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Administrative policies

Accountability and Transparency Policy

Approved By: City Council
Section: City Clerk
Approval Date: November 28, 2007
Effective Date: November 28, 2007
Revision Date: December 3, 2014

Policy statement

The City of Ottawa will promote accountable and transparent municipal governance guided by the following principles:

  1. Decision-making will be open and transparent.
  2. Municipal operations will be conducted in an ethical and accountable manner.
  3. Financial resources and physical infrastructure will be managed in an efficient and effective manner.
  4. Municipal information will be accessible so that it is consistent with legislative requirements.
  5. Inquiries, concerns and complaints will be responded to in a timely manner.
  6. Financial oversight, service standards and performance reporting and all other accountability documents will be made available and accessible, in language that the public can understand, to increase the opportunity for public scrutiny and involvement in municipal operations.
  7. Every new delegation of power or authority will have a corresponding accountability mechanism.


Accountability – The principle that the municipality is obligated to demonstrate and take responsibility for its actions, decisions and policies and that it is answerable to the public at large.

Transparency – The principle that the municipality will conduct its business in an accessible, clear and visible manner and that its activities are open to examination by its stakeholders.


This policy provides guidance on how the City of Ottawa ensures municipal matters are approached in an accountable and transparent manner, with emphasis on openness, ethics, performance outcomes and fiscal responsibility.


As required by Section 270 of the Municipal Act, 2001, this policy applies to all City of Ottawa operations.

Policy requirements

The City of Ottawa’s commitment to accountability and transparency ensures sound governance and sustainability by way of various policies, procedures and practices that have been divided into the following categories:

1. Legislated requirements

The City of Ottawa is accountable and transparent to taxpayers by fulfilling various legislated responsibilities and disclosure of information. The following are provincial statutes that govern how the City conducts its business in a public, accountable and transparent manner:

  1. Municipal Act, 2001
  2. Municipal Conflict of Interest Act
  3. Provincial Offences Act
  4. Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act
  5. Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004
  6. Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act, 1996
  7. Bill 168, Occupational Health and Safety Amendment Act (Violence and Harassment in the Workplace) 2009

2. Financial accountability, oversight and reporting

The City of Ottawa is accountable and transparent to taxpayers by identifying the source of City funds and how those funds are used to deliver services. The following policies, procedures and practices demonstrate the City of Ottawa’s best-practice financial accountability and oversight and reporting mechanisms, including:

  1. External Auditor and report
  2. Auditor General’s Office and Annual Report
  3. Annual and Quarterly Financial Statements
  4. Long Range Financial Plan
  5. Operating and Capital Budget Status Reports
  6. Delegation of Authority By-law and Reports
  7. Purchasing By-law and Reports
  8. FTE Analysis Report

3. Performance measurement and reporting

The City of Ottawa is accountable to taxpayers by using various results-orientated tools to measure progress on performance and the achievement of corporate service standards and goals. The City of Ottawa is committed to producing performance information that measures how the City is doing in all areas over which it has responsibility, from financial reporting to human resource management to service delivery, including:

  1. City Strategic Plan and related performance reports
  2. Semi-Annual Performance Reports to Council
  3. Participating in the Ontario Municipal Benchmarking Initiative
  4. Participating in the Quality of Life Reporting System (Federation of Canadian Municipalities)

4. Open government

The City of Ottawa is accountable and transparent to taxpayers by providing governance in an open manner through communication, consultation, and collaboration. The following are policies, procedures and practices that ensure the City is transparent in its operations and residents are aware of how decisions are made and carried out:

  1. Council Procedure By-law
  2. Public Distribution of Council and Committee Agenda Meeting Documentation
  3. Appointment Policy (Recruitment and Selection of members of Advisory Committees, Boards and Task Forces, and External Boards, Commissions and Authorities)
  4. Public Notice By-law
  5. Delegation of Powers Policy/Delegation of Authority By-law
  6. Bilingualism Policy
  7. Public Engagement Strategy
  8. Accessible Formats and Communication Supports Procedure
  9. Enhancements to open meeting procedures including a process of rising and reporting following closed sessions, indicating either the date a confidential report can be made public or a legal opinion indicating why the report cannot be made public and proactively making confidential reports public upon the reporting out date
  10. Routine Disclosure and Active Dissemination Policy
  11. Adherence to the principles of Open Government, including making data available through Open Data Ottawa
  12. Proactive disclosure of executed contracts with a value of $100,000 or more that were not a result of public procurement, as well as contracts resulting from a public procurement exercise that are of significant public interest
  13. Annual proactive disclosure of events hosted by the Office of Protocol, as well as gifts presented on behalf of the City through the Office of Protocol

5. Internal accountability and ethical standards

The City of Ottawa has established policies, procedures and practices that govern internal accountability and ethical standards for the City of Ottawa, including:

  1. Code of Conduct for City employees
  2. Code of Conduct for Advisory Committee Members
  3. Code of Conduct for Members of the Built Heritage Sub-Committee
  4. Hiring and Employment of Family Members Policy
  5. Responsible Computing Policy
  6. Election-Related Resources Policy
  7. Harassment in the Workplace Policy
  8. Violence in the Workplace Policy
  9. Equity and Diversity Policy
  10. Records Management Policy

6. City Council’s Accountability Framework

Ottawa City Council has furthered its commitment to accountability and transparency through the implementation of various integrity officers and additional policies and practices: 

  1. The proactive disclosure of the office expenses of Members of Council;
  2. The appointment of an Integrity Commissioner to whom Council has also designated the role of Lobbyist Registrar and Meetings Investigator;
  3. The adoption of a Code of Conduct for Members of Council; 
  4. The quarterly disclosure by Members of Council in an online Gifts Registry of all gifts, benefits and hospitality received which individually exceed $100 from one source in a calendar year (save for some exceptions);
  5. The quarterly disclosure by Members of Council in an online Gifts Registry of all tickets received which individually exceed $30 from one source in a calendar year (save for some exceptions);
  6. The adoption of a Community, Fundraising and Special Events Policy and a Council Expense Policy;
  7. The enactment of a Lobbyist Registry By-law including a Lobbyist Code of Conduct, and the establishment of a Lobbyist Registry; and
  8. Integrity Commissioner’s Annual Report.


City Council and City staff are responsible for adhering to the parameters of this policy and for ensuring accountability for their actions and transparency of municipal operations.


The City Clerk shall be responsible for receiving complaints and/or concerns related to this policy. Upon receipt of a complaint and/or concern, the City Clerk shall notify:

  1. In the case of staff, the Department Head, General Manager or Director responsible for the area and the Director, Human Resources
  2. In the case of a closed meeting, the Meetings Investigator
  3. In the case of Council, the Head of Council.

Legislative and administrative authorities

Section 270 of the Municipal Act, 2001 as amended by Bill 130 requires that the City adopt and maintain a policy with respect to ensuring accountability and transparency. The Accountability and Transparency Policy identifies the legislation, policies, procedures and practices that the City complies with in order to promote accountability and transparency.


Ofice of the City Clerk
City of Ottawa
Telephone: 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-2401)

Bilingualism Policy

Reference No: ACS2001-CMS-OCM-0002
Originating Department: Secretariat Services 
Effective Date: May 9, 2001
Revision Date: November 15, 2004
Revision Approved By: Corporate Services
Review Date: May 22, 2015
Review Approved By: Corporate Programs and Business Services

Declaration of Principle

The City of Ottawa recognizes both official languages as having the same rights, status and privileges.

To this end, the City of Ottawa must:

Language of Work

  • Encourage employees to work in the official language of their choice;
  • Provide appropriate language training;
  • Provide assistance to employees who must or wish to write in French;
  • Develop and organize training programs in both official languages.

Language of Service

  • Take the necessary steps to provide at all times the appropriate number of bilingual employees within work units;
  • By appointing employees meeting the language requirements of the unit where the vacancy occurs or by providing language training to new incumbents.

If a unilingual employee hired prior to January 1, 2001, from the former municipalities of the Region of Ottawa-Carleton, Ottawa, West Carleton, Goulbourn, Kanata, Rideau, Nepean, Osgoode, Gloucester, Cumberland, Vanier or Rockcliffe Park, applies for a position designated bilingual and is appointed to that position; the appointment will be for a period of not less than six months; the employee must however undergo language training.

The appointment will be confirmed if it is determined that the employee is able to become, and is making reasonable efforts to become, proficient in the second language; if not, the employee will revert to his/her former classification.

Employees hired after January 1, 2001 and outside candidates must meet the posted language requirements.

The career development of employees hired after January 1, 2001 could be related to their language skills.

Cultural Programs

  • Ensure that cultural programs aimed at one official language group be developed by employees having full knowledge of the appropriate culture.


  • The Secretariat Services Branch (French Language Services Division) will follow up on citizens' complaints concerning services in both official languages.


  • That all documents published by the City of Ottawa or its agencies and intended for the public (internal and external), be published in both official languages.

I. General Policy

R.1 That the City of Ottawa reiterate the bilingual character of the City as well as equality of rights and privileges for both linguistic groups in light of services offered.
  R.1.1 That the City reaffirm to the community and to its employees its commitment to bilingualism and that it develop a plan and measures for furthering its policy on bilingualism.
  R.1.2 That the Department of Human Resources continue to use the report "Bilingualism Policy - Work Units" as a work instrument, and that appropriate guidelines be developed.
  R.1.3 That the General Manager, Human Resources be responsible for the development of this action plan and related measures.
  R.1.4 That the General Manager, Human Resources, be responsible for the development of regulations and guidelines and the implementation of linguistic policies affecting employees.
  R.1.5 That the City Manager submit a report indicating the appropriate cost of carrying out the recommendations contained in this policy.
  R.1.6 That the City Manager, the General Managers, directors and managers all be accountable for the implementation of this action plan and related measures. That each year, the General Manager of each department prepare an annual plan on official languages describing the accomplishments during the last twelve months, submit plans or goals for the next twelve months and that they be approved with or without amendments, by City Council and made public.
  R.1.7 That the General Manager, Human Resources submit progress reports on the implementation of the bilingualism policy.
  R.1.8 That the City of Ottawa inform the community of the availability of services.
  R.1.9 That the City distribute to employees the information pertaining to the City's Policy on bilingualism and its provisions dealing with their rights and obligations. That the English and French languages be accepted as languages of work within the municipal administration.
    R.1.9.1. That the City inform its employees of this section and that it encourage them to use both official languages in their work.
    R.1.9.2 That employees who have the opportunity, and are able to do so, be encouraged to use French on the job.
  R.1.10 That Francophone employees working in related fields at the City be strongly encouraged to meet on a formal basis to discuss programs that could result in better services to the population.
  R.1.11 That each Department with whom the public has contact have a bilingual capacity in order to provide services in both official languages.
    R.1.11.1 That an assessment of needs in this area be undertaken.
    R.1.11.2 That the City actively promote its services in both official languages.
  R.1.12 That City Council reiterate its wish to offer to both official language groups comparable services and programs in their mother tongue and take the necessary action to achieve this objective.
    R.1.12.1 That the quality and level of services provided in French be equal to those in English.
  R.1.13 That work instruments (circulars, books and texts required for performance of duties) be made available simultaneously in both official languages.
  R.1.14 That the City of Ottawa lobby provincial authorities so that legal documents, regulations and legislation be available in French and that the French text be recognized as legal at the local level.
  R.1.15 That the necessary action be taken to ensure that action taken by City Council in French is recognized officially in French.
  R.1.16 That each of the employee associations and unions be consulted as detailed plans are developed for the implementation of the recommendations in this report.
  R.1.17 That City Council clearly give the mandate to its delegates on the Police Services Board to present in the form of recommendations all relevant aspects of the bilingualism policy adopted by City Council and to ensure that appropriate mechanisms of application are developed or implemented.
    R.1.17.1 That annual performance appraisals include language objectives for employees occupying positions requiring a second language in order to evaluate progress in language training of employees who have been confirmed in their positions without first having met the language requirements of those positions.
    R.1.17.2 That annual employee performance appraisals and departmental assessments reflect progress made in implementing the policy, and that quarterly and annual reports include statements on progress.
  R.1.18 That policies respecting bilingual postings and publications apply to all purchase of service groups providing services directly to the public and to community associations and groups whose activities are funded by the City of Ottawa at a rate of more than 30%. Such groups are to provide a minimum of bilingual personnel at the activity site.
    R.1.18.1 That a clause respecting the spirit of this section be included in agreements with associations receiving grants from the City of Ottawa and in contracts signed by the City where appropriate in accordance with the intent of this policy.
    R.1.18.2 That adherence/compliance of this section be monitored.
  R.1.19 That the City of Ottawa establish an Advisory Committee on French Language Services with a mandate to advise the municipal administration and Council with regard to the implementation of the Policy on bilingualism.
  R.1.20 It is understood that these recommendations deal with the use of the two official languages. The City also recognizes the need of adapting its services to the needs of other language and cultural groups as the need arises and as the multi-cultural face of this community changes.

