The Age Friendly Ottawa Steering Committee worked with the city and the community to reach out to seniors who face barriers to inclusion. We would like to thank our community partners and all participants for their collaboration.

Here is the list of groups consulted by Age Friendly Ottawa:

Target Group

Community Host

  • Age Friendly Ottawa Reference Group

Council on Aging of Ottawa

  • Aboriginal Elders

Odawa Native Friendship Centre

  • Natural Caregivers

Western Ottawa Community Resource Centre

  • Low-income seniors

South East Ottawa Community Health Centre

  • Older Seniors (75 years )

Unitarian House (2 groups)

  •  Members from the GLBTQ community

Centretown Community Health Centre

  • Aînés francophones à faible revenue

Ottawa Community Housing Corporation

  • Communautés culturelles francophones

Centre des services Guigues,

  • Pourvoyeurs de services
    servant les francophones

Centre Séraphin Marion

  • Special needs (physical, psychiatric, intellectual disabilities)

Service Coordination des Services

  • Service Providers

Algonquin College

  • Business Community

United Way

  • Ethnic and Cultural Communities


  • Isolated Seniors

Abbotsford House

  •  Experts – Gerontology

Elizabeth Bruyère Hospital

  Individual Interviews

Seniors with limited mobility

4 home visits

2 telephone interviews with seniors from rural communities


Age Friendly Ottawa Up-date - October 25, 2011

Age Friendly Ottawa is participating in the city-wide consultation process in partneship with the City of Ottawa this fall

Focus groups schedule – by invitation only


Date & time


  • Aboriginal Elders

October 12 in am – time 9 to 12

ODAWA Native Friendship Centre

Ottawa, Ontario
(613) 722-3811

  • Natural Caregivers

October 18 from 12:00 to 2:30

Western Ottawa Community Resource Centre

2 MacNeil Court in Kanata.

1st floor, Adult Day Program

  • Low-income seniors

October 19, from 1 to 3:30

South East Ottawa Community Health Centre

 1355 Bank Street, Suite 600

  • Older Seniors (75 years of age or older)

October 21

FG # 1  from 9 to 10

FG # 2  from 10 to 11

Unitarian House

20 Cleary Avenue,

Ottawa, 1st floor of apartment building

  •  Members from the GLBTQ community

October 27 from 1:30 to 4:30

Centretown Community Health Centre - 420 Cooper Street (close to Bank)

  • Aînés francophones à faible revenue

Le 3 novembre, 13h30 à 15h

Maison Communautaire de la Commission de logement communautaire – adresse à suivre

  • Communautés culturelles francophones

Le 9 novembre de 9h30 -12h00:

Centre des services Guigues, 159, rue Murrray, Ottawa,

  • Pourvoyeurs de services et entreprises servant les francophones

JEUDI LE 10 NOVEMBRE DE 13H30 À 16H00- -

Centre Séraphin Marion


  • Special needs (physical, psychiatric, intellectual disabilities

November 15, 1 to 3:30

Service Coordination des Services

200 – 150 chemin Montréal, Vanier

  • Service Providers

November 16, 1 to 3:30

Algonquin College

1385 Woodroffe Avenue
Ottawa, P105, Corporate Boardroom ( Police and Public Safety Institute)

  • Business Community

November 23, 9:00 to 11:30

United Way boardroom

363 Coventry Road

  • Ethnic and Cultural Communities

Nov. 30 1 to 3:30 with lunch at 12:30

 OCISO, 959 Wellington Ave, 2nd Floor

  •  Experts in Geriatrics


December 2, 9:00 to 11:00

Elizabeth Bruyère Hospital


Age Friendly Ottawa Up-date - September 2011

The Age Friendly Ottawa project is in full swing this fall!

We are launching our community consultations with seniors in partnership with the City of Ottawa and other community partners.

Age Friendly Ottawa is based on the World Health Organization Global Age-Friendly Cities Initiative.  We have adopted the research protocol developed by the WHO with 33 collaborating cities across the world.  The WHO Age-Friendly Cities Project Methodology, Vancouver Protocol, World Health Organization, 2007 supports the locally driven and “bottom up” approach that starts with the lived experience of older persons regarding what is and what is not age-friendly, and what could be done to improve our city’s age-friendliness.

