Why are we revisiting the issue of Ward structure?

In 2002, Ottawa undertook to revise its ward structure. The need for the review arose because growth within Ottawa, especially in the suburban communities, has placed pressure on representation within the existing ward system. The decision of Council was appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). In its findings, the OMB stated that the proposed ward structure focused too heavily on representation by population, instead of effective representation. As a result, no changes were made to the existing ward structure. The original problems and continuing population growth have further compounded the pressure on local representation. In response to this mounting pressure, City Council has directed that a new ward boundary review be undertaken. This review will build upon lessons learned from the original ward boundary review, and incorporate new technical information and input from the public consultation process.

For more information.

What is Effective Representation?

Most people think that representation is based on population - "rep by pop". But representation is far more complex. The true test for fairness in representation is called "effective representation". This means that in determining election boundaries at all levels of government, in addition to population, issues such as geography, local history, community interests and minority representation need to be considered. Pursuing effective representation means that each citizen should have a voice in government and the ability to bring their concerns to a representative who understands their interests. This is effective representation. It is an approach that has been upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada and which the Ward Boundary Review will strive to achieve.

What is a Community of Interest?

The concept of a "community of interest" is a critical element in creating wards that provide for effective representation. It is also very hard to define precisely. People share common interests that are often based on where they live, the places they carry out many of their daily tasks or where their children go to school. Some people have a strong connection to "their community" while others do not. The current ward review will consider such items in an attempt to incorporate communities of interest into effective local government representation.

How will the City be reviewing its Ward structure?

The consultants will conduct the Ward Boundary Review which includes:

  • leading the public consultation process;
  • receiving and reviewing comments and submissions from citizens, community groups, associations and Councillors;
  • formulating and testing options with the public and community organizations;
  • developing options for a ward structure and Council size that will accommodate growth and population shifts for at least the next 10 years; and,
  • preparing and presenting a final report and recommendations to the Corporate Services and Economic Development Committee and then Council.

For more information see the mandate of the Consultants;

What principles guide the Ward Boundary Review?

1. Protection of communities of interest and neighbourhoods.
2. Consideration of present and future population trends.
3. Consideration of physical features as natural boundaries.
4. Consideration of representation by population.

For more information on the Guiding Principles.

What are the timelines for the Ward Boundary Review?

October - Ward Boundary Review process commences
- First round of public consultation
December 6
- Deadline for public comments
February 2005
- Second round of public consultation - release for public comment of a discussion paper containing one or more draft options for new ward boundaries and council size
March 21, 2005
- Deadline for public comments on options
May or June 2005
- Report to Corporate Services and Economic Development Committee on proposed ward structure and council size
June 2005
- City Council to consider the recommendations

For more information see Key Dates and Timelines.

When will these new ward boundaries come into effect?

City Council will make the final decision on whether or not to implement any recommendations regarding ward boundaries. Any changes that are adopted would be implemented for the 2006 municipal elections.

Does this Review address the City's external boundaries?

No. The Ward Boundary Review process will only address ward boundaries within the existing geographical limits of the City of Ottawa. The City's external boundaries are defined by provincial legislation and, therefore, are not part of this review.

What is the anticipated cost of the Ward Boundary Review?

It is anticipated that the Ward Boundary Review will cost $100 000 which includes consulting costs, public involvement and internal staff time and resources.

How can I get more information on the Review?

There are a number of ways to find out more about the Ward Boundary Review:

  • Visit the Ward Boundary Review Web site at ottawa.ca/ward.
  • You can also visit one of the city's Smart Site locations. These sites, conveniently located in schools, municipal offices, libraries and other community facilities, feature Internet-ready computers that are available for public use. For information on the Smart Site location near you, contact the City's Contact centre at 3-1-1.
  • Pick up a workbook on the Ward Boundary Review. They will be available starting November 17 at Ottawa City Hall, all Client Service Centres, public libraries and community centres.
  • Attend one of the public meetings/information sessions in November 2004 and in February 2005.
  • Call and leave a message at 613-580-2660 (TTY: 613-580-2401), or e-mail your questions to ward@ottawa.ca.

Where can I review a map of the City of Ottawa's current ward structure or find out about current ward populations?

Review the current ward maps and populations. In addition, ward maps, the Ward Boundary Review workbook and additional boundary review information will be available for reference at Ottawa City Hall, satellite client service centres and public libraries. As well, you can get a complete information package by calling at 613-580-2660 (TTY: 613-580-2401), or by sending an email to ward@ottawa.ca.

How can I assist in developing the Ward Boundary Review recommendations?

Changing the City's ward boundaries is a challenging task. You can help by completing the feedback sheets in the workbook. You can also provide your comments and suggestions, either by phone, fax or e-mail to one of the contact points outlined below. Attend the public meeting in your area to provide input and comment on options for new ward boundaries and the size of Council. Your views are important. Tell the consultants what ward system you think would improve the effective representation of your community.

How can I submit my comments on the Ward Boundary Review?

There are several different ways to submit your comments to the consultant:

  • By phone: 613-580-2660 (TTY: 613- 580-2401)
  • By fax: 613-580-2661
  • By e-mail: ward@ottawa.ca
  • By mail:
  • Davidson Group
    c/o The City of Ottawa
    Ward Boundary Review Office
    110 Laurier Avenue West
    Ottawa ON
    K1P 1J1.
  • At two series of public meetings.

Is this going to affect the school board elections?

School board electoral areas (zones) are composed of one or more municipal wards. Therefore, changes to the ward boundaries could affect the school boards' electoral boundaries. Any new boundaries would be established by the school boards and implemented in time for the 2006 municipal elections.

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