About Us

BFO Ottawa began in 1978 by two mothers who came together through their common experience of having lost a child. Prior to that, each of the mothers was well supported – by friends and family, through working with a therapist , or with the support of a spiritual community.  At a certain point, they each realized that what they needed was to meet another mother who had lost a child – to know whether it was possible to laugh again and to feel whole. These women formed the first peer support group for Loss of a Child.


BFO Ottawa has since expanded to support people for all types of loss. We also provide education about grief and bereavement support training for professionals and volunteers.

The mission of Bereaved Families of Ontario – OTTAWA REGION
is to inspire hope and transformation
in people who are grieving the death of a loved-one.

At BFO Ottawa, grief is understood as the natural response to the death of a loved-one, and that it’s possible to not only heal but grow with the right support, information and creative opportunities to navigate the wilderness of grief according to our own needs and timelines.

Everyone Welcome

The vision of Bereaved Families of Ontario – OTTAWA REGION is to inspire hope and transformation in people who are grieving the death of a loved-one. Our goal is to create a compassionate community where everyone has access to support appropriate to their unique needs and timelines. Program donations, personal donations, grants, and corporate contributions ensure BFO Ottawa’s viability as an organization. We are dedicated to offering affordable rates to all. Everyone is welcome regardless of ability to contribute financially.

What we offer

Bereaved Families of Ontario – OTTAWA REGION offers a range of programs and services that support healing and transformation in people of all ages. These include:

Peer support programs: are safe and supportive spaces to be in grief, to share and to listen; where those who’ve experienced a loss can connect with others who’ve experienced a similar loss. Peers help reduce the isolation that many people experience in grief and provide hope that healing is possible.  Our peer support groups are facilitated by trained volunteers who’ve experienced the death of a loved-one and want to help others heal.

Expressive arts programs: use a range of expressive art modalities (movement, storytelling, drumming, visual art, writing, dance, etc.) to express, integrate and transform grief.  Our expressive arts programs are offered to children, youth and adults.

Memorial events: These are touching and powerful community ceremonies and events to remember and honour your loved-ones.

Training and education:  We provide quality 3-day training workshops for bereavement caregivers and 1 hr to ½ day grief education workshops for community groups. Our training programs combine experiential and classroom style learning based on the “companioning” approach to bereavement support.  

We are a volunteer-based bereavement support organization, registered as a charitable organization and governed by a Board of Directors. We receive the guidance of professional consultants and an advisory committee of health care professionals. 

We’re affiliated with the Bereaved Families of Ontario, which was formed in Toronto in 1978 by bereaved parents. Learn about Bereaved Families of Ontario and their other affiliates 

We initiated Grief Resources Ottawa Workshop (GROW). GROW was developed for individuals in the Champlain Region who work in the field of grief and bereavement as professionals, students or volunteers.  These workshops were developed to give participants an opportunity to share knowledge, receive peer support and self-care, network and learn through panel presentations, discussions and workshops.  

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