Community Update from Ottawa Public Health

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June 10

Vaccine eligibility update

(1) Pop up clinics

The City of Ottawa and Ottawa Public Health are launching a new series of pop-up clinics to reach residents of priority neighbourhoods. Please note that these clinics are for residents of the neighbourhoods listed below. Proof of address must be provided:

Hawthorne Meadows – Sheffield Glen

Wednesday, June 2, Infinity Centre (2901 Gibford Drive)


Thursday, June 3 and Friday, June 4, Patro d’Ottawa Community Centre (40 Cobourg Street)

Ledbury – Heron Gate – Ridgemont

Wednesday, June 2, Infinity Centre (2901 Gibford Drive)

Saturday, June 5 and Sunday, June 6, Ridgemont High School (2597 Alta Vista Drive)

Bayshore – Belltown

Saturday, June 5 and Sunday, June 6, Regina Street Alternative School (2599 Regina Street)

For more information about upcoming pop-up clinic locations and neighbourhoods, visit Pop-up clinics will be focused on serving specific neighbourhoods, so residents are encouraged to not wait for a pop-up clinic to come to their community, as not all priority neighbourhoods may receive a pop-up clinic.

(2) Second dose appointments

Some great news, the province is accelerating second doses for all Ontarians. While the interval between first and second doses can be up to 16 weeks, Ontario will begin to offer second dose appointments at an earlier interval of four weeks or later based on availability of vaccines.

  • Beginning Monday, May 31 at 8 a.m., all adults aged 80 and older (born in 1941 or earlier) may book their second dose vaccine appointments through the provincial booking system. This applies to both those who booked their first doses through the provincial system and those who booked their first doses through Ottawa Public Health.

    Visit to access the provincial booking system (we are aware of the current technical issue, and are awaiting further provincial direction) or call the provincial vaccine booking line at 1-833-943-3900 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

  • If you received your first dose on March 5, 6 or 7 Ottawa Public Health will contact you for guaranteed access to an appointment for June 26, 27 and 28. These residents also have the option of booking their second dose sooner, should they be able to secure an earlier appointment at a community clinic, or through the Pharmacy channel, seven days a week. Only book or call if you are eligible.  For more information on second dose appointments please go to
  • Individuals who received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine from March 21 onwards will be eligible to receive a second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine from May 31 onwards at a 12-week interval, with appointment dates based on the timing of their first dose.

Please see Ontario Releases Anticipated Schedule for Second Doses of COVID-19 Vaccines for more details.


Vaccination Q&A

What do I/we do after getting one or 2 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine?

COVID-19 vaccination along with public health measures will offer the best protection from the spread of COVID-19. Those who are vaccinated, and those who are not, must all continue to practice public health measures:

  • Physical distancing
  • Wearing a mask
  • Hand washing
  • Isolating when sick

When you’ve had one dose of a two-dose vaccine series, its effectiveness improves over a number of weeks. You cannot assume that if you have been vaccinated, you will be protected right away. It is important to understand that any time you have close contact with people from outside of your household, you are putting yourself and others at risk.

Many modelling studies have shown that we need to continue with public health measures until very high levels of vaccination are achieved.

Remember, vaccines take time to work!


Children and COVID 19 Vaccination

We are happy to share with you our new Youth Vaccine Information section on our vaccine website. It contains great information and resources on COVID vaccination.

There are also a few more resources available to help you & your family feel more confident about COVID-19 vaccines:

Are you wondering how to talk to your children about getting the COVID-19 vaccine? Please visit: for more details. Kids and the COVID-19 Vaccine: Children’s Healthcare Canada will be hosting a Virtual Town Hall on June 7 at 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. ET.

To register click here.


Transportation to the vaccination clinics

Do you already have a vaccine appointment, but are unable to get to your appointment on your own? Don’t worry, there are different options for you.

Please visit: Clinics, accessibility and transportation for the transportation options.


Mental Health

A challenge for people seeking mental health, substance use, and addictions services is knowing where to go. AccessMHA can help! It’s a simple single point of entry to eastern Ontario’s system of care for mental health and addictions for individuals 16+. Please visit

May 27

Provincial Re-opening Plan

The province released their revised 3 step re-opening plan last week.

The announcement also came with:

  • Changes to the current Stay-at-Home order (which remains in effects until June 2)
  • Permitting 5 person outdoor gatherings
  • Re-opening of City Outdoor Recreation Amenities with restrictions

The following chart applies for weddings, funerals and religious services, rites and ceremonies. As well as gatherings. Please note that this is subject to change, and that the Province has not yet entered Step One – it is anticipated that this will occur the week of June 14.