II. Language Training

R.2 That the City of Ottawa clearly identify funds spent on language training for elected representatives.
  R.2.1 That the City of Ottawa advise all its employees of the opportunities for language training.
  R.2.2 That each year the municipal administration encourage its unilingual employees to acquire second language skills and advise them of available programs.
    R.2.2.1 That the priority for language training be given to work units whose main functions involve:
      i) communicating with the public;
      ii) advising other employees;
      iii) providing services essential to the effective operation of other Departments (administrative services, central registry, etc.).
    R.2.2.2 That language training be given to intermediate and senior staff in order to ensure that the following goals are met:
      i) service to the public in both official languages at all levels;
      ii) the use of both official languages in the work place.
  R.2.3 That the City offer each year to some employees who have attained level 3 in the second official language, the opportunity to take during their working hours courses given by the City of Ottawa or other public organizations.
  R.2.4 That all employees who have reached levels 1 to 3 (proficiency levels: beginner, intermediate and advanced) in the second language be reimbursed any fees paid for courses taken after working hours and completed in any educational institution.
  R.2.5 That the Organizational Effectiveness Branch provide assistance to employees who either want or need to use written French. (This will help make cost effective use of existing resources).
  R.2.6 That concrete measures be developed to ensure that employees registered for language training and occupying positions having a bilingual requirement use their second language at work. (The Organizational Effectiveness Branch could elicit the cooperation of Francophones within the work units to support the training program by providing employees with opportunities to use their French or by providing work instruments in French).
  R.2.7 That the City adopt specific language training policies and procedures.
  R.2.8 That the municipal administration look into ways of improving language skills of employees at level 3, i.e., time-off with partial day, personnel exchanges between cities of Montreal and Ottawa, etc.
  R.2.9 That the City of Ottawa encourage meetings to be chaired by bilingual persons, so that civic employees be able to use the official language of their choice at internal meetings, and depending on the type of meeting, that interpretation services be provided.

III. Professional Training

R.3 That professional training and development programs necessary for employee competence on the job be available in both official languages (either through courses given by the City or through other organizations).  
  R.3.1 That courses could be given in both official languages or in either of them. (It is assumed that over a number of years all successful courses of significance will be offered in both official languages).
  R.3.2 That courses offered in French be equal in quality to those in English.
  R.3.3 That employees be advised of the availability of these services and use of these services be encouraged.
  R.3.4 That courses be provided in French even if registration is low to allow time for habits to change.
  R.3.5 That employees be encouraged to take their career development training in their second official language.
  R.3.6 That in the short term Francophones be encouraged to take courses in French.
  R.3.7 R.3.7 That guidelines be devised concerning the use of these services.
IV. Work Units
R.4 That those units whose primary function is to deal directly with the public on a full-time basis, have a full complement of bilingual staff or at least that the majority be bilingual.  
  R.4.1 That each work unit at the City representing a separate and specific service to the public and/or employees be able to communicate in both official languages at all times.
  R.4.2 That this bilingual capacity in each work unit be available at all levels including management, administration officers and support staff.
    R.4.2.1 That the City of Ottawa redistribute its human resources more adequately and inform the public of this.
    R.4.2.2 That the availability of services be ensured by judicious distribution of bilingual human resources.
    R.4.2.3 That use of services in both official languages be actively promoted.
    R.4.2.4 That the media be used to inform the public.
    R.4.2.5 (i) That all Executive and Senior Management Group positions be designated bilingual.
(ii) That the City Manager set a target to achieve a 50% rate of bilingualism among all incumbents of Executive and Senior Management Groups by January 1, 2004.
(iii) Current incumbents who could not achieve level 3 proficiency in oral interaction and reading at least three (3) years prior to their earliest possible retirement date at full pension would be excluded from calculations in the achievement of the 50% target.
  R.4.3 That with respect to services delivered in neighborhood and interacting with the community (i.e., community centres, planning offices) staff language skills will match neighborhood language needs. Where one official language group predominates in a neighborhood, civic employees with ability in the dominant language will be employed. Where both official groups represent significant portions of a neighborhood population, bilingual staff will be employed.
  R.4.4 That all positions with a wide range of activities related to cultural programs directed to either of the two cultural groups be staffed by employees of the respective cultural group.
    R.4.4.1 That all work units with a wide range of activities related to cultural programs directed to either of the two cultural groups be sufficiently staffed by employees having full knowledge of the appropriate cultural group.
    R.4.4.2 That young people and senior citizens be given priority in the delivery of services.
    R.4.4.3 That special effort be made so that Francophones in the Fire Services Branch have the opportunity of working in French and so that the Francophone communities can receive services in French. This program is to be developed and implemented in close collaboration with the Fire Fighters Association and so as to maintain the safe operation of the service.
    R.4.4.4 That firefighters work in the language of their choice but that each group always have at least one firefighter who can communicate in both official languages.
    R.4.4.5 Since the safety of the public is a prime consideration, that City Council see that this section is put into effect as soon as possible.
    R.4.4.6 That bilingual firefighters be assigned to strategically located fire stations.
    R.4.4.7 Allowing for the different work shifts, that there always be a bilingual person on duty.
    R.4.4.8 This section shall not apply to the volunteer firefighters component of the Fire Service.
V. Written Communication
R.5 That civic employee records be kept in the official language of their choice.  
  R.5.1 That employees be advised of this possibility.
  R.5.2 That all documents published by the City or its agencies and addressed to the public appear in both official languages (instructions, regulations, municipal by-laws, etc.).
  R.5.3 That publications be made available in both official languages simultaneously or in the language of the target group (i.e., schedule of courses in French).
  R.5.4 That all written communication from the General Managers and Department of Human Resources to a number of employees and any other general circular be in both official languages.
    R.5.4.1 That all other written communication may be in either official language of the choice of the writer.
  R.5.5 That supervisors' memos addressed to employees of both language groups be written in both official languages.
  R.5.6 That these documents always be printed side by side or back to back, except in the cases of maps, plans, or similar documents which do not lend themselves to this type of printing.
  R.5.7 That the agendas of City Council meetings and its committees be available in both official languages.
  R.5.8 That the publicity relating to programs and services offered to the public always be in the language of the said program.
    R.5.8.1 That those responsible for the programs and services ensure the accuracy of the information and coordinate its dissemination.
    R.5.8.2 That the Secretariat Services Branch see to the application or coordination of this item by ensuring that advertised, and related information, actually exists.
  R.5.9 That all signs on City property or that of its agencies be bilingual or make use of international symbols.
    R.5.9.1 That signs be replaced as required.
VI. Staffing
R.6 Subject to R.6.3 below, it is to be made clear that the language requirements of various positions will be fulfilled by training of the present incumbent when the incumbent does not meet language requirements, and in no instance will employees be terminated or suffer reduction in salary or wages for not meeting job language requirements.
  R.6.1 That the City ensure that prospective employees of both language groups enjoy the same job and career opportunities within the municipal administration and that it implement mechanisms to meet these objectives and that implementation of mechanisms be referred to employee associations for suggestions and report back to the Corporate Services and Economic Development Committee.
  R.6.2 That language capability be an integral part of any resource and career planning that the Corporation may adopt.
  R.6.3 That the City make every effort to appoint bilingual people to all management positions and especially those of General Manager.
    R.6.3.1 That
      i) effective immediately, all external candidates considered for Level 1 to 3 management positions be bilingual. Any exceptions, after having undertaken a comprehensive recruitment effort, shall require Council approval.
      ii) prior to December 31, 2009, all internal candidates who are not bilingual and who are promoted to Level 1 to 3 management positions be required to take second language training to meet the language requirements of the position.
      iii) as of December 31, 2009, bilingualism be considered a prerequisite for any internal promotion to a designated bilingual position within Level 1 to 3 management groups. Any exceptions, after having undertaken a comprehensive recruitment effort, shall require Council approval.
      iv) Internal candidates promoted to Level 1 to 3 management positions pursuant to paragraphs (ii) and (iii) who could not achieve level 3 proficiency in oral interaction and reading at least three (3) years prior to their earliest possible retirement date at full pension would be exempted from meeting the language requirements of the position.
  R.6.4 That where in any of the work units recommended by the Senior Management Team and approved by Council there is a deficiency in the number of employees who meet the bilingual requirement of the unit, the deficiency is to be corrected in the following manner:
    i) subject to R.6.6 below, by the appointment of a sufficient number of persons with a bilingual capability to vacancies that may arise from time to time in the work units, and
ii) by the provision of language training to a sufficient number of employees in the work unit.
  R.6.5 That appointments involving employees recruited from outside the City, personnel be subject to the same conditions as applied in the case of appointments involving internal employees.
  R.6.6 That where under R.6.4 i) a vacant position is to be filled in a work unit that has a deficiency in the number of employees who meet the bilingual requirement of the work unit, and application for the position is made by an employee who (i) has been in the continuous full-time employment of the former Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton, or any of the former area municipalities, since before January 1, 2001, and (ii) does not have the required bilingual capacity:
    i) the employee may be appointed to the position but on an acting basis for a period of not less than six months and not more than twelve months on the understanding that he/she will be provided with and will undertake the required language training;
ii) the employee's appointment to the position will be confirmed if, following six months of training, it is determine that the employee is able to become, and is making reasonable efforts to become, proficient in the second language; and
iii) the employee will revert to his/her former classification and salary whenever it is determined that he/she is not able to become, or is not making reasonable efforts to become proficient in the second language.
  R.6.7 That the scheduling of the provision of language training to City employees with respect to R.6.4 ii) above be made in the context of the availability of language training facilities and the degree of priority assigned to the bilingual requirement of the work unit as recommended by the Senior Management Team and approved by Council.
  R.6.8 That employees who have already become or subsequently become full-time continuous employees of the City of Ottawa on or after January 1, 2001, be informed that their career development with the City could well be related to their proficiency in both official languages, and that they be encouraged to acquire this proficiency.
  R.6.9 That cultural programs aimed at one official language group be designed by employee(s) of that same cultural group.
    R.6.9.1 That cultural programs aimed at one official language group be designed by employees having full knowledge of the appropriate culture.
    R.6.9.2 That in this regard, civic departments, when filling a vacancy in a work unit that provides cultural programs and reviewing the draft job description prepared by the Classification Unit of the Human Resources Department, will give particular attention to the need to identify the cultural component of the job and the required knowledge of the appropriate culture.
  R.6.10 That Human Resources Department develop and administer a comprehensive set of tests to assess effectively the knowledge of both official languages of all candidates for positions designated bilingual and that only those having the required language skills be considered.
    R.6.10.1 That all tests administered to determine candidates skills and competence be available in both official languages.
    R.6.10.2 That candidates be advised that some tests are available in the language of their choice.
    R.6.10.3 That a work plan and time frame be established for the translation of other tests.
  R.6.11 That all selection boards set up in view of filling a bilingual position be composed of a bilingual staff to allow candidates to use the language of their choice.
    R.6.11.1 That guidelines be established with respect to the composition of selection boards.
    R.6.11.2 That candidates be advised of this policy.
  R.6.12 That hiring and promotion of staff at the City of Ottawa shall continue to be according to the merit principle. Notwithstanding other provisions of this policy, decisions about the hiring and promotion of staff are, subject to any applicable collective agreement or contract of employment, based on the ability of the candidate to perform the duties of the position applied for and the suitability of the candidate for that position.
VII. Translation  
R.7 That the City establish an adequate Translation and Revision Section.
R.7.1 That the Secretariat Services Branch (French Language Services Division) carry out an analysis and evaluation of these services on a regular basis.
R.7.2 That adequate human resources be made available to ensure a reasonable turnaround time.
R.7.3 In order to ensure fast, quality service at a reasonable cost, that the use of freelance translators, revisers or interpreters be considered, and that a directory of such resources be compiled.
R.7.4 That the City of Ottawa set priorities and requirements with regards to translation.
R.7.5 That the City of Ottawa adopt a policy on the use of translation and interpretation services.
R.7.6 That a precise policy be established with respect to:
  i) general access to services (translation and interpretation);.
ii) general revision and revision of previously translated documents;
iii) standardization of terminology
R.7.7 That use of these services be encouraged and that employees be informed of their existence and the policies governing their use.
R.7.8 That the City of Ottawa be selective in its use of translation and that the section concentrate on revision and editing of texts as the requirements for translation decrease.
VIII. Language of Supervision
R.8 The policy that civic employees be supervised in the official language of their choice be a long term objective to which the City move in a gradual, practical manner.  
  R.8.1 That services provided to staff (salary, counselling, etc.) be available in the official language of the employees.
IX. Complaints
R.9 That a follow-up procedure be established for handling complaints and for receiving comments and suggestions; and that the City make the general public aware of this procedure.


