News Release: Former Mayor to Help the Lay the Foundation for Healthy Communities by Joining OCH Foundation Board

Tuesday, June 27, 2023 — The Ottawa Community Housing (OCH) Foundation is pleased to announce that former Mayor of Ottawa, Jim Watson, has joined its Board of Directors. As Ottawa’s longest serving Mayor, Jim brings a wealth of experience in bringing people together and has a strong understanding of the needs within our community.

The OCH Foundation helps thousands of families, youth and children achieve personal success through education, employment, and community engagement programs. The volunteers who serve on the Board of Directors guide and champion the work we do to support families living in Ottawa Community Housing neighbourhoods.

This is the first non-profit board Jim Watson has joined since leaving elected office. He has always had a passion for supporting community organizations and has been a long-time supporter of those working in the housing and homelessness sector, including when he was Ontario’s Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. When he was a first-time Councillor in 1992, he donated two percent of his salary to charity. In 1994 when he left municipal politics, he donated his severance pay to four local charities, including the Union Mission. Over the years, he actively contributed to numerous local charitable organizations as a board member, playing a pivotal role in enhancing their visibility and facilitating fundraising efforts in order to support people who were in need.

The OCH Foundation is hosting its Hop On Bikes program on Wednesday, June 28, 2023 at 3:30 pm, and new board member, Jim Watson will be joining to help hand out 50 refurbished bikes, new helmets, and bike locks to children and youth who live in OCH Communities. This will be his first event as a Director on the OCH Foundation board.

When: Wednesday, June 28th, 2023

Where: 1520 Caldwell Ave

*Media are welcome to attend. The best time to attend is 3:30 – 4:00


“I am honoured to be joining the OCH Foundation Board of Directors. Public service is near and dear to my heart, and I have always wanted to give back to the city that has given so much to me. With many people in our city struggling to afford necessities for them and their families, being a good neighbour means we must be there for each other. The work of the OCH Foundation inspires me and I couldn’t be more thrilled to be able to help them as they support those living in OCH communities.”

-Jim Watson

I am very happy to welcome Jim Watson to the OCH Foundation Board of Directors. With the rapid rise in cost of living, most of our programs have more than doubled in the past years as we try to respond to the immediate and emerging needs of tenants living in OCH Communities. With allies such as our former Mayor, we can continue to extend the reach of our programs.

-Angela Bégin

The OCH Foundation is a key partner of Ottawa Community Housing, and we are proud of the positive impact they have on thousands of families, children and youth.  It’s wonderful to have Jim Watson joining their board of directors and for him to be lending his time, experience and vast community connections to support tenants living in OCH communities.

-Stéphane Giguere

Quick Facts

  • This is the OCH Foundation’s 11th year serving individuals and families living in OCH communities.
    The Hop on Bikes program is one of six core programs offered through the OCH Foundation to tenants living within OCH communities.
  • This year the OCH Foundation has committed to giving out “a bike a day”, 365 bikes to children and youth across several OCH communities.
    About Hop on Bikes
  • Hop on Bikes grew out of requests for play ideas for children and youth to keep busy and physically active during the Covid-19 pandemic. The result was an identified need for bikes, helmets and locks to children and youth living in OCH communities. 
  • Hop on Bikes is a partnership between OCH Foundation, re-Cycles Ottawa and the Ottawa Community Housing Corporation. We work together to obtain, refurbish, fit, and deliver bikes. Events happen throughout the year in OCH communities.

About the OCH Foundation

Committed to the 32,000 tenants living in Ottawa Community Housing, the OCH Foundation helps families, youth and children achieve personal success through education, employment, and community engagement projects. The Foundation has raised over 11 million dollars since its inception which has been redistributed through tenant focused programs and initiatives. / LinkedIn / Twitter / Instagram / Facebook

For Additional Information, Please Contact:

Briar Gornall – Communications and Engagement Coordinator
Cell: (613) 697- 0824