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The Social Determinants of Health

The Coalition continues to promote good health through the lens of the Social Determinants of Health.  

Socio-economic conditions that influence health 


It’s Time for Action in Budget 2019

Community Organizations Unite with Proposed Solutions to Ottawa’s Housing Crisis

January 28, 2019 (Ottawa) — Every person deserves a safe, stable, long-term and deeply affordable place to live. With more than 45,000 low-income Ottawa households paying more than 30 percent of their income on rent (2016 Census)​ and a pressing emergency in family homelessness, the crisis in our city has only deepened.

With a newly elected city council and a draft budget to be tabled in early February, city councillors have an opportunity to work with organizations and local residents to ensure that tenants living on low income and Ottawa’s most vulnerable residents get the support they need.

So that people can access and maintain housing that is affordable for their income, 64 organizations, networks and coalitions from across Ottawa have joined together to make four asks of Ottawa City Council to address our city’s affordable housing crisis. A petition has been signed by more than 1,600 people who also support the asks:

  1.  Invest at least $12 million, over and above federal and provincial grants, in the 2019 City Budget. This could double the number of new affordable homes supported by the City and leverage at least $12 million more from other sources.
  2. Pass a strong citywide inclusionary zoning by-law that ensures 25% of new development is dedicated to affordable housing and places a special emphasis on deeply affordable housing within 1 km of rapid transit stations
  3. Ensure that all available government-owned land within 1 km of current & future rapid transit stations is used for non-profit and co-op housing
  4. Create a 2019-2022 Term of Council Priority that integrates transit and planning, with clear, affordable housing targets.

With these four asks, 64 organizations are collectively calling on the City to seriously commit to tackling our affordable housing crisis. The organizations, coalitions and networks include the Ottawa Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), Alliance to End Homelessness Ottawa, City for All Women Initiative (CAWI), Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corporation (CCOC), Healthy Transportation Coalition, Coalition of Community Health and Resource Centres (CCHRC) and Making Voices Count (MVC) along with 57 others (See the complete list below). A petition has been signed by 1,600 people.

Elizabeth Aguilar, an Ottawa ACORN member and recently single mother of two, describes her story trying to find housing, “After a family dynamic that was in survival mode for 3 years became toxic, I ended up in a women’s shelter. I was there for 9 months. While I was lucky they accepted my call for help, the social worker explained to me I had limited housing options and I should accept anything no matter what it was given the situation I was in. I have worked 2 jobs to sustain my children and it has been so challenging. When you understand that someone can make quick decisions to move you or kick you out you feel a knot in your throat, a pain in your chest and think, Oh my God, I'm going to be homeless with my kids. I think the City is viewing the housing problem from a business perspective when we need to think of it as a moral responsibility as well.”

“My name is Appolinaire; I have a family of 11 individuals: myself, my wife, our two daughters and seven boys aged from 18 to 1 year. In July 2014, due to lack of housing, my family lived in a shelter where physical conditions were really bad and unhealthy. After a couple of months we were moved into a motel and piled up in 3 very small rooms. Not only was the space small, but it was also full of bugs (bed bugs, cockroaches, etc.). It is unthinkable to see 11 individuals live in a 3-small-room space and in such conditions! But because of unemployment and lack of affordable housing we had to stay and endure living in an unhealthy and unsafe place with no dignity! For me, the lack of healthy and safe affordable housing is a huge issue and a concern in our communities. Many families live without dignity in shelters or motels for many, many months! I hope that our elected council will consider adding the healthy and safe affordable housing in the City budget.”

Available for an interview:

For more information and comment, please contact:


  • ACORN: To speak with a low-income ACORN board member contact Ashley Reyns, head organizer, at 613-447-4270 or (English and French)
  • Alliance to End Homelessness: Kristen Holinsky (English), executive director,, 613-700-7522.
  • Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corporation: Ray Sullivan, 613-294-9840,
  • City for All Women Initiative:
  • Coalition of Community Health and Resource Centres:
    • Emilie Hayes (English),, 613-295-1291
    • Andrea Poncia (French),, 613-325-2619.
    • Michel Gervais (English and French), executive director, Vanier Community Resource Centre, 613-794-6398
    • Naini Cloutier (English), executive director, Somerset West Community Health Centre, 613-324-7873
  • Housing Help: Mayse Abu-Shaaban, Housing Caseworker, 613-563-4532 Ext: 233,
  • Making Voices Count: Tong Zhao-Ansari (English),, 613-408-6001


  • Lisa Quesnel (English), resident leader,, 613-261-5411
  • Appolinaire Mushana (French), resident leader,, 418-473-6950, or 819-329-5085
  • To speak with an ACORN tenant leader, contact Ashley Reyns, head organizer, at 613-447-4270 or (English and French)

 List of organizations and groups who endorsed the affordable housing asks:

  1. Action Logement
  2. Alliance to End Homelessness Ottawa
  3. Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN)
  4. Amethyst Women’s Addiction Centre
  5. Anglican Diocese of Ottawa
  6. Canadian Union of Postal Workers, Central Region
  7. Canadian Union of Postal Workers, Local 580
  8. Carlington Community Health Centre
  9. Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corporation (CCOC)
  10. Centretown Community Health Centre
  11. City for All Women Initiative (CAWI)
  12. Coalition of Community Health and Resource Centre
  13. Commission de logement-Vanier
  14. Community Ministries of Ottawa
  15. Community Legal Services
  16. Co-op Housing Association of Eastern Ontario
  17. Cornerstone Housing for Women
  18. Cumberland Housing Corporation
  19. Dalhousie Food Cupboard
  20. Eastern Ottawa Resource Centre
  21. Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (Ottawa Carleton)
  22. Gignul Non-Profit Housing Corporation
  23. Gloucester Emergency Food Cupboard
  24. Gloucester Non-Profit Housing Corporation
  25. Harmony House
  26. Healthy Transportation Coalition
  27. Housing Help
  28. Immigrant Women’s Services Ottawa (IWSO)
  29. Interval House
  30. Jewish Family Services of Ottawa
  31. KIGONI
  32. Lowertown Community Resource Centre
  33. Maison d'amitié
  34. Making Voices Count
  35. Manordale-Woodvale Community Association
  36. MAP Reintegration
  37. Multifaith Housing Initiative
  38. Nelson House
  39. Nepean Housing Corporation
  40. Nepean Rideau Osgoode Community Resource Centre
  41. OMRA-Shelter Alternatives
  42. Operation Come Home
  43. Orleans-Cumberland Community Resource Centre
  44. Ottawa Chinese Community Service Centre
  45. Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women (OCTEVAW)
  46. Ottawa & District Labour Council
  47. Ottawa Salus
  48. Ottawa Supportive Housing Network
  49. Parkdale Food Centre
  50. Planned Parenthood Ottawa
  51. Rideau Rockcliffe Community Resource Centre
  52. Sandy Hill Community Health Centre
  53. Sexual Assault Support Centre of Ottawa
  54. Solidarité Mbondo Ottawa-Gatineau
  55. Somali Women’s Circle Network
  56. Somerset West Community Health Centre
  57. South East Ottawa Community Health Centre
  58. St. Joe’s Women’s Centre
  59. The Hurt Association
  60. The Well
  61. Vanier Community Service Centre
  62. Ward 9 Older Adult and Persons with Disabilities Advisory Group
  63. Western Ottawa Community Resource Centre
  64. Women’s Initiatives for Safer Environments (WISE)
  65. Youth Services Bureau

Help us spread the word and ask  people to take these small steps:

Meet with the Mayor and Councillors to discuss affordable housing crisis

- Endorse the four asks mentioned above (50+ groups and organizations endorsed the asks). Please get in touch with Tong Zhao-Ansari at if your organization endorses the asks)

- Write a letter to the Mayor and your Councillor by using this template

Sign an online petition  (1600 people already signed the petition)

Attend City Councillor led consultations and express your concerns on affordable housing, check here for the one happen in your ward

Attend an Affordable Housing Rally on Feb 6, 9 am, Marian Dewar Plaza, City Hall

Sign up to speak at the Planning Committee (Feb 14) and Social Services Committee (Feb 21)

Complete an online City’s Budget survey 

Social Determinants of Health

The Coalition works in theory and in practice to promote good health according to the determinants of health formalized in the 1986 Ottawa Charter of the World Health Organization. This globally recognized Charter defined health promotion as ‘the process of enabling people to increase control over, and to improve, their health’. Through the Coalition’s multidisciplinary teams of health care providers, community workers, health promoters, early childhood specialists, social workers and other allied service partners, we strive to build healthy communities where the prerequisite conditions for health exist- peace, shelter, education, food, income, a stable environment, sustainable resources, social justice and equity.

 The Coalition considers the following fourteen social determinants of health in planning, delivering and evaluating all levels of individual care, support, services and community development initiatives.

Social Determinants of Health
Aboriginal Status Housing
Early Childhood Development Income and Income Distribution
Disability Social Exclusion
Food Insecurity Unemployment and Job Security
Gender Health Services
Education Race
Employment and Working Conditions Social Safety Net

Source(Mikkonen, J., & Raphael, D., 2010). Social Determinant of Health: The Canadian Facts. Toronto: York University School of Health Policy and Management.

Here's a great video from the Wellesley Institute on the Social Determinants of Health!

 Wellesley Institute: Making The Connections: Our City, Our Society, Our Health

Health care transformation in Canada

The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) launched a National Dialogue on Health Care Transformation. A report titled "Physicians and Health Equity: Opportunities in Practice" was published by the CMA to address Health equity. Health equity is undermined when social and economic conditions, the social determinants of health, prevent or constrain people from taking actions or making decisions that would promote health.

To read this report please click here.