OTTAWA -- The City of Ottawa is setting up a “Human Needs Task Force” to support the needs of the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a message on Twitter, Mayor Jim Watson says the task force will ensure the city is responding to the emerging needs of our most vulnerable residents.

The task force consolidates partners from all sectors, including United Way Eastern Ontario, Coalition of Community Health and Resource Centres of Ottawa, Ottawa Community Housing, Ottawa Food Bank, the Good Companions, Canadian Red Cross, the Salvation Army and Ottawa Inner City Health. Representatives from city departments will also join the task force, including Ottawa Public Health.

In a memo to Councillors, Community and Social Services Department General Manager Donna Gray says there will be three scopes for the task force:

  • Plan for future scenarios, with considerations related to food security and vulnerable population needs.
  • Coordinate service sector information related to services being provided, changes to services and emerging issues and needs.
  • Raise issues, service gaps and community concerns to staff within Community and Social Services.

Gray says there are key priorities emerging, including Food Security, Outreach to isolated seniors and transportation of vulnerable residents to COVID-19 assessment centres and medical appointments.