Dr. Isra Levy, the city's top public health official since 2011, is leaving the post to become a vice-president at Canadian Blood Services. City of Ottawa photo.

City’s top public health official leaving key post

By Maureen McEwan

Dr. Isra Levy, the City of Ottawa’s Medical Officer of Health for the past six years, will be leaving the position next month.

Ottawa Public Health posted the news of Levy’s resignation on its Facebook page Nov. 6.

Levy is moving to a new position with Canadian Blood Services as the vice-presient of medical affairs and innovation. Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson issued social media messages thanking Levy for his service at OPH.

Levy joined the city’s public health agency in 2006 as associate medical officer of health and was appointed to the top job in 2011.

In recent years, Levy has faced criticism for alleged inaction on the Ottawa opioid crisis. Levy oversaw the opening of an OPH supervised injection site on Clarence Street this September. OPH is working towards making the Byward Market location a permanent safe-injection site.

Levy studied and worked in South Africa and England before immigrating to Canada. He earned a degree from the University of Ottawa and has been a fellow at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

He practices family medicine and acts as an adjuct professor of epidemiology and communicable diseases at the U of O.

Levy has been representing OPH during budget consultations at City Hall in recent days. Levy’s last day with OPH is Dec. 15, two days after the expected approval of the municipal spending plan for 2018.