  • Career Management Centre
  • Staffing and Recruitment Policy
  • Corporate Tool Kit

Legislated and Administrative Authorities

  • City of Ottawa Act, Ontario, 1999
  • French Language Services Act, Ontario, 1989
  • City Council, May 9th, 2001
  • City Council, February 27th, 2002
  • City Council, November 27th, 2002

Key Word Search

  • Bilingualism
  • Francophone
  • Professional training
  • Work instruments
  • Work units


For more information on this policy, contact:

Michèle Rochette, Manager
French Language Services Branch
Corporate Programs and Business Services Branch
City Manager's Office
City of Ottawa
613-580-2424, extension 21453

Comprehensive Asset Management Policy

Comprehensive Asset Management Policy [ PDF - 396 KB ]

Policy Statement

The City of Ottawa shall adopt and apply recognized asset management (AM) practices in support of delivering services to its customers.


The objective of this policy is to detail the AM program principles with the aim of:

  • Striving to deliver services at approved levels of service;
  • Improving decision-making accountability and transparency;
  • Better demonstrating the long term consideration of short term decisions;
  • Improving customer service;
  • Reducing the life cycle costs while maintaining acceptable levels of service; and
  • Linking infrastructure investment decisions to service outcomes.


Comprehensive Asset Management (CAM) is an integrated business approach involving planning, finance, engineering, maintenance and operations geared towards effectively managing existing and new infrastructure to maximize benefits, reduce risk and provide safe and reliable levels of service to community users. This is accomplished in a socially, culturally, environmentally and economically conscious manner.

CAM relies on four key organizational components integrating together to achieve the desired service outcomes: well planned strategies, good physical assets, highly trained professionals with respect to practices and procedures, and integrated business processes. These components, supported by appropriate technologies, provide a robust foundation for efficient service delivery.


The CAM Policy applies to all physical assets of the city, such as roads, sidewalks, bridges, transitway, railways, watermains, sewers, stormwater ponds, pumping stations, reservoirs, treatment plants, landfills, fleet, IT systems, buildings, parks, housing, art and trees.

Comprehensive Asset Management Program

The CAM Program encompasses all aspects of the management of each asset through its lifecycle in that it:

  • Integrates with the Corporate Planning Framework to complement the strategic objectives of the City, other key business systems, legislation, and regulations;
  • Creates a framework that establishes the mechanism for a clear line of sight between our AM program and Corporate objectives and strategies; and
  • Commits to providing approved levels of service for present and future customers and communities, in the most effective and efficient way, through the planning, design, construction, acquisition, operation and maintenance, renewal, and disposal of assets.

The basis for our asset related decisions are:

  • Anchored on the four pillars of sustainability – economic, environmental, social and cultural - that support the City’s long-term sustainability goals approved by Council
  • Based on applying “the right intervention, on the right asset, at the right time” recognizing risk and the City’s fiscal constraints; and
  • Founded on a sustainable approach to ensure that asset base increases or enhancements consider the impact on the ability of the City to fund future maintenance and rehabilitation.

Policy Statements

The CAM objectives are achieved through the application of the following guiding principles:

Customer Focused

The City will have clearly defined Levels of Service and applying asset management practices to maintain the confidence of customers in how City assets are managed.

Forward looking

The City will make the appropriate decisions and provisions to better enable its assets to meet future challenges, including changing demographics and populations, customer expectations, legislative requirements, technological and environmental factors.

Service Focused

The City will consider all the assets in a service context and taking into account their interrelationships as opposed to optimizing individual assets in isolation.


The City will manage the asset risk associated with attaining the agreed levels of service by focusing resources, expenditures, and priorities based upon risk assessments and the corresponding cost/benefit recognizing that public safety is the priority.

Value-Based / Affordable

The City will choose practices, interventions and operations that aim at reducing the life cycle cost of asset ownership, while satisfying agreed levels of service. Decisions are based on balancing service levels, risks, and costs.


The City will take a comprehensive approach that looks at the “big picture” and considers the combined impact of managing all aspects of the asset life cycle.


The City will adopt a formal, consistent, repeatable approach to the management of its assets that will ensure services are provided in the most effective manner.


The City will continually improve its asset management approach, by driving innovation in the development of tools, practices, and solutions.

Policy Direction

To meet the goals and objectives of this policy, Senior Management will:

  1. Create and maintain a Comprehensive Asset Management (CAM) Governance Structure to lead the development of AM tools and practices and to oversee their application across the organization.
  2. Adopt a Comprehensive Asset Management Strategy to:
    1. Establish, document and continually adhere to industry recognized asset management protocols;
    2. Define levels of service that balance customer expectations with risk, affordability and timing constraints;
    3. Adopt risk-based decision-making processes that consider the likelihood of asset failure and the consequence of a failure with regards to impacts on safety and levels of service;
    4. Develop asset management knowledge and competencies aligned with recognized competency frameworks;
    5. Entrench lifecycle costing when evaluating competing asset investment needs across City assets; and
    6. Monitor the performance of the assets and track the effectiveness of AM practices with a view to continuous improvement.
  3. Where practical, strive to go beyond minimum legislative solutions as an enabler to make City assets more resilient to changing social, environmental and economic conditions.
  4. Seek funding and service delivery opportunities to address infrastructure investment pressures.
  5. Provide regular updates to Council on the state of the City’s assets and forecasted trends (typically aligned with tabling of the Long Range Financial Plans).

Key Strategic Comprehensive Asset Management Documents

The following key strategic CAM documents, in addition of the Long Range Financial Plans, form part of the City’s overall approach to asset management:

  • Comprehensive Asset Management Policy: This document establishes Council’s expectations around the management of the City’s physical assets. It is to be approved by Council.
  • Comprehensive Asset Management Strategy: This document defines Senior Management’s commitment and approach to achieving the Council approved policy..
  • Customer Levels of Service: This document defines the level to which assets are to be maintained to achieve defined levels of service. These are to be approved by Council.
  • Asset Management Plans: These document how assets are being managed through their lifecycle in support of the delivery of services. These are to be approved at the Departmental Management level for all service areas.
  • State of the Asset Report: This document provides information on the state of the City’s physical assets which can then be referenced when making infrastructure asset investment decisions as part of the annual budget and long range financial planning processes. This is to be submitted to Council for information.


Comprehensive Asset Management Framework [ PDF - 411 KB ]

Corporate Sponsorship and Advertising Policy

The City of Ottawa welcomes and encourages sponsorships and advertising undertaken to assist in the provision of City services and projects. The Corporate Sponsorship and Advertising Policy provides guidelines and flexibility to maximize revenue opportunities while safeguarding the City’s corporate values, image, assets, and interests.

The policy applies to all City employees and all relationships between the City and businesses, organizations and individuals that contribute either financially or in-kind to City programs, services or facilities in return for recognition, public acknowledgement or other promotional considerations.

Policy statement

The City of Ottawa welcomes and encourages sponsorships and advertising undertaken to assist in the provision of City services and projects. All sponsorships and advertising shall be consistent with the City of Ottawa’s vision, mission and values and will not compromise or contradict any by-law or policy of the City, or reflect negatively on the City’s public image. All sponsorship and advertising agreements shall be established in a manner that ensures access and fairness, and results in the optimal balance of benefits to the City and the community.


The primary objective of the policy’s parameters and guidelines is to safeguard the City’s corporate values, image, assets, and interests while increasing the opportunities for revenue generation.


This policy applies to all relationships between the City of Ottawa and businesses, organizations and individuals that contribute either financially or in-kind to City programs, services or facilities in return for recognition, public acknowledgement or other promotional considerations. The policy applies to the following:

  • Program and special event sponsorship
  • Naming/renaming of City property, buildings, and structures
  • Pouring rights
  • Paid advertising on City property, at City events, and in City publications
  • Preferred supplier status


This policy applies to all City employees. Exceptions to parts of this policy are extended to the Office of Protocol and the Public Health Branch. These are described in Appendices A and B.

This policy does not apply to the City’s Elected Officials.

Principles and conditions

General requirements

All sponsorship and advertising agreements must comply with federal and provincial statutes, municipal by-laws, and the standards set out by the Canadian Advertising Standards Council.

The following conditions apply when establishing sponsorship and advertising relationships:

  • The City will maintain control over the planning and delivery of sponsorship activities.
  • Agreements shall not in any way invoke future consideration, influence, or be perceived to influence the day-to-day business of the City.
  • The relationship must not cause a City employee to receive any product, service or assets for personal gain or use.
  • Advertising devices must not impact the quality and integrity of the City’s properties, buildings, streetscape, and provide no added risks to safety.
  • The advertisement of a product or service does not act as the City’s endorsement of any one product or service over another.
  • All political advertising will indicate that it is paid by a party or candidate, so as to avoid any impression that the City is supporting any particular party or candidate.
  • The sponsorship and advertising opportunity should be appropriate to the target audience

Restrictions for sponsorship and advertising

The City will not solicit or accept sponsorship or advertising from companies whose reputation could prove detrimental to the City’s public image and/or whose main business is derived from:

  • The sale of tobacco
  • Pornography
  • The support of, or involvement in the production, distribution, and sale of weapons and other life-threatening products

The City will not allow advertising, either directly or through third party arrangements that:

  • Convey a negative religious message that might be deemed prejudicial to religious groups
  • Promote alcohol and other addictive substances, at venues geared primarily to children
  • Present demeaning or derogatory portrayals of individuals or groups or contain anything, which, in light of generally prevailing community standards, is likely to cause deep or widespread offence

The City may, at its discretion, bring any proposals to Council for their approval even if they do not meet the guidelines of this policy. Council may also consider any proposal or direct staff to pursue any opportunities for sponsorship and advertising that do not strictly adhere to this policy.

Administrative requirements and authorities

Solicitation and allocation of sponsorship and advertising opportunities

Sponsorships activities should continue, as always, to be the result of direct solicitation by the City or elected officials to sponsors.

As a general rule, the following sponsorship and advertising opportunities should be competed:

  • Opportunities that will offer a significant corporate profile
  • Agreements of a lengthy duration (3 years and beyond)
  • Agreements that allow for exclusive benefits and recognition

Non-competitive arrangements may be considered for the following opportunities when:

  • An unlimited number of sponsors are being sought
  • It is a unique, innovative or experimental sponsorship opportunity
  • Only one suitable sponsor can be identified
  • The value of the sponsorship or advertising opportunity is less than $50,000
  • The value of an In-kind media sponsorship is less than $100,000
  • The need is justified in a business case, approved by the relevant Deputy City Manager or the Chief Corporate Services Officer and, the Supply Management Division. 

Unsolicited sponsorship and advertising proposals received by the City will be reviewed and evaluated by the relevant program director as per the provisions of the policy. Advertising proposals that include billboard advertising shall require approval by City Council and prior consultation with the Ward Councillor of the Ward in which the advertising is proposed to be located.

The City reserves the right to reject any unsolicited sponsorships that have been offered to the City and to refuse to enter into agreements for any sponsorships that originally may have been openly solicited by the City.

The selection of a preferred supplier will be consistent with the City’s procurement policy. There will be no requirement to obtain quotes or undertake a proposal and staff can initiate opportunities without the requirement to test the market further.

All sponsorship and advertising agreements shall be evaluated on an annual basis to determine continued benefit. The term of all agreements shall not exceed three years unless authorized by the appropriate Deputy City Manager or the Chief Corporate Services Officer.

The City reserves the right to terminate an existing sponsorship or advertising agreement should conditions arise that make it no longer in the best interests of the City.

Delegation of authority

City staff is authorized to enter into sponsorship and advertising agreements that do not exceed the following pre-authorized limits. Agreements that exceed these pre-authorized limits will require City Council approval.

Supervisors and program managers

Supervisors and Program Managers are responsible for approving all agreements for amounts up to $10,000 provided they satisfy all provisions of this policy.


Managers are responsible for approving all agreements for amounts up to $50,000 provided they satisfy all provisions of this policy.


Directors are responsible for approving all agreements for amounts up to $100,000 provided they satisfy all provisions of this policy.

Deputy City Managers and the Chief Corporate Services Officer

The Deputy City Managers, and the Chief Corporate Services Officer are responsible for approving all agreements for amounts over $100,000 within their respective Departments. The Deputy City Managers, and/or the Chief Corporate Services Officer will determine when it is appropriate to seek the authority of Council prior to a sponsorship being signed.

City Council

City Council approval is required for any contract that does not satisfy the provisions of this policy and for opportunities involving the naming/renaming of City property, buildings and structures. City Council approval is required for all proposals that include billboard advertising.


