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Budget 2017

Budget 2017

The 2017 Budget was adopted by City Council on December 14, 2016, when Mayor Watson delivered his annual Budget address.  A transcript of the Mayor’s Budget address is available.


Budget at a glance

Building an affordable and caring City

Draft Budget 2017 highlights

The Draft Budget 2017 focuses on creating an affordable, fiscally responsible plan that ensures the City lives and operates within its means, while moving forward on key priorities to effectively deliver core municipal services to its residents. 

The Draft Budget 2017 includes renewed funding for community priorities such as transit, affordable housing and social programs, safety, the environment and economic growth. The investments in social infrastructure are important components to enrich our quality of life, strengthen our vibrant communities, and promote an inclusive and affordable future for all. 

Structural financial issues have been addressed to better serve residents, and resources have been refocused towards delivering core municipal services. It helps ensure that the City operates within its financial means to deliver programs and services in an effective and cost-efficient manner.  

The Draft Budget 2017 continues Council’s commitment to strengthen the building blocks that support the long-term vision of an affordable, caring, sustainable and prosperous city. Highlights of the City’s plan for 2017 include:

  • Continuing construction of the O-Train Confederation Line Light Rail Transit (LRT) project for its completion in 2018
  • $1.1 billion in capital spending for projects in every ward
  • Improving transit reliability by adding new bus routes in growing areas of the city
  • Increasing funding to support and strengthen community, recreation and cultural agencies
  • Introducing the new EquiPass, to make public transit more affordable for everyone
  • Maintaining our investment towards our 10-year affordable housing and homelessness strategy
  • Establishing the Arts Momentum Fund, an initial $150,000 investment towards ongoing support of the arts scene in Ottawa
  • Increasing funding for arts infrastructure in support of The Great Canadian Theatre Company
  • Adding 24 new paramedic positions and five new emergency response vehicles to maintain our Paramedic Service’s ability to meet legislated response time targets
  • Expanding the city’s cycling network significantly
  • Protecting the urban tree canopy across the city
  • Building the West Transitway extension project from Bayshore to Moodie Drive
  • Improving rural roads and rural cycling infrastructure
  • Increasing funding for winter maintenance
  • Adding funding to support special events in 2017 and beyond
  • Continuing to set money aside to reduce the funding gap for the maintenance of City assets.

An Affordable City

The budget process is a delicate balance between providing residents with optimal core municipal services, building or renewing necessary infrastructure and holding the line on rising inflationary and assessment costs that get passed on to the taxpayer.

The Draft Budget 2017 provides a fiscally responsible and equitable approach to making Ottawa a vibrant and affordable city, meeting the needs of residents and businesses by investing in areas that will enhance existing core municipal services, while maintaining the City’s prudent approach to our long-range finances.

Tax rate

The City remains committed to holding the line on the current spending and a predictable tax rate of 2 per cent. This continues Council’s commitment to keep taxes low for the tens of thousands of Ottawa residents, including seniors, who live on a fixed income and want to continue living in their own homes. 

Keeping the tax rate at 2 per cent is especially important this year because in July of 2016, the Ontario’s Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) sent out the latest property value assessment to residential property owners. This assessment value is what municipal governments and the provincial government use to calculate municipal and school taxes, respectively.  Ottawa’s average property assessment increase was 3.98 per cent. Property values that rose close to the 3.98 mark will not see any changes to their taxes. However, those property owners whose assessment increase was below the average could see a decrease in taxes, while those that climbed above the average may experience an increase.


The Draft Budget 2017 recommends a 1.25 per cent increase to transit fares starting January 1, 2017 excluding the U-Pass. The U-Pass will increase by 2.5 per cent as of September 1, 2017, following agreements with the participating universities and colleges.

Water and sewer rate

The Draft Budget 2017 limits the rates for water and sewer services to an increase of 5 per cent.

A Caring City

The Draft Budget 2017 marks a renewed focus on, and investment in, creating stronger communities and enhancing residents’ quality of life. The health, safety and well-being of all residents are important priorities of this budget, which secures funding to help address the needs of our most vulnerable residents.