Subject / Sector Before Step One Step One Step Two Step Three
Weddings, funerals and religious services, rites and ceremonies

(Does not apply to receptions)

Max 10 persons indoors

Max 10 people permitted outdoors

10 indoors

Outdoors permitted with capacity limited to permit 2m physical distancing

Indoor permitted at 15% capacity

Outdoor permitted with capacity limited to permit 2m physical distancing

Large indoor services, rites and ceremonies

Outdoor permit with capacity limited to permit 2m physical distancing

Gatherings Max 5 people for outdoor gatherings Max 10 people for outdoor gatherings and organized public events

Indoor not permitted

Max 25 people for outdoor gatherings and organized public events

Max 5 people for indoor gatherings and organized public events with other restrictions

Large indoor and outdoor gatherings and organized public events with size limits

Please note that, currently, gatherings are restricted to five people outdoors, provided physical distancing is in place. This would not apply to gatherings of members of a single household (e.g. if you have more than 5 people in your household), a gathering that includes members of a household and one other person from another household who lives alone; or a gathering that includes caregivers of a household member or the individual who lives alone.

For more information, please consult the Province’s Three-Step Roadmap to Safely Reopen the Province page as well as the Roadmap to Reopen page for the latest updates.


Vaccine eligibility update

(1) Eligibility for youth ages 12 – 17
Residents 18 and older, as well as youth aged 12 and over (must be 12 years old as of the date of their booking) in Ottawa can now book an appointment to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at community clinics or through select pharmacies. 12-17 year olds will only receive the Pfizer vaccine at this time.

Visit to access the provincial booking system or call the provincial vaccine booking line at 1-833-943-3900 between 8 am and 8 pm, seven days a week. Only book or call if you are eligible.


(2) For people unable to leave one’s home due a health condition or special needs
These are the steps that a person can take if he / she is unable to leave your home because of a health condition or special needs but want to get vaccinated:

  • If you have a health condition or special needs that prevent you from visiting a local clinic, pharmacy, or your primary care provider to receive the COVID-19 vaccine – a team can come to your home to offer vaccination to you and to your caregiver
  • Please call 613-691-5505 and choose option # 2, to request in-home vaccination
  • A nurse will contact you to obtain more information and to book a date and time

For more information, please click here.

(3) Ontario proceeding with AstraZeneca second doses

The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other public health experts, is proceeding with second dose administration of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, beginning with those who received their first dose of the vaccine between March 10 and March 19, 2021.

For a limited time during the week of May 24, individuals who received their first dose of AstraZeneca during the period of March 10, 2021 to March 19, 2021 may opt for an earlier dose interval of 10 weeks with informed consent. Eligible individuals are encouraged to contact the pharmacy or primary care provider where they received their first dose and can book an appointment beginning the week of May 24. This will begin in the regions where the AstraZeneca vaccine was initially launched in pharmacies and primary care settings in March 2021. Primary care settings and pharmacies may also be reaching out to eligible Ontarians.


Mental Health Resources

Our partners from the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre shared some tips to promote mental health and wellness including resources and support services. Watch here. For more resources, please visit


May 19

Vaccine eligibility update 

The provincial extension of the vaccine appointments to residents 18 years of age and older has resulted in the booking of all available appointments. More appointments will become available as the City receives more vaccines from the Province. We do understand, however, that this may be very frustrating for those who are looking to book appointments. Anyone who wants a vaccine will be able to get one. You won’t be missed. You can also ask your local pharmacy about their vaccine availability. Youth between 12 and 17 years of age will be eligible to book a vaccine during the week of May 31. 


As we wait for more vaccine to arrive in Ottawa, we continue to appreciate your support in speaking to your congregation members about protecting themselves, their families and their friends through vaccination.

Information about the vaccine rollout is constantly changing. For up to date information, please visit our website, including where to get vaccinated and about your second dose.  


We encourage residents to sign up for the e-newsletter to ensure they receive updates, or if they are not online to please ask a family member, neighbour or friend to sign up and let them know when second dose appointments can be booked.  Each person who receives their COVID-19 vaccine brings us one step closer to community immunity. Learn more about our new campaign to promote vaccines


Mental Health 

Some days we do our best, and some days we just get through. No matter what kind of day you’re having, please know you’re doing enough. You are enough. There has been a lot going on between staying home, online school, getting vaccinated, etc. Talking about mental health is healthy. If you or someone you know needs help, mental health supports are available and can be found here: Here are also some specific resources for:  

·        parents 

·        children 

·        youth and young adults

May 5

Vaccine eligibility update 

Some great news this week, our vaccine supply is increasing, and the eligibility for more groups continues to grow and open. Please visit our website to find out if you are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. 

