Draft Budget 2022 - At a Glance
A pathway to recovery: Investing in our people and communities
The COVID-19 pandemic continued to dominate headlines in 2021, impacting every facet of life in our communities – from schools and businesses to personal and family activities. While vaccines started to arrive in early 2021 and have rolled out throughout the year, Ottawa was still impacted by the restrictions and lockdowns associated with a third wave. That took a significant financial toll on residents and businesses.
Throughout the year, municipal services continued to play a critical role in pandemic response – including administering a successful vaccination campaign that resulted in Ottawa edging closer to a 90 per cent vaccination rate among eligible residents. Those vaccinations and continued preventive measures have stabilized the pandemic situation in Ottawa, enabling us to keep moving forward on the road to recovery.
Still, while things look hopeful, we are not yet quite back to normal. For that reason, the City needs to maintain flexibility with Draft Budget 2022 to ensure we can adapt and respond to any changes as we continue to monitor the evolving situation.
The City’s well-established record of fiscal responsibility and stewardship has placed us on a strong and stable financial footing – even after we factor in the costs of the pandemic response and our vaccination program, and the reduced revenues coming from recreation programs and transit ridership. These expenditures and the decline in revenues have been offset by funding from upper levels of government – including the Province’s commitment to cover administration of the vaccination program. The City will continue to leverage provincial and federal funding to offset lower revenues and additional costs.
Draft Budget 2022 will continue Ottawa’s prudent approach and will focus on affordability by capping the overall tax increase at three per cent. This will help ensure the City can continue to deliver essential service while still advancing Council priorities, including affordable housing.
In addition, the City will extend its affordability commitment to small businesses by creating a new tax sub-class that will provide a 15-per-cent tax discount over two years for 10,000 small businesses.
Draft Budget 2022 couples responsible fiscal spending with a focus on affordability to place us squarely on the road to recovery while ensuring the City remains responsive to the pandemic, the health of our residents and the resilience of our local economy.
Community health, well-being and safety highlights
The City’s top priorities are the health, well-being and safety of residents. While the pandemic response continues our commitment to community health, Draft Budget 2022 includes many other initiatives and services that are integral to the overall well-being of residents – including economic, environmental, social and mental health. Pandemic restrictions and closures highlighted the importance of recreational activities and City facilities in our communities. They offer significant benefits to the social, physical and mental health of our residents and Draft Budget 2022 continues to invest in these important community services and assets.
Parks, recreation and culture
- $16 million to repair facilities and improve public access and service at City buildings
- $6 million to renew parks
- $1.8 million to upgrade and improve accessibility in recreation facilities, including the Nepean Sportsplex dressing rooms
- $1 million to partner with community groups to develop, expand, renovate and improve parks and recreation facilities
- $645,000 to upgrade and improve recreation infrastructure to better meet community needs
- $300,000 to repair facilities and improve public access and service at City buildings
- $250,000 to install or upgrade pathway lighting in parks
- $200,000 to rehabilitate outdoor sports courts by resurfacing and improving drainage and lighting
- $150,000 to upgrade security at outdoor pools with fencing and monitoring equipment
- $125,000 to repair and maintain equipment, improve health and safety standards and meet accessibility requirements at cultural facilities
- $250,000 to respond to community requests for minor park improvements
- $400,000 to improve outdoor rink storage and skate-changing structures, equipment and water taps.
