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Ward Boundary Review 2020

Project Status: 
Underway

COVID-19 Update

The health and safety of Ottawa residents is the top priority for the City of Ottawa and Ottawa Public Health. The City of Ottawa is working together with Ottawa Public Health to monitor the spread of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and will provide updates when they are available.

Project Updates

Banner image for Ward Boundary Review 2020 Project

Following Round 1 of public consultation, the independent consultant team conducting the Ward Boundary Review 2020 has provided its Options Report. The report incorporates input received during Round 1 of public consultation from Members of Council, members of the public and key stakeholders, as well as research and analysis by the consultant team. The report includes five options for new ward boundaries.

The Finance and Economic Development Committee and City Council will receive the Options Report on July 7, 2020, and July 15, 2020, respectively.

In Round 2 of public consultation, expected in the third quarter of 2020, the consultant team will collect feedback on the options to realign Ottawa’s wards. Further details on Round 2 public consultation opportunities will be added here and advertised when available.

Additional project information can be found below.

Project Overview

The City of Ottawa is reviewing its ward boundaries. The last major review was completed in 2005 and established the city’s 23 wards.

Ward boundaries must be reviewed periodically to balance population numbers and achieve other components of “effective representation,” as established by the Supreme Court of Canada and Ontario’s Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (formerly the Ontario Municipal Board). 

Since the last major ward boundary review 15 years ago, Ottawa has seen considerable population growth, especially in suburban wards outside the Greenbelt. Some wards are growing twice as fast as others, creating population imbalances. Barrhaven (Ward 3)’s population is now 43 per cent above the average ward population of 44,000, Gloucester-South Nepean (Ward 22)’s population is 23 per cent above average and Cumberland (Ward 19)’s population is 17 per cent above average.

The Ward Boundary Review 2020 is meant to establish boundaries that could be used in at least three municipal elections (2022, 2026 and 2030) and, perhaps, a fourth municipal election in 2034.

Based on direction from City Council, an independent, third-party consultant team is conducting the Ward Boundary Review 2020 to ensure it is objective and impartial. The team will consult the public, Members of Council and stakeholder groups, including school boards.

There will be two rounds of public consultation. Residents and businesses will be able to share their thoughts through surveys and discussions on engage.ottawa.ca.

Round 1 (Wednesday, March 4 to Friday, April 3): We learned about the changes you’d like to see to the current ward boundaries.

Following Round 1 of public consultation, the Finance and Economic Development Committee (FEDCO) and City Council will receive the Options Report from the consultant team that sets out options for re-aligning Ottawa’s wards. FEDCO and Council will receive the Options Report during their meetings on July 7, 2020 and July 15, 2020, respectively.

Round 2 (third quarter of 2020): We will collect your feedback on the options. More details regarding consultation opportunities will be added and advertised when available.

After Round 2 of public consultation regarding the various options, a Final Report with recommendations is expected to be brought forward by the consultant team and considered by FEDCO and Council in late Q4 2020.

Key Dates

Key dates and public engagement opportunities
Date Project Life Cycle and Engagement Opportunities

January 2020

Ottawa’s ward boundary review begins.

Wednesday, March 4 to Friday, April 3

Round 1 of public consultation collected opinions about Ottawa’s current ward boundaries. This included consultation with Members of Council, stakeholders, public meetings, and a survey and online discussion on Engage.Ottawa.ca.

Due to the necessary cancellation of some of the in-person public meetings due to the COVID-19 pandemic, residents and stakeholders were strongly encouraged to complete the online survey, submit input through the guestbook, or provide written input. 

July 2020

On July 7, 2020, and July 15, 2020, respectively, the City’s Finance and Economic Development Committee and Council will receive the Ottawa Ward Boundary Review 2020 - Options Report. The report, provided by the consultant team, incorporates input received during Round 1 of the public consultation from Members of Council, members of the public and key stakeholders, as well as consideration and analysis by the consultant team of matters such as population trends and statutory and common law requirements. The report includes five options for new ward boundaries.