Departments are responsible for soliciting, negotiating and administering their own agreements. Staff approving sponsorship and advertising proposals must ensure that all relevant by-laws and policies are adhered to, appropriate consultation and approval authorities are respected, and where applicable that insurance, indemnification, ethical scans, and permits have been obtained. Departments are responsible for ensuring that third party advertising relationships abide by the restrictions noted in this policy.

Departments are responsible for maintaining a log of all sponsorship and advertising contributions and for issuing a written acknowledgement of the agreement to each sponsor or advertiser. All sponsorship contributions in excess of $25,000 in total value shall be confirmed in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) or other legal agreement.


Failure to comply with this policy may result in disciplinary action.



A mutually agreed to arrangement between the City of Ottawa and an external company, organization, enterprise, association or individual evidenced in writing whereby the external party (sponsor) contributes money, goods or services to a City of Ottawa facility, program, project, or special event in return for recognition, acknowledgement, or other promotional considerations or benefits. This does not include donations and gifts, or advice to the City where no business relationship or association is contemplated or is required and where no reciprocal consideration is being sought.

Forms of sponsorship

  • Cash – A sponsorship received in the form of money.
  • In-kind – Goods or services of value to the City are received rather than cash.


Advertising is the sale to an external company, organization, enterprise, association or individual of advertising space on City printed materials or property, at City events, or in conjunction with a City program. Unlike sponsorship, advertising involves the simple purchase by an advertiser of advertising space sold at rates determined by the City. The purchaser of this space is not entitled to any additional benefits other than those accruing from access to the space purchased.

Naming rights

A naming right is a type of sponsorship in which an external company, organization, enterprise, association or individual purchases the exclusive right to name an asset or venue (e.g., a library building, sports facility or part of a facility - an ice pad within a multi-pad facility, etc.) for a fixed or indefinite period of time. Usually naming rights are considered in a commercial context, which is that the naming right is sold or exchanged for significant cash and/ or other considerations under a long-term arrangement. This arrangement is usually documented in a written agreement signed by the interested parties and has a specified end date to the contractual obligations.

Pouring rights

A pouring right is a type of sponsorship in which a corporation, an organization or an individual purchases the exclusive right to supply beverages at a City facility in exchange for significant cash and/ or other considerations over a long-term agreement.

Preferred supplier agreements

Preferred Supplier Agreements are multi-year contracts between the City and outside firms in which the firms agree to provide value-added support to the City in exchange for preferred status. Value-added support is typically provided by discounted pricing as well as cash, and/or goods and services. This process allows for a consistent approach to all current and potential supply line arrangements, which in the long run, will see the City lower its operating costs while at the same time generating additional revenue.

Ethical scans

A search of a potential sponsor’s main company and subsidiaries, if any, that is performed to determine if the sponsor/advertiser meets the requirements defined by the Corporate Sponsorship and Advertising Policy or is otherwise affected by the “Restrictions on Sponsorships” section of the Policy.


Delegation of Authority By-law No. 2001-12, January 8, 2001
Code of Conduct, April 26, 2002
Purchasing By-Law No. 2001-72, April 11, 2001
Equity and Diversity Policy, July 19, 2004
Ontario Human Rights Code
Visual Identity Usage Policy, June 25, 2003
Permanent Signs on Private Property By-Law 2005-439, September 28, 2005
Corporate Sponsorship and Advertising Procedures

Key word search

Naming Rights
Pouring Rights
Preferred Supplier Status


Ingrid Meza-McDonald
Partnership Manager, Corporate Advertising, Sponsorship & Donation
Recreation, Culture and Facility Services
Tel: 613-580-2424, ext. 24761

Appendix A - Office Of Protocol

The information contained in this Appendix reflects the necessary exceptions to the general Policy and applies only to the Office of Protocol.

Solicitation and Allocation of Sponsorship and Advertising Opportunities

In addition to the criteria noted in the general policy, The Office of Protocol may enter into non-competitive agreements for all in-kind media sponsorships.


Notwithstanding the reporting requirements identified in the general policy, acknowledgement of sponsorships for events organized by the Office of Protocol will be documented in a Letter of Confirmation in lieu of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

Appendix B – Ottawa Public Health Branch

The differences in policy restrictions and guidelines contained in this Appendix are based on additional international, national and provincial standards, and apply to the Public Health branch only.

Restrictions for sponsorship and advertising

In addition to the restrictions noted in the general policy, the Public Health branch will not enter into agreements with organizations whose main business is derived from:

  • The sale of alcohol, tobacco products, gambling or pornography.
  • The support of, or involvement in, the production, distribution, promotion or sale of bottle feeding materials including, but not limited to breast milk substitutes (formula) and baby bottles.

Exceptions to restrictions

Certain sponsorships may be undertaken with local organizations, like bars and tobacco retailers when the health benefits to the citizens of Ottawa clearly outweigh the risks of abuse (i.e. a local bar sponsors an event for sexual health as it is the most appropriate venue to reach the target demographic).

Ethical scans

Ethical scans will be conducted on all sponsorships arrangements of more than $10, 000.

Delegation of Powers Policy

Approved By: City Council
Section: City Clerk
Approval Date: November 28, 2007
Effective Date: November 28, 2007
Revision Dates: February 13, 2013 and December 9, 2020
Revisions Approved By: City Council

Policy Statement

The City of Ottawa will delegate its powers and duties in order to support efficient management of municipal operations and ensuring appropriate accountability and reporting is assigned to each delegation.


Legislative Powers – Includes all matters where Council acts in a legislative or quasi-judicial function including enacting by-laws, setting policies, and exercising decision-making authority.

Administrative Powers – Includes all matters required for the management of the corporation that do not involve discretionary decision-making.

High-profile or sensitive matters – May include, but not be limited to, the following examples:

  • Significant City projects, programs or services with respect to budget, project scale, risk level or public interest where an authority has been specifically granted by Council;
  • Events such as those described in the Donations to the City for Community Benefit Policy:
    • Mdifications, enhancements, replacement, alterations or removal of City facilities, amenities, programs or services available to the public;
    • An intrduction of new facilities, amenities, or equipment to a City owned or leased location accessed by the public;
    • A significant recnfiguration of a public property, facility or programming space within a City facility;
    • A recgnition benefit to a donor that has significant impact on site or facility aesthetics and/or use; and/or
    • A requirement t waive all or a portion of City policies and/or standards such as accessibility, bilingualism, etc.


This policy provides guidance regarding the scope of powers and duties that Council may delegate under its legislative and administrative authority and establishes principles governing such delegation.


As required by Section 270 of the Municipal Act, 2001, this policy applies to all City of Ottawa operations.

Policy Requirements

City Council supports the delegation of powers and duties to provide efficient management of municipal operations and respond to matters in a timely fashion according to the following principles:

  1. All delegation of powers and duties shall be set out in the Delegation of Authority By-law and reviewed every term of Council.
  2. Unless expressly delegated by Council through the Delegation of Authority by-law, all powers and duties of Council remain with Council.
  3. All delegation of powers and duties may be revoked at any time without notice.
  4. No delegation of powers and duties shall exceed the term of Council.
  5. Every delegation of a power or duty of Council shall be accompanied by a corresponding accountability and transparency mechanism.
  6. A delegation of a power or duty under any by-law to any member of staff is also a delegation to a person appointed as the City Manager to act in the capacity of the delegate in their absence.

The following additional principles are to be applied when delegating authority to a Standing Committee:

  • Standing Committees should decide those items that are consistent with a policy that City Council has adopted;
  • Standing Committees should decide matters that are consistent with the application of federal and/or provincial statutes and/or regulations;
  • Standing Committees should be the body that makes recommendations on all aspects related to a policy or policy implementation issue (including property acquisitions, contracts, etc.); and
  • Standing Committees will have the authority to confirm by-laws for decisions under their delegated authority.

For those transactional items that relate specifically to identifiable wards, the following process was established based on the Site Plan approval process:

  • The general authority is delegated to staff, who will observe all established processes and procedures;
  • Staff will work with the Ward Councillor(s), stakeholders and the public to resolve any identified issues;
  • Staff will prepare a Delegated Authority Report, where all comments from the public and stakeholders are summarized and responded to in the reports;
  • The Delegated Authority Report, including the conditions of approval, is sent electronically to the Ward Councillor(s) for concurrence;
  • If the Ward Councillor(s) agree: 
    • The Report is then signed by the General Manager/Director or their delegate. 
    • Notice of decision is sent to the Ward Councillor(s) and those who submitted comments on the issue or who requested notification of the decision; and
  • If the Ward Councillor(s) do not agree with staff’s recommendation: 
    • Delegated authority is withdrawn, and the application is sent to the appropriate Standing Committee for a public meeting and decision. 

Generally, the Ward Councillor has the ability to lift delegated authority from staff where they are not satisfied with the recommendations/conditions. In addition, if a Ward Councillor does not provide concurrence and does not lift delegated authority within the recommended timelines, staff has the ability to move the report forward to Committee on their own accord.

Finally, any Member of Council has the right to ask that an item that is delegated to a Standing Committee be forwarded to Council for a decision, either at the meeting, or in writing to the Standing Committee Co-ordinator at any point up until the day after the Committee disposition is posted.

In exercising any delegated authority, the delegate shall ensure the following:·

  • Any expenditure related to the matter shall have been provided for in the current year’s budget;·
  • The scope of the delegated authority shall not be exceeded by the delegate;
  • The consistent and equitable application of Council policies and procedures; and
  • Where required by the specific delegated authority, reports shall be submitted to Council advising of the exercise of a delegated authority and confirming compliance with the delegated authority and this policy;
  • That Members of Council and/or the Ward Councillor, as appropriate, are engaged early in the process, particularly in instances where the matter is high-profile or sensitive;
  • That enhanced accountability and transparency mechanisms, including consultation and reporting over and above what may be required under the Delegation of Authority By-law, are formally considered and assessed in potentially high-profile or sensitive matters; and
  • That any business decisions with respect to consultation and reporting the exercise of delegated authority will be documented in accordance with applicable information management policies and procedures.


City staff is responsible for adhering to the parameters of this policy and for ensuring appropriate application of delegated authority.


The City Clerk shall be responsible for receiving complaints and/or concerns related to this policy. Upon receipt of a complaint and/or concern, the City Clerk shall notify City Council and the City Manager.

Legislative and Administrative Authorities

Section 270 of the Municipal Act, 2001 requires that the City adopt and maintain a policy with respect to the delegation of powers and duties.

Delegation of Authority By-law
Procurement By-law
Standing Committee Terms of Reference


For more information on this policy, contact:
City Clerk
Office of the City Clerk
City of Ottawa
Telephone: 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-2401)

Election-Related Resources Policy

Department: Office of the City Clerk
Branch: Legislative Services
Authority/Approval Date: City Council, February 13, 2013

Effective Date: February 12, 2003
Revision Date: February 13, 2013


To provide direction to Members of Council and all City staff on the administration of Corporate resources and Members' budgets with respect to election-related matters.


In compliance with the Municipal Elections Act, 1996, public funds are not to be used for any election-related purposes, including the promotion of or opposition to the candidacy of a person for elected office.