The Draft Budget 2017 introduces the new EquiPass, a new transit pass that provides more residents with an opportunity to use our transit system. The EquiPass will be available as of April 1, 2017, at a discount of 50 per cent on the regular adult monthly fare, providing direct savings for transit customers with household incomes below Statistic Canada’s low-income cut-off. These groups spend a higher than average proportion of their income on necessities such as food, shelter and transportation.

The new EquiPass will cost the City $2.7 million when fully implemented, on an annual basis. This year’s budget will also include a reserve to respond to potential demand that might outpace our budget projections. This is the City’s largest one-time increase in financial support for public transit in the City’s history.

Affordable housing and homelessness

The Draft Budget 2017 continues the City’s annual $16 million commitment towards its 10-year Housing and Homelessness Plan. The ultimate goal of the plan is to end chronic homelessness. The long-term investment will help contribute to creating a sustainable community and resilient economy.

The City will be investing in new affordable homes in collaboration with other levels of government and stakeholders. New communities being built in 2017 include Montfort Renaissance in Orleans, the Multifaith Housing Initiative in Barrhaven, John Howard Society in Kitchissippi, and Ottawa Community Housing’s Carlington Hub, Michele Heights and Uplands Drive developments. Funding will also be provided for repairs to existing social infrastructure and accessibility renovations so people with disabilities can remain in their homes.

Supporting social agencies

The draft budget includes a $610,000 investment in base funding for social service providers who receive Community Funding, to help them respond to growing needs, wait lists and other service pressures. This funding includes $110K for an inflationary provision from 1.5 to 2 percent and $500K to support and strengthen community agencies that deliver a wide range of services that help residents meet their basic needs. This will boost the $22 million we already invest in new base funding for the agencies that run these vital services across the entire city, including food programs, day programs, community health resources, counselling and support services.

Investing in the Paramedic Service

Ottawa is a large geographical city with a growing population, spanning urban, suburban and rural regions. This, combined with an aging population, places increased pressure on the paramedic system. This draft budget invests in this essential service by adding 24 paramedics and five more emergency response vehicles – enhancing both response times and services to rural communities. This investment will help maintain response times as mandated by the province.

Renewal and upgrading rural roads

The Draft Budget 2017 calls for significant investments in roads across Ottawa’s rural areas, with over $23 million for resurfacing and upgrades.

Road safety

The City of Ottawa is investing to keep our roadways safe for all users. $105,000 will be invested in a safe cycling initiative. Increased funding will be applied to expand the red light camera program, new street lighting, traffic control devices and crossing guards to keep children safe as they walk to and from school each day.

Parks and recreation

The Draft Budget 2017 renews and enhances the City’s parks, with over $21 million going towards the renewal of parks and recreation facilities. This includes renewal of recreation centres and new park play equipment. New facilities will also be added to revitalize community spaces, including the Richmond Village West Park and the acquisition of the land for the Riverside South Recreation Complex.

Arts funding

Investing in the arts makes good economic sense — not only does it create jobs, it enhances the quality of life that attracts tourists and businesses.

To mark Canada’s 150th birthday, the City will introduce an additional $150,000 in annual base funding for the Arts Momentum Fund to provide stable and long-term funding for our arts and culture sector. The City will work with community partners to allocate this fund. This investment will drive cultural and economic development in the Nation’s Capital as Ottawa takes centre stage in 2017 and beyond.

Draft Budget 2017 also offers support to a diverse array of arts infrastructure including a $250,000 grant for the Great Canadian Theatre Company, the continued construction of the Ottawa Art Gallery Expansion and the redevelopment of Arts Court. There will be an increase of 1.5 per cent or $145,000 in new base arts funding for 2017. In total, including Ottawa 2017 funding, the City of Ottawa will be investing a record $11.2 million in our arts, heritage and festivals programs this year.

