What We Heard

Check out our summary of the November 18 Tenant Talks session. We took questions and provided information about a wide range of topics – from the My Home Service to community events. The next Tenant Talks session will take place on March 10.

See the presentation and comments from the virtual session below. Do you have a comment or question not covered in the Question and Answer on our Tenant Talks web page? Send us an email to tenanttalks@och.ca. 

Loss of subsidy


The Province of Ontario has made changes to the Housing Services Act – which sets the rules around social housing. Those changes affect tenants.    

Effective July 1, 2020, you must submit your completed income tax return to OCH as part of your annual rent review. If you do not, you could lose your eligibility for a rent subsidy, and your rent could increase. 

How is OCH helping?

  • OCH has set up free tax clinics to help prevent the loss of subsidy for those who have not completed their taxes. Plans are in place to ensure we optimize our partnerships to continue with this option into 2022 in order to assist in relieving the financial impact on having to complete one’s taxes.
  • All rent-geared-to-income tenants must provide their NOA. This year we are exercising some flexibility in order to prevent the loss of subsidies.
  • If you received a missing information letter, tenants must provide this documentation to us in order to avoid losing their subsidy. Once the subsidy is lost, we cannot reapply it; tenants must apply to the Registry and there is a long waitlist.

Office Hours: Murray and Caldwell are open from 8:30am to 11:30am by appointment only. Appointments can be made by calling our HA queue, at 613-793-1182.

Chapel and Bank are open from 1:30pm to 4:30pm and do not require an appointment at this time.

*Please note that any changes to the office schedule will be posted and updated on our social media platforms. *

Supply chain issues are impacting OCH and contractor’s ability to source materials and supplies in as timely a manner as we would normally like. Like a number of sectors, our contractors are experiencing staffing challenges for a number of reasons. This, in combination with the material shortages can result in tenants waiting longer for certain types of work than they normally would.

What does that mean?

  • It could be that items that are a key component in a product are slowing down production of the finished material we require
    • Examples: silicone shortage is badly affecting the glazing industry and it’s forecasted to get worse.  That means that procuring windows for replacement will be difficult for some time. 
    • Appliances are backordered, with no ETAs for delivery, and some appliance repair parts are becoming obsolete. We continue to look for alternatives, but again there are some delays that are impacting our ability to respond quickly.
    • Cabinetry materials are back ordered, kitchen doors can take up to 2 months.

Do you have some suggestions about how to share this information broadly? Email us at TenantTalks@och.ca

OCH continues to align waste collection with the City’s Solid Waste Master plan. Diversion of recyclable and compostable materials (such as food) remains a priority.

What has OCH been doing?

  • Four high rise buildings (616 Kirkwood, 215 Nepean, 2080 Russell, 380 Murray) are currently about to introduce organics diversion
  • Strathcona Heights is currently have new waste containers introduced, along with green bins, slated to be completed by end of year
  • Confederation Court has recently introduced organics diversion in the community
  • Beausoleil and Beausejour is currently in the planning for a change to collection points to include all waste streams, including some site modifications
  • Tenant engagement and participation is critical to the success of waste management and diversion. Investment in waste infrastructure is one component, but participation by the user is key
    • Any changes to waste collection are preceded by door to door outreach, surveys, tenant engagement
    • Even after implementation continuous efforts are required to ensure the success of the waste management program

Chris Strotmann, Manager, Community Safety Services Operations, spoke to the process of calls to CSS, from dispatched to a call, to investigating the call, to closing the loop with the tenant. Inquiries for CSS can be sent to CommunitySafetyLeadershipTeam@och.ca

It is the tenants’ responsibility to report incidents to CSS if they see something.

How does it work?

  • There are nine CSS members on the road in a 24-hour period.
  • There is a new static patrol pilot, where two extra staff will be working to patrol communities that have security concerns. The list of communities rotates based on community needs.
  • Virtual patrol staff monitors camera activity and alert static team for any investigations needed. This has been preventing loitering and laundry room thefts.

Rideau-Vanier Councillor and OCH Board chair Mathieu Fleury did a virtual ribbon cutting to mark the new online

With each change of season, OCH’s maintenance staff and Property Managers are hard at work, doing work to ensure they are ready for the change in weather.

How are we preparing for winter?

  • Fall activities are underway and almost wrapped up for winterization
  • PMs and their teams work through a checklist to ensure that buildings and communities are ready for the cold weather
    • Heaters on, hose bibs turned off, ramp heaters ready to go, winter mats installed, timers on lights changed
  • PMs will work with tenants for ACs still installed in windows as this can cause issues as we get into the cold weather: burst pipes, homes not heating properly etc

The call centre has experience high volume of calls which causes challenges in our telephony systems; calls being dropped or disconnected. We continue to work with IT and our vendors to resolve these challenges. We apologize for the inconvenience this is causing.

OCH Phone Greeting

We have made changes to the phone greeting and removed the COVID-19 messages. Please note that at any moment in time when calling Ottawa Community Housing, you can manually skip any messages that you do not wish to hear by pressing any button on your touchphone, it will skip the messages and direct you to our service options.