Policy Elements

  1. Definition

    • For the purpose of this policy, “election-related purposes” refer to the occurrence of a municipal election or by-election. It also includes any participation in federal and provincial elections that is partisan in nature.
  2. Campaign-Related Materials

    1. At no time shall Corporate resources and/or Members' budgets be used to sponsor or produce any campaign-related materials. For the purposes of this clause, the phrase "campaign-related materials" means those materials that promote or oppose the candidacy of a person for elected office. Subject to Clause 2(b), this prohibition is not meant to restrict Members from routinely communicating with ward constituents via flyers, newsletters, householders or by e-mail. However, Members of Council are responsible for ensuring that any communications or activities funded by the City for each Member's office is not related to an election.
    2. In a municipal election year or in the event of a by-election, Corporate resources and Members' budgets are not to be used to sponsor any advertisements, flyers, newsletters or householders for the 60-day period prior to, and including, Voting Day. All communications must be delivered by the beginning of this period. This prohibition also applies to the use of any City equipment, facilities or websites if the access is City-sponsored.
    3. Notwithstanding Clause 2(b): 
      1. Where an emergency occurs, a non-emergency related community issue arises or where an annual community event is held during the 60-day period prior to, and including, Voting Day, a Member of Council may use Corporate resources to advise or contact their ward constituents with the approval of the City Clerk; 
      2. The prohibitions set out in Clause 2(b) are not applicable where the City equipment, facilities or website access are available for such use by the public generally and the Member of Council is receiving no special preference with respect to its use; and
      3. The prohibitions set out in Clause 2(b) are not applicable to a Member of Council who is acclaimed, or who is retiring from office and therefore not a candidate in the election.
  3. Staff Involvement in Elections

    • In line with the City’s Employee Code of Conduct, City Staff are expected preserve the public trust and confidence in the City and apply the core values of the Code to their daily work. With respect to Elections, employees are expected to promote the principles of transparency, impartiality, respect and accountability as follows:
    1. Employees engaged in political activities must take care to separate those personal activities from their official positions. Employees may participate in political activity at the federal, provincial and municipal levels providing that such activity does not take place during work hours or utilize City assets, resources, or property. Notices, posters or similar material in support of a particular candidate or political party are not to be displayed or distributed by employees on City work sites or on City property.
    2. Employees wishing to run for federal, provincial or municipal office must request, and obtain, a leave of absence without pay, and abide by the respective legislation governing such elections.
    3. Should an employee of a sitting Member of Council wish to run for election or by-election, that employee must begin the required leave of absence immediately upon certification of the nomination by the City Clerk or designate.
    • Subsequently, all employee accesses, including email and security, related to the Member’s office will be suspended and all Corporate assets and resources, such as cell phones and electronic storage devices, utilized by the individual as a result of employment within the Councillor’s office must be returned immediately.
  4. Budget Administration

    1. As approved by the Member Services Committee, in a municipal election year, a pro-rated portion of the annual budget for each Members’ office is to be reserved for the new term of Council. This means that up to 11/12 of the budget can be spent by the incumbent Member and 1/12 is to be reserved for the next term. The staff of the City Clerk's Office will monitor expenditures to assist each office in ensuring that the budget threshold is not exceeded.
    2. In the event of a ward or city-wide by-election, or an appointment for a position of Council, funds from the vacated Member’s office will be set aside on a pro-rated basis for the newly elected representative based on the start date of the new Member.
    3. Pursuant to Clause 4(b), any pre-committed funds and obligations, such as web hosting fees, will be brought to the attention of the City Clerk within 48 hours of the certification and will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.
  5. Enforcement

    • Should any written complaint arise regarding the alleged use of Members' budgets or other Corporate resources in contravention of this policy, the City Clerk, or his/her designate, shall have the delegated authority to investigate it and resolve any issues. If a breach of this policy is confirmed, the Member will be required to personally repay any of the costs associated with the breach.


For more information on this policy, contact
M. Rick O'Connor
City Clerk
City of Ottawa
Tel: 613-580-2424 ext. 21215

Employee Code of Conduct

December 2019

Employee Code of Conduct booklet [ PDF - 353.18 KB ]

A message from the City Manager

Steve Kanellakos, City Manager

What makes this organization great, is its employees. Employees at the City of Ottawa demonstrate pride, excellence and commitment in everything they do, each and every day. This Code of Conduct forms a key piece in the foundation of our organization by outlining the core values we use to inform our decisions and interactions.

Our residents count on us. The principles set out in the Code of Conduct foster a culture of respect, accountability and transparency that our residents can expect each time they interact with the City. It is built on the understanding that we can – and should – demonstrate to our residents that we are working to standards that are designed to strengthen their trust and confidence.

It is a great honour to lead and support employees in serving the residents of Ottawa. I am energized by the commitment to preserving our residents’ trust that I see demonstrated by each and every one of you. Thank you for the ongoing dedication and enthusiasm you bring to the important work that we do.

Steve Kanellakos, City Manager


This is the foundation of public service. Public service is a public trust. A public service that does not have integrity will never gain the public trust. This Code of Conduct reflects the shared values that we hold as public servants for the City of Ottawa: the values that preserve the integrity of our municipal government.

If you have integrity, nothing else matters. If you don’t have integrity, nothing else matters.
- Alan Simpson

Our Shared Values

Integrity is the foundation of public service and our shared values are the pillars that support it. As City employees, we are proud to perform our work with:

  • Transparency
  • Impartiality
  • Respect
  • Accountability

Without all of these, there can be no integrity.

Why is it important to have a Code of Conduct?

A Code of Conduct sets out the core values we apply to our everyday experiences. When we demonstrate these values, we build a City with integrity that has the trust and confidence of the public.

City employees have, and should be seen to have, the highest standards of ethical behaviour – anything less undermines our integrity, our effectiveness, and ultimately our reputation.

Nothing in this Code is meant to conflict with the City’s obligations to its employees under its various collective agreements or employment contracts. Similarly, some employees (including doctors, nurses, engineers, lawyers and accountants) may have professional obligations and should seek clarification from both their manager and their professional associations in the case of a perceived conflict.

As employees of the City of Ottawa, this is our Code.

This Code of Conduct does not answer every question that is going to come up. Rather, it is designed to promote ethical decision-making and behaviour, to make us think about how ethics guide us in doing our jobs and to reinforce the expectations of us. It is about making ethics and integrity part of the way we think about doing our jobs.

Ethical behaviour is not about finding all the right answers – it is about asking all of the right questions, like:

  • Am I putting my own interests before the City’s?
  • Would I make the same decision if my managers, the public or the media were watching me?
  • Will I owe someone a favour if I do this?
  • Would I be offered this if I weren’t an employee of the City?

If you have a question or if you’re looking for guidance, ask your manager or ask the City Solicitor.

Ask until you get an answer.


Whenever you do a thing, act as if all the world were watching.
- Thomas Jefferson

Why is transparency important?

As public servants we are accountable for what we do and our accountability is ensured by transparency. We must be open and honest in dealing with our managers, the public and City Council. We owe it to the public to not just do our jobs well, but to be open and honest about what we do.

What we do…

Where there might be a conflict between our personal interests and those of the City, we disclose that fact immediately, in writing, and seek guidance from our managers.

We abide by the laws and City policies that apply to such things as keeping records of our important decisions, the retention of records and freedom of information.

We provide full written disclosure when offering information.

We understand that, over time, circumstances can change and we may need to disclose again: the obligation to disclose is a continuing one.

When we are lobbied, we advise the Lobbyist to ensure that the activity is properly recorded in the City's Lobbyist Registry.

Related Policies

Disposal of Fleet Vehicles and Equipment
Purchasing By-law
Lobbyist Registry


Live so that when your children think of fairness and integrity, they think of you.
- H. Jackson Brown, Junior

Why is impartiality important?

As public servants, we have to do our jobs with the City of Ottawa’s best interests in mind, not our own. We have to do our jobs without bias, without favour and without allowing outside interests to conflict with work decisions.

What we do…

We make work decisions without consideration of our personal interests or those of our family and friends. When buying goods or services, we comply with the City’s procurement by-laws and policies.

We ensure that our outside activities do not conflict with our jobs.

We do not…

Participate in decisions that benefit ourselves or our friends and family.

Supervise members of our family or make decisions that affect their employment.

Accept gifts, hospitality or entertainment from people who do, or want to do, business with the City.

Related Policies

Concurrent Employment
Gifts and Entertainment
Hiring and Employment of Family Members

A note on family

The City of Ottawa recognizes how important our families are to us, and the importance of close family relationships. We need to be aware that, in this Code of Conduct, the interests of our families are also our own interests.

What is important is making sure that we do not use our positions as City employees to give preferential treatment, whether it is to ourselves, our families or our friends.

The City takes a broad approach to the term “family” and it may include relatives beyond what might generally be considered “immediate family”, such as cousins, in-laws, etc. If in doubt about something, ask your manager.

Impartiality - Avoiding conflicts of interest

Why is this important?

Avoiding conflicts of interest is one of the fundamental principles of ethical behaviour. Public confidence in the City can exist only if employees are known to be acting in the public interest, rather than pursuing their own interests. If faced with a situation where you could directly benefit from a decision you make, you need to disclose your interest, in writing, to your manager and remove yourself from the decision-making process.

The need for disclosure and withdrawal from the decision making process applies not only to financial interests, but includes any personal benefit, or any benefit to your family and friends.

You also have to be mindful that there are situations where it might look to someone else that you have conflicting interests.

Ask yourself this question: Would someone who knew all of the details of the situation think I might have a conflict of interest? If the answer is “yes”, then disclose the situation to your manager.

After you have disclosed an actual or potential conflict of interest, you need to avoid any involvement in the matter. That is why disclosure is important: so that others know not to involve you as well.

Impartiality - Employment matters

Why is this important?

We encourage public confidence by ensuring that City business is conducted fairly and free from nepotism. This leads to a shared expectation that all hiring, promotions, performance appraisals and discipline will be undertaken in an impartial manner. Impartiality in employment matters also helps to ensure that the City respects its collective agreement obligations.

The City does not allow family members to be:

  • Supervised by or subordinate to one another
  • Given preferential treatment in being recruited or selected for vacancies
  • Appointed to positions where job responsibilities are incompatible with positions occupied by other family members

If you find yourself in a situation like those described above, or in any other situation that could raise a concern with nepotism, you should disclose it to your manager.

Impartiality - Outside activities

Why is it important?

The City of Ottawa encourages employees to become involved in their community, including participation in such things as community organizations, advocacy groups or charitable associations.

However, it is also possible that some outside activities can interfere with our ability to do our jobs or may undermine the neutrality of the City. It is our shared responsibility to prevent situations where the perception of conflict of interest exists.

What we do…

We remove ourselves from decisions that might affect, or might be seen to affect, the interests of other groups or organizations that we participate in.

We seek a leave of absence if we want to run for elected office, even if it is outside the City or with another level of government, board or committee.

We do not…
  • Take on other work that,
    Conflicts with our City hours of work
  • Interferes with the efficient performance of our duties
  • Competes with City services
  • Creates a real or perceived conflict of interest with our City duties

Impartiality - The duty of loyalty

Why is loyalty important?

Ottawa City Council is the elected voice of the citizens of the City of Ottawa. Its members have been elected to set the policy direction of the municipality.
The public has an interest in ensuring that City of Ottawa employees are committed to carrying out the will and decisions of City Council, and that public servants are, and are perceived to be, impartial in carrying out their duties.
Given the public interest in an impartial public service, employees must exercise restraint in any criticism of City of Ottawa policy and consider how their public comments may affect the public perception of the City.

What we do…

We recognize that City Council is the elected voice of the citizens of the City of Ottawa and we respect the decisions of City Council.

We distinguish between our personal comments or opinions and our jobs with the City.

We do not…

Make comments that disparage or harm the reputation of the City, Council or our co-workers.

Claim to speak on behalf of the City unless we have been authorized to do so.

Make personal comments using City letterhead, our City e-mail address or anything else that implies a connection between our personal comments or opinions and the City.


Find out what it means to me.
- Aretha Franklin

What does it mean at the City of Ottawa?

We are guardians of public funds and responsible for delivering a wide range of important public services, which are supported by members of the public through their taxes. We owe the public nothing less than our full commitment to doing the best job we can.

Our own actions reflect on our co-workers and define our workplace. We have an obligation to help build pride in our City, to respect the dignity and diversity of our colleagues and to treat them as we would like to be treated ourselves.

While it takes hard work to gain the respect of others, even small lapses can erode confidence in the City. To ensure that our conduct does not diminish respect for ourselves, our co-workers and for the City, we maintain and exemplify the highest standards of behaviour.

Related Policies

Corporate Vehicle and Equipment Idling
Equity and Diversity
Hospitality (Internal) for City Employees
Personal Use of City Vehicles
Petty Cash Funds and Change Floats
Responsible Computing
Violence in the Workplace
Workplace Harassment

Things we do to show respect

  • We devote ourselves fully to our jobs during our working hours and do not allow our personal activities (e.g. reading a magazine, surfing the internet, etc.) to interfere with our work.
  • We ensure that all property (including cash, cheques, documents, inventories and equipment) in our care as part of our job is properly secured and protected at all times.
  • We handle sensitive and confidential information with care and disclose only in accordance with the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (“MFIPPA”).
  • We keep records of our important decisions
  • We are honest, polite and courteous when we deal with people, whether they are members of the public, City Council or our co-workers.
  • We recognize that we are the public face of the City, so we dress appropriately.
  • We foster an atmosphere of collegiality and support our coworkers in their work.
  • We provide excellent customer service every day.
We do not…
  • Harass or intimidate others. The City has absolutely no tolerance for this kind of behaviour.
  • Download or install personal software without prior written consent from management.
  • Manipulate, falsify, alter or amend documents, information or records for fraudulent purposes.
  • Access, distribute or display inappropriate material (including sexually explicit, discriminatory, abusive, defamatory or obscene material) using City property, including the City’s computer network.
  • Publicly disparage the City, our co-workers or City Council.
Related policies

Access to Employee Files Procedures


The ancient Romans had a tradition: whenever one of their engineers constructed an arch, as the capstone was hoisted into place, the engineer assumed accountability for his work in the most profound way possible: he stood under the arch.
- Michael Armstrong

Why is accountability important?