You can also sign up for the City of Ottawa e-subscription to get updates on the COVID-19 vaccine roll out here


COVID-19 Vaccines Townhall  

The African Canadian Association of Ottawa (ACAO) is hosting a virtual COVID-19 VACCINES TOWNHALL on Saturday May 8 at 4:00pm.  

ACAO has requested the country’s top black doctors to answer your questions regarding the COVID-19 Vaccines. Ottawa’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Vera Etches, will also share the City’s plan regarding vaccine distribution. This event will take place on Zoom in English and French. If you are interested, please register here


Community Immunity 

OPH just recently launched its new Community Immunity webpage. As increased shipments of COVID-19 vaccines are expected, and eligibility criteria for vaccination opens to more groups, the website will be the home for Ottawa Public Health and the City of Ottawa’s vaccine confidence campaign.  

If you get a COVID-19 vaccine, you’re contributing to achieving community immunity in Ottawa. Thank you for getting vaccinated. Until enough people are immunized against COVID-19, remember to continue to respect public health guidelines to protect others. For more information please visit: or 


Mental Health Week 

May 3 – 9 is Mental Health Week – time to understand our emotions. Good mental health isn’t about being happy all the time. In fact, a mentally healthy life includes the full range of human emotions – even the uncomfortable ones. The theme of this year’s Mental Health Week is understanding our emotions. Recognizing, labeling and accepting our feelings are all part of protecting and promoting good mental health for everyone. This past year has been a roller coaster of emotions for many and that is completely normal. From May 3-9, 2021 #GetReal about how you feel and celebrate the Canadian Mental Health Association’s 70th annual Mental Health Week.  

It’s ok to not be ok. If you are feeling overwhelmed and need more support, here are a few resources: 

·        Call the Distress Centre of Ottawa and Region at 613-238-3311 for services in English or French or Tel-Aide Outaouais at 613-741-6433 for services in French. These phone lines are your connection to mental health support and resources 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.   

·        Counselling Connect provides quick access to free phone or video counselling sessions. This service is for children, youth, adults and families in Ottawa and the surrounding area.    

·        The Walk-in Counselling Clinic at 613-755-2277 offers free counselling sessions in English, French, Arabic, Spanish, Somali, Cantonese and Mandarin.   

·        AccessMHA makes it easy to find mental health and/or substance use support services and care. They work with you to refer you to the services you need from a network of partner organizations, all while supporting you through the process.   

For a complete list of resources, please visit    

For more information about Mental Health Week, please click here. 


A special message from the Canadian Muslim COVID-19 Task Force (CMCTF) 

The Canadian Muslim COVID-19 task force released a statement on May 1 responding to a ‘PROPER EID PRAYER’ EVENT: AN UNSANCTIONED GATHERING that was organized in contravention of public health orders. For more details and a full statement from the taskforce, please visit the CMCTF website.

April 28 Update

Vaccine Eligibility Updates 

Vaccinations in high-priority neighbourhoods, and for people at the highest risk of adverse outcomes, continue to be the City’s focus.  Eligibility has recently been expanded to include: 

·        Age limit lowered to 45 for individuals living in K1T, K1V or K2V; 

·        Individuals who are pregnant and one of their caregivers/support persons can now pre-register for a vaccine appointment

·        Individuals previously identified with highest risk health conditions and their caregivers/support persons can now pre-register for a vaccine appointment; 

·        Licensed childcare staff as of Thursday April 28. 

The list of who can get the vaccine is growing! Visit Ottawa Public Health to see if it’s your turn to roll up your sleeve! Already received one or both doses of your vaccine? Way to go! A reminder that vaccines can cause side effects and that most are minor and can last up to a few days. Understanding what to expect after receiving the COVID-19 vaccination is important.  

Staying COVIDWise Post-vaccination 

OPH urges anyone who has received the COVID-19 vaccination (whether one or two doses) to continue following public health measures such as maintaining distance from others, wearing a mask, practicing proper hand hygiene, and isolating when sick and/or getting tested. 

As the vaccine takes time (up to two weeks) to build immunity and is not 100 percent effective, there has been cases where people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the days following immunization. This makes even more important that everyone continues to follow public health measures even if they have received the COVID-19 vaccine. Have more questions about measures to take after receiving the vaccine? Visit OPH’s Vaccine FAQ for more information.  

Not everyone is safe at home 

The current Stay-at-Home order (except leaving for essential reasons) is enacted to protect the public and limit the transmission of COVID-19. However, for some people, staying at home is not safe. Domestic violence is never okay. We all have the right to feel safe and live a violence-free life. Leaving a violent environment to get to safety is an essential reason to leave home. Please know that there are many services open and support available (including safe spaces) to those who need it.  