  • 992 tenants have registered to date (highest enrollment month was June – 327 registrations) 
  • Roughly 300 users access My Home each month – mostly to view or update their contact details
  • 200 work order requests have been created through My Home (15 for pests)

What’s next:

  • More promotion to get more tenants to sign up – do you have ideas? 
  • Challenge each tenant to sign up if they have not already done so and get an OCH friend or neighbour to sign up too!  
    • will help reduce calls and wait times on queue to the Call Centre allowing them to deal more effectively with call volume and urgent matters
  • Plans for Phase 2 are underway – OCH will want your input!
    • explore what other functionality can be added, what are best practices from other housing landlords, 
    • engage with stakeholders – tenants being the most important to get input on what should be included
    • Some ideas we have heard so far:
      • be able to make service requests for common areas not just your own home
      • submit documents on-line – changes of circumstances
      • Notice to terminate a tenancy
  • Stay tuned for more info and send us any ideas, feedback at Tenanttalks@och.ca
  • Remember my challenge to help get enrolment up!

Please remember to share your ideas on promoting my home and getting increased registration. We will follow up on some of the ideas given to date and support tenants who may be having difficulty. Thank you.

With the support of OCH Community Developers, almost 80 OCH communities have a tenant group where neighbours work together to create communities they want to live in. This includes organizing events (e.g. holiday meals, Canada Day), running activities (e.g. homework clubs, games nights, gardening) and more. Tenant groups and leaders are also an important link between your communities and OCH. Several times a year (winter, spring and fall), OCH organizes District-Based Committee meetings where tenant leaders from different OCH communities are invited to come together to discuss issues important to them and OCH. Health guidelines permitting we will be holding a DBC this spring. OCH also regularly recruits tenants to become members of the Board of Directors and various Board Committees. This past Friday was the deadline for applications for the current round of recruitment.

Gathering limit for tenant led events and social gatherings:

• 100 people outdoors
• the lesser of 25 people indoors or the maximum allowable as per COVID physical distancing guidelines

Tenants led events can occur. They must have a comprehensive safety plan in place. This plan must be reviewed by a Community Developer or Community Development Manager and approved by a CDM or the Senior CDM prior to any event happening.

Tenants have access to the lounge. They are expected to respect lounge capacity numbers and COVID regulations regarding personal protective equipment.

Public washrooms associated with lounges will remain closed.
Gathering limit for CD / Partner led events and social gatherings:

• 100 people outdoors
• the lesser of 25 people indoors or the maximum allowable as per COVID physical distancing guidelines

CD / Partner-led events can occur. There must be a comprehensive safety plan in place. This plan must be reviewed by a CDer or CDM and approved by a CDM or the Senior CDM prior to any event happening. An OCH staff person or partner is to be on-site for the event.

Tenants have access to the lounge. They are expected to respect lounge capacity numbers and COVID regulations re personal protective equipment.

Public washrooms associated with lounges will remain closed.

Questions, Answers and Feedback from the Session

  • If you are with Ontario Disability Support Program you can subscribe to the monthly statement.  If you are on Ontario Works you can download “proof of assistance” from the online service.

Our Asset Management team is looking at reviewing building systems. One point of clarification on the air/HEPA filter question. The Makeup Air units in (vents in hallways) only draw fresh air in from a rooftop. It doesn’t recycle air.

Tenants need to ensure to have their apartment and buzzer number on the package. If the delivery service leaves it at the front door lobby tenants should call the delivery service provider to make a complaint. Its their responsibility to ensure delivery to your apartment.

Some, but not all buildings are equipped for buzzers to ring through cell phones, please verify with your local office.

Tenants need to report concerns for successful follow-up by staff. Safety is a common community concern which is the driving force to have the static team pilot.  There are a variety of different safety community needs and a plan is developed with community development workers and partner agencies.

CSS is looking for your feedback please do not hesitate to contact chris.strotmann@och.ca

Tenants can call their Community Development Worker the capacity is based on square footage.  OCH Community Lounges have different guidelines than restaurant guidelines.

Due to COVID restrictions, we were not able to host one last spring. We will schedule a DBC for next spring, or when local public health authorities advise it is safe to do so. Any suggestions for Community events send an email to steve.clay@och.ca

  • Maybe when people call the maintenance line and its a non-urgent issue, can the Call Centre representative promote it. It could also be included in the introductory message.  
  • Can tenants sign up be done when visiting the office? if we set up and assist. OCH will look at having sign ups at offices when tenants visit.  
  • Please remember to share your ideas on promoting my home and getting increased registration to the My Home service at TenantTalks@och.ca. We will follow up on some of the ideas given to date and support tenants who may be having difficulty. Thank you!

We are in the process of moving all cameras to a digital format. There is also a process in place to have the fob system integrate with the camera system.

Ottawa Community Housing has a COVID task force that discusses these concerns and is aware there are challenges. We will continue to inform tenants of their responsibility to use a mask.  Smoking in the common areas needs to be reported to safety services for follow-up.

Any concerns with the cleaning of your building should be reported to your Property Manager for follow-up.

The success rate for call back feature is above 90%. If a number is left incorrectly or tenants do not have a second line so when the system calls back, the call would not be able to get through.  The system makes three attempts to return the call after the third try, the callback feature is cancelled.  

Community cleanups are done by contracts in spring which directly impacts the schedule for tenant community cleanups. OCH has since focused in having fall tenant participation community clean-ups.

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