A major project, with major impact: Ottawa’s new hospital to pump billions into city’s economy

An illustrator's rendering of a park-like urban plaza
Editor's Note

This article was sponsored by The Ottawa Hospital Foundation.

The Ottawa Hospital (TOH)’s planned 2.5-million-square-foot, $2.8B healthcare facility at Dow’s Lake will be a significant economic driver for the city, according to a recent Deloitte report.

Along with injecting nearly $2 billion into Ottawa’s economy, the new hospital will create more than 4,000 full-time jobs over the four-year project, driving about $1.24 billion in labour income.

That’s a significant economic boost on top of the project’s other benefits, including the socio-economic advantages of having a state-of-the-art facility in the heart of the city, explains Nathalie Cadieux, executive vice-president of finance and business development at TOH.

“We know over 2,000 trade workers will come on-site every day, on average,” she says. “They’re going to spend money in the community. It’s going to drive a lot of local business and bring additional revenues to the residents of Ottawa.”

The report says every dollar spent on hospital construction will contribute an estimated $0.72 of value-added benefits to Ottawa’s economy and create or sustain approximately two full-time jobs in the city.

But that’s just the beginning of the new hospital’s future economic impact, which will be felt long after the final construction work is complete.

Already one of the world’s top smart hospitals, TOH’s new campus will increase the city’s value proposition as a destination for further health sciences and bioscience investment, R&D and innovation. A new neuroscience research centre, digital health innovation hub, and other expanded facilities will house hundreds of basic research scientists, clinician investigators, trainees and other research staff. 

Cadieux says the goal is to create a collaboration hub between the private sector, industry partners, researchers and clinicians for developing new products and technologies for the future of healthcare.

Such an emphasis on innovation will help brand Ottawa as a “top destination for talent,” according to Farm Boy partner and Campaign to Create Tomorrow Executive Committee member Jeffrey York. 

“I’m into the idea of making Ottawa a top destination for talent,” he says, adding that many other cities can’t further develop their downtown hospital campuses because of an acute lack of space.  

“That’s not the case here – we’ve got this great campus just sitting there,” he says. “A world-class facility like this will be a springboard to attract great research and medical talent to the city and for world-class talent to make Ottawa their home. It will make us a health sciences leader. And that’s on top of all of the health benefits for the local community.”

That’s something Cadieux says gives her a sense of pride – not just as a TOH employee of many years but as a citizen of Ottawa. 

And, it’s thanks to the generosity of the local community through the hospital’s transformational $500 million fundraising campaign – the Campaign to Create Tomorrow – that a campus of this scope and scale is even possible. 

“It’s going to be one of the largest hospitals ever built in Canada, and to have that in Ottawa – first of all, it will provide critical advanced healthcare services for the region,” she says. “And I know that my future, my family’s future, and all our loved ones will be well taken care of in a world-class hospital with world-class services.”

While construction on the new campus will begin in 2024 – and is expected to wrap up in 2028 – as Cadieux notes, the impact of the hospital will be felt long after the campus is complete. 

“It’s an exciting project for our community, but also very positive for our healthcare workers, who have been through a lot in the past couple of years,” she says. “I’m excited for the future of our hospital.”