Mayor declares COVID-19 state of emergency for Ottawa

Ottawa City Hall. File photo by Devyn Barrie.

In parallel to Premier Doug Ford’s March 23rd announcement on the shut-down of non-essential services, Mayor Jim Watson today declared a state of emergency for the City of Ottawa due to the spread of COVID-19 in Ottawa.

The city will now be able to deploy its emergency operations and staff  rapidly and allows for a more flexible procurement process helping with the purchase of equipment required by frontline workers and first responders as it becomes available in coming weeks.

There has now been a laboratory confirmation of the community spread of COVID-19 by Ottawa Public Health. Cases among health care workers who have not traveled or been a close contact of a confirmed case are now showing up. Ottawa Public Health recommends all residents practise physical (social) distancing or self-isolate, if applicable, to help stop the spread of the virus. Information about laboratory confirmed cases of COVID-19 is available on

Following the declaration, the City formally requested the Province of Ontario to give Ottawa the flexibility to manage movement of staff, to redeploy resources, to support essential services and to be adaptable as this situation continues to evolve rapidly.

The most current information will be shared with residents on and the City’s social media channels. Ottawa Public Health will continue to provide updates on COVID-19 in Ottawa on


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