Survivors of domestic violence and abuse can also get help and support through a number of community resources, including Ottawa’s text and online chat tool,, available 7 days a week from 8:30 am to midnight. You can send a discreet text to 613-704-5535 if you need help. This service is now available in over 70 languages, thanks to the support of Immigrant Women Services Ottawa

Mental Health Week 

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) is hosting a virtual event to celebrate Mental Health Week and launch the new have THAT talk About Racism and Allyship videos. This year’s theme is about focusing on how naming, expressing, and dealing with our emotions, the ones we like and the ones we don’t, is important for our mental health. Join us as we explore the impacts of racism on our mental health.  

Date: Wednesday May 5th, 2021 Time: 10:00 to 11:00  

Virtual session: Participants can join the session on Ottawa Public Health’s YouTube channel

For more information on have THAT talk videos, please visit:

April 21 Update

Stay-at-Home Order extended 

As you are aware, last week the Premier announced anextension to the province-wide Stay-at-Home order by an additional two weeks until May 20 and that as of Monday, April 19, 2021, capacity for weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites or ceremonies is limited to 10 people indoors or outdoors. Social gatherings associated with these services such as receptions are not permissible at this time and that residents should only leave their home for essential reasons – and that socializing with others is not one of them. Gatherings can still happen with members of the same household (the people you live with). Individuals who live alone may consider having exclusive, close contact with another household to help reduce the negative impacts of social isolation. You can always stay connected via video or phone with friends and family outside your household or those who may have limited support. 

Please consult the Province’s COVID-19: enhanced public health and workplace safety measures page, as well as the City of Ottawa: City news page for the latest updates.  

Families can still go to the park! 

While most of the City of Ottawa’s recreation amenities are closed under the Province’s Stay-at-Home Order, residents are still allowed to take walks, runs or cycle through parks and available greenspace. A reminder that everyone must keep at least two-metres (6 feet) of physical distance from others when using these spaces including off-leash dog parks and benches, unless they are part of your household. OPH highly recommends that anyone who can wear a mask, always wear one when going to the park. 

We understand the benefits of outdoors spaces and that for many residents, being able to spend time outside is important, especially for children and those who are isolated at home. While we are excited that greenspace is still accessible and that children can still use playground structures, additional measures are needed so everyone can do it safely. On Wednesday, April 21, 2021, Ottawa’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Vera Etches, issued an Order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act that requires everyone to wear masks at or within five metres of playground equipment and that includes: 

• Play structures 

• Swings 

• Slides 

• Climbers 

• Sand boxes 

Of note, this masking requirement does not apply to an individual younger than two (2) years of age, or a child who is under five (5) years of age chronologically or developmentally, and who refuses to wear a mask and cannot be persuaded to do so by their caregiver.  

OPH would like to remind parents and guardians to ensure that children using playground structures, swings and slides wear masks and as much as possible, maintain physical distance from other children. We know this can be challenging for them, but we ask that everyone do the best that they can. As community transmissions is on the rise, protecting the health and safety of all Ottawa residents remains our goal. Everyone is encouraged to find activities that promote positive mental health and well-being, but to do it safely to protect yourself, your family and vulnerable members of the community. 

Want to know more about what is happening in our city and receive the latest updates?  Sign up here to receive City of Ottawa news via e-mail. You can pick which topics you would like to receive, for example: Covid-19 vaccine updates, City news, etc. 


Vaccine update – eligibility expanded 

As per Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, starting Tuesday, April 20, 2021, Ontario will offer the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to individuals aged 40 and over at select pharmacies and primary care settings across the province. OPH strongly encourages that anyone who is eligible for the vaccine, make an appointment to receive it.  

For more information please visit OPH’s COVID-19 Vaccine website and the Ontario’s provincial website for more information. 


Mental health support and services 

We know the changes we’ve all had to make are hard. It’s important to be mindful of your mental health. There are many great resources available for support and help, here are a few:   

·        Mental Health and COVID-19 OPH webpage 

o   Mental health and COVID resource list (PDF): includes the crisis lines and mental health counselling agencies available in Ottawa 

·        Resources for Those Pregnant and Parenting 

·        Multilingual Resources for Diverse Communities 


The Government of Canada recently shared the Wellness Together Canada online portal where people of all ages can access free, immediate, and confidential mental health and substance use supports available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

April 16 Update

As you likely have seen or heard, effective Monday, April 19, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., the government is limiting the capacity of weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites or ceremonies to 10 people indoors or outdoors. Social gatherings associated with these services such as receptions are prohibited, except for with members of the same household or one other person from outside that household who lives alone. Drive-in services will be permitted.