This Code of Conduct sets out a vision of City of Ottawa employees as transparent, respectful and impartial. We are proud to live these principles in our work every day and we encourage accountability in this regard. We know that breaches of the values set out in this Code can only erode our reputation and, ultimately, our integrity. We owe it to the taxpayer and to ourselves to be accountable for our actions.

What we do…
  • We know the Code and comply with its principles.
  • We disclose breaches of the Code immediately, whether they are committed by ourselves or a co-worker.
  • We fully cooperate with investigations into alleged wrongdoing.
  • We understand that breaches of the Code shall be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
  • We seek interpretation of the Code from the Innovative Client Services Department.
  • We make observance of the Code part of our daily work and review the Code as part of our annual performance planning cycle.
We do not…
  • Retaliate against anyone who has come forward with a complaint, or any witnesses to complaints.
  • Assume that violations of the values in this Code are someone else’s problem.
Reporting and Whistleblower Protection

If you become aware of a violation of the Code of Conduct or another City policy, you should report the matter to your manager, the City Solicitor, the City Manager or the Auditor General.

No employee will be disciplined for making a report in good faith about a violation of this Code of Conduct or another City policy, nor will the City tolerate any retaliation against an employee who has made such a complaint or participated in an investigation. However, an employee making false accusations will be disciplined.

Related Policies

Discipline – Corporate Policy
Fraud and Other Similar Irregularities

Equity and Diversity Policy

Approved By: Executive Director, BTS
Category: Human Resources, Employment and Labour Relations
Approval Date: November 5, 2002
Effective Date: November 5, 2002
Revision Approved By: Director, Human Resources
Revision Date: May 24, 2017

Policy Statement

The City of Ottawa is committed to providing quality services by establishing a qualified workforce that reflects the diverse population it serves.


The main objectives of this Policy are:

  • To eliminate barriers in the workplace, commonly known as systemic discrimination, and to develop a work environment that promotes equity and diversity
  • To foster an environment that respects people’s dignity, ideas and beliefs, thereby ensuring equity and diversity in employment and ensuring customers and others have access to City facilities, products, services, and grants as defined by human rights legislation
  • To contribute to the achievement of the City of Ottawa’s business goals and client service delivery
  • To establish a framework that requires all departments within the City to embrace the spirit of equity and diversity in the development of their policies and programs that impact the delivery of City services, the use of City facilities, grants to external agencies and other outwardly focussed activities.


This Policy applies to all City employees, including full-time, part-time, temporary and casual employees, summer students and co-op placements, persons acting on behalf of the City (e.g., consultants, contractors), as well as individuals who apply for employment with the City of Ottawa (e.g. job applicants).

Policy Requirements

The City demonstrates its commitment to equity and diversity by providing a supportive work environment and corporate culture that welcomes members of designated groups. This Policy prohibits discrimination in the workplace, in the provision of goods, services, and facilities to the public and the administration of contracts as defined by human rights legislation.

In addition, this Policy adheres to the Ontario Human Rights Code, the Canadian Human Rights Act, the Employment Equity Act and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. The Ontario Human Rights Code prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, age, sex (including pregnancy and breastfeeding), gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, record of offences, marital status, family status, disability and receipt of public assistance.  Under the Canadian Human Rights Act, it is against the law to discriminate on the basis of race, sex, colour, age, national or ethnic origin, religion, marital status, family status, disability, sexual orientation and a pardoned criminal conviction.

The City does not condone any form of discrimination. It endorses and embraces the Canadian Human Rights Act, the Ontario Human Rights Code, the Employment Equity Act and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act which prohibit discriminatory practices.

The Corporate Diversity and Employment Equity Plans shall be based on the City’s workforce data, ongoing reviews of employment policies and practices, data on the external workforce and other relevant information.

The Corporate Diversity and Employment Equity Plans shall outline strategies to eliminate barriers and achieve a representative workforce, provide a timetable for the implementation of these strategies and outline responsibilities. Diversity and Inclusion staff shall monitor and evaluate the progress of the various activities.

Complainants have the right to seek assistance from the appropriate Human Rights Commission, whether or not they file a discrimination complaint with the City. Complainants must identify themselves. Anonymous complaints shall not be investigated.

All information relating to a complaint shall be kept strictly confidential and is subject to the conditions of the Municipal Freedom of Personal and Private Information Act, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act and to litigation requirements. During the investigation, all parties involved are required to keep the investigation confidential. Details of the recommended actions are made known only to the management staff involved.


General Managers/Directors:

  • Create and maintain a workplace free from discrimination
  • Ensure that this policy is available to all staff, accessible and supported
  • Empower supervisors and managers to reinforce diversity and inclusion and provide opportunities for capacity-building and action
  • Implement equity and diversity initiatives identified in their departmental diversity and employment equity plan to meet Corporate Strategic priorities
  • Ensure that equity and diversity are considered in all aspects of departmental planning, processes and strategies (e.g. workforce planning, professional development, succession planning, hiring, etc.)
  • Consult with Diversity and Inclusion staff, as appropriate, during the development of policies and programs related to employment, the delivery of services, the use of City facilities, grants to external agencies and other externally focussed activities to ensure the principles of equity and diversity are respected

Supervisors and Managers:

  • Create and maintain a workplace free from discrimination
  • Intervene when discrimination and/or harassment issues arise
  • Accept requests for accommodations in good faith and work with employees to develop accommodations plans where necessary
  • Prevent and end discrimination by:
    • Engaging in behaviour in support of the Equity and Diversity Policy
    • Communicating and supporting the City’s objective of a workplace free from discrimination and a workforce that is representative of the population it serves
    • Acting immediately to address behaviours that are contrary to this Policy (e.g. harassment, discrimination, bullying)
    • Taking all complaints seriously, discussing the situation with the respondent, and seeking advice from the Diversity and Inclusion staff
    • Implementing changes to employment systems, removing barriers and other related actions as appropriate and identified in departmental Diversity and Employment Equity Plans
    • Ensuring that staff are aware of their rights and responsibilities conferred by this Policy and Human Rights legislation

Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Staff:

  • Promote a general understanding of this Policy through an appropriate mix of communications, training and advisory services
  • Inform individuals of the purpose of the self-identification questionnaire and ensure that the information collected is confidential and used only for the purposes of high level reporting for equity and diversity initiatives
  • Ensure the development of a database to gather and analyse data on designated groups’ representation in the City’s workforce
  • Work with management to formulate Corporate and Departmental equity and diversity goals (both qualitative and quantitative), strategies and plans
  • Provide advice regarding the development of targeted recruitment, promotion and retention strategies
  • Provide advice to employees and managers regarding this Policy and complaints
  • Promote and monitor implementation of this Policy
  • Provide facilitated discussion services, where appropriate
  • Provide process guidance to claims of systemic discrimination


  • Report barriers to equal opportunities
  • Complete the Self-Identification Form on a voluntary basis
  • Notify a supervisor or manager of a need for employment-related accommodations and consult with Human Resources on the most appropriate accommodation
  • Report experiences of harassment (including sexual harassment) or discrimination in the workplace to one of the following individuals: an immediate supervisor, manager, general manager/director, or seek advice from the Diversity and Inclusion staff. Employees are encouraged to seek a resolution to their complaint within their respective department.


The Human Resources Services Area, Diversity and Inclusion staff shall monitor the implementation of the Corporate Diversity Plan and Departmental Diversity Plans. It is the responsibility of each department to monitor their own progress in equity and diversity. It is the combined effort of all departments that ensures the City reaches its diversity and inclusion goals.

Under the Employment Equity Act, the City is required to submit an annual progress report to Economic and Social Development Canada. Failure to comply may result in a monetary penalty up to $50,000 for repeated or continued violation of the Act.  A majority of positions within Transportation Services are federally regulated and the department is required to comply with the federal Employment Equity Act.

Failure to comply with this Policy may result in complaints filed with the Human Rights Commission and may also result in disciplinary action against an employee.


Legislative and Administrative Authorities


Aboriginal Peoples – North American Indians or members of a First Nation, Métis or Inuit.  Members of a First Nation include status, treaty or registered Indians.  North American Indians include non-status and non-registered Indians. Note:  the definition is being reviewed by the Aboriginal Coalition and will be adapted as necessary.

Accommodation – the facilitation and integration of individuals into the workplace by recognizing and accommodating their needs through the identification and removal, if necessary, of non-essential job elements, workplace adjustments, technical devices, flexible scheduling, adaptive devices for equipment, etc. unless undue hardship by the City would be incurred in such accommodation.

Bona Fide Occupational Requirements – those requirements that:

  • The employer has adopted for a purpose or goal that is rationally connected to the functions of the position
  • The employer has adopted in good faith in the belief that they are necessary to fulfill the purpose or goal
  • Are reasonably necessary to accomplish the purpose or goal in the sense that the employer cannot accommodate persons with the characteristics of a particular group without incurring undue hardship

Designated Groups – for the purposes of its overall equity and diversity initiatives, the City has identified six designated groups: women, Aboriginal Peoples, persons with disabilities, members of visible minority groups (or racialized people), immigrants and lesbian, gay, bi-sexual trans, two-spirited and queer (LGBTQ) individuals. The selection of these groups does not preclude the possibility of addressing systemic discrimination for other identifiable groups.

Disability –The term “disability” covers a broad range and degree of conditions. A disability may have been present at birth, caused by an accident, or developed over time. The Ontario Human Rights Code defines disability as:

  • A physical disability, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement that is caused by bodily injury, birth defect or illness and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, includes diabetes mellitus, epilepsy, a brain injury, any degree of paralysis, amputation, lack of physical co-ordination, blindness or visual impediment, deafness or hearing impediment, muteness or speech impediment, or physical reliance on a guide dog or other animal or on a wheelchair or other remedial appliance or device
  • A condition of mental impairment or a developmental disability
  • A learning disability, or a dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved in understanding or using symbols or spoken language (e.g. dyslexia)
  • A mental disorder, or
  • An injury or disability for which benefits were claimed or received under the insurance plan

Discrimination – the denial of equal treatment in employment, in the provision of goods, services and facilities to the public and in the administration of contracts based on the prohibited grounds as defined by Human Rights legislation.

Harassment – a type of discrimination, any unwanted physical or verbal conduct that offends or humiliates an individual. Harassment shall be considered to have taken place if a reasonable person ought to have known that behaviour was unwelcome (Source: Canadian Human Rights Act).

Immigrants – an “immigrant” is an internationally trained worker who was not born in Canada and who has lived in Canada for fewer than 10 years.

LGBTQ – In this policy, we use the definition of “LGBTQ” however we recognize ongoing debates around definitions within LGBTQ communities. Terms and their meanings change over time, and vary across cultures or generations.

Occupational Groups – the 14 occupational groups used by Statistics Canada to report employment equity data. This is based on the National Occupational Classification System, which classifies jobs by skill level and skill type. All City jobs are classified using this system for the purposes of equity and diversity.

Racialized People – the term racialized is preferred over visible minorities because it acknowledges the fact that barriers are rooted in the historical and contemporary racial prejudice of society and are not a product of one’s identity or shortcomings.

Sexual Harassment – Harassment in relation to sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Includes sexual solicitation or advance where the person making the solicitation or advance is in a position to confer, grant or deny a benefit or advancement to the worker.

Systemic Discrimination – applying a neutral requirement or process that has a negative impact on a group protected under human rights legislation. Systemic discrimination occurs when policies and practices exclude, limit or restrict members of designated groups from employment or opportunities within employment. (e.g., opportunities to apply for other jobs, participate in training, attend conferences, obtain promotions, and receive special assignments).

Visible Minorities – a term used in the federal Employment Equity Act to identify persons who are non- Aboriginal, non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour.

Workforce Census – information on gender and designated group representation within occupational groups.

Keyword Search

Age, Ancestry, Colour, Designated groups, Disability, Discrimination, Equity and Inclusion, Family status, Gender, Gender Identity, Gender Expression, Immigrant, Marital status, Place of origin, Race, Racialized, Religious beliefs, Sex, Sexual orientation, Source of income, Systemic discrimination


E-mail the HR Service Centre at or call 613-580-2424, ext. 47411.

Ethical Purchasing Policy

Approved By: City Council
Category: Finance
Approval Date: May 23, 2007
Effective Date: May 23, 2007
Revision Approved by: City Treasurer
Revision date:  July 8, 2019

Policy Statement

The City of Ottawa (the “City”) is committed to purchasing goods, services and construction from responsible suppliers that provide quality goods, services and construction at competitive prices, and who abide by ethical standards and norms. This policy aligns the City’s purchasing practices with its values by ensuring workplaces which provide goods, services and construction for the City respect human and workers’ rights as specified in the Supplier Code of Conduct .


