In the fall of 2020 we launched a new initiative. These Conversations invite the public to take part in a discussion between a Compassionate Ottawa volunteer and a recognized leader on the subject of compassion. Sometimes it is about offering and receiving compassion in our personal lives, sometimes about what it means to be part of a compassionate community, and sometimes it is a call to action. So far, the conversations have involved leaders from Ottawa, across the country and the UK, and our audiences come from as far away as Australia and India.

End of Life Care is Everyone’s Responsibility
(October, 2020)

This virtual event featured a conversation between Dr. Allan Kellehear and Dr. Mary Lou Kelley. Their conversation included the reasons why end-of-life care is everyone’s responsibility, the use of language in compassionate communities, what we have learned from the pandemic, and more.

Watch here

Compassion and Action: How Ottawa’s Front-line Workers are Dealing with Dying, Death, Loss & Grief
(November, 2020)

Hosted by Jack McCarthy, former Executive Director of the Somerset West Community Health Centre and current Vice-Chair of Compassionate Ottawa, this virtual event featured a conversation with Wendy Muckle and Anne Marie Hopkins of Ottawa Inner City Health. They talked about how the pandemic and the opioid crisis are having a devastating impact on Ottawa’s most vulnerable residents and how front-line workers are dealing with the ensuing dying, death, loss and grief. Are the necessary social and health supports in place to bring compassion to the most vulnerable among us?

Watch here

Health, Social Services and the Community Working Together: Better Outcomes for All
(January, 2021)

This virtual event featured a conversation between Dr. Julian Abel, physician and Director of Compassionate Communities UK, and Dr. Nick Busing, retired family physician and Compassionate Ottawa Board member. Together they explored a model of care that demonstrates the essential role of the community in improving the health of its residents in partnership with health care providers. The conversation described how working together helps build compassionate communities, and also included findings from studies that highlight the benefits of compassionate communities.
Watch here

Illness, Suffering and Spirituality: The Path to Hope and Healing
(March, 2021)

In this conversation, Lorraine M. Wright talked with Marion Rattray about practical and thoughtful ways that we can engage with each other when neighbours, friends, or patients are experiencing serious illness or loss in their lives, or are caring for a family member. Lorraine drew on her own life experiences, told stories, included humour and offered her perspective from her experience as a leader in the field of family nursing, as an academic with the University of Calgary, and as an author.

Watch here

Palliative Care and Grief during the Pandemic
(April, 2021)

In this conversation, Johanne de Montigny talked with Jean-Pierre Soublière about the impact of grief and how the losses caused by the pandemic have contributed to it. They also discussed palliative care, including what it is, when it comes into a person’s life, and how someone with a life-limiting illness can move towards acceptance. Johanne drew on her thirty years of professional experience with the McGill University Health Centre and its palliative care network, as well as her university teaching on the relational phenomena surrounding death and grief.

Watch here (in French only)

Strength and Compassion: Footsteps on the Path of Indigenous Ways of Living with Dying and Death
(June, 2021)

In honor of National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada on June 21, 2021, Compassionate Ottawa was honored to host this month’s Conversations with Leaders with two Indigenous Elders. For many Indigenous peoples, dying and death are a transition rather than a finite “end-of-life”. With one foot in the living world and one in the spiritual world, the ideology of morbidity is not present, yet the approaches to it vary significantly from one community to another. There is a constant negotiation for life through ceremony which involves an ongoing relationship with ancestors.

In this virtual event, Erica Claus, Secretary of the Compassionate Ottawa Board of Directors, had a conversation with two Indigenous leaders, Elder Stephen Augustine and Elder Annie Smith St-Georges, who shared their ways to inspire and inform us. Together, we discovered how traditional, thriving and compassionate Indigenous communities support one another. We also learned how some Indigenous communities handle the last days’ transition to the spirit world, and then how to let the departed go, through emotions and memories.

Watch here

Trust in Compassionate Communities
(October, 2021)

This conversation featured The Right Honourable David Johnston, Canada’s 28th governor general, and Mr. Lewis Auerbach, Compassionate Ottawa volunteer. Drawing on Mr. Johnston’s latest book, entitled “Trust,” they discussed the link between empathy and trust; what it means to be a compassionate community; and what we can do as a community to build trust and to support one another.

Watch here

Compassionate Communities: Learning from International Experience
(January, 2022)

This conversation between Dr. Kerrie Noonan and Dr. Pam Grassau touched on compassionate communities in Australia, the successes and challenges of building a compassionate community, and a way to understand more about a community’s skills, experience, social actions, and knowledge surrounding death, dying, caregiving and loss.

Watch here

A Conversation with André Picard
(February, 2022)

This conversation between André Picard, one of Canada’s top health & public policy observers and commentators, and Louise Hanvey, Compassionate Ottawa Board Member, explored André’s journey and approach to journalism; his thoughts on the community’s role in palliative care, caregiving, and home care; his suggestions for how public policies should be reshaped to better support Canadians; and more.

Watch here

At the Heart of the Passage:
From Support at End of Life to Self-Care
(April, 2022)

An inspiring conversation between two leaders! Many people are uncomfortable around people who are dying and their loved ones. They ask themselves: What to do? What to say? Myriam LaVoie and Lise Beauchemin talk about end-of-life care and the importance of taking care of oneself, even when it seems impossible for caregivers. Myriam and Lise have more than 45 years of professional experience in palliative care for adults and children. They have trained and accompanied numerous teams of volunteers and professionals in Ontario and Quebec.

Watch here (in French only)

Caregiving in Canada
(December, 2022)

This event featured a conversation between Kelli Stajduhar, professor in the School of Nursing and Institute on Aging & Lifelong Health at the University of Victoria, and Janet Dunbrack, former Executive Director of the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association and an active volunteer with Compassionate Ottawa. Together, they talked about what is happening (or not) in Canada regarding caregiving and what role Compassionate Ottawa, and others, might play in tackling this ongoing and worrying crisis.

Watch here

Compassion on the Streets of Ottawa
(January, 2023)

This event featured a conversation between Dr. Jeff Turnbull, local physician and Medical Director of Ottawa Inner City Health, and Jack McCarthy, Vice-Chair of Compassionate Ottawa. Together, they will talked about compassion on the streets of Ottawa and the conditions that some of the most vulnerable in our community live in.

Watch here

Montfort Renaissance, an Organization to Discover!
(May, 2023)

Mental health, substance abuse, housing support, seniors’ services: many people are looking for help in these areas, but don’t really know who to turn to.

Jeanne-Hélène Tardivel, who has been Executive Director of Montfort Renaissance for over seventeen years, will talk with Compassionate Ottawa volunteer Michelle de Courville Nicol about the programs and services offered by Montfort Renaissance, a francophone non-profit organization celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. It now has some 160 employees serving over 7,000 clients, and offers a continuum of community services in both official languages to improve the health and well-being of its clients. Its growth and the success of its services are a fine story of teamwork and collaboration between its clients and partners.

Watch here (in French only)

Join our mailing list to stay up to date

By subscribing to this mailing list you agree to receive periodic updates about events and activities from Compassionate Ottawa.

Your contribution will help us to continue with our existing programs, introduce new ones, and reach all parts of our community.