Council approves a women and gender equity strategy for Ottawa


City Council today approved a comprehensive women and gender equity strategy, outlining how the City will integrate gender equity in all its processes, services, strategies and policies. The City will implement actions to remove the systemic barriers that women and gender diverse people face and to ensure equitable access to City services.

The strategy focuses on four outcomes: policy change, safety, equitable representation and gender inclusivity. The first phase will take place in 2021 and 2022, and key actions involve prioritizing women in the housing blitz, piloting free menstrual products, hiring from equity-deserving groups and reviewing policies on sexual and gender-based harassment and violence.

The City will require education and training on gender equity for staff, and review and standardize the safety and security of all City workspaces and facilities. Recognizing that public health crises impact women and girls disproportionately, the strategy also integrates gender equity into the City’s COVID-19 response and recovery planning.

To help limit the spread of COVID-19, Council approved extending the Temporary Mandatory Mask By-law until Thursday, August 26. Masks will continue to be required in enclosed public spaces, on transit and transit property, and in the common areas of condos and apartment buildings.

Council also approved a new strategy to better meet bike parking needs for residents. The public bike parking strategy includes a framework to increase the availability of bike parking and support the growth of cycling in Ottawa along with City transportation goals. The strategy will ensure Ottawa’s bike parking facilities are accessible and convenient for all types of cyclists.

Council approved conversion of a vacant, seven-storey office tower to an apartment building on Cooper Street. By adding an eighth floor and renovating the interior, this conversion will add 45 rental units to this established, walkable neighbourhood.