The provincial government also intends to implement additional public health and workplace safety measures effective Saturday, April 17, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. Please see the Provincial news release here for more details:

Before this change takes effect, we continue to ask that you please ensure that your congregations follow all public health measures both inside and outside the mosque if attending in-person services (physical distancing, masking – indoors and outdoors, washing hands frequently, and staying home if one is ill and getting tested). This includes relaying that people should wear their masks when exiting the building, and that they cannot gather outside, in the parking lot or at their cars after prayers.

Nevertheless, and as we have said previously, OPH continues to recommend faith settings consider alternatives to in-person services (e.g. virtual services), where possible, to reduce the risks of transmission. OPH also continues to advise that nobody should gather with anyone from outside their households.

April 15 Update

As you have likely heard, the situation in Ottawa is dire, with case counts and hospitalization rising at an alarming rate. It continues to be extremely important that our residents keep following public health measures and protect themselves and their families from transmission. We will continue to monitor the situation both locally and provincially, and as always, communicate any shifts or pivots that may be needed. Thank you for your on-going partnership, and your willingness to be flexible and nimble. 

While we understand that it is tradition to visit and celebrate with family, friends and neighbours during Ramadan, OPH is urging residents observing this holiday to continue celebrating in meaningful ways, but to do it in ways that reduce risks and keep everyone as safe as possible. Create new traditions this year – break fasts with those outside of your household virtually. Instead of visiting loved ones, send Ramadan messages through text or video calls.  

All individuals should assess their own level of risk and the health of every person in their household, when deciding how to celebrate. If anyone in your household is at higher risk from COVID-19, everyone should choose lower risk activities to keep them safe.  Until the vast majority of our community is vaccinated, staying home and celebrating with immediate households only will protect vulnerable family and friends and help prevent the spread of COVID-19.   

You may have also heard about additional public health measures that are being considered and worked through for outdoor spaces (e.g. masks at amenities in outdoor parks where a lack of distancing and masking have been observed). These are aimed to protect our residents. Stay tuned for more information about this. 

Stay-at-Home Order 

A Provincial stay-at-home order is in effect. A reminder that under this order, everyone should stay home and limit how much time they spend outside of their house and to leave only for essential purposes such as: 

·        Accessing grocery stores or pharmacy,  

·        Accessing health care services (including getting vaccinated) 

·        Outdoor exercise 

·        Work that cannot be done remotely 

As well, people should not be traveling between regions for non-essential reasons and as much as possible, remain in their local community.  

Schools to remain closed after the April Break 

To protect students and staff and to slow community transmission, the Province announced earlier this week their decision to move elementary and secondary schools to remote learning following the April break. This move has been made in response to the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases, the increasing risks posed to the public by COVID-19 variants, and the massive spike in hospital admissions.  

Childcare for non-school aged children will remain open during the school closure however, Before and After school programs will be closed (unless they are Emergency Child Care sites). 

The challenge is trying to balance the need to decrease community transmission and the impacts of school closures on families and communities. We know it’s not going to be easy, and that maintaining the mental health and social and emotional well-being of everyone is important. Remember to pause, reflect and reconnect – reach out to those who may need support. Check in with your children – talk to them and ask how they are doing. Listen and acknowledge their feelings and try to give them accurate information for their age. Here are some tips to help children cope. Lastly, don’t forget about yourself – It’s natural to feel stressed and be concerned about the impacts of COVID-19 but know that there are many Mental Health Resources for Diverse Communities available to support everyone during this challenging time. 

Where to get tested for COVID-19 in Ottawa 

Are you experiencing these symptoms?  

·        Fever (temperature of 37.8°C/100.0°F or greater) 

·        Cough (that is new or worsening (e.g. continuous, more than usual if chronic cough) or 

·        Shortness of breath. 

Those are some of the common symptoms of COVID-19. If you have any of the symptoms stay home and get tested. Visit Ottawa Public Health for information on updated information on COVID-19 testing and where to go to get tested


Remember to complete screening before attending in-person services 

OPH continues to recommend that Places of Worship consider alternatives to in-person services (e.g. virtual services), where possible, to reduce the risks of transmission.  

We all have a responsibility to assess the risks to ourselves, our families and others when deciding to attend in-person services (e.g. at a mosque). Anyone planning on attending in-person services, including children, must be screened upon arrival or prior to their entry to a Place of Worship and each time they attend services. Individuals should not attend if they have any of the following: 

·        has any of the symptoms of COVID-19

·        has come in close contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 or a person with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 during the past 14 days, or  

·        has travelled outside of Canada in the past 14 days. 

