City Continues Its War On Rats

This is a release from the City of Ottawa:

Dear Mayor and Members of Council, 

The purpose of this memo is to provide an update on the collective efforts undertaken  by various City departments and our continuing commitment to enhance rat  management strategies. 


Effective rat management is a shared responsibility requiring the participation of the  City, businesses, and residents alike. Everyone plays a crucial role in identifying the  signs of rat presence, implementing preventative measures to protect property, and  implementing effective mitigation and removal strategies. 

Bringing together City departments has streamlined our approach and improved communication regarding rat mitigation efforts across the city. 

Update on City Actions 

In June 2023, the City of Ottawa re-established the Rat Mitigation Working Group  (RMWG), including cross-departmental representation from Emergency and Protective  Services, Infrastructure and Water Services, Ottawa Public Health, Planning Development and Building Services, Community and Social Services, Public Works,  Transit Services, Strategic Initiatives and Recreation, Cultural and Facility Services,  Finance and Corporate Services. Collectively this group has continued to develop and  maintain a comprehensive approach to addressing rodent concerns. 

Last year, the City of Ottawa responded to 747 service requests related to rats through  3-1-1 and conducted subsequent property inspections. Staff collaborated closely with  business owners, residents, and industry partners to identify factors attracting rats, 

provided education on rat management, and ensured compliance with City by-laws and  property standards.  

A key aspect of effective rat control in Ottawa is prioritizing educational efforts and  addressing the environmental factors that contribute to rat infestations. When a service  request is sent to By-law and Regulatory Services, officers attend the area and  proactively provide education to residents of the address. In addition, the officers proactively look in the surrounding areas to provide further education and engage  nearby property owners to address and prevent rat infestations.  

Beyond processing service requests and educational initiatives, the City has been  proactive to enhance our collective rat management response. We are committed to  continuing these efforts in the coming year, including: 

  • The inspection of food premises: Food premises, such as restaurants, grocery  stores, and warehouses, are inspected as defined the by Ministry of Health.  Public Health Inspectors conduct inspections, both on a routine and complaint  basis, to ensure compliance with the applicable Ministry regulations. Infractions  noted during these inspections, such as rodent infestations, are addressed.  
  • Introduction of the Rental Housing Property Management By-law: One  component of this By-law, which came into force August 31st 2020, is the  requirement of landlords to have an integrated pest management plan. The By law specifies that the landlord must develop a pest management plan that  includes proactive inspections, preventive maintenance and education provided  to tenants. Since the introduction of the By-law, Property Standards and Zoning  Officers in By-law and Regulatory Services are ensuring compliance as service  requests are received for any Property Standards or Property Maintenance calls. 
  • City Facility Maintenance: Facilities continue to work with qualified contractors to conduct integrated pest management control within City facilities, while following proper waste management regulations and guidelines regarding  securing waste.  
  • City Park Maintenance: Ottawa is a park-rich city with 12 major parks and over  1000 smaller parks or park-like sites. Public Works staff continue to monitor  parks for signs of rats and conduct pest management control activities when  

needed. In the 2024 Budget, Council approved an expansion of the Waste  Diversion in Parks pilot that will see green and blue bins in one additional park per ward. This expansion will help divert waste from the landfill and has the side  benefit of the bins being more resilient to pests.  

  • Enhancements to Waste Management through the Solid Waste Master Plan:  In 2024, the final Solid Waste Master Plan will be tabled for Council  consideration. That plan includes a wide range of waste diversion initiatives that aim to keep materials like organic waste out of the garbage stream, potentially  reducing pests attracted to food waste in that waste stream. Implementation of  the three-item limit for garbage, which was approved by Council in 2023 and will  be implemented in September 2024, will also support more usage of the green 


bin. Residents are encouraged to make use of weekly organic waste collection to  reduce food sources for rats. 

  • Construction best practices: The City of Ottawa encourages its contractors working on City projects to maintain construction sites and keep environments free from food and shelters that attract rats. A pilot project to conduct pre construction baiting is also being undertaken this year to collect additional data  and further understand the merits and challenges associated with baiting prior to  construction. The City is not responsible for all construction and cannot deny construction permits based solely on rat baiting requirements due to limitations  set by the Ontario Building Code Act and Planning Act. 
  • Sewer Baiting programs: Licensed contractors will undertake sewer baiting when rat activity is detected in relation to the sewer system. This action is restricted to City-owned sanitary sewers and must comply with Ministry of the  Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) regulations, ensuring bait  placement is selective to safeguard our ecosystem. 
  • Ottawa Community Housing: Ottawa Community Housing (OCH) is a key  partner in the city’s rat management efforts, contributing significantly to the Rat  Mitigation Working Group’s initiatives. With around 15,000 homes across diverse  Ottawa communities, OCH serves a wide array of residents from various cultural,  linguistic, and ethnic backgrounds. OCH’s has employed proactive pest  management measures to ensure their properties and communities are safe and  free from rats. 
  • Community engagement and data enhancement: The RMWG actively  engages with the community, exploring best practices through discussions with  partners, municipalities, participating in relevant training, and performing a review  of rat management strategies across North American municipalities. This  approach aims to identify and implement effective actions and initiatives tailored  to Ottawa’s unique context. The City is also exploring ways to collect more data  on high-activity zones for rats including new platform online reporting tool for rat  sightings. 

