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Jun 2nd, 2022

STATEMENT: Thank you, Ottawa

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Friday, June 3, 2022 (OTTAWA, ON) – Following the May 21 severe weather event that resulted in hundreds of thousands of customers without power in the National Capital Region, Ottawa Community Housing Corporation (OCHC) Chief Executive Officer Stéphane Giguère released the following statement:  

“OCHC wishes to thank the many tenants, staff, OCHC Board of Directors, partners, first responders and volunteers for being on hand to help support the thousands of tenants in some of Ottawa’s most vulnerable communities impacted by the power outages. 

Immediately after the storm hit on May 21, close to 3,800 homes were without power, affecting over 7,000 tenants in 23 communities. OCHC crews were immediately mobilized to assess the storm’s damage and respond accordingly to tenants’ needs in impacted communities.   

When the length of time without power began to increase, the community came together. OCHC teams immediately reached out to multiple organizations and community partners to provide further support for tenants experiencing outages.  

The health and safety of seniors and those with special needs, including chronic medical conditions that rely on specialized equipment, heightened the longer they stayed without power. Another major concern was food spoilage. Food insecurity is keenly felt by those living in social and affordable housing. Access to food became a key priority. Our partners, including the community houses, the OCH Foundation for Healthy Communities, the Ottawa Mission, Food for Thought, The Ottawa Food Bank, Parkdale Food Centre, and dozens of others answered the call. Over the course of the next 10 days, more than 10,500 hot meals were distributed in low-income communities without power, as well, volunteers, staff and partners took this opportunity to perform check-ins and wellness checks with tenants. 

As outages continued, part of OCHC’s enhanced response included identifying priority sites for upgraded emergency lighting; 52 emergency batteries were replaced or re-charged daily, and 12 emergency lighting systems were upgraded for improved, long-lasting L.E.D. emergency lighting. For additional Storm Recovery by numbers, see below. 

OCHC would like to thank Hydro Ottawa and Hydro One staff for their round-the-clock work, the extensive network of Community Houses and Community Health Centres, the City of Ottawa, Ottawa Fire Service, Ottawa Police, and Ottawa Public Health.” 

OCHC Storm Recovery by the Numbers:

  • At the height of the storm, 23 Ottawa Community Housing communities were impacted by power outages 
  • The last community (12 homes in Overbrook) was re-energized on day 11
  • Approximately 3,800 homes and over 7,000 tenants were directly affected at the peak of the event 
  • Over 130 OCHC employees worked directly to support recovery efforts with the help of all teams in every department 
  • 281 damaged trees with over 175 of them removed in the first 10 days 
  • More than 13 community organizations and social service agencies supported tenants through hot meals and food distribution 
  • 10,500+ hot meals and different instances of food produce delivered 
  • 13 generators used more than 4,000 litres of fuel 
  • Over 500 flashlights were distributed to tenants, with 400 of them by Khalsa Aid Canada 
  • 52 sealed batteries removed and replaced daily for fire life safety systems 
  • 350 meters of cable used to power emergency lighting and temporary power sources 
  • 12 emergency lighting systems upgraded and improved at identified priority sites 
  • OCHC’s 24/7 Call Centre received and responded to approximately 2,400 calls related to the power outages 
  • Community Safety Workers proactively visited impacted communities over 350 times during the event 
  • OCH Foundation for Healthy Communities donated $1,400 worth of gift cards to tenants 
  • OCHC social media channels provided daily updates and information from partners