A Sustainable City

The City has targets to reduce electricity consumption by 6 per cent and natural gas 15 per cent by 2020. The Draft Budget 2017 will invest in plans and projects that improve our sustainability and contribute to the Energy Evolution plan, a community-led initiative aimed at increasing energy conservation, energy efficiency and supporting renewable energy generation in Ottawa. $300,000 will be invested in projects that support increased generation of and transition towards renewable energy as identified in the Energy Evolution plan.

Cycling and pedestrian infrastructure

The Draft Budget 2017 continues the commitment to delivering a safe and convenient cycling and pedestrian network – expanding and improving cycling routes, multi-use pathways and sidewalks. Over $8 million will go towards cycling infrastructure, while another $1.5 million will be directed to enhance pedestrian mobility. During this term of Council, 2015 to 2018, approximately $73 million will have been invested to improve cycling, when combined with funding from other levels of government.

Along with the recent opening of the O’Connor Street Bikeway, the cycling network expansion will include such projects as the Cyrville Bike Lanes, Rideau Canal Crossing – Fifth Avenue to Clegg Street, Booth Street Bike Track, Trans Orléans Pathway, Kanata North Cycling link and rural cycling routes. Pedestrian travel will be enhanced with new sidewalks on St. Laurent Boulevard, Parkglen Drive, Gardenway Drive and Bridgestone Drive.

Tree program

In 2017, 125,000 new trees are planned to take root, increasing the forest cover in urban, suburban and rural areas. These trees will also assist in replenishing areas that were ravaged by the Emerald Ash Borer.

In addition, the City will mark Canada’s sesquicentennial year with the 150 Maple Grove Project – planting  groves of 150 native Canada maple trees within each City ward as a living legacy to our nation’s history and a marker of prosperous growth for the future.  

Acquisition of environmentally sensitive lands

The Draft Budget 2017 includes $200,000 for the purpose of acquiring environmentally sensitive lands within the urban area.

Well and waterway rehabilitation

The communal well rehabilitation project invests $7.25 million in the retrofit, rehabilitation and/or replacement of assets related to five communal well-based drinking water systems serving rural Ottawa, upgrading these assets to ensure their continued operation and high level of service.

The draft budget also continues to fund the Water Environment Strategy which helps protect the health of the City’s waterways, wetlands and groundwater and reduces the impacts of human activity. More than 4,500 km of waterways span our watersheds, including hundreds of small streams, municipal drains, and major creeks and rivers which ultimately drain into the Ottawa River. A healthy water environment provides safe, abundant drinking water; supports agriculture, recreation and tourism; lessens the impact of flood events and helps sustains fish and wildlife.

Combined Sewage Storage Tunnel

Construction is underway on the Combined Sewage Storage Tunnel project, a $232.3-million investment to protect the Ottawa River, towards which the City of Ottawa has contributed $108 million. The initiative will greatly reduce the frequency of sewage overflows during storms from entering the Ottawa River and will help protect the river.

In addition to reducing overflows into the Ottawa River, additional benefits of the project are the reduction of the risk of basement flooding for several low-lying lands in the Glebe and O’Connor area and increased operational flexibility and redundancy to major collector sewers in the downtown core.

A Prosperous City

The Draft Budget 2017 invests in developing a diverse and resilient economy that will benefit everyone. In the interest of our future economic outlook the City continues to focus on making our city a premiere destination in which to invest, work, live and play.

Canada 2017

For example, next year the world will be watching as we celebrate 2017, and these celebrations will bring lasting economic benefits to our city. We expect a 20 per cent increase in tourism in 2017. An additional 1.7 million visitors will bring a significant boost for our local hospitality and retail sectors.

2021 Canada Summer Games bid

In our efforts to attract more tourists and business to our city, hosting major national and international events is a great way to showcase Ottawa’s attractions and quality of life. It also reinforces the goals of the Mayor’s Tourism Summit, held this past spring, which looks to build on the momentum on the 2017 celebrations and looks for opportunities to leverage tourism dollars into the local economy.   

O-Train Confederation Line

Ottawa’s world-class light rail transit project, the Confederation Line, is on track for completion of Stage 1 in 2018. In addition to moving people more efficiently, the O-Train Confederation Line will also generate significant economic, environmental, cultural and social benefits for our residents today and in the future. Confederation Line construction alone will generate more than 20,000 person-years of direct and indirect employment and provide a total economic output of approximately $3.2 billion.

