OTTAWA -- Ottawa's Board of Health wants to allow residents to plant community gardens during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The board passed a motion from Councillor Keith Egli Monday night to ask the Ontario Government to deem community gardens an essential service, and allow the crops to grow this spring and summer. 

Ontario’s Emergency Management and Protection Act orders the closure of all outdoor parks, including community gardens, in a bid to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Egli’s motion says Ottawa Public Health believes outdoor allotment gardens and community gardens are not only recreational amenities, they are an important measure for creating food security.

Egli says community gardens can operate while people practice proper physical distancing guidelines.

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches told the board that the Quebec Government allows community gardens to operate.

Etches adds Ottawa Public Health has had conversations with the Ontario Government that suggest the province is open to the idea of allowing community gardens to operate. 

A Kingston Councillor will introduce a motion at Tuesday’s Kingston Council meeting to ask the Ontario Government to allow community gardens to operate during the pandemic.