The purpose of this policy is to ensure that goods, services and construction purchased by the City, or by suppliers/contractors operating on City premises, meet the highest possible ethical standards by following the principles set out in the International Labour Organization (ILO) Conventions, as referenced in the Supplier Code of Conduct. This policy establishes an avenue whereby complaints of abuses in workplaces that are involved in providing goods, services and construction to the City, can be made to the City. The City shall determine the level and the degree necessary to investigate and act upon complaints.


This policy applies to City suppliers of goods, services and construction, and their subcontractors, who have entered into agreements with the City on or after May 23, 2007, the effective date of this policy.

This policy does not, however, apply to any tender or contract for the supply of such items that was issued, awarded or entered into prior to the effective date of the policy. Suppliers and their subcontractors who entered into agreements with the City before May 23, 2007 are encouraged to comply with this policy.

If and when the contracts are eligible for renewal, the supplier and their subcontractors must comply with this policy and may be required to certify compliance in writing.

Policy Requirements

The City shall not knowingly purchase goods, services and construction that have been manufactured in sweatshops or under sweatshop conditions. All products purchased by the City must be produced in accordance with the standards set out in the Supplier Code of Conduct.

Suppliers shall respect this policy and ensure that their production facilities, and those of their subcontractors, comply with national and other laws applicable in each workplace. Where national law differs from the principles set out in this policy, the provisions that accord the greatest right, benefit or protection to the worker shall apply.

If requested by the City, suppliers shall confirm compliance with this policy by providing written acknowledgement with their bid submission. In addition, when requested, a supplier shall provide the names and addresses of each subcontractor and/or production facility to be used in providing the goods, services and construction. This information is considered public information and, where warranted, will be posted on the City’s website. The City reserves the right to request that the supplier provide any additional supporting documentation that demonstrates compliance with this policy.

The City shall monitor this policy on a complaints basis only. The Chief Procurement Officer shall assess the validity of complaints in accordance with this policy. Where warranted, the City shall notify suppliers of suspected non-compliance with this policy. Suppliers shall be required to investigate the reported complaints by employing an independent third party investigation firm, at the supplier’s expense, or by other means of verification deemed acceptable to the City.

Within 30 days from the date of the non-compliance notice, the supplier shall provide the City with a report containing information on the verification program undertaken. This information shall include the name of the third party verifier, the findings of the investigation, and the corrective action taken to resolve the violation and achieve compliance with this policy.

Costs involved in the determination of compliance or non-compliance shall be borne by the supplier. All costs associated with the improvement of working conditions that would lead to compliance shall be borne by the supplier.

The Chief Procurement Officer has sole discretion to decide on issues of non-compliance, including granting a reasonable time period to achieve compliance. The Chief Procurement Officer’s decision is final and binding on all parties.

Any supplier complaint with the Ethical Purchasing Policy, or the application thereof, shall not be considered a formal complaint as defined in the City of Ottawa’s Procurement By-law.


City departments are responsible for:

  • Following the provisions of this policy; and
  • Advising Supply Services of suspected non-compliance.

Supply Services is responsible for:

  • Administering this policy and ensuring that City staff and the supplier community are informed of their responsibilities and obligations;
  • Collecting supplier certification materials and for publishing the names and locations of supplier production facilities on the City’s website; and
  • Receiving complaints and managing policy non-compliance and for ensuring that suppliers undertake third party investigations as requested by the City.


Failure to comply with this policy may result in the City exercising its rights under the default provisions set out in the contract between the City and the supplier.


General Terms and Conditions

Supplier Code of Conduct

Legislative and Administrative Authorities

Council Report (ACS2007-CMR-FIN-0004)

Council Report (ACS2010-CMR-FIN-0010)

International Labour Organization Convention

Procurement By-law 50 of 2000, as amended


Child: any person less than 15, unless local minimum age law stipulates a higher age for work or mandatory schooling, or less than 14 if minimum wage law is set at that age in accordance with developing country exceptions under ILO Convention 138.

Employer: an entity that employs or contracts a worker in the production of a product.

Factories or Production Facilities: a facility that is used to produce products for the City, whether it is a supplier’s factory or subcontractor’s facility.

Fairtrade Certified Products: products that are fair trade certified by Fairtrade Canada, or if unavailable, another National Initiative (NI) of the Fairtrade Labelling Organization (FLO) International. Examples of commodities currently include coffee, tea, cocoa, sugar, rice, quinoa, flowers, wine, sports balls, cotton, bananas and other tropical fruit.

Fairtrade Certification: a system that seeks to improve the lives of agricultural product producers in origin countries by ensuring that the owners of farms receive a guaranteed fair price for their harvest. Fairtrade Canada is the recognized certification body in Canada.

Fairtrade Labelling Organization (FLO) International: the global Fairtrade standard setting and certification organization for products bearing Fairtrade certification labels. FLO certifies producer organizations and audits trade between certified producer organizations and registered traders in consuming countries, including all steps of processing and industrial manufacturing.

International Labour Organization (ILO) Core Labour Conventions: the minimum labour standards set out in the Supplier Code of Conduct.

International Labour Organization (ILO): the United Nations specialized agency which seeks the promotion of social justice and internationally recognized human and labour rights. The ILO formulates international labour standards in the form of Conventions and Recommendations setting minimum standards of basic labour rights.

Minimum labour standards: the minimum labour standards set out in the Supplier Code of Conduct.

Purchasing: the process of procuring products from manufacturers or suppliers.

Subcontractor: an entity that has been subcontracted by a supplier. It does not have a direct business relationship with the City, however, it provides the supplier with goods and/or services integral to the manufacture, provision or maintenance of products for the City.

Supplier Code of Conduct (SCC): the minimum performance standards for the City’s Ethical Purchasing policy. The goal of the SCC is to ensure safe and healthy workplaces for the people who make products for the City; where human and civil rights are upheld in accordance with the conventions of the ILO.

Supplier: an entity that in the course of a commercial business sells a product or service to the City. These companies may have factories or production facilities of their own or they subcontract parts or their entire production.

Sweatshop: a facility where individuals manufacture, assemble or produce consumer goods under working conditions that do not meet or exceed the labour standards set out by the ILO.

Worker: a person involved in the manufacture or provision of services for a product.


For more information on this policy, please contact:

Manager, Strategic Sourcing and Supply Chain Management
Strategic Sourcing Branch,
Supply Services
Corporate Services Department
613-580-2424, ext. 13564

Investment Policy

Approved By: City Council
Category: Finance
Approval Date: June 25, 2003
Effective Date: June 25, 2003
Revision Approved By: City Council
Revision Date: November 12, 2015

Policy Statement

The Investment Policy governs the management of City operating and reserve funds that are not immediately required to cover expenses as well as investments, including those being managed on behalf of external clients.


The Investment Policy establishes the objectives, standards of care, eligible investments, reporting requirements and responsibilities for the prudent management of reserves, operating funds and investments including those managed on behalf of external clients.

The City’s objective is to invest funds not immediately required in accordance with the “Prudent Investor Standard”, and within the limitations of applicable legislation and regulation. The “Prudent Investor Standard” requires the exercise of reasonable care, skill, diligence and judgement during the investment decision making process. It is to be applied to investments, not in isolation, but in the context of the portfolio of investments and as part of an overall strategy, that should incorporate acceptable risk and return objectives reasonably suitable to the stakeholders.


This policy applies to employees of the City of Ottawa who are responsible for the control, administration and reporting of investments managed on behalf of the City of Ottawa.

Policy Requirements

In order of priority, the requirements for the City of Ottawa Investment Program are:

  1. Adherence to Statutory Requirements: All investment activities shall be governed by the Municipal Act, 2001 as amended.  Investments, unless limited further by Council, will be those deemed eligible under Ontario Regulation 438/97 as amended.
  2. Preservation of Capital: Preservation of principal is an important objective of the investment program. Investments shall be undertaken in a manner that seeks to minimize the risk to capital in the overall portfolio. Staff shall endeavour to mitigate credit and interest rate risk as follows:
    1. Credit Risk
      1. Limiting investments to allowable investments under the current legislation;
      2. Pre-qualifying the financial institutions, broker/dealers, intermediaries, and advisers with which the City of Ottawa does business;
      3. Diversifying the investment portfolio so that potential losses on individual securities will be minimized at the portfolio level; and
      4. Setting limits on the size of portfolio investments in asset types, individual credit names, and issuer classes to assure proper risk diversification 
    2. Interest Rate Risk
      1. Structuring the investment portfolio so that securities mature to meet ongoing cash flow requirements, thereby reducing the need to sell securities at inopportune times on the open market prior to maturity or to use short-term borrowing to bridge the gap;
      2. Investing operating funds primarily in short-term securities;
      3. Diversifying long-term holdings to mitigate effects of interest rate volatility;
      4. Using of Forward Rate Agreements (FRAs) when appropriate; and
      5. Investing in shares or equities through the “ONE Investment Program” which is jointly operated by LAS and CHUMS Financing Corp. (a subsidiary of the “Municipal Finance Officers Association of Ontario”).
  3. Maintaining Liquidity: The investment portfolio shall remain sufficiently liquid to meet all operating or cash flow requirements and limit temporary borrowing requirements. This shall be done, where possible, by structuring the portfolio such that securities mature concurrent with anticipated cash demands. Furthermore, since all possible cash demands cannot be anticipated, the portfolio shall consist largely of securities with active secondary or resale markets.
  4. Competitive Rate of Return: Without compromising other objectives, the City of Ottawa shall maximize the rate of return earned on its portfolio by implementing an investment strategy driven by asset allocation and diversification. This asset allocation aligns investment asset duration with the liabilities these assets are meant to fund.

Diversification, and ensuring preservation of principal by limiting exposure to credit, sector or term risks, also provides opportunities to enhance the investment returns of the City of Ottawa’s portfolio by means of prudent and timely adjustments to asset mix. Through asset-liability matching; investing strictly in eligible investments; and diversification of assets across maturity, issuer and issuer type, the portfolio will align with the City’s low tolerance for risk.

Investment Parameters

Fixed income investments shall be made in accordance with the strategic asset allocation in place at the time, with the following overarching principals:

  1. Investments will be diversified across issuers and credit quality to avoid over-concentration in any single issuer or sector to manage issuer specific and sector specific risks;
  2. Fixed income investment will be concentrated in, but not limited to, securities that have higher credit ratings (rated AA- or higher as rated by Standard & Poor’s);
  3. Investing in securities with varying maturities; and
  4. Primarily investing in marketable securities which have an active secondary market, to ensure that appropriate liquidity is maintained in order to meet ongoing obligations.

Investment in Co-mingled Investment Offerings

In order to promote diversification of the City’s investment portfolio, percentage weightings for class and type of securities will be constrained in terms of maximum exposures to specific issuers, and issuer types. This is in addition to putting some conservative constraints in terms of maximum allowable time to maturity, as shown in Appendix A: Limitations to Sector Concentration and Term.

The City shall also hold sufficient funds in short-term investment instruments in order to maintain adequate liquidity.

In line with Municipal Act regulation 438/97 regulating “Eligible Investments”, the City shall sell an investment within 30 to 90 days (depending on the specific investment) after the day the investment rating for that security falls below the standard as set out in the Municipal Act and regulation.

Equity investments will be made in accordance with the authorized investment legislation set out in the Municipal Act, 2001 and Regulation 438/97 as amended. 

Reporting Requirements

Investment Report

The City Treasurer shall submit an investment report to Council, including a management summary that provides an analysis of the status of the current investment portfolio. The report is provided annually, but may be more frequent at Council’s request. The investment report will include:

  1. A listing of individual securities held at the end of the reporting period and investments in co-mingled investment portfolios;
  2. Realized and unrealized gains or losses by listing the cost and market value of securities with over one-year duration and not intended to be held until maturity;
  3. Average weighted yield to maturity of portfolio on investments, compared to applicable benchmarks;
  4. Percentage of the total portfolio outlining each type of investment represented, including the total investment in long term and short term City of Ottawa debt in addition to the change in the estimated proportion of this debt since the previous year’s report;
  5. A performance report clearly outlining the return of the investment portfolio during the period covered by the report, compared to the portfolio’s benchmark and the ONE Investment Program’s pooled fund;
  6. An estimated ratio of total long-term and short-term securities compared to the total investments and a description of the change, if any, of this ratio since the previous year’s report;
  7. A statement by the City Treasurer as to whether or not, in his or her opinion, all investments were made in accordance with this policy and clearly denoting exceptions or deviations;
  8. A record of the date of each transaction involving City of Ottawa securities, including a record of the purchase price and sale price of each City of Ottawa security;
  9. If the City has any existing Forward Rate Agreements (FRAs) in a fiscal year, the City Treasurer shall prepare and present to Council once in that fiscal year, or more frequently if Council requires, a detailed report on all of those agreements, which will contain:
    1. A statement about the status of the FRAs during the period of the report, including a comparison of the expected and actual results of using the agreements.
    2. A statement by the City Treasurer indicating whether, in his or her opinion, all of the FRAs entered during the period of the report are consistent with the City’s statement of policies and goals relating to the use of FRAs.
    3. Other information that the Council may require or that, in the opinion of the City Treasurer, should be included.
    4. A statement as to whether there are any investments in the portfolio that have been downgraded from standard requirements set out in the Municipal Act, 2001 as amended.