Third quarter of 2020

Round 2 of public consultation to collect feedback on options to realign Ottawa’s wards. This includes consultation with Members of Council and stakeholders, public meetings, and a survey and online discussion on Engage.Ottawa.ca.

Further details regarding consultation opportunities will be added and advertised when available.

Last quarter of 2020

The Finance and Economic Development Committee and City Council will consider recommendations on how to realign Ottawa’s wards.

FAQ

Why are we revisiting Ottawa’s ward structure?

In June 2019, City Council directed City staff to retain an independent consultant to conduct a comprehensive review of the City of Ottawa’s ward boundaries. The review is meant to establish boundaries that could be used in at least three municipal elections (2022, 2026 and 2030) and, perhaps, a fourth municipal election in 2034. The last major review of Ottawa’s ward boundaries occurred in 2004-2005.

The City of Ottawa has seen a considerable spike in population since the last ward boundary review – particularly in Barrhaven (Ward 3), where there has been expanded development of residential communities. The population in other wards has also increased, notably in Gloucester-South Nepean (Ward 22) and Cumberland (Ward 19). Population projections indicate these areas will continue to grow.

A review of ward boundaries is intended to achieve “effective representation” as established by the Supreme Court of Canada. Effective representation is the “goal” of all ward boundary reviews.

What is Effective Representation?

Generally speaking, “effective representation” means that one person’s vote should be of similar weight to another person’s vote. When applied to wards, the term suggests that wards should be of similar population size. In practice, achieving effective representation for ward boundary reviews involves balancing several components:

  • Voter Parity: Ward populations should be similar but not identical and should be in the range of +/-10 per cent to +/-15 per cent of the average ward population. Larger percentage variations are possible, but only in exceptional circumstances such as in Ottawa’s functioning rural community.
  • Natural/Physical Boundaries: Ward boundaries have to be recognizable. Natural boundaries such as rivers and the Greenbelt, and physical boundaries such as highways, railways and arterial roads make good boundaries.
  • Geographic Communities of Interest: Ottawa’s neighbourhoods such as the Glebe or Westboro Village and commercial areas such as the ByWard Market or the Carp Business Improvement Area are considered to be “communities of interest.” When re-aligning ward boundaries, geographically contiguous communities of interest should not be divided, unless they are so large that they must be split to achieve voter parity.
  • Minority Interests: Minority interests should be considered if they are geographically based.
  • Ward History: Ward design should, where possible, consider the history of the ward. However, ward history by itself cannot override other major criteria such as voter parity, strong natural/physical boundaries and communities of interest.
  • Capacity to Represent: Capacity to represent is often equated with Councillors’ workload. It includes matters such as ward size, types and complexity of issues, ongoing growth and development, etc. and has to be taken into consideration when designing wards.
  • Geographic Size and Shape of a Ward: All wards cannot be the same geographic size. Some areas of the city are more densely populated than others and some wards have more open space. Ottawa is especially unique with respect to this component of effective representation because of its large rural area.
  • Population Growth: The results of the Ottawa Ward Boundary Review 2020 are meant to last for at least three municipal elections (2022, 2026 and 2030) and, perhaps, a fourth municipal election in 2034. The target election for an evaluation of effective representation will be 2026. This allows for Ottawa’s expected growth to be factored into ward boundary calculations.
  • Balancing the Components of Effective Representation: While all components of effective representation must be taken into consideration, they are not all equal. Voter parity, respecting communities of interest, and well-defined, coherent ward boundaries are the most important components.

How will the City review its ward structure?

In accordance with Council direction, an independent third-party consultant team has been retained to lead the comprehensive ward boundary review in order to ensure that the process of determining ward boundaries is impartial and approached without preconceived ideas or predetermined outcomes.

The consultant team will:

  • Complete background research
  • Develop population projections
  • Lead the public consultation process (Round 1) 
  • Develop options for re-aligning Ottawa’s wards
  • Prepare and present an Information Report to the Finance and Economic Development Committee and City Council setting out options for re-aligning Ottawa’s wards
  • Lead the public consultation process (Round 2)
  • Prepare and present a Final Report and recommendations to the Finance and Economic Development Committee and City Council

What does the consultation process look like?