As a result of the funding from all three levels of government, Draft Budget 2017 includes funding for the important planning and design work needed to build Stage 2 LRT– a $67-million investment. Stage 2 will enable the City to expand Ottawa’s LRT network by more than 30 kilometres of rail. Once completed, Stage 2 will create 24,000 person-years of employment as well as a total economic output of approximately $3.8 billion.

The Draft Budget 2017 also commits $1.5 million, with an additional $1.5 million from our federal partners, for the Bayshore to Kanata LRT Environmental Assessment – a critical milestone in the future expansion of LRT farther west. The budget also provides for the acquisition of two additional train sets to support the future growth of the O-Train Confederation Line, to be cost-shared with the federal and provincial governments.

New bus routes for growth areas

As work on the O-Train Confederation Line has progressed, several opportunities have been identified to improve bus service for customers in growing areas of the city. The expanded service will cost the City $1.75 million per year, will start in late December 2017 and will be fully in place for 2018. When fully implemented, the expanded service will provide approximately 950,000 new customer-trips each year. In collaboration with the Government of Canada, the City will acquire 17 new buses to meet these growth demands, at a cost of $18.4 million. This major service investment will ensure that transit customers from growth areas have more options in late 2017 to get into and out of the downtown core at peak hours. It also lays the foundation for future growth in ridership for the Confederation Line and Stage 2 LRT and supports the City’s investment in the O-Train Confederation Line by increasing capacity to get to the LRT lines from busy parts of the City.

Making Ottawa affordable for everyone

The Draft Budget 2017 takes necessary steps to address the financial and economic challenges Ottawa has faced over the past few years. It creates a sound financial foundation to plan, maintain and grow our infrastructure and services to the diverse needs of our residents.

At Council’s direction, City staff have conducted multi-year reviews of internal efficiency and cost-saving measures to address the financial challenges and economic realities. In addition, the Draft Budget 2017 also includes savings found through the City’s organizational alignment. These changes aimed to achieve a delicate balance of operating requirements for core municipal services to residents – while focusing on affordability for everyone. The organizational alignment achieved the corporate efficiency target of $14 million in efficiencies, compensation and benefits savings.  In addition to the organizational alignment, further cost-efficiencies have been identified including:

Fleet standards and service delivery review

The standards and service delivery review of the operations of trucks and vehicles throughout the corporation have been reviewed and operational savings have been achieved in each pertinent department 

Reduction of paid advertising, printing and media monitoring

Paid advertising and printing of materials continues to be maintained or decreased to achieve operational savings across the corporation. 

These are important steps towards creating a healthy economic environment that is affordable and inclusive – placing Ottawa on a clear path to prosperity and creating better opportunities for residents to realize their full potential.

User fees/revenue increases and provincial cost sharing

New revenues for 2017 total $27.6 million. User fees and charges will be in line with the cost of delivering the services – generating $13.1 million, including $2.4 million from the 1.25% increase in transit fares on January 1, 2017. Provincial cost-shared programs will result in additional revenues of $13.7 million, which includes the continued uploading of provincial social services.  

Investing in our future

Continued investments in the City’s infrastructure are critical to Ottawa’s economic future and growth. Currently, our largest major project is the construction of the O-Train Confederation Line, which is the largest construction project since the Rideau Canal.

With the construction of the O-Train’s Confederation Line nearing completion, and plans for the future expansion of both Confederation Line and Trillium Line by 2023, our transit system will expand and modernize how people move around the city. 

However, construction projects are also ongoing across the city – building roads, cycling and pedestrian facilities and structures that will enhance the city’s culture and vibrancy. Examples include: the Ottawa Art Gallery (OAG) expansion and Arts Court redevelopment as well as the expansion of the François Dupuis Recreation Centre. 