A reminder that OPH has screening tools that are available in various languages. Places of Worship can also use screening posters to help facilitate the screening process. For those who do not have a mobile device, the QR codes can be paired with a hard copy questionnaire.  If anyone is feeling sick, please remember to stay at home and get tested for COVID-19. 

Staff and volunteers must be screened daily before starting their duties. Screening for attendees, staff and volunteers can be done using OPH’s Screening Tool for Workplaces/Post-Secondary Institutions. If the screening tool indicates that someone should not attend in-person services and/or recommends the person be tested for COVID-19 (i.e., they have symptoms consistent with COVID-19), they must follow all instructions.

April 8 Update

Ontario Implements Province-Wide Stay-at-Home Order

Effective Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., the government is issuing a province-wide Stay-at-Home order requiring everyone to remain at home except for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services (including getting vaccinated), for outdoor exercise, or for work that cannot be done remotely. The stay-at-home order will be in effect for four weeks.

What does this mean for your Place of Worship?

As per the Province’s COVID-19: enhanced public health and workplace safety measures, the following apply for weddings, funerals and other religious services, rites or ceremonies:

  • physical distancing must be maintained
  • guests must wear masks or face coverings
  • capacity limits:
    • indoors: 15% capacity of the room
    • outside: the number of people that can maintain two metres physical distance from each other

Receptions are not permitted indoors and are limited to 5 people outdoors.

Drive-in services, rites or ceremonies permitted, subject to certain conditions.

Virtual services permitted.

Please note that the 15% occupancy limit in a room is the maximum allowed indoors, and organizers must ensure that all in attendance can maintain a physical distance of at least 2 metres (6 feet) between households (including essential supports). Places of Worship may choose to reduce the permitted occupancy limit based on their individual circumstances. OPH continues to advise that nobody should gather with anyone from outside their households.

Places of worship, faith leaders and attendees all have a responsibility to assess the risks associated with in-person services, and to develop a safety plan to mitigate these risks. These include implementing and adhering to measures to reduce the risk of infection among all those who participate in activities, including facility staff, faith leaders, volunteers and attendees.

Attendees are also responsible for assessing risks to themselves, their families and those associated with their participation. They are also responsible for following the measures put in place by a Place of Worship to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, as well as adhering to the details of the setting’s safety plan.

Please note, we are also working to update our guidance for Places of Worship and thank you for your patience as we work through the updates.

Variants are in our communities

We are not dealing with the same virus that we started out with a year ago.   These variants bring with them an increase in the risk of ICU admission and death. The virus has changed, and until all of us are vaccinated, so must our behaviours.

Vaccines are safe, effective and the best way to protect you and those around you from serious illnesses like COVID-19. Vaccines work with your immune system so your body will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed. This can reduce your risk of developing COVID-19 and make your symptoms milder if you do get it.

Follow the public health advice to stay home except for essential purposes, maintain physical distancing, wear a mask inside and outside, wash your hands, stay home when you’re sick and get tested. We need to stay vigilant against the spread of COVID-19 in our community.

A message from The Canadian Muslim COVID-19 Task Force

The CMCTF is proud to release a series on: Ramadan & COVID-19 Frequently Asked QuestionsHere are a few samples:







For more information please visit: The Canadian Muslim COVID-19 task force website:


Updates on Vaccine Eligibility

The Ontario government is moving into Phase Two of its COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan, with a focus on reaching individuals in “hot spot” communities where COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted certain neighbourhoods. In addition, this phase will prioritize individuals with the highest-risk health conditions.  Eligible groups in Phase Two include:

  • Adults aged 60 to 79, in 5-year increments
  • High-risk congregate settings (such as shelters, community living)
  • Individuals with high-risk chronic conditions and their caregivers
  • Those who cannot work from home
  • At-risk populations

If you are eligible for a vaccine appointment, visit to access the provincial booking system or call the provincial vaccine booking line at 1-833-943-3900 between 8 am and 8 pm, seven days a week.

Residents age 55 plus

As of April 1, 2021, select pharmacies across the province are booking appointments for AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines for eligible people ages 55 or older in 2021. To find a pharmacy near you, visit to access the provincial booking system or call the provincial vaccine booking line at 1-833-943-3900 between 8 am and 8 pm, seven days a week.

It’s OK not to feel OK

Mental health and COVID resource list

The Mental health and COVID resource list includes the crisis lines and mental health

counselling agencies available in Ottawa. Please feel free to share with your community and to

refer your congregants to appropriate services.


