International Women’s Day, supporting artists, new pedestrian crossing, and more!

Happy International Women’s Day! The theme this year is Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress. It is a good opportunity for us to look back on everything we have gained and where the struggle for equality continues.

I was fortunate to start my day by co-hosting the Mayor’s Breakfast, with special guest Carla MacLeod, the coach of Ottawa’s brand-new Professional Women’s Hockey League team.

Councillor Troster with Carla MacLeod. Photo credit: Caroline Phillips from the Ottawa Business Journal

In fact, I cannot think of a better example of investing in women than the PWHL. It has made me genuinely emotional to attend PWHL games here in Ottawa – seeing little girls cheer their hearts out for their new heroes is absolutely amazing. The appeal of this team is multigenerational. I attended a game last month with my wife, daughter and mother-in-law.

I am also aware of the fact that the issue of promoting gender equity in sport is an excellent lens through which we can view this political moment and the progress we still need to make to ensure that every woman and girl has the opportunity to thrive, both here in Ottawa and around the world.

According to a study from 2020 by Canadian Women and Sport, girls’ sport participation rate drops by 22 per cent as they enter adolescence, leading to a dropout rate of 1 in 3 girls leaving sport by their teens. These changes are more staggering for girls with intersectional identities, as Indigenous girls have the lowest participation rate at only 24%.

This is in addition to the economic factors that make sports activities unattainable for many families. With the cost of rent and food through the roof right now, activities that seem optional go by the wayside in families that are struggling to stay afloat.

This is why affordable or free sport and recreational activities are crucial for building better cities and levelling the playing field for women and girls from all economic backgrounds.

My daughter goes to school with so many newcomer families. Many still live in refugee hotels or in shelters. Others are being raised by single mothers, who have come here to learn English and requalify for professional designations before sponsoring their spouses to join them here.

Kids like these thrive in programs like The Door in Centretown, which provides homework help, daily meals and access to sports and recreation activities. Sport is key to integration, to academic success, and to making friends and building community.

I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention the particular vulnerabilities faced by trans girls and nonbinary kids at this particular moment. There are politicians in Canada and around the world seeking to bar their participation in sport and ban the essential health care that keeps them alive.

Now is the time for us to push back and ensure that every kid gets the chance to be who they are and participate in the activities that allow them to thrive.

On this International Women’s Day, let’s work together to build a city where absolutely everyone belongs, and where all women and girls get a fair chance to play.



PS – Looking to make a donation in honour of IWD? I suggest Cornerstone Housing for Women, Interval House, Planned Parenthood Ottawa, the Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women, or the Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre.


It is with great shock and sorrow that we learned about the events that occurred in Barrhaven this week. We mourn for the lives lost; our thoughts are with those who have been touched by this tragedy.

If you or someone you know is affected by these events and needs support, Ottawa Public Health has a list of resources that can help:

Supporting arts and culture workers

According to a report released last year by Hill Strategies, in 2020 the median personal income of Ontario artists was $29,600. That's 41 per cent less than the median income of all Ontario workers, which was $50,400. And in Ottawa, we are seeing artists pushed out of their homes and studio spaces due to re-development and rent increases.

Councillor Troster was pleased to bring forward a motion to Community Services Committee and Council to explore anti-poverty initiatives for artists and culture workers in Ottawa. You can listen to her interview about this initiative on CBC’s All In a Day with Alan Neal, along with Cassandra Olsthoorn from the Ottawa Arts Network.

New pedestrian crossing at Norman and Rochester

There is a new pedestrian crossover at Norman and Rochester, thanks to advocacy by residents in West Centretown. Is there an intersection in your neighbourhood that needs additional safety measures? Email [email protected] to let us know.

Temporary closure of safe consumption sites

You may have heard in the media about the temporary closure of the safe consumption sites at Somerset West and Community Health Centres. This was done to address an occupational health and safety issue – staff were getting ill from exposure to fumes from drugs being cooked or inhaled on site. We are hopeful that with ventilation upgrades and other adjustments, that the sites will be able to re-open soon. In the meantime, the outreach staff from Somerset West will be more active in the community, distributing supplies and responding to overdoses. If you or anyone you know uses drugs, please remember to never use alone and always carry Naloxone. You can get Naloxone for free from any pharmacy. Together, we can save lives.

Women of Ontario Say No

Did you know that a city councillor who sexually harasses their staff cannot be fired or prevented from running for office? We saw the consequences in Ottawa last term when a sitting councillor was found by the city’s integrity commissioner to have “continuously exploited” his women staff members with incomprehensible acts of sexual harassment.

Everyone deserves a safe work environment and that includes municipal staff. That is why Councillor Troster put forward a motion that was passed by council to support the Women of Ontario Say No campaign for provincial legislation that would strengthen municipal codes of conduct and provide real consequences for councillors who abuse their staff.

Lease signed for transitional housing on Queen

The city is in the process of signing a lease to convert an empty office building at 230 Queen Street into transitional housing for single newcomers. The intention is for this property to alleviate the pressure being put on community recreation centres and offer resources and support to help rapidly re-house people. Our office will provide more updates as this project progresses. We look forward to welcoming these new neighbours and helping them integrate into our community.

Help improve the tree canopy in Centretown!

Did you know that Centretown has the lowest density of tree cover in all of Ottawa? A group of neighbours would like to change that by planting more trees. Do you have space in your yard or neighbourhood where a tree could be planted? Or would you like to get involved in making our ward more green? If yes, contact Trees613 / Arbres613 - a community initiative, working with trusted partners to get trees in the ground. Don’t hesitate to reach out now as spring is the perfect time to plant trees before the hot summer months! 

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Meet the Helpers

Last week we hosted a virtual meeting with neighbours to discuss policy initiatives our office has worked on since our community safety meeting last summer and introduced neighbours to service providers from Belong Ottawa, Centre 507 and the Centretown Community Health Centre. These are the slides from our presentation during the meeting.

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