Public consultations is conducted in two rounds. Round 1 collected input on what the public and stakeholders would like to see changed in Ottawa’s current ward boundary alignment, while Round 2 will elicit feedback on the various options for ward re-alignments.

Each round includes  public consultation sessions spread across the city (including urban, suburban and rural areas) as well as separate sessions for stakeholders (e.g. Business Improvement Areas, school boards, city-wide associations, etc.). Sessions will occur on varying days of the week – including Saturday – and times will range from mid-morning to late afternoon to the evening hours. Each round also includes interviews with Members of Council.

The public consultation also includes an online public engagement component through Engage.Ottawa.ca.

Note: Some of the public meetings and sessions with stakeholders for Round 1 were cancelled as part of the City’s response to COVID-19. Due to the necessary cancellation of the in-person public meetings, residents and stakeholders were strongly encouraged to complete the online survey, submit input through the guestbook, or provide written input.

Information about Round 2 public consultation opportunities will be added and advertised when available.

Who is leading the review?

The consultant team consists of:

  • Beate Bowron, Beate Bowron Etcetera (Project Manager and responsible for the public consultation process)
  • Dr. Gary Davidson, The Davidson Group (Responsible for ward boundary re- alignment options and final recommendations)
  • Russell Mathew, Hemson Consulting Ltd. (Responsible for population projections)

Members of the consultant team are familiar with Ottawa and have extensive experience in conducting ward boundary reviews.

When would any new ward boundaries come into effect?

City Council will make the final decision on whether or not to approve any recommendations regarding ward boundaries. Any changes that are adopted would be implemented for the 2022 Municipal Elections.

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.

How can I get involved in the Ottawa Ward Boundary Review 2020?

Round 1 of the public process is complete. Round 2 will collect feedback on five options for re-aligning Ottawa's wards. Further details on the Round 2 public consultation opportunities will be added and advertised when available.

For more information, visit the Ottawa Ward Boundary Review 2020 website at ottawa.ca/wardboundary.

Where can I find a map of the current Ottawa wards and their populations?

Ward Look-up Tool

Table of Ottawa’s current wards

Contact Information

If you have questions or comments, the three consultant team members can be reached at wardboundary@ottawa.ca.

The consultant team consists of:

  • Beate Bowron, Beate Bowron Etcetera (Project Manager and responsible for the public consultation process)
  • Dr. Gary Davidson, The Davidson Group (Responsible for ward boundary re- alignment options and final recommendations)
  • Russell Mathew, Hemson Consulting Ltd. (Responsible for population projections)

Current Ward Maps and Population

Ward maps and population
Ward Number Ward Name Ward Councillor Population 2018
1 Orléans Matthew Luloff 48,315
2 Innes Laura Dudas 42,166
3 Barrhaven Jan Harder 61,528
4 Kanata North Jenna Sudds 37,929
5 West Carleton-March Eli El-Chantiry 25,644
6 Stittsville Glen Gower 37,365
7 Bay Theresa Kavanagh 45,662
8 College Rick Chiarelli 51,829
9 Knoxdale-Merivale Keith Egli 39,485
10 Gloucester-Southgate Diane Deans 47,517
11 Beacon Hill-Cyrville Tim Tierney 33,504
12 Rideau-Vanier Mathieu Fleury 49,632
13 Rideau-Rockcliffe Rawlson King 39,801
14 Somerset Catherine McKenney 41,996
15 Kitchissippi Jeff Leiper 44,594
16 River Riley Brockington 48,566
17 Capital Shawn Menard 38,322
18 Alta Vista Jean Cloutier 44,939
19 Cumberland Stephen Blais 50,424
20 Osgoode George Darouze 28,279
21 Rideau-Goulbourn Scott Moffatt 30,650
22 Gloucester-South Nepean Carol Anne Meehan 53,175
23 Kanata South Allan Hubley 50,111