Board of Health

Ottawa Board of Health has a legislated duty to ensure the provision of public health programs and services to the citizens of Ottawa, and to govern these programs and services in the public interest, including fiscal and administrative oversight. The Board is responsible for approving policies developed by the Medical Officer of Health and staff of Ottawa Public Health, who together identify the health needs of the community. These needs are addressed by a range of programs and services in the four broad areas of health protection, health promotion, disease and risk factor surveillance (population health assessment) and injury and disease prevention. The Board is also responsible for advising City Council on other issues under its jurisdiction that have a public health dimension.

Who can I contact for more information? 

For more information about the Ottawa Board of Health, please contact

Board of Health - Frequently Asked Questions 

What is the Ottawa Board of Health?
The Ottawa Board of Health is an autonomous corporation (under the Health Protection and Promotion Act) that governs Ottawa Public Health.  

The Board consists of six (6) Council members and five (5) public members, appointed by City Council 

What are its main responsibilities? 

The Ottawa Board of Health oversees the provision of public health programs and services in Ottawa. The Board governs these programs and services in the public’s interest, including fiscal and administrative oversight. The Board is also responsible for approving policies developed by Ottawa Public Health staff and advising City Council on public health issues in Ottawa. 

What is the role of Board members? 
At Board of Health meetings, Board members provide fiscal and administrative oversight by deliberating on business submitted to the Board. Beyond Board of Health meetings, Board members are champions of public health in the community as well as advocates and leaders for public health in our community.  
 Are Board members compensated?
Public Board members receive an honorarium of $200 for each meeting attended. They may also be eligible for parking and/or mileage expenses directly associated with their duties as Board members.  
How are public Board members recruited? 

Public Board members are recruited through advertisements in local newspapers as well as on the City’s website. The recruitment process for public Board members is conducted by the Office of the City Clerk following a municipal election (i.e. the end of term of Council). 

Ottawa Public Health staff are not involved in the recruitment or selection process for citizen members.  

Who can apply to become a public member?
Anyone who is a resident of the City of Ottawa and at least 18 years of age can apply. 
Can a City of Ottawa employee be a public member?
Full time permanent employees of the City of Ottawa are not eligible for positions as citizen members on any City Committee, Board or Task Force, or on External Agencies, Boards or Commissions. If a member subsequently obtains a full-time, permanent position with the City of Ottawa, he/she must immediately resign from the Board. 
Do applicants for public members need to have an interest in health?
All applications must outline how their qualifications, specific skills, interests and background are relevant to the work of the Board of Health. They may include a statement of work, life and educational experience and/or a resume. 
Are applicants required to declare current connections or history with organizations or industries that have competing goals and values of the Board?
If a member’s company, business or employer is hired by or affiliated with the City of Ottawa or Ottawa Public Health, the member shall disclose the employment situation immediately to the City Clerk who shall advise the member if he or she must declare an indirect pecuniary interest on related items, temporarily remove him or herself from the Board, or if he or she must resign his or her seat on the Board.
How are public Board members selected?
The Council-approved Appointment Policy outlines a fair and equitable process for appointing public members to external boards, including the Board of Health. City Council appoints Councillors (at least two) to serve as a Selection Panel. Members of the Selection Panels are responsible for reviewing public member applications, short-listing candidates for interviews, conducting interviews (if deemed necessary), and making recommendations to City Council for the appointment of public members. 
Who selects Board members?
Ottawa City Council approves all appointments to the Board of Health. Council members are selected through a Nominating Committee process and citizen members are selected through a public recruitment process per the City of Ottawa’s Appointments Policy.
How long are board members appointed to the Board?
Appointments coincide with the term of Council, which is four years.
Will the Board consist of new members every four years? 
Maybe. Public members who wish to be reappointed must reapply and go through the approved selection processCouncil members who wish to be reappointed have the opportunity to make that request through the Nominating Committee process. 
Is there a maximum number of consecutive terms a public member can serve? 
Public members are eligible to serve a maximum of two consecutive terms on the same Committee or Board. Applicants are required to sit out one year after serving two consecutive terms, before being eligible for reappointment on the same Board/Committee, although they may apply to serve on another Committee or Board during that time.  
What is the role of the Board Chair? 
The Chair of the Board is responsible for carrying out many overarching duties such as approving the legislative agenda, overseeing meetings (opening and closing, putting motions to a vote, etc.), providing information to Board members that involves the business of the Board, signing all meeting minutes and by-laws, representing the Board and providing stewardship to the Medical Officer of Health (MOH) for the provision of public health programs and services in Ottawa. Beyond the Chair’s legislative duties, he/she is a champion for health in the community and provides leadership to other Board members. The Chair acts as a liaison between OPH, the Board and City Council and ensures there is a public health voice at the City Council table. In addition, the Chair also identifies issues of a strategic nature and advocates for public health. 
What is the role of the Board Vice-Chair? 
The Vice-Chair performs the same duties of the Chair when the Chair is absent.
How is the Board Chair and Vice-Chair selected? 
At the first meeting of the Board of Health in each year, the members of the board nominate and vote for one of the members to be chair and one to be vice-chair for the year. 
Can a public member be the Chair?
Yes, a citizen member can be elected as Chair of the Board of Health.  
When does the Board meet? 
Regular meetings are generally held at 5 pm on the third Monday of the month and end around 7 pm. The Board meets approximately 6 to 8 times a year. 
Where does the Board meet?  
The Ottawa Board of Health is currently meeting in a hybrid format, with in-person attendance at Ottawa City Hall, 110 Laurier Avenue West, and electronic participation via Zoom.  
Who can attend a Board meeting? 
All Board of Health meetings are open to the public and livestreamed on OPH’s Youtube channel. 
What is quorum? 
Quorum is the minimum number of members who must be present at a Board meeting in order for decisions to be made. Quorum is 50% plus one of the total membershipWith a membership of 11, the quorum for Board of Health meetings is six members of the Board of Health 
What is a consent agenda? 
“Consent Agenda” means the portion of the Agenda that may be approved by the Board without debate. 
What is a motion? 
A motion is a formal proposal put to a legislature or committee. (ex. That the Board of Health approve that the meeting time be extended past 7:00 p.m. pursuant to Subsection 8. (1)(c) of the Procedural By-law.). 
What is a notice of motion? 
“Notice of Motion” means a written notice advising the Board of Health that the motion described therein will be brought at a subsequent meeting. 
What is a procedural motion? 

“Procedural Motion” means any motion concerning the manner or time of consideration of any matter before the Board and includes, without limitation, the following: 

  • to extend the time of the meeting;  

  • to refer;  

  • to lay on the table;  

  • to defer indefinitely or to a certain day;  

  • to adjourn;  

  • to move the question be put; or  

  • to suspend the Rules of Procedure.

What does in camera mean? 

An in camera item is one from which the public is excluded. The purpose is to allow members to negotiate, discuss, deliberate on matters that falls within specific categories (listed below).  

When can a Board go in camera? 

The Board may, by motion, close a meeting or part of a meeting to members of the public if the subject matter to be considered relates to: 

  • the security of the property of the Board; 

  • personal matters about an identifiable individual, including staff; 

  • a proposed or pending acquisition or disposition of land for the purposes of the Board; 

  • labour relations or employee negotiations; 

  • litigation or potential litigation, affecting the Board, including matters before administrative tribunals; 

  • the receiving of advice that is subject to solicitor-client privilege, including communications necessary for that purpose;  

  • a matter in respect of which the Board is authorized by statute to hold a closed meeting; 

  • information explicitly supplied in confidence to the municipality or local board by Canada, a province or territory or a Crown agency of any of them; 

  • a trade secret or scientific, technical, commercial, financial or labour relations information, supplied in confidence to the municipality or local board, which, if disclosed, could reasonably be expected to prejudice significantly the competitive position or interfere significantly with the contractual or other negotiations of a person, group of persons, or organization; 

  • a trade secret or scientific, technical, commercial or financial information that belongs to the municipality or local board and has monetary value or potential monetary value; or 

  • a position, plan, procedure, criteria or instruction to be applied to any negotiations carried on or to be carried on by or on behalf of the municipality or local board. 

In addition, the Board shall, by motion, close a meeting or part of a meeting to Members of the public where the subject matter to be considered is a request under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. 

A meeting of the Board may be closed to members of the public if the following conditions are both satisfied: 

  • The meeting is held for the purpose of educating or training the members; and 

  • At the meeting, no Member discusses or otherwise deals with any matter in a way that materially advances the business or decision-making of the Board. 

Can delegations, community partners or members of the public speak at Board meetings? 

Delegations, community partners or members of the public can speak at Board meeting, but only on items that are listed on the agenda. Protocol for those who wish to speak at Board meetings include: 

  • Members of the public may register to speak by calling or emailing the Board Secretary. They must include their name, telephone number and email address as well as confirm the Agenda item on which they wish to speak 

  • Once the request is received, delegations will receive an email confirmation and be placed on a speakers list, based on the orderr of the agenda and the order in which their request was received.  

At the meeting, those registered to speak will be invited to address the Board for a maximum of five minutes. 

Members of the public can also submit written comments by email to the Board Secretary. Both written and oral comments are given equal consideration by the Board. 












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