- $200,000 to support operation and storage of museum and historical assets
- $3 million for energy management and investments strategy project intended for various facility enhancements designed to reduce overall building energy intensity, energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions
- $11.5 million to improve pedestrian and cycling infrastructure, such as pathways and sidewalks
- $7.2 million to implement the various initiatives identified from the Strategic Road Safety Action Plan
- $530,000 for pedestrian crossovers installations
- $2.2 million to improve the pedestrian and cycling network, as part of the Major Active Transportation Structures Program, including a new pedestrian and cycling bridge over the Rideau River at Carleton University
- $2.9 million to improve pedestrian amenities, like sidewalks and pathways, identified in the Ottawa Pedestrian Plan as part of the 2022 Pedestrian Facilities Program
- Design and construction of center piers of a pedestrian bridge at Trim Road
- $4.9 million for the planning, design, construction, and project management of the new cycling facilities and improvements to existing facilities and spine routes identified in the 2013 Ottawa Cycling Plan as part of the 2022 Cycling Facilities Program
- $200,000 to build accessible pedestrian facilities as part of the Pedestrian Access – Intersection & Ramp Program
- $1.2 million for the planning, design, construction and project management of the pedestrian and cycling linkages that are not identified in the 2013 Ottawa Pedestrian Plan and Ottawa Cycling Plan affordable network
- $498,000 to support the development and update of the City’s long-term transportation plans and policies
- $2.1 million for the planning, design, construction, and project management of stand-alone traffic calming measures recommended through Neighbourhood Traffic Calming studies
- $2.4 million for work on hydro poles and streetlights
- $310,000 to research and pilot new technologies to support roads operations
- $1.9 million to support the purchase of property parcels, as they become available, for future transit corridors and facilities
- $1.8 million to improve existing and build new transit stations, including purchasing property for future Park & Ride locations outside the Greenbelt
- Support safety investigations, reporting, regulatory compliance, quality assurance, training and development
- Pursue partnerships with the Canada Infrastructure Bank and Infrastructure Canada to purchase 74 new battery-electric buses and the supporting charging infrastructure
- $1.3 million to hire 14 paramedic staff and procure associated vehicles to address population growth
- Convert more than 4,000 streetlights to LEDs
- $1.9 million to support Solid Waste Master Plan projects, including efforts to shift the responsibility for waste to individual producers
- $1 million for a groundwater modelling study to determine localized movement of groundwater at the Trail Waste Facility
- $950,000 to expand and develop the Trail Waste Facility to allow for operational and safety improvements
- $18 million to design and install a leachate liner to cover the Stage 5 development of the Trail Waste Facility
- $1 million to develop and operate a soil management facility to meet landfill cover and new regulatory requirements at Trail Waste Facility
- $500,000 to replace lead pipes
- $15.2 million to rehabilitate the Robert O. Pickard Environmental Centre (ROPEC) wastewater treatment plant
- $1.95 million to repair or rehabilitate structures and equipment to ensure the City remains compliant with all provincial stormwater environmental regulations
- Remove accumulated sediment at the Kanata Town Centre stormwater management facility and the Clarke Bellinger stormwater management facility
- $650,000 to construct new or improve existing municipal drain infrastructure to ensure the City remains compliant with Drainage Act regulations
- $1 million to support the transition to a greener municipal fleet
- $2.2 million for natural systems, resiliency, and climate change
Affordable living and housing highlights
The hallmark of any prosperous, vibrant city is its ability to provide every resident the same opportunities to achieve self-sustainability. The pandemic focused our attention even more closely on the importance of affordable housing and housing supply issues. Many residents cannot afford a place to call home – especially younger residents, older adults on fixed incomes and residents earning minimum wage. The pandemic compounded housing affordability issues as more people were furloughed from their jobs, took positions with lower incomes or lost jobs altogether. A shortage in Ottawa’s housing supply fuelled a housing market that saw exponential increases in house prices.