The City is collaborating with its key partners and stakeholders to ensure that the outcomes of our plans benefit everyone. In particular, the City’s collaboration with upper levels of government on infrastructure spending allows the City to leverage municipal priorities and secure funding for projects like the Rideau Canal Crossing from Fifth Avenue to Clegg Street, the Chapman Mills transit corridor extension and the Kanata Light Rail Transit (LRT) Environmental Assessment.

Even as we continue to invest in new infrastructure, it is critical to renew the City’s existing assets. The Draft Budget 2017 has been designed to keep us on target to meet capital forecast commitments, by investing $245 million for renewal of infrastructure in 2017 for roads, bridges and culverts, buildings and parks, sewers, watermains and transit infrastructure with approximately $650 in capital works. This essential investment in Ottawa’s future will ensure that our roads, bridges, watermains and City facilities are well-maintained.

Highlights of the City’s 2017 investments for the future include:


  • $1.5M for the new Cyrville fire station
  • $24M over the next two years for the construction of the new Kanata South Link (currently in design)
  • Advancing the design of the realigned Greenbank Road (Chapman Mills to Cambrian Road) in 2017 with additional funding for construction over the next four years.
  • $5.4M for the 48 new affordable supportive housing units with Montfort Renaissance
  • $13.6M for the 98 new affordable housing units with Multifaith Housing Initiative
  • $4.6M for the 36-unit John Howard Society affordable supportive housing development
  • $800K for 6 units at Michele Heights with Ottawa Community Housing Corporation
  • $2.4M for 16 units on Uplands Drive with Ottawa Community Housing Corporation
  • $5.1M for 42 new affordable housing units for seniors with Ottawa Community Housing Corporation
  • $16.2M for repairs to social housing
  • $1.2M for the design and construction of Oblates Urban Park
  • $4.5M for the land for the Riverside South Recreation Complex
  • $9.5M for the Stittsville/Fernbank Interceptor Sewer


  • $4.5 million increase to funding for winter road maintenance
  • $24.8M for the rehabilitation of the City’s five communal well systems
  • $33.5M for renewal of City buildings, facilities and parks, including accessibility features, of which $21M is for rehabilitation of parks and recreation facilities.
  • $2.7M for stand-alone rehabilitation of sidewalks and pedestrian facilities
  • $100.3M for integrated projects that address road, sewer, water renewal in a coordinated project delivery
  • $31.4M for renewal of bridges and culverts
  • $43.7M for road renewal and resurfacing, with $23M  for rural roads
  • $15.9M for stand-alone sewer and water projects
  • $12.4M for initiatives supporting the Wet Weather Infrastructure Management Program
  • $2M for the resurfacing of Highway 174 between Cameron Street and Canaan Road
  • $4M for resurfacing of Victoria Street between Albert Street and Yorks Corners Road
  • $2.1M for resurfacing of Shea Road between Fernbank Road and Hemphill Street
  • $2.4M for resurfacing on Marvelville Road and 8th Line Road
  • $915K for the renewal of Panmure Road From Highway 417 to Donald B Munro Drive
  • $4M for resurfacing of Prince of Wales Drive from Strandherd Drive to Hunt Club Road
  • $1M for the rehabilitation of the water system on Leitrim Road
  • $2.2M for the renewal of Porters Island Bridge
  • $9.8M toward the designs for the renewal of the integrated road, sewer and water systems of Elgin Street, Bank Street and Montreal Road, and an additional $2M for the same on Albert, Slater and Bronson
  • $3.34M for the renewal of 47 culverts in Osgoode Ward
  • $4.65M for the renewal of the Richmond Bridge and another $1.8M for the McLean Bridge

Adopted Budget 2017 Alternative Accessible Format

Corporate Budget Summaries

Corporate Operating Budget Summary 2017

Capital Budget Summary 2017

Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee

Audit Committee

Community and Protective Services Committee

Community and Social Services

Emergency and Protective Services

Recreation, Cultural and Facility Services

Environment Committee - Rate Supported

Environment Committee - Tax Supported

Finance and Economic Development Committee

Planning Committee

Transportation Committee

External Boards, Agencies and Commissions