Societal Impacts

Monitoring the Health and Social Impacts of COVID-19 

The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting us in significant ways. We have all been affected by the closure of schools and businesses, and the challenges that come with physical distancing and wearing a mask in our daily lives.  

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) is committed to monitoring the health and social impacts of COVID-19 over the weeks and months ahead – to understand how Ottawa residents are managing through this time, and to use this information to work with the community to provide supports where needed.  

One of the tools OPH will use to shape our understanding of these impacts is a population-level survey of Ottawa residents. The survey will be conducted at regular intervals over the course of the year. Results will be summarized in themes and posted once available. Explore the links below to learn more about our findings to date.

Other sources of information aligned with these themes will be investigated and added as available.

Perceptions of Seriousness, Risk and Sources of Concern for COVID-19

Key Findings from the March 2020 survey:

  • Most people in Ottawa believe the pandemic is a serious issue (94%)
  • The priority for 40% of people in Ottawa is to do their part to prevent COVID-19 from spreading to others. Another 39% of people are concerned that others they know will get sick.
  • 84% of people have changed their social behaviour in response to COVID-19 by only socializing using remote connections such as communication online or telephone (50%) or using remote connections and socializing outdoors on walks or in the yard (34%). Only 5% of people in Ottawa report socializing in their homes or the homes of friends and family.
  • Over half of people in Ottawa (57%) are worried about the safety of people they know with frail health. A third of people in Ottawa are worried about physical and mental health of themselves or those in their households (35% and 32%, respectively).
  • Compared with the total population, Ottawans who identify as living with a disability are two to three times as likely to identify difficulty in all areas of preparing for when they or someone in their household may become ill as those not living with a disability. Over half of people living with a disability are worried about physical and mental health (50% and 52%, respectively).
  • Over half (53%) of people in Ottawa expect that the current measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 will be in place for two to three months.

Report: Perceptions and practices in Ottawa during the COVID 19 response. Results of a population survey March 26 to April 2, 2020 [PDF 640k] 

Mental Health, Substance Use and Health Behaviours

Key Findings from the June 2020 survey:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic is a very stressful event for Ottawa residents and communities in Ottawa.
  • Ottawa residents are reporting worsened mental health and emotional well-being, loneliness and weaker community connectedness.
  • Three in ten Ottawa residents want to talk to someone about their emotional state or mental health, but do not know who to talk to.
  • Some Ottawa residents are affected by poorer mental health, stress and isolation more than others, including: parents of school-aged children, younger adults (<45 years), those self-identifying as a visible minority or with a disability, those with lower household income (<$60,000), those working with regular public interactions and those not working due to the pandemic.
  • Following two and a half months of school and daycare closures, a high proportion (84%) of parents are concerned about their child(ren) missing social interactions and connecting with their school or daycare communities (70%).
  • Two-thirds of parents with school-aged children at home are concerned about their child(ren)’s mental health and emotional well-being.

Report: Status of Mental Health in Ottawa During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Results of a population survey June 3 to 8, 2020 [PDF 802k]

Income and Employment
Findings (financial pressures) from the  June 2020 survey - coming soon.
Health Services 
Findings from the June 2020 survey - coming soon. 
Support for Leadership 

Findings from the June 2020 survey - coming soon.

Key Findings from the March 2020 survey:

  • Most people in Ottawa believe that governments in Canada are taking the necessary steps to contain COVID-19 (93%).

Report: Perceptions and practices in Ottawa during the COVID 19 response. Results of a population survey March 26 to April 2, 2020 [PDF 640k] 

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