- $17 million to develop more affordable and supportive housing, which includes approximately $15 million in capital and $2 million in development charge exemptions
- $1 million to help local landlords make essential repairs and improve accessibility in their buildings and increase the supply of affordable rental units in Ottawa
- $27 million to help non-profit providers deliver social services to residents facing the greatest need
- Continuation of the fare freeze for the EquiPass for low-income residents and the Community Pass for Ontario Disability Support Program recipients
Small business affordability
- Provide a 15-per cent tax discount to approximately 10,000 small businesses on qualifying properties over two years, starting with a 7.5-per-cent discount in 2022. Cost is offset by the elimination of the Excess Land Tax subclass discount and a 1.46-per-cent increase to commercial and industrial properties that do not receive a discount
- Limiting the proposed overall tax increase for City to 3 per cent
- Limiting the police budget to a 3 per cent increase
- Limiting the proposed transit levy to 4.5 per cent
- Limiting the proposed transit fare increase to 2.5 per cent
Infrastructure investment highlights
Investments in infrastructure remain a key element in helping Ottawa turn the corner in our post-pandemic economic recovery. It leads to more development, new investment, business growth opportunities and ultimately more employment. This employment growth, in turn, supports local retail and service industries. Stage 2 of our expanding LRT system is one of many major infrastructure projects that will help keep our economy and the future job market moving forward. Other key sewer and flood mitigation infrastructure work will also prevent property damage and protect our environment and our waterways.
- $88 million to improve and renew roadways, which includes $76 million for resurfacing
- $62 million for major road construction projects, including widening the Findlay Creek area of Bank Street, an Earl Grey Drive underpass and a roundabout on Palladium Drive
- $48 million in spending for integrated sewer and road work
- $12 million to improve water systems and to rehabilitate watermain transmission and distribution
- $10 million to repair and improve sewers
- $40 million investment in projects related to water, sewer and storm to support growth
- $1.5 million to rehabilitate storm and surface water infrastructure
- $18 million to renew culverts
- $1 million investment in the Ottawa River Action Plan and Wet Weather Infrastructure Master Plan
- $4.4 million for rural road upgrades and guiderails
- $1.6 million for comprehensive asset management
- $230,000 for flood-plain mapping
- $10.2 million for capital investments in the City-operated long-term care homes, including $7.2 million for lifecycle renewal and replacement works to existing buildings, and $2.1 million to enhance air cooling capacity
Draft Budget 2022 - Backgrounders
A pathway to recovery: Investing in our people and communities
Investing in our people
The hallmark of any world-class city is its ability to provide everyone equal opportunity to participate, share and benefit in the community’s growth and prosperity. The City of Ottawa remains committed to these values as we continue along our pathway to recovery, ensuring no resident is left behind. Draft Budget 2022 outlines significant people-first investments that seek to deliver more affordable housing, improve access to recreational services, and foster greater gender and racial inclusion.
Investing in parks and recreation facilities
The pandemic restrictions and regulations that have impacted the use of parks, outdoor amenities and recreation facilities made residents realize how important these assets are to their social, physical and mental well-being – from the very young to the young-at-heart. Draft Budget 2022 continues to invest in these important assets, with $6 million to renew parks across Ottawa. The budget also commits $1 million to partner with community groups for the development, renovation and expansion of parks and recreation facilities, with another $1.8 million to upgrade recreation facilities for greater accessibility. Those investments will add functionality to better meet the needs of each community.
Additional investments include $250,000 for park pathway lighting, $200,000 to refurbish outdoor sports courts, $150,000 to upgrade outdoor pool security, $250,000 to improve park amenities like park furniture, swings and litter containers, and $400,000 for park infrastructure to accommodate outdoor rinks.
Affordable housing and homelessness investments
Greater access to suitable, affordable and supportive housing provides opportunities for people to improve their well-being, enjoy greater stability and engage with their communities. Investing in housing also reduces other associated costs of homelessness, including those related to health care and emergency services. The City will invest $17 million to develop more affordable and supportive housing, which includes approximately $15 million in capital and $2 million in development charge exemptions for residents in greatest need. That investment builds on identical commitments in the previous three budgets totalling $51 million in this current four-year Term of Council.
As well, from now until early 2022, the City will invest $1 million from the Ontario Renovates Program to fund small landlords and help them undertake repairs and accessibility enhancements that will help increase the supply of affordable rental units across Ottawa.
Investing in communities
Draft Budget 2022 will continue to invest in communities with improvements to our shared roadways and mobility infrastructure, as well as to our natural environment and waterways. It will also focus on greater affordability for small businesses, and on the health and safety of residents. As always, the City will continue to invest in the drinking-water system that provides high-quality water to all parts of Ottawa.