Mental Health 101 training for faith leaders by Ottawa Public Health

Following a needs assessment survey conducted with faith leaders in the fall of 2020, the

Mental Health Team at Ottawa Public Health has developed a mental health & crisis prevention

training for faith leaders. The training has been delivered to Capital Region Interfaith Council

(CRIC) in February 2021 and the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa in March 2021. The Mental Health

Team at Ottawa Public Health would be delighted to offer this training to the council of Imams.

The session takes 1.5 hour.

Following the session, faith leaders will also have an opportunity to take part in suicide

prevention training. The objectives of the session are to discuss:

  1. Mental health and mental illness;
  2. Protective & risk factors;
  3. Mental health stigma;
  4. Crisis support and suicide prevention;
  5. Self-care among faith leaders;
  6. Mental health resources in Ottawa;
  7. Learning opportunities.

For more information about the training or to book a date please connect with

April 1 Update

As you have likely heard, more news will be released today with respect to the level of public health measures required in Ottawa and/or the Province. After the Premier’s announcement, we will be working to provide clarity for Places of Worship, but this may take a little bit of time. We sincerely thank you for your patience as we work through some of the intricacies of the regulations. For further details you can also visit for up-to-date information, including the current status of public health measures in Ottawa (i.e. which colour we’re in). 


Updates on Vaccine Eligibility  

Faith Leaders and Volunteers 

In an email that went out to all Places of Worship on March 30, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) shared that Faith leaders providing services that increase their risk of exposure to COVID-19 are now eligible to pre-register for a vaccination appointment. Faith volunteers that have direct contact with deceased persons or that provide care of body after death, for example bathing rituals, are also eligible for the vaccine.  

Please note that a Photo OHIP card is required to complete the online pre-registration tool.  

Residents age 70 and older 

As of 8 am Monday, March 29, all Ottawa residents age 70 and over (born in or before 1951) can begin booking appointments to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. If you are eligible for a vaccine appointment, visit to access the provincial booking system or call the provincial vaccine booking line at 1-833-943-3900 between 8 am and 8 pm, seven days a week.  

Visit our website for more, as eligibility criteria is updated regularly. 


Question about vaccines 

We understand there are lots of questions about vaccines including from those who have received them and around vaccine effectiveness. The reality is, vaccine protection is not immediate, and can take up to several weeks for full protection. Two doses would provide the maximal protection but that most in our community will not receive their second dose for a few more months. Another reason why we need to stay vigilant by limiting contacts, remembering to always keep 2 metres (6 feet) distance from others, and that OPH recommends mask use at all times. 

The situation is constantly evolving, and we are still learning about how vaccines can prevent further transmission and protect those who received them. 

Please visit for the most up to date information. 


Now available! Multilingual Videos and Resources on COVID-19 and Vaccines 

·        Myth Busting Video– Available in Arabic, Somali, Simplified Chinese, French and English 

·        Why I am Choosing the Vaccine Video – Available in Arabic, Somali, Simplified Chinese, Nepali, French and English.  

More COVID-19 information can be found in Arabic, Somali and Chinese and is also accessible in the links below: 

·        COVID-19 Arabic Portal – Ottawa Public Health 

·        COVID-19 Somali Portal – Ottawa Public Health 

·        COVID-19 Simplified Chinese Portal – Ottawa Public Health 


Staying the course until most of the community is vaccinated 

One of the biggest challenges with COVID-19 is the large percentage of asymptomatic infections, especially in the younger age groups. The rates in children and youth have climbed in recent weeks, and we have started to see younger people being admitted to the hospital. 

The number of outbreaks we are seeing in hospitals is high and causing pressure on a system already strained with trying to catch up on needed procedures previously delayed.  The more COVID-19 levels rise in Ottawa, the less the vaccinations will be able to push the rates down quickly. 

Let’s continue to stick to the basics over the next few months as the vaccination rollout continues. Wear a mask, keep distance between people outside our household and wash your hands, stay home if you are sick and get tested if you develop any symptoms. 


Together, we can reduce risks! 

There is still a lot we can do while remaining COVIDWise as long as everyone in the household is feeling well. Spend as much time outdoors as possible, wear a mask, and maintain distance. OPH strongly urges avoiding high-risked gatherings and with those outside of your household. Be sure to follow public health guidance so that we can reduce risks.

March 24 Update

Ottawa currently remains in the Red-Control zone of the Provincial framework with certain restrictions in place to reduce COVID-19 transmission: 

· Organized public events and social gatherings, where physical distancing can be maintained, is five people indoors and 25 people outdoors.  

· Religious ceremonies and gatherings, including weddings and funeral services, are still allowed but with more restrictions where physical distancing can be maintained to 30 per cent capacity of the room indoors, or 100 people outdoors. 

