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2005 Ward Boundary Review

FAQ

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
November/December - 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.

Guiding principles

City Council has agreed that, subject to the overriding principle of "effective representation", the Ward Boundary Review should have regard for the following principles:

Protection of communities of interest and neighbourhoods.
It is desirable to avoid fragmenting traditional neighbourhoods or communities of interest within the City.

Consideration of present and future population trends.
It is necessary to look at long-term growth patterns in order to establish a ward structure that will be sustainable for a number of terms of Council.

Consideration of physical features as natural boundaries.
Ottawa has a number of significant natural and man-made features that serve as physical boundaries. Where possible, these features will be respected in this review process. The Greenbelt, the Queensway/Highway 417 and the Rideau River are examples, among others, of features that can act as natural boundaries.

Consideration of representation by population.
To the extent possible, and keeping in mind the requirements for effective representation, voters should be equally represented and wards should have reasonably equal population totals. Given Ottawa's size and mix of rural and urban wards, a degree of variation will be acceptable. No specific targets have been established with respect to the possible variation.

Key dates and timelines

Updated on August 18, 2005

October 2004

Ward Boundary Review process commences

November/December 2004

First round of public consultation

December 6, 2004

Deadline for public comments

February 15, 2005

Release for public comment of a discussion paper containing one or more draft options for new ward boundaries and council size

February 21 - March 2

Second round of public consultation

Monday, February 21 - 7:30 p.m.
Nepean Sportsplex, Hall A, 1701 Woodroffe Avenue

Tuesday, February 22 - 7:30 p.m.
Richmond Arena, 2nd Floor, 6095 Perth Street

Wednesday, February 23 - 7:30 p.m.
Ray Friel Centre, Halls A & B, 1585 Tenth Line Road, Orléans

Thursday, February 24 - 7:30 p.m.
Greely Community Centre, Hall B, 1448 Meadow Drive

Saturday, February 26 - 1:00 p.m.
Ottawa City Hall, Champlain Room, 110 Laurier Avenue West

Monday, February 28 - 7:30 p.m.
Rideauview Recreation Centre, Gym, 4310 Shoreline Drive, Riverside South

Tuesday, March 1 - 7:30 p.m.
R.J. Kennedy Community Hall, 1115 Dunning Road, Cumberland

Wednesday, March 2 - 7:30 p.m.
John Mlacak Arena, Halls C & D, 2500 Campeau Drive, Kanata

March 21, 2005

Deadline for public comments on options

May 3, 2005

Public Meeting to consider the Recommendations Report - Corporate Services and Economic Development Committee

June 8, 2005

City Council decision on new ward boundaries.

June 22, 2005

Council passes by-law 2005-302 to enact new ward boundaries. 45-day appeal period commences on June 23, 2005 and ends on August 8, 2005.

July 5, 2005

Municipality gives notice of the passing of the by-law to the public specifying the last date for filing a notice of appeal.

August 8, 2005

Last day for notice(s) of appeals to be received.

No later than

August 23, 2005

Notice(s) of appeal to be forwarded to the OMB by the Municipality.

Mandate of the consultants

Who is leading the review?

The lead consultant is Dr. Gary Davidson of The Davidson Group. Dr. Davidson works in association with Beate Bowron of Beate Bowron Etcetera. The consultant team is familiar with Ottawa's ward structure.

Both consultants have distinguished careers in the public service including:

  • over 25 years experience working with rural and urban communities;
  • previous responsibility for large, complex public involvement projects;
  • demonstrated expertise in planning, strategic approaches and teaching;
  • Dr. Davidson holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and has been a policy advisor to provincial ministries; and
  • Ms. Bowron has considerable experience in conflict resolution.

The team remains constant throughout the entire project.

What is the role of the consultants?

The Consultants conduct the Ward Boundary Review which includes:

  • leading the public consultation process;
  • receiving and reviewing comments and submissions from citizens, community groups and associations, and members of Council ;
  • 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 Council.

Ward Boundary Review

On August 25, 2004, City Council asked independent consultants to review the City’s ward boundaries.

 Read the City Council’s decision about the reivew.

Background information

Learn why the City has decided to review ward boundaries.  

Mandate for review

Find out more details about the consultant’s roles and mandate

Guiding principles

Find out which guiding principles ultimately shaped the ward boundary review. 

Ottawa’s previous ward structure

Take a look at our City's 2004 ward structure. 

Key dates and timelines

Learn about key dates and timelines for the Ward Boundary Review. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Get answers to frequently asked questions

Reports

Read the Ward Boundary Review background, options and recommendation reports

New Ward Structure and Ward Maps

2008 ward structure and maps

Your views are important

You can help by sending us your comments and suggestions.

Need more information?

Call and leave a message at 613-580-2660 (TTY: 613-580-2401) or e-mail your questions to ward@ottawa.ca

Why is our city reviewing ward boundaries?

Wards are a key component in our system of local government. The voters in each ward elect one Councillor to deal with city-wide issues and represent their interests on Council. The City of Ottawa has 21 wards, which vary significantly in geographic area and population. The rural wards are much larger in area but lower in population than the urban wards. Some of the suburban wards are both large and have the highest populations.

The provincial government established the initial ward structure for the newly amalgamated city in 2001. Later in 2001, Ottawa undertook to review and revise its ward structure. The need for the review arose because growth within Ottawa, especially in the suburban communities, had 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 revisions focused too heavily on representation by population, instead of effective representation. As a result, no changes to the existing ward structure were implemented for the 2003 municipal elections.

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 another ward boundary review be undertaken. To arrive at a more equitable and durable system of representation, Council has initiated a comprehensive review that will look at both ward boundaries and the size of Council. A team of consultants, supported by City staff, is conducting the work.

The review has an active public involvement process, which includes the testing of various ward design options. The study respects the principle of effective representation as well as other lessons learned from the previous ward review. It looks at whether the size of Council should be increased as well as any necessary adjustments to ward boundaries.

Want more information?
Read the ward boundary review's complete terms of reference.

Your opinion counts!

There are many ways that you can provide input:

  • Call and leave a message at 613-580-2660 (TTY: 613-580-2401)
  • Fax your comments to 613-580-2661
  • Mail your comments to The Davidson Group, c/o The City of Ottawa, Ward Boundary Review Office, 110 Laurier Avenue West, Ottawa ON, K1P 1J1.
  • Read the Public Consultation Workbook, which was used for the first round of public consultation in November and December 2004