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Photo courtesy of United Way Ottawa.

Community Builders: Shining a light on Hydro Ottawa’s local love

By United Way Ottawa and Samantha Pope on August 26, 2019

Samantha Pope is one of Apt613’s correspondents at United Way Ottawa. With its Community Builder Award program, United Way Ottawa honours Ottawa’s outstanding volunteers: the organizations, partnerships, agencies, neighbourhood groups and individuals who work tirelessly to make our city a better place for everyone.

After working long shifts to quickly restore power after the September 2018 tornadoes, many Hydro Ottawa employees would end their days by going home to their own damaged homes.

“To find people that had massive damage on their homes [with] no power, coming in to do work, and then going home to do work in their communities—that’s the type of people that we have responding to these situations,” said Julie Lupinacci, chief customer officer at Hydro Ottawa. “[But] they would tell you it’s all in a day’s job.”

Responding quickly and compassionately to the 2018 tornadoes is just one way Hydro Ottawa has demonstrated its commitment to the residents of Ottawa. The company is also engaged in making a difference across the city, 365 days a year.

Because of this dedication, United Way Ottawa awarded Hydro Ottawa with the Community Impact Award at the Community Builder of the Year Awards Gala on May 16th of this year. The award is presented to an organization that engages others in investing, raising awareness, and taking action around critical issues in our community.

“We are a community-based company—the citizens of Ottawa own this company,” said Bryce Conrad, president and chief executive officer of Hydro Ottawa. “In turn, my employees have an opportunity to give back and help out their community.”

Every Hydro Ottawa employee has a bank of paid volunteer days to use for helping local agencies, organizations, and causes in the community. In 2018, Hydro employees were involved in a whopping 187 volunteer days for local hospitals.

It’s probably the part of the job that is most rewarding, he says, adding that Hydro Ottawa tries to build community support in its day-to-day operations.

Upon joining the company two years ago, Julie says she was baffled at the amount of work Hydro Ottawa does to support Ottawa’s most vulnerable. “The employee engagement component here is unmatched to anything I’ve seen,” she said.

Every Hydro Ottawa employee has a bank of paid volunteer days to use for helping local agencies, organizations, and causes in the community. In 2018, Hydro employees were involved in a whopping 187 volunteer days for local hospitals.

Additionally, Hydro Ottawa has donated more than $1 million over five years to the Ottawa Hospital Foundation’s Rose Ages Breast Health Centre. Over the past decade, employees have contributed more than $2.5 million to United Way through their workplace campaign. And, as an organizational initiative, for the past six years Hydro Ottawa has donated $5 dollars to the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario for every customer who switched to online billing.

The company has also had a greater impact on the environment through its leadership in sustainability. Hydro Ottawa encourages residents to learn about renewable energy opportunities and electricity conservation—to save costs, and to lessen the strain on the environment.

Through volunteerism, financial support and leadership, Hydro Ottawa and its employees are a force for good in Ottawa. Hydro Ottawa employees, according to Julie, continually give where they live.

“Our people are constantly looking for ways to be able to support, and that’s what true community membership is all about.”


Through research, evaluation and partnerships with community experts, United Way Ottawa identifies the root causes of the biggest social challenges facing our community, and helps find solutions that change tens of thousands of lives for the better. One hundred percent of donations stay in Ottawa to help those most in need.