It is anticipated that the investment portfolio will earn an average rate of return that is at least commensurate with the investment risk constraints and cash flow needs of the City. Therefore, the actual rate of return earned on the portfolio will be regularly compared to performance benchmarks that have been previously established. The benchmark(s) may vary from time to time as determined by the Manager of the Treasury Unit in order to be comparable to the composition and average term of the current holdings of the investment portfolio. The performance of the general portfolio will be compared using two sets of performance benchmarks: an index-based benchmark and a managed portfolio benchmark.

The Sinking Fund is the one exception, with the fund being benchmarked against a portfolio of actuarial liability that the investments are meant to fund.

Safekeeping and Custody

All securities shall be held for safekeeping by a financial institution approved by the City.  Individual accounts shall be maintained for each portfolio. All securities shall be held in the name of the City. 

The depository shall issue a safekeeping receipt to the City listing the specific instrument, rate, maturity and other pertinent information. On a monthly basis, the depository will also provide reports which list all securities held for the City and the market value as of month-end.  

Securities Lending

The City may engage in the practice of securities lending as provided in Section 418 of the Municipal Act, 2001 as amended to enable the City to increase its return on its custodial portfolio by lending certain assets to recognized borrowers for a fee.

Forward Rate Agreements

The Corporation may enter into Forward Rate Agreements (FRAs) as provided in Section 10 of Ontario Regulation 438/97 as amended. FRAs may only be used to reduce the risk of future interest rate changes associated with known cash inflows and will be subject to the conditions set out in the Municipal Act, 2001 Regulation 438/97 as amended.

The FRA agreement must specify:

  • The forward amount, which is the principal upon which the interest rate is based;
  • A settlement date;
  • The forward interest rate;
  • The reference rate of interest; and
  • A schedule of approximate payments and/or costs to or by the City of Ottawa should the reference rate and the forward rate differs.

A report analyzing the risks and return profile of the transaction, the risk exposure to the City without the FRA and specific risk control measures must be approved by the City Treasurer prior to entering into an FRA agreement.

External Investment Clients

Where the City has undertaken to manage investment portfolios on behalf of an external client account as allowed under Section 420(1) of the Municipal Act, 2001 as amended and in conformity with Section 25(3) of the Ontario Securities Act, 1990 as amended, it will do so on the following basis:

  1. The investment objectives, authorized investments, reporting requirements, and term and sector limits will be in accordance with the external client’s investment policy.
  2. Prior to the engagement, the following process will be undertaken:
    1. Review client needs, expectations and risk tolerances;
    2. Establish term limits and approved credit exposures;
    3. Agree on a list of eligible investments;
    4. Establish appropriate goals and benchmarks;
    5. Prepare and finalize the written agreement signed by both parties.
  3. The agreement will set out the following:
    1. Duties and roles of both parties;
    2. Management expense fee;
    3. Reporting and portfolio review requirements.
    4. Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Standard of Professional Conduct
    5. Staff is expected to comply at all times and in all respects with the Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct as set forth by the CFA Institute, with a strong focus on the Prudent Investor Standard.


City Treasurer

The City Treasurer shall have ultimate authority for all investment transactions and for ensuring that all investments are made in accordance with this Investment Policy the Ontario Municipal Act, 2001 and Regulation 438/97 as amended. 

The City Treasurer can delegate administrative, analytical, strategic and transactional duties to staff and is responsible to make sure the proper financial policy and administrative procedures are in place to remain in compliance with current legislation and internal policies.

Treasury Unit

The Treasury Unit is responsible for executing all operations in relation to the City’s Investment portfolios including: setting the asset mix; completing investment transactions; monitoring risk metrics and benchmark; as well as reporting and accounting.


The Manager, Treasury Unit is responsible for monitoring compliance with this policy, and will provide the City Treasurer with a compliance report on a quarterly basis. Failure to comply with this policy may result in disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.


Appendix A: Limitations to Sector Concentration and Term

Legislative and Administrative Authorities

Ontario Municipal Act, 2001 as amended

Ontario Securities Act, 1990 as amended

Ontario Regulations, 438/97 and 77/97 as amended


Asset Backed Securities (ABS): Bonds or notes backed by financial assets. Typically these assets consist of credit card receivables, auto loans, lines of credit, and home equity loans.

Benchmarks: A standard against which the performance of an investment portfolio, or its component parts, can be measured. Index-based benchmarks are generally broad market indices (for example FTSE TMX Canada Universe Bond Index). A managed portfolio benchmark refers to the use of an actively managed pooled fund with a similar investment mandate as a benchmark (for example ONE Investment Program’s Bond Portfolio).

CFA Institute: International organization comprised of more than 70,000 members who hold the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation or are otherwise bound by its rules. Its primary mandate is to specify and maintain a high standard for the investment industry.

Credit Risk: The risk to an investor that an issuer will default in the payment of interest and/or principal on a security.

Diversification: A process of investing assets among a range of security types by class, sector, maturity, and quality rating.

Duration: A measure of the timing of cash flows, such as interest payments and repayment of principal, to be received from a given fixed-income security. This calculation is based on three variables: term to maturity, coupon rate, and yield to maturity. The duration of a security is a useful indicator of its price volatility for given changes in interest rates.

External Client: Any approved entity outside the City.

Forward Rate Agreement (FRA): A contract with a qualified financial institution (for example a bank) that allows an investor to fix a rate of interest to be received on an investment for a specified term beginning at a specified future date.

Index-Based Benchmarks: See Benchmarks.

Interest Rate Risk: The risk associated with declines or rises in current market interest rates which causes an investment in a fixed-income security to increase or decrease in value.

Liquidity: A measure of an asset’s convertibility to cash.

ONE Investment Program: A professionally managed co-mingled group of investment portfolios that meets eligibility criteria as defined by regulations under the Municipal Act, 2001.

Managed-Portfolio Benchmarks: See Benchmarks.

Market Risk: The risk that the value of a security will rise or decline as a result of changes in market conditions.

Market Value: The current market price of a security.

Maturity (Term): The date on which payment of a financial obligation is due. The final stated maturity is the date on which the issuer must retire a bond and pay the face value to the bondholder. 

Prudent Investor Standard: A standard that requires a fiduciary to invest trust assets as if they were his or her own.

Schedule I Banks: Domestic banks that are authorized under the Bank Act to accept deposits, which may be eligible for deposit insurance provided by the Canadian Deposit Insurance Corporation.

Schedule II Banks: Foreign bank subsidiaries authorized under the Bank Act to accept deposits, which may be eligible for deposit insurance provided by the Canada Deposit and Insurance Corporation. Foreign bank subsidiaries are controlled by eligible foreign institutions.

Schedule III Banks: Foreign bank branches of foreign institutions that have been authorized under the Bank Act to do banking business in Canada.

Sinking Fund: Securities or deposits accumulated on a regular basis in a separate safekeeping account and/or bank account that will be used to redeem debt securities at maturity.

Standard and Poor’s: Index provider and independent credit rating agency.

Supranational: An agency sponsored by either a single or group of highly rated foreign banks or governments that will issue debt to fund loans in developing countries or large infrastructure projects. Supranational institutions may be owned or guaranteed by a consortium of national governments and their debt is typically rated “AA” or higher.

Keyword Search

Asset Allocation

Allowable Investments Portfolio

Investment Parameters

Reserve Fund

Sinking Fund



For more information, contact:

Manager, Treasury Unit

Finance Department

613-580-2424 x2130

Appendix A: Limitations to Sector Concentration and Term


Sectors Minimum Credit Rating3 Money Market Rating Sector/Credit Exposure Limitation1 (maximum) Portfolio Limit Sector/Credit Exposure Limitation1 (maximum) Individual Limit Sector Term Limitation (Maximum)
Canada N/A   100% 100% None
Federal Guarantees N/A   50% 25% None

Other Countries

Sectors Minimum Credit Rating3 Money Market Rating Sector/Credit Exposure Limitation1 (maximum) Portfolio Limit Sector/Credit Exposure Limitation1 (maximum) Individual Limit Sector Term Limitation (Maximum)
Government AAA
20 years
5 years
Federal Guarantees     25%    


Sectors Minimum Credit Rating3 Money Market Rating Sector/Credit Exposure Limitation1 (maximum) Portfolio Limit Sector/Credit Exposure Limitation1 (maximum) Individual Limit Sector Term Limitation (Maximum)
Provincial AAA R1 High  75% 35% None
Provincial AA   R1 Mid 50%  25%  40 years
Provincial A R1 Low 35% 15% 30 years
Provincial BBB R2 High 20% 5% 5 years
Provincial Total     80%    


Sectors Minimum Credit Rating3 Money Market Rating Sector/Credit Exposure Limitation1 (maximum) Portfolio Limit Sector/Credit Exposure Limitation1 (maximum) Individual Limit Sector Term Limitation (Maximum)
City of Ottawa N/A   25% 25% None
Other Municipalities & Municipal Entities AAA   50% 20% 40 years
Other Municipalities & Municipal Entities AA   40% 15% 40 years
Other Municipalities & Municipal Entities A   30% 10% 40 years
Other Municipalities & Municipal Entities  Not rated   20%  5%  10 years
Applied Arts, Housing Corp, Education & Hospitals AA   25% 5% 10 years
Municipal Total     50%    

Asset Backed Securities 2

Sectors Minimum Credit Rating3 Money Market Rating Sector/Credit Exposure Limitation1 (maximum) Portfolio Limit Sector/Credit Exposure Limitation1 (maximum) Individual Limit Sector Term Limitation (Maximum)
Asset Backed Securities 2 AAA  R1 High 25% 5% 10 years


Sectors Minimum Credit Rating3 Money Market Rating Sector/Credit Exposure Limitation1 (maximum) Portfolio Limit Sector/Credit Exposure Limitation1 (maximum) Individual Limit Sector Term Limitation (Maximum)
Schedule I Banks AA(L)  R1 Mid 50% 25% 10 years
Schedule I Banks A  R1 Low 20% 10% 5 years
Schedule II Banks AA(L) R1 High 20% 10% 5 years
Schedule II Banks A R1 Mid 10% 5% 5 years
Schedule III Banks AA(L) R1 High 20% 10% 5 years
Schedule III Banks A R1 Mid 10% 5% 5 years
Banks Total     50%    


Sectors Minimum Credit Rating3 Money Market Rating Sector/Credit Exposure Limitation1 (maximum) Portfolio Limit Sector/Credit Exposure Limitation1 (maximum) Individual Limit Sector Term Limitation (Maximum)
Corporate debt2 AA(L)  R1 mid 25% 5% 5 years
Corporate debt2 A   15% 5%  < 5 years
Corporate Total     25%    


Sectors Minimum Credit Rating3 Money Market Rating Sector/Credit Exposure Limitation1 (maximum) Portfolio Limit Sector/Credit Exposure Limitation1 (maximum) Individual Limit Sector Term Limitation (Maximum)
International Bank for Reconstruction and Development2 AAA   25% 10% 30 years
Other governmental or  financial institutions AAA   25% 10% 30 years
Supranational Total      25%    

ONE Investment

Sectors Minimum Credit Rating3 Money Market Rating Sector/Credit Exposure Limitation1 (maximum) Portfolio Limit Sector/Credit Exposure Limitation1 (maximum) Individual Limit Sector Term Limitation (Maximum)
Money Market n/a   50% n/a n/a
Bond Fund n/a   50% n/a n/a
Equity/Shares n/a   50% n/a n/a
Corporate Debt n/a   50% n/a n/a
ONE Total     50%    


Sectors Minimum Credit Rating3 Money Market Rating Sector/Credit Exposure Limitation1 (maximum) Portfolio Limit Sector/Credit Exposure Limitation1 (maximum) Individual Limit Sector Term Limitation (Maximum)
Loan or trust corporation, credit union, Province of Ontario Saving Bank AA(L)   20% 5% 10 years
  1. Exposure % limitations to be applied to the par value of the total portfolio
  2. Investment in these securities is contingent upon the City of Ottawa maintaining a credit rating at or above AA (L)
  3. Rated by Standard and Poor’s (S&