Quality and Productivity Database

Descriptive Title of Proposal: University of Ottawa: Residence Expansion
Year Submitted 2016
Person(s) Responsible for the Idea
Name Title
Michel Guilbeault Associate Vice-President, Student Services (interim)
Josephine Saunders Assistant Director, Assignments and Hoteling, Housing Service
Eliette Portelance Manager, Operations and Client Service
Benoit Séguin Manager, Financial Analysis, Housing Service
Raynald Audet Manager, Facilities and Planning (Interim)
Name of Institution University of Ottawa
Office Address 90 University Private (143)
Ottawa, Ontario K1N 1H3
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Telephone: 613-562-5800 x3039
Email Address: Email hidden; Javascript is required.
Name (Senior Administrative Office of the Institution) Michel Guilbeault
Title (Senior Administrative Office of the Institution) Associate Vice-President, Student Services (interim)
Office Address 90 University Private (143)
Ottawa, Ontario K1N 1H3
Map It
Telephone: 613-562-5800 x3039
Email Address: Email hidden; Javascript is required.

Faced with pressure to meet the growing demand of first-year residents, the University of Ottawa's Housing Service conducted an analysis which led to the development of the Residence Expansion Business Case. It was established that a shortfall of approx. 1,000 beds existed in order to meet the needs of first-year students for whom living in residence was deemed to be crucial for their successful social and academic transition to uOttawa. To address this shortfall need, uOttawa's Housing Service launched a Request for Information exercise in December 2013. This Request for Information exercise was launched to solicit partnership opportunities from the private sector. The exercise ultimately led to agreements with private developers, an important component of uOttawa's emerging Housing Strategy which was completed in summer 2015. Supporting documentation is available upon request.


Between September 2014 and September 2015, Housing Service, which is a 100% self-funded service, added 3 new residences (Friel, Rideau and Henderson), increasing the number of residences from 7 to 10 while at the same time increasing the number of students in residence from approximately 2, 900 to 4,000 students. The last time the University launched a new residence project was in 2004. For the current academic year, Housing Service was able to provide a room to all first-year students who expressed a desire to live in residence regardless of the June guaranteed housing deadline. With the needs met of first-year students wishing to live in residence, the Service has recently focused its efforts on providing returning students with the opportunity to live in residence which was the driving force behind uOttawa's long-term agreement of 45 Mann, a purpose-built private student residence to open in September 2016. With the addition of the Mann residence, uOttawa will offer housing to 4,400 students in one of its eleven residences, an increase of approximately 47% in a 24 month span from 2014 to 2016.


By sharing our experience of residence expansion we hope to inspire others to embrace opportunities that lie within their community and encourage partnership through collaboration.

Criteria Please submit one paragraph describing how the proposal fulfills each of the evaluation criteria.

Housing Service has entered into three unique, long-term agreements to accommodate the growing number of first-year students requiring a place in a uOttawa managed and operated residence. The best practices that we have acquired can be shared and transferred to other post-secondary institutions, especially those who are limited in space, funds, and/or resources.

Sharing of information and best practices:

• Peer presentations

• Conference calls

• Reference documents

Quality Impact

In 2013, uOttawa's Housing Service developed its Residence Expansion Business Case which assessed the relationship between living in residence with student retention and student satisfaction rates. The findings seemed to demonstrate a positive correlation between universities who provided the highest percentage of first-year students with a place to live on campus with retention rates and student satisfaction rates. These findings were instrumental in garnering the required support from the Administrative Board and approvals for uOttawa's residence expansion. That said, uOttawa expects to see improved retention and satisfaction rates in future survey results of its students.

Productivity Impact

In the context of limited land and funds, the uOttawa leveraged opportunities with the private sector that provided immediate residence facilities with 1261 new beds in the span of two years. All projects were achieved with limited capital  outlay from the university's Housing Service while mitigating the need to address future deferred maintenance costs.


As highlighted in the latest edition of COU report (Faster Cheaper Smarter, Improving Efficiency at Ontario Universities, December 2015), uOttawa's Housing Service has attracted students to a converted retirement residence as well as a converted hotel (Quality Inn) enabling it to increase the number of residence offers to first-year students. The result of this innovation is a smoother transition for first-year students and an improved student experience.

A third residence exclusively for upper-year students will open in September 2016 as a result of another partnership with the private sector.