Elizabeth Fry Society of Ottawa

The Elizabeth Fry Society of Ottawa is a United Way member agency devoted to helping women and female youth who are, or may be, at risk of coming into conflict with the law. We offer a variety of different programs and services to provide women with confidential and supportive living and learning environments.

Women of all ages are referred to Elizabeth Fry Society of Ottawa by the officials working in the criminal justice system, by lawyers, medical professionals, social workers, social assistance workers, and by staff of community-based organizations and agencies. Women also seek out our services through word-of-mouth referrals and self-referrals.

Through our programs and services, we help women and their families make... changes... one step at a time.  And we have been successful in doing so for over 60 years!

In Memoriam

It is with great sadness that The Elizabeth Fry Society of Ottawa acknowledges the death of Alison Mackenzie Dewar. Read more


The Elizabeth Fry Society of Ottawa is the grateful recipient of funding from:

UW logo

The support of the Government of Ontario is acknowledged

The Elizabeth Fry Society of Ottawa gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the City of Ottawa/Elizabeth Fry Society d'Ottawa remercie sincerement la Ville d'Ottawa de son soutien financier

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A special Thank you to:

Accurate Graphic Design & Communication


Infusion Design & Communications Inc.


“Want to create a criminal? Change everything in a child’s life and keep changing it. Undermine their sense of belonging and security from their family connections and their cultural heritage. Add racism , poverty, social isolation, to further develop feelings of insecurity and social deprivation .Given a child’s growth stage , they are unable to articulate their feelings so we watch this child start to "act out" their anger, frustrations and deep hurt .We then label the child "bad," unmanageable," "challenging," etc. to further perpetuate their feelings of unworthiness and victimization. Keep this up until one day the child turns to alcohol, drugs , prostitution and eventually, if there is no intervention or turnaround , the child is labelled " criminal" and becomes a part of the system”

( Theijsmeifer, 2002: 2).

Prison Walls are so cold -

Locked up and left on hold,

Guards always strict and bold.

People going for visits,

‘Cause someone cares.

Knowing I won’t have one,

As they have all been there.

Waiting for a letter

Hoping for someone to write.

But knowing in your heart it won’t happen

As if you’re out of sight.

(by Dakota – a client of The Elizabeth Fry Society of Ottawa)



News & Events

Seeking Accountability by the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) for its treatment of Women

Coroner's Jury releases its verdict in the Ashley Smith Inquest. Click here

Non-Conviction Records FAQ

Please see the following link for information on non-convction records, how to find out if you have one, and whether you can remove the information.
Canadian Civil Liberties Association Non-Conviction Records FAQ

Rona Fundraiser

Every supporter of the Elizabeth Fry Society of Ottawa will receive a Rona discount card, which entitles the card holder to receive a 5% discount at two Rona Home and Garden locations in Ottawa. Also, a matching donation of 5% will be made to the Elizabeth Fry Society of Ottawa for every purchase that you make. For more information, please click the following link: http://efryottawa.com/news/?p=142

United Way Campaign Donations

Please consider designating your United Way campaign donation to our agency. It's easy to do - when filling in your donation form - include our organization name – The Elizabeth Fry Society of Ottawa and our charitable number which is 107294456 RR0001.

Julie Bilotta: The woman who gave birth in a jail cell in the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre

For more information on this matter, please click here.

Applying for a Record Suspension?
Formally known as a "pardon"

From the Parole Board of Canada website:
“Applying for a Record Suspension? Know the Facts..."

Information from unofficial sources on the record suspension application process can be incorrect, out-of-date, and sometimes misleading.

Individuals are encouraged to deal directly with the Parole Board of Canada (PBC) when seeking information on the record suspension application process to ensure they have the most factual and up-to-date information available. This can help avoid potential delays in the processing of an application.”

Please visit the Parole Board of Canada website for the application form and details on applying for a record suspension. http://pbc-clcc.gc.ca/prdons/fcts-eng.shtml

Students Looking to interview staff:

If you are a student looking to interview staff for an assignment, please follow this link for our response. Thank you.

Student Placement Opportunities:

If you are a college or university student who is interested in completing your placement with the Elizabeth Fry Society of Ottawa, please download the following attachment and return it by email or fax to: Chantal Surgeson

Elizabeth Fry Society of Ottawa

in the News:

Murder Highlights Importance of Sex-Worker Safety

The Somerset West Community Health Centre is promoting safety tips for women selling sex 

Emily Chan, Centretown News

Published: Friday, October 11, 2013

Ottawa woman’s human rights settlement sparkssweeping changes for Ontario jails

Christina Jahn reached a settlemnt with the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services.

Andrew Seymore, Ottawa Citizen

Published: Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Helping Criminalized Women Reintegrate Into Society

Comics raise funds for the Elizabeth Fry Society's transition house

Noreen Fagan, Capital XTRA

Published: Monday, October 18, 2010

Police Step Up Prostitution Sweeps

Cops execute two blitzes in two weeks

Noreen Fagan, Capital XTRA

Published: Friday, November 20, 2009

Overcrowding at Ottawa Women's Jail

Police/No movement on hooker sweeps in wake of poor conditions

Marcus McCann, Capital XTRA

Published: Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Detention centre bursting after sweep

Advocacy group says overcrowding is blocking programs that would keep women from re-offending

Neco Cockburn, Ottawa Citizen

Published: Friday, November 14, 2008