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New Official Plan

Project Status: 

What is Ottawa's future?

Official plan logo

The City of Ottawa Official Plan provides a vision for the future growth of the city and a policy framework to guide the city's physical development. In 2019, the City of Ottawa will begin a multi-year process to develop a new Official Plan.

Please see the Official Plan story map for an overview of the City’s many assets and the changing landscape for the future.

Ottawa's Official Plan Story Map showing an aerial view of the city of Ottawa.

Why a new Official Plan?

Ottawa has changed dramatically since it was incorporated in 1855, when it was a small lumber town of 16,000 people. This year, the City of Ottawa will reach one million people and the Ottawa-Gatineau Metropolitan region will reach 1.5 million people.

And the pace of change accelerating. What will Ottawa look like as it grows over the next century?  How do we make sure that we can keep pace and adapt to change in a way that makes Ottawa an inclusive, liveable and globally competitive city?

We have an opportunity to prepare for the future with a brand new Official Plan: the strategic document that guides our city’s growth and development. The plan impacts how and where the city will grow around us, now and for years to come. It establishes a policy framework that will inform the shape of the communities where you live, work and play. The scope of the plan may reach as far as the middle of this century and will affect generations to come.

Planning for the future

We want Ottawa to grow to be the most liveable mid-sized city in North America. Our Official Plan can help us seize future opportunities and be resilient in the face of unexpected challenges.

To lay the foundation for the new Official Plan, we have worked with stakeholders to identify the economic, environmental, technological and social forces that will influence the city over the coming decades. The resulting report, Ottawa Next: Beyond 2036 [7.1 MB PDF] explores scenarios describing the plausible impacts these forces may have on how Ottawa grows and changes in the future.
We need to consider these scenarios as we develop the new Official Plan, to ensure that Ottawa will be more adaptable, resilient and innovative as it prepares for the future. This city will evolve because of the decisions we make now, and that will help us be prepared for whatever the future brings.

The Official Plan review process

The review of the Official Plan will be done as required by the Planning Act and Provincial Policy Statement, 2014, and will run in coordination with the reviews of the Infrastructure Master Plan, Transportation Master Plan and the Development Charges By-law. All aspects of the Official Plan will be reviewed and updated, including secondary plans for urban neighbourhoods and rural Villages. 

 The review will take place over the course of three years, as follows:

March 2019 to October 2019

  • Consultations on discussion papers (key issues facing the city) and preliminary policy directions in the new Official Plan

October 2019 to December 2019

  • Population projections to Planning Committee and Council
  • Prepare recommendations for changes to the Official Plan
  • Public meeting under Section 26 of the Planning Act, Council directs that a draft Official Plan be tabled. Report provides details concerning the policies in the new Official Plan, including a description of:
    1. New policy directions to be included in the Plan
    2. Growth Strategy including growth projections and, if necessary, adoption of criteria for site evaluation for expansion areas
    3. Direction on Secondary Plans, Site- specific policies and community design plans
  • Work begins on draft Official Plan

June 2020 to January 2021

  • New Official Plan tabled, three-month circulation to the public, technical agencies and Ministry, changes made in response to comments
  • Statutory Open Houses
  • Finalize changes to draft Plan in response to comments received

February 2021

  • Statutory Public Meetings at Planning Committee (more than one anticipated)

March 2021

  • Council adopts new Official Plan

Following adoption by Council, the Plan will be sent to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. The Ministry would then take up to six months to review and approve the Official Plan. Approval by the Ministry is expected by mid-2022.  

Get involved!

Everyone in Ottawa will face the challenges of the future together. No matter who you are or where you live, we want your opinion. Your input will help us create the plans and policies that guide the growth of Ottawa.

We are looking for your input on key issues that are currently facing the City. Please subscribe to the mailing list.

Open house: March 4, 2019

Thank you to all of those who attended the open house and completed the online feedback form. If you would like to watch video of the presentations at the event, you can see them on YouTube

For more information, please contact:

Carol Ruddy, Planner III
Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development Department
City of Ottawa
110 Laurier Avenue WestOttawa, ON K1P 1J1
Tel.: 613-580-2424, ext. 28457

For technical support, please contact:

Accessibility is an important consideration for the City of Ottawa. If you require special accommodation, please email or call Carol Ruddy at 613-580-2424, ext. 28457.

The review of the Official Plan is a three-year project with opportunities to provide comments throughout the process. Following adoption by City Council, the Official Plan will be reviewed by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. The Official Plan will come into effect following approval by the Minister. Under the Planning Act, for Official Plans that are subject to Ministerial approval, there are no opportunities for appeal to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal. Given the Planning Act does not provide a right to appeal, you are encouraged to provide comments so your feedback can be considered during the process of developing the new Official Plan.

Ottawa Next: Beyond 2036: Identifying the challenges of Unknown Futures

In December 2016, Ottawa City Council directed staff to undertake a planning study to “…identify trends in housing, employment, and identify opportunities to create complete communities which, together with current Official Plan policies create an affordable and sustainable city beyond 2036…”

The goal of the Ottawa Next: Beyond 2036 study [7.1 MB PDF] was to identify the forces that will shape Ottawa over the next century to help position the City to build both resiliency and adaptability into the next Official Plan. In order to carry out this goal and to address the high level of uncertainty of the city’s long-term future, Ottawa Next: Beyond 2036 was undertaken as a scenario based planning study to:

  • identify trends and disruptors that will influence the city beyond the current 20-year planning horizon;
  • identify possible future scenarios, which extend beyond the normal planning time-frame and arise from the identified drivers and disrupters; and
  • identify planning considerations that will allow the City to create complete communities and be resilient and adaptable to future change.

The scenarios and planning considerations identified in this report will help to inform the setting of priorities within the next Official Plan, and may also frame the updates of the City’s other supporting Growth Management documents including the:

  • Transportation Master Plan;
  • Infrastructure Master Plan;
  • Greenspace Master Plan; and the
  • Development Charges By-law.

The Ottawa Next: Beyond 2036 study [7.1 MB PDF] was presented to the Planning Committee on February 14, 2019. 

We are looking for your input on key issues that are currently facing the City. Please subscribe to the mailing list.