CSWB Plan priorities approved
On October 28, 2020 Council approved the CSWB Interim Report and provided direction on Ottawa’s CSWB plan priorities going forward. The approved priorities are: integrated and simpler systems, discrimination, marginalization and racism, financial security and poverty reduction, gender-based violence and violence against women, housing, and mental well-being.
Discrimination, Marginalization and Racism
We were told stories of discrimination and racism from participants in our consultations and calls to address systemic racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination. Research shows that inequities in the system effect marginalized communities’ disproportionally. We will continue to work with the Anti-Racism Secretariat, the Women and Gender Equity Strategy, partners within the Indigenous community, and many others to move forward on this priority.
Financial Security and Poverty Reduction
Poverty was identified as a critical barrier to well-being and safety during community consultations. This priority is connected and linked with other issues, such as housing, mental well-being, discrimination, employment and basic income. By addressing financial security and poverty reduction as a root cause in the CSWB Plan, it is expected that other aspects of community safety and well-being may benefit in our community.
Gender-based Violence and Violence Against Women
While gender-based violence and violence against women was not initially identified as a priority area of focus based on our community engagement feedback, Council added this priority given feedback from other consultations that had previously occurred and the feedback from community organizations about the prevalence and challenges. The CSWB team recognizes the importance of this issue and will work together with other initiatives, such as the Women and Gender Equity Strategy to ensure alignment and to complement the work being undertaken.
Housing was identified as a top priority for consultation participants across all demographics. Themes heard related to housing included accessibility and affordability and that alternate transportation was required to connect housing with employment and recreation, the housing wait list needs to be reduced, and homelessness needs to be addressed. The Plan will incorporate and recognize the important work underway in this area and look for opportunities to support and enhance this work.
This priority encompasses mental health, substance use issues and social isolation with the focus on the outcome of mental well-being. During the engagement period, themes about the need for increased awareness of available programs and services, support through all stages of mental health crisis, counselling and harm reduction support, social support and personal safety were heard. Substance use and social isolation are included in the summary based on the advice from Ottawa Public Health and on consultation feedback.
Integrated and Simpler Systems
Integrated and simpler systems is a process priority that will support and enable the work in all other priorities. This priority is about working together collaboratively to create a more streamlined system which could include data sharing, communications and service delivery.
Stay tuned for more engagement opportunities which will be advertised in early 2021 and sign up for our newsletter for more information. The next upcoming public engagement activities will inform the development of objectives, strategies and actions for each priority.