A request for COVID-19 testing capacity in walking distance for downtown residents

August 27, 2020 

Dr. Cameron Love,
President and Chief Executive Officer
The Ottawa Hospital

Dear Dr. Love, 

We represent residents in the five Ottawa wards in the city’s core. Throughout the pandemic, residents who have experienced symptoms of COVID-19, or who have been in contact with someone diagnosed with the virus, have been directed to one of the testing centres. 

Unfortunately, none of the testing centres has been within walking distance for most of our residents. For many people, Brewer Park is a 1.5 hour bus ride. The testing centres in Alta Vista and Nepean may take 2 to 2.5 hours to reach from downtown.

The new testing centre at the RCGT Park is intended as a drive-through. It’s both too far for many residents and unavailable for people who do not have cars. 

For many residents, even a bus ride is too expensive and too far. This situation has sharply restricted many potentially ill people from being tested and may be contributing to further contagion. Within urban neighbourhoods, car ownership is considered unnecessary and often unreachably expensive. The expectation that people must own a car to be tested is unreasonable and creates a bias in the testing results. 

We ask that The Ottawa Hospital develop a walk-in testing centre within the urban core. We can think of several potential locations for a walk-in centre and would be happy to explore the options with you. 

Thank you for your consideration of this urgent need. We look forward to working closely with you to improve Ottawa’s testing capacity and to ending our city’s COVID-19 contagion. 


Catherine McKenney, Somerset Ward
Rawlson King, Rideau-Rockcliffe Ward
Shawn Menard,  Capital Ward
Jeff Leiper, Kitchissippi Ward
Mathieu Fleury, Rideau Vanier Ward

 Cc     Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa Medical Officer of Health 
             Renato Discenva, Transitional Regional Lead, Ontario Health East

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Phone: 613-580-2484
Address: 110 Laurier Ave W, Ottawa, ON K1P 1J1