·Restaurants and gyms remain open but are restricted to a lower capacity limit, which can be seen here.

·Individual and team sport training is permitted, however games, scrimmages or other contacts are not allowed at this time. This also applies to places of worships that rent out spaces to the community. 

We understand that capacity limits can be frustrating for everyone and financial impacts it has on businesses. Now more than ever, local businesses need our support. Order takeout from a favorite restaurant, use curbside pickup or delivery services to help friends, family and neighbors keep their livelihoods intact during this challenging time.  

COVID-19 vaccines 

Around 75,000 COVID vaccine doses that will be made available to Ottawa residents over the next two weeks. As of March 22, the province expanded the vaccine eligibility criteria to adults 75 and up, or adults receiving chronic home care, and living in a rural community. Appointments can be booked online through the Provincial booking system or can call the Provincial vaccine booking line at 1-833-943-3900 between 8 am – 8 pm, and open seven days a week.  

Vaccinations will be available at four community clinics and in some rural communities. As more residents are vaccinated, a reminder that it is still important that everyone continues to follow public health measures and take actions to be COVIDwise

Volunteer Isolation Centre  

Ottawa has a Voluntary Isolation Centre for people who do not have access to an adequate shelter or cannot self-isolate safely in their own home. At no cost, people will have access to a hotel room where they can rest/recover and without the fear or anxiety of spreading the virus to others. We know how important it is to self-isolate, as it has proven to help reduce the risks of spreading the virus to other people, including those most vulnerable. 

Choosing to isolate at home? Visit for more information, including tips on how to isolate safely. 

New Community Resource for Arabic and Somali Speaking Communities  

During the pandemic, it has become evident that some communities are significantly more impacted by the COVID-19 and face complex barriers to accessing social and health services and supports and are considered high-priority communities. The Ottawa Immigrant COVID-19 Resource Line (OICRL) is a new resource that aims to support the Somali and Arabic speaking communities in Ottawa to get a pulse on how the pandemic has affected them and to provide on-going support. 

The OICRL provides a direct link to Somali or Arabic speaking staff who are trained to respond to the immediate needs of the community and can share COVID-19 information including where to get tested for COVID-19, access to testing centers and support them for those who need to self-isolate and how to do it safely. The phone line will operate 7 days a week from 11 am to 7 pm. 

Call 1-844-833-1234 and Press 1 for Somali and Press 2 for Arabic (or Text).


March 12 Update

The latest trends in Ottawa

Ottawa remains in the Orange – Restrict zone of the Provincial framework. Having said that, rates are no longer decreasing, and we are close to “red” category thresholds. As all of us don’t yet have protection from the vaccines, we need to keep the protective measures currently in place to protect us from severe illness and death. Yes, vaccination of populations most at-risk is underway, and every day we’re turning another page on our COVID-19 story. But we’re not at the end yet. As we wait for more vaccines, we see the presence of more transmissible variants in the community.

All of us – including those who have been vaccinated – need to keep up with the measures we know stop transmission: sticking with your household contacts, maintaining a distance from others, wearing a mask and washing your hands. If you do decide to visit with people outside of your household, there are ways to reduce the risk of transmission: stay outdoors, maintain distance, wear a mask and keep visits short.

If you are contacted by a Public Health Nurse because you tested positive for COVID-19, or if you are a close contact of someone who tested positive, please adhere to the advice given to you. If you have questions or concerns, contact your Nurse. They are there to support you. Each time someone who is a high-risk contact stays isolated they are helping to prevent the COVID-19 rate from growing in our community.

Continue to do daily screening!

Thank you to all the parents and guardians that continue to perform daily screenings before sending children and youth to school. If your child, or anyone in the household, has one symptom of COVID-19, testing is strongly encouraged. Be sure to limit close contact with people outside of your household before/after school, as well as on weekends.

To business owners and managers of workplaces, THANK YOU as well for ensuring daily screening of all employees and screening of patrons accessing your services. By doing so, workplaces will be safer, and the risk of COVID-19 transmission is minimized.

Ottawa Vaccine Update:

  • As you may be aware, community pop-up vaccination clinics are being set up in communities where the risk is highest and has recently opened to additional neighbourhoods. Check to see if you are eligible for the vaccine and for an expanded list of neighbourhoods/categories of people added to the vaccine eligibility criteria.
  • Vaccine bookings are ONLY available for those who are eligible. Please do NOT call if you aren’t eligible.
  • Please visit the OPH COVID-19 Vaccine web page for more information to see if you live in an eligible neighbourhood or are represented by one of the eligible categories.