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CHEO Challenges Municipal Candidates to Take a Stand on Local Housing

The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO), along with the Ottawa Child/Youth Housing Advocacy Initiative (OCHAI), is encouraging residents of the City of Ottawa to consider housing when casting their vote in the municipal election on October 25th

“Each night an average of 80 children under the age of 16 spend the night in a shelter in Ottawa,” says Dr. Catherine Pound, CHEO pediatrician. “This seriously affects a child’s health and quality of life. We have to address this issue and find solutions. To achieve this we need to make this a priority at the municipal level. Voters have a voice and they can express their support through their municipal vote.”


Research clearly demonstrates that housing is a key determinant of child and youth

health. Yet, a significant number of children and youth living in Eastern Ontario do not

have access to acceptable and stable housing. This impacts their health and well-being.


CHEO and OCHAI invited all candidates running in the municipal election to complete a survey and share their views on housing and the impact it has on child and youth health. Sixty four Ottawa municipal candidates have completed the survey. The results of the survey are now available at and

Asked What are the top three housing issues in Ottawa?

Mayoral candidate Jim Watson listed “The condition of some existing housing units, the lack of new affordable housing units and the lack of a long term national housing strategy to address these issues on a bigger scale,

Mayoral candidate Clive Doucet listed “affordability, adequacy/suitability and stability.”

Mayoral candidate Andrew Haydon listed Lack of facilities for the homeless, lack of maintenance and lack of direct subsidy for people who almost can afford to live in a housing unit."

AskedThere is an affordability gap between the cost of rent and what some families can afford to pay. This gap can affect the health of children and youth How will you deal with this problem?”

Mayoral candidate Jim Watson answered: “I will work with the city and the province to determine if it is possible to provide greater rent subsidy support to help individuals and families who need it.”

Mayoral candidate Clive Doucet answered in part: “Ottawa needs to set and respect affordable housing development strategies and targets and municipal politicians need to be held accountable for implementing those strategies and meeting those targets. For example, for every 10 units of housing that are built or converted, we should require that one unit be designated as affordable (rent-to-income).”

Mayoral candidate Andrew Haydon answered: “I will encourage the Province to look at alternative ways of helping limited income people.”

Mayoral candidate Larry O’Brien did not respond to the survey.

CHEO and OCHAI wants all voters to make housing and its impact on child and youth health an election issue.  Read what your favorite candidate has to say by visiting the Child and Youth Health and Housing website at a stand and make an informed vote.  

OCHAI and CHEO do not to endorse any one candidate. Our goal is to inform the voters of Ottawa of their candidates' positions and vision of housing for children and youth in our community and to encourage a dialogue around the issue of housing as a child health issue.

In addition we invite you to take our quiz at to find out how much you know about housing and its impact on child and youth health in Ottawa.

OCHAI is a partnership between the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO), community health professionals, housing organizations and child and youth focused groups. As a group of housing, social service and health professionals, they work in collaboration to improve the housing and health needs of children, youth and families.

For more information: Marie Belanger, CHEO Public Relations, 613-737-2343

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