The Council on Aging of Ottawa | (613) 789-3577 | (613) 789-3577

Neighbourhood Health and Wellness Hubs as a potential service delivery model that would support the needs of older adults

Dr. Vera Etches
Medical Officer of Health
Ottawa Public Health

Dear Dr. Etches,

RE: Neighbourhood Health and Wellness Hubs as a potential service delivery model that would support the needs of older adults

The Council on Aging of Ottawa (COA) Health Issues Committee has a keen interest in the Neighbourhood Health and Wellness Hubs as a potential service delivery model that would support the needs of older adults. The COA wishes to provide our input for your consideration as Ottawa Public Health (OPH) explores the possibility of expanding and/or evolving the Hubs to include more locations and/or a broader range of service offerings. The COA believes that the Hub model is a proven and innovative service delivery model and supports efforts in reducing pressures on the health care system. We recommended that the Hub model be submitted as a funding priority by the City of Ottawa for consideration during this current round of the Ontario provincial government’s 2023 budget consultation process. This proposal aligns with OPH’s priorities to provide older adults and their caregivers with high-quality programs and services they need to maintain and improve their health.  

As background, our committee works with and for older adults in the Ottawa area to improve their quality of life by influencing public policy, program decisions, and practices related to health and health care. We have developed strong working relationships with various representatives of OPH. In my capacity as Chair, I meet quarterly with OPH Community Operations staff to explore areas of mutual interest. As a recent example, OPH and COA recently co-developed a fact sheet on vaccination for older adults see: ( We are also currently working on developing fact sheets for home care and community support services.

During our most recent regular quarterly meeting, the opportunity to provide input and ideas in support of the evolution of the Neighbourhood Health and Wellness Hubs was offered to the COA. OPH staff were very responsive and attended one of our regular monthly committee meetings. OPH provided an overview of the 14 Hubs and the services offered for vaccinations, mental health and wellbeing, parenting, dental health and financial assistance. At this same meeting, COA staff presented on the concept of moving towards more age-friendly communities that includes the domains of physical environment, services environment, and social environment. Services of importance in age-friendly communities are those that allow for active aging and that support quality of life with community support and health services being the top priorities. In moving towards more age-friendly communities, a key tenet is if you design for the old, you will include everyone.

The Health Issues Committee would like to offer suggestions and comments for OPH’s consideration on the Hub model (see Table 1). The expertise around our committee table arises from our broad and diverse representation within the older adult community as well as from our expert advisors that come from across all areas of the health sector (see Table 2).

The overarching comment of COA is that the expansion of the Hub service model is an excellent way to reach the older adult population as well as to support its overall wellbeing given the comprehensiveness of the services offered to older adults that may otherwise go unserved and have unmet needs. In considering additional potential locations for the Hubs, you may be interested to know that the COA has done extensive work on mapping out where older adults live. See the recently published Ottawa Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC) finder ( Councillor Kavanagh has been actively engaged with COA in promoting the NORC concept with supportive services program and wrote an article on how this model can support the needs of older adults (  

On related topics, COA would like to take this opportunity to express its view that family health teams are an important aspect of health service delivery. Family health teams could potentially be utilized to a greater extent in primary care service delivery. In addition, COA supports the need for better access to personal health data and recognizes the important work that is going on within Ontario Health Teams (OHTs) to develop user-friendly portals for access to personal health information. Finally, COA believes that Home and Community Care support services are essential elements to allow older adults to age in community with dignity. To this end, COA will continue to examine these important topics and develop adult education and communication materials. Should you wish to meet and discuss our ideas and work in more detail we would be most happy to provide you with a short and concise briefing at your convenience.

COA recognizes the extensive and open recruitment efforts of the City of Ottawa as it seeks to fill vacancies on the Board of Health. COA believes that diverse representation on the Board reflecting the make up of Ottawa would include older adult representation as there are specific and unique health needs of this sector of the Ottawa population.   

In summary, COA recognizes the importance of the Hubs as an innovative and responsive service delivery model. We are respectfully providing our comments for your consideration as your staff work to advance further the concept of making Hubs an important tool to support the needs of vulnerable populations, that includes older adults.

In closing, the Health Issues Committee would like to recognize and express our appreciation for the important work that OPH continues to do each and every day. The dedication and resilience of the OPH staff in providing services to support the health and wellbeing of the residents of Ottawa is applauded.

Best regards, 

Michele Brenning                                    Alex Roussakis
Chair, Health Issues Committee           President, Board of Directors                                                    

cc.    Mayor Mark Sutcliffe
     Catherine Kitts, Chair, Ottawa Board of Health

Table 1 – Summary of Health Issues Committee Comments on Neighbourhood Health and Wellness Hubs



Location of Hubs

The recently released NORC map showing concentration of older adult populations could be a metric to use in addition to epidemiological data and G5 neighborhood designation

Services Offered

Add wellness checks for over 70 years of age to identify any chronic diseases, to support system navigation for early intervention, to link individual with OHT and/or family health teams for services

Add hearing assessments and ergonomic assessments for older adults

Add services to support preventative health and support rehabilitation exercises and advice/guidance

Partnerships – other service providers

On mental health – explore partnerships with GPCSO, the agency that acts as the central intake for geriatric psychiatric services in Ottawa and other service providers.

Partnerships – other service providers

Raise awareness of services provided by other organizations such as Champlain HCCSS and CCCN

Disseminate and/or refer clients to educational/communication materials produced by other organizations (older adult vaccine sheet, educational materials produced by COA on services and supports available for older adults, materials on preparing for hospital visit, etc.)

Partnerships – community associations/organizations

Increase visibility and awareness of Hubs, use existing community organizations

Partnerships – indigenous

Co-locate or offer mobile service offerings with indigenous groups to provide culturally specific information and services

Language and Culture

Continue to diversify and offer, where/when possible, services in a manner that reflects the diversity of the community and cultural preferences of the individual.

Continuity of care (access to personal health information)

Continue to lobby provincial government for better access to individuals’ health information tied to OHIP card so that medical history can more easily follow the individual.


Provide information on options for transportation to non-urgent medical services and specialized services if required.

Mobile Hubs

Explore feasibility of mobile hubs to various concentrated NORCs and/or buildings with large older adult populations who are not mobile

Explore co-location

Domiciliary hostels

Social housing (eg Ottawa Community Housing Coldrey) where those locations already designated as aging in place buildings.

Table 2 – COA Health Issues Committee Membership and Organizational Affiliation of expert advisors

Audrey Jacques, community member

Bonnie Schroeder, Director, Age-Friendly Ottawa (staff)

Camille Maderia, community member

Chantale Courcy, community member

Chris Cobus, advisor – Champlain Community Support Network (CCSN)

Connie Berry, community member

Heather Macleod, advisor – The Ottawa Hospital, Regional Geriatric Program of Eastern Ontario (RGPEO)

Indu Gambhir – advisor – family physician

Kevin Babulic – advisor – Champlain Home and Community Care Support Services (Champlain HCCSS)

Michael Slinger – community member

Michele Brenning – Chair, community member

Miriam Fry – community member, COA Board member

Myriam Jamault – advisor – OPH

Nona Nalley – community member

Pat Thornton – community member

Richard Wagner – community member

Robert Cope – community member

Sally Zhang – advisor – OPH

Shaarika Sarasija – community member

Sheila Pepper – community member

Ted Cohen – advisor – Long-term care, AdvantAge Ontario representative

Vickie Demers – advisor – Geriatric Psychiatric Community Services Ottawa (GPCSO)