About Us


About PAL Ottawa

PAL Ottawa is a vital resource—a lifeline—for artists and arts workers in all disciplines who, due to age, low income and, in some cases, disability, struggle to maintain a decent style of life in their senior years.

Canada’s Capital Region has been described as the Festival Capital of Canada for its many artistic celebrations. We are a national centre of creative expression, supporting our region’s vibrant economic growth. Many of the artists who have entertained and enthralled us for so many years have attained celebrity in their lives…but because of the ups and downs of their profession, some arrive at the end of a long career without an adequate pension or other resources that enable them to live in dignity and to continue engaging creatively with the community.

A non-profit, charitable organization founded in November 2012, PAL Ottawa works to provide or help connect members of the Capital Region’s professional arts community with essentials such as affordable housing, personal care services, and links to the local arts community so they can live, not in isolation, need and fear, but in dignity within a caring community.

PAL Ottawa is the 8th Chapter of PAL Canada, an initiative begun in the late ‘80s that has so far resulted in the creation of affordable housing facilities for artists in Toronto, Vancouver and Stratford.

Our Story


PAL Ottawa is a not-for-profit corporation with charitable status. Its Mission is to provide senior members of the Capital Region’s arts community with essentials such as personal care services, links to the local arts community and affordable housing,  — so they can live, not in isolation and need and fear, but in dignity within a caring community, and:

  • Retain their independence and well-being
  • Maintain their creative energy
  • Remain connected to the artistic community

Our clients

PAL Ottawa serves senior members of the arts community across artistic disciplines, including theatre, dance, music, visual, literary and media arts. Most of these artists have lived on a below-average income all of their working lives. The average income for full-time performing arts workers is identified as $17,137 in the Cultural HR Study 2010 released in December 2010 by the Cultural Human Resources Council. These artists have enriched our community with their work, making Ottawa a lively and engaging city. Now it is time for the community to give back to them, ensuring they receive the assistance and fellowship they need to live free of isolation, want and fear.

Our personal assistance program: Supporting Cast

Our personal assistance program, Supporting Cast, helps senior members of the arts community to retain their independence while maintaining residence in their current home. Our Supporting Cast volunteers are trained to assist individual artists in need with the tasks of daily living. The services our volunteers offer include companionship, errands, transportation, and connecting artists to community agencies, health care providers and the wider arts community. In the coming year, we will expand our Supporting Cast services to provide programs that support and educate artists in areas of concern such as estate and financial planning. In addition, we will be further educating ourselves and extending our own network, so as to be able to connect artists to the advice, support, and alternatives they may be seeking in respect of their current living arrangements.

Board Members

Peter Haworth
Board Chair

Sandy Mackay-Smith
Treasurer; Chair, Business and Finance

David Whiteley

Victoria Steele
Assistant Treasurer; Chair, Nominating Committee

Catherine Lindquist
Co-Chair, Housing Project

Hali Krawchuk
Member, Communications and Community Engagement

Stephen Arbuckle
Board Member

Alison Atkins
Board Member

Jim Bradford
Founding Chair; Interim Chair, Fundraising