Committee approves plan to improve local safety and well-being

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The City’s Community and Protective Services Committee today approved the Community Safety and Well-Being Plan, which sets out strategies and outcomes to address the root causes of crime, social disorder and ill health and improve the safety and well-being of everyone in Ottawa.

The plan addresses local risks to safety and well-being at the community level in six priority areas: simplifying and integrating systems, and strategies to address discrimination, marginalization and racism, financial security and poverty reduction, housing, mental well-being, and gender-based violence and violence against women. The plan’s proposed actions would require collaboration with governments, institutions, groups, and agencies who are working together to mitigate those risks.

To ensure the proposed plan reflects the needs of all Ottawa residents, it was developed based on the feedback collected during extensive consultation with residents and community stakeholders in 2020 and 2021. The plan complements City work underway that addresses the priorities, including the 10-Year Housing and Homelessness Plan, the Anti-Racism Secretariat and the Women and Gender Equity Strategy.

The City would leverage existing Council-approved strategies and investments of $34 million to address community safety and well-being. The plan is grounded in community engagement and next steps will include developing a governance framework, a financial strategy and a data strategy. This will allow for an intersectional evaluation and performance measurement framework that will provide a nuanced view of how effective programs are for various communities.

The Committee approved a renewed five-year strategic plan for Long-Term Care Services. The plan emphasizes a person-centred approach to care that focuses on the emotional needs and choices of residents, with consistent staffing in a household-style setting. Person-centred care enriches quality of life for residents, empowers staff, and fosters collaborative relationships between residents, families, staff, volunteers and the community. Staff would develop a customized, person-centred approach using best practices from innovative dementia care models and report back to the Committee with a plan to implement the approach.

The Committee heard from Security and Emergency Management that, over the last two years, the service coordinated the City’s response to various planned and unplanned situations, including spring flooding and the Canada Day Celebrations in 2019 and the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The City’s Emergency Operations Centre managed the overall incident response to COVID-19 in Ottawa, starting in March 2020. In coordination with Ottawa Public Heath, City departments and other partners, they coordinated a range of activities such as: logistics for the procurement and supply of personal protective equipment, donations management of priority items such as N95 masks, the opening of assessment centres and planning for the vaccine rollout. Staff within the Security and Emergency Management service worked hard to meet the extraordinary demands of the COVID-19 response and achieve key deliverables, including within the Corporate Security and Corporate Radio programs.

Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Ottawa Fire Services reported it was able to adapt operations to support the City’s emergency response and still continue to meet standards for response times in most situations. While incidents decreased overall, the number of serious incidents increased, including 14 fatal fires. Last year, the service equipped all vehicles with automatic routing technology and continued work on a strategy to improve and diversify recruitment.

Recommendations from today’s meeting will rise to Council on Wednesday, October 27.

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