AFO conducted one focus group in July 2011 and has started to conduct individual home interviews with seniors who cannot participate in focus groups due to restricted mobility.

In October and November, we will conduct small (8 to 10 participants) and targeted focus groups with seniors from the following groups:

  • Aboriginal Elders
  • Low income seniors
  • Francophone low income seniors
  • Francophone seniors from ethnic and cultural communities
  • Francophone business leaders and service providers
  • Seniors from ethnic and cultural  communities
  • Natural caregivers of older persons
  • Service Providers
  • Seniors from the GLBTQ community
  • Business community
  • Seniors with special needs – physical, psychiatric, intellectual disabilities
  • Older adults ( 75 +)

The Older Adult Plan:

The AFO focus groups and home visits are part of a broader consultation plan held within the context of the Municipal Older Adult Plan (OAP) that was initiated by the City of Ottawa in October 2009. At that time Ottawa City Council approved a motion from the Community and Protective Services Committee, originally submitted by the Seniors Advisory Committee, to create a comprehensive and forward-looking Older Adult Plan for the City of Ottawa.

Phase 1: Background research (completed): The research phase collected information on the make-up of the older adult population, the demographic forces shaping this population and the way in which the City of Ottawa is currently organized to serve this population. The findings from this research phase are summarized and discussed in the report Background Research: Setting the Stage. Two additional reports were produced: A portrait of Ottawa Older Adults: Demographic and Socio-Economic Characteristicsand Inventory of Programs and Services for Older Adults. For more information on the Older Adult Plan and to find links to supporting documents, please visit ottawa.ca/seniors

Phase 2: The Seniors Summit: The Mayor’s Seniors Summit on October 3 is an opportunity to launch the Older Adult Plan project and allows seniors to interact with the Mayor and provide input into the development of an action plan for the City of Ottawa.

Age Friendly Ottawa will be involved in the Senior Summit.  AFO will assist with the discussion groups and host an information booth on the WHO Age-Friendly Cities Project, the Canadian Age Friendly Initiative and Age Friendly Ottawa.  One of the key-note speakers is Dr. Louise Plouffe, from Public Health Canada, who will talk about the Global Age Friendly Cities Initiative.

It is expected that the Mayor will announce the joint application (with AFO) to join the World Health Organization Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities.

Phase 3: Public consultations: The third phase of the project involves community-based discussions where ideas identified during the Summit can be expanded and built upon. These consultations will be scheduled during the months of October and November 2011 and will target seniors (both anglophone and francophone) living in various parts of the city. A number of more targeted consultations will also be held with other sub-groups of the seniors’ population who have unique needs, as well as with caregivers, service providers, and the business community. These community-based consultations will be conducted jointly with the Age Friendly Ottawa Initiative. The schedule for the consultations will available following the Seniors Summit.  

The purpose of the consultation phase is to engage with Ottawa older adults in order to identify key issues and opportunities for service enhancements and to help the City identify priorities for action in the short, medium and long term. 

Together with the findings from the research phase, the consultation findings will inform the development of the City of Ottawa, Older Adult Plan.   This consultation plan ensures that several opportunities are provided for Ottawa seniors to engage and participate.  A process to report back to the community as well as validate and prioritize the findings will follow the consultation phase

A Survey will provide an additional option for seniors to participate in the consultation. The survey will follow the same format as the community-based consultations. Seniors will be able to participate online, by telephone, or on paper.

Phase 4: Older adult plan: The final phase of the project involves the development of a comprehensive strategy and action plan that will make specific recommendations for implementation in the immediate, medium- and longer-term. This plan will be informed by the background research and the input of seniors gathered at the Seniors Summit as well as through the broader public consultations.  The AFO city-wide action plan will be in-line with the Municipal Older Adult Plan.

Next Steps for Age Friendly Ottawa:

  • Analyze  and share the results from the consultations with older adults
  • Help identify priorities for action as identified by seniors
  • Produce a report card on Ottawa’s age-friendliness
  • Work  with community and city staff to develop a city-wide action plan to deal with the most pressing issues

In the news...

CARP Article written by COA's second Vice-President, Cal Martell
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