Infrastructure renewal remains integral to the City’s commitment to improve mobility for all, prevent flooding and optimize sewer and drainage systems. Infrastructure investment outlined in Draft Budget 2022 will act as a stimulus to bolster our local economy, generating more employment through construction and maintenance work, and ultimately increasing consumer demand for the goods and services offered by our local businesses.
Stage 2 of LRT continues to be the City’s largest infrastructure project in our history, expanding greater transit mobility to our east, west and south suburban communities and to Ottawa’s international airport.
The City will also continue ongoing major urban renewal projects like the rehabilitation of Montreal Road. Draft Budget 2022 will add to that investment with a little more than $62 million for new major road projects. These will include widening the Findlay Creek area of Bank Street, an underpass on Earl Grey Drive and a roundabout on Palladium Drive. Draft Budget 2022 invests an additional $88 million for road renewal, including $76 million for road resurfacing.
This year’s budget also invests more than $11.5 million to improve pedestrian and cycling pathway connections – such as the cycling and pedestrian bridge at Carleton University. In addition, the budget commits $13.4 million in enhancements to active transportation through programs such as the Cycling and Pedestrian Facilities Programs.
Additional investments in infrastructure include $67 million to support rural infrastructure, $12 million to improve water systems and rehabilitate watermain transmission and distribution, and $40 million for water, sewer and storm projects to support growth.
Community health and safety
The City is maintaining a steady and cautious approach on its pathway to recovery, keeping an eye on what’s ahead of us and any potential changes to the current situation. Draft Budget 2022 positions the City with the flexibility to respond as needed to protect the health and safety of residents and businesses.
Draft Budget 2022 does commit to other investments that benefit health and safety, committing, for example, more than $7.2 million for Road Safety Action Plan initiatives. The City will add automated speed enforcement at another 15 school zones across the city in 2022, and will invest an extra $530,000 to design and build more pedestrian crossovers. Draft Budget 2022 also highlights our first responders, investing $1.3 million to hire 14 new paramedics and purchase the emergency vehicles needed to support them.
Protecting our waterways and greenspace, are both significant priorities for Council, and Draft Budget 2022 recognizes that with a $1-million investment in the Ottawa River Action Plan and Wet Weather Infrastructure Master Plan. In addition, the budget commits $11.6 million to restore and replace municipal water facilities, $4.5 million to repair pipes that connect buildings to our sewer systems, $16.2 million to repair sewer pumping stations and $2.9 million to ensure quality drinking water in communal well systems. It also commits $14.8 million to design and build a new intake at the Lemieux Island Water Purification Plant to reduce the impacts of frazil ice.
The City will invest $2.2 million for natural systems, resiliency and climate change, $3 million for energy management and investment strategy projection, intended to reduce energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions at various City facilities and $1 million to support the transition to a greener municipal fleet.
The City will invest another $1.6 million to further increase Ottawa’s tree canopy. To support environmentally friendly transportation, the new e-cargo bike by-law will provide yet another mode of travel that residents can use to transport larger packages and that will benefit local delivery services.
Draft Budget 2022 will invest close to $27 million to ensure that non-profit providers can deliver the much-needed social service supports that are so important to Ottawa residents facing the greatest need.
Small business support
Small businesses are the backbone of any healthy local economy. Ottawa’s small businesses were greatly impacted by shutdowns, restrictions and regulations stemming from our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Draft Budget 2022 will offer some direct help for small businesses in the form of a tax discount that will take effect in 2022.
The City has implemented a 15-per-cent tax discount for small businesses on qualifying properties. The full discount will be phased in over two years starting with a 7.5-per-cent discount in 2022. The tax relief will benefit an estimated 5,800 properties, which translates to almost 10,000 small businesses. The cost of the discount will be offset by eliminating the Excess Land Tax Subclass discount and increasing, by 1.46 per cent, the taxes for residual commercial and industrial broad class properties that do not receive a discount.