Continuous Improvement 

The re-establishment of the RMWG underscores our commitment in addressing rat related issues. This working group supports the sharing of best practices, enhances our  understanding of rat management, collaborates when rat issues cross several departments and identifies opportunities for further action. As we move forward, we  remain committed to refining our strategies, enhanced by data-driven insights and  community engagement. 

It Takes Everyone 

Effective rat management necessitates a collective approach. We encourage residents  and businesses to familiarize themselves with prevention and mitigation strategies  available on the City’s Rat Webpage and Ottawa Public Health Rat Control. Rat 


sightings anywhere in the City can be reported to 3-1-1. Together, we can make  significant strides in controlling rat populations and safeguarding our community’s health  and well-being. 

Your ongoing support and feedback are invaluable as we continue to navigate this complex issue. The City of Ottawa will continuously improve and find solutions to  address rat populations in the City. 


Marilyn Journeaux 

Rat mitigation Working Group Lead 

Director, Water Linear and Customer Services 

Infrastructure and Water Services Department 


Tammy Rose, General Manager – Infrastructure Water Services 

Kim Ayotte, General Manager – Emergency and Protective Services Alain Gonthier, General Manager – Public Works Department 

Cyril Rogers, General Manager, Finance Corporate Service 

Vera Etches, Medical Office of Health – Ottawa Public Health 

Dan Chenier, General Manager – Recreation, Culture and Facilities Renee Amilcar, General Manager – Transit Services 

Vivi Chi, General Manager – Planning Real Estate and Economic Development Clara Freire, General Manager– Community and Social Services 

Ryan Perrault, General Manager – Strategic Initiatives


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8 Responses

  1. David says:

    Just two thoughts arising from this. Is it a promotion or demotion to be assigned to the very large rat committee? How many – were any rates actually killed?

  2. David says:


  3. Diane Zarnke says:

    Looking around my neighborhood it is no wonder we have rat and mice infestations
    Garbage put out poorly packaged
    Garbage stored on front porch till Garbage day
    Lawns full of weeds….never cut……some weeds are several feet high
    I live in a new subdivision or Ottawa which is barely 5 years old and it already looks like a slum from snow melt in spring to first snow in fall.

    Environmentalists claim all the weeds are for bees.
    Give me a break… over Canada…..most of our country is forests, bush, and wilderness…..the bees have plenty of plants .

    There are cameras at intersections…..Use some of that money collected to hire people to go around and give fines to slobs living in houses who don’t clean up. clean up NOTHING.

  4. sisco farraro says:

    Rats! When I read the title of this article “City Continues Its War On Rats” I thought Ken was going to take another poke at city council. Imagine my surprise when I discovered the article was actually about our 4-legged friends. It was a nice touch that the city has assigned a name to the group heading this incredibly important cause “Rat Mitigation Working Group (RMWG)” with its own, not 3, but 4-letter acronym. Call me shocked when I say I’m not surprised that councilors do not read all the drivel that crosses their desks.

  5. Ron Benn says:

    Cause … effect.

    Let the garbage accumulate and the rat population increases. Just a variant of basic scientific principles. Actual science mind you, not the faux social sciences, not elitist political science. Actual immutable science.

  6. Ken Gray says:


    How could you think such a thing? Moi? Poking fun at the city government?

    Mr. Ferrari, you think so little of me.

    Nah, I decided to play it straight and let the commenters have the fun.



  7. The Voter says:

    Well, Ken, it seems that we were not provided with the memo about some promotions at the senior management table. If you look at the “C.C.” list at the bottom of that memo, you’ll notice that none of them are listed as ‘Interim’ Managers of their various fiefdoms. That can only mean they’re all permanent now, right? Or that someone was too lazy to type “Interim” that many times …

  8. Ken Gray says:

    The Voter:

    Or they’re trying to cover up the fact that many are interim. Good catch, Voter.



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