What we do

Ottawa Public Health works to support public policies that make Ottawa and its residents healthier and safer. Protecting and promoting health and preventing disease is part of everything that we do.  


All people and places in Ottawa are healthy and thriving.


We work together with the community to promote and protect the health and wellbeing of all people in Ottawa.


  • Reconciliation:  
    We are guided by the principles of respect, relationship, reciprocity and reflection as we work in partnership with Urban Indigenous Peoples – including First Nations, Inuit, Métis peoples and communities – to promote social justice and advance Indigenous rights and wellbeing. 

  • Health equity:  
    We identify and address systemic barriers to increase health equity in urban, suburban and rural communities in Ottawa. 

  • Healthy and inclusive workplace:  
    We foster an equitable, diverse, and inclusive workforce in service to the community and promote a psychologically healthy and safe workplace culture. 

  • Meaningful engagement & relationships:  
    We build genuine and lasting relationships with partners and residents to collaboratively foster a healthy community. 

  • Evidence-informed:  
    We apply best available evidence, including community voice and local data, to identify issues impacting the community and continuously improve and innovate our work. 

  • Impactful:  
    We aim to strengthen our organizational performance and optimize our resources to better serve the community, while tracking our progress through measurable outcomes.  

OPH is guided by our 2023-2027 Strategy and governed by the Board of Health, which is comprised of elected members of City Counciland public members. The legal obligations and authority for public health in Ontario are established under the Health Protection and Promotion Act (1990). The Ontario Public Health Standards and Organizational Standards establish the requirements for fundamental public health programs and services. OPH services are funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, the City of Ottawa, and the Ministry of Children and Youth Services. 

Public Health: A Return on Investment 

Public health programming and policy work provide a broad return on investment for public money. Studies have consistently shown that increased investments in public health reduce mortality and illness, while also decreasing the financial burden on the healthcare system. 

Every dollar invested in mental health and addictions saves $30 in lost productivity and social costs.

1 in 5 Canadians will experience a mental health problem or illness in any given year. Ottawa Public Health has developed “have THAT talk” videos and resources to help promote discussions on mental health.

A child getting immunized while her family watches her

Every dollar invested in immunizing children saves $16 in health care costs.

Immunizations support individual health, and the health of the population. In additional to school-based immunizations, Ottawa Public Health delivers childhood and catch-up immunizations to populations with barriers to primary care. This includes partnering with the Centretown Community Health Centre, and the YMCA to reach individuals with unstable housing and refugees.

People standing at a construction site

Every dollar invested in tobacco prevention saves $20 in future health care costs.

Ottawa has been a leader in smoke-free policies, including prevention and cessation. Since 2001, Ottawa has experienced a more than 7% decrease in smoking rates. This significant decline in use has been supported by the policies put in place to prevent tobacco use and protect the public from second hand smoke.

Screenshot of the parenting in Ottawa homepage.

Every dollar invested in early childhood development saves $9 in future spending on health, social, and justice services.

Ottawa Public Health’s Healthy Babies, Healthy Children program provides prenatal classes and home visits to support new parents in their journey through raising children. Parenting in Ottawa is a multi-platform initiative with a mission to share information, respond to parenting questions and create a safe place for parents to get together to chat about raising kids in Ottawa. With public health nurses on the other end, over 21,000 followers receive regular updates and responses to their parenting questions.

Ottawa Public Health...

Increases quality of life Ottawa residents and prevents chronic diseases:

Protects against environmental health hazards:

  • Conducting restaurant inspections and making all results available online
  • Testing drinking water, and recreational water at beaches
  • Inspecting public pools

Prevents epidemics and the spread of infectious diseases:

  • Managing and preventing the spread of Tuberculosis in the community
  • Conducting vaccination surveillance
  • Providing flu clinics
  • Ensuring rabies control and surveillance
  • Testing and follow-up of sexually transmitted infections
  • Monitoring for West Nile Virus and mosquito control
  • Managing infectious disease outbreaks

Reduces the number of injuries, disabilities and deaths:

  • Delivering road safety programs, including car seat safety and bicycle helmet promotion
  • Providing falls preventions services for seniors
  • Reducing children's risks for poisoning, choking, falls, burns and drowning

Promotes and encourages healthy growth and development of families and children:

  • Helping moms-to-be plan a healthy pregnancy and prevent low birth-weight babies
  • Providing home visits to families with infants and young children
  • Providing support and education to parents and childcare providers

Works to understand population health:

  • Monitoring health risks in Ottawa that require a local public health response, and working with community and primary care partners to respond
  • Compiling statistics on diseases, injuries and associated risk factors
  • Providing health status reports on population health

Engages with the community:

  • Maintaining strong partnerships with community stakeholders, city partners, school boards and primary health care providers
  • Seeking input to ensure the delivery of high-quality programs and services that respond to the needs of residents
  • Communicating with residents through various channels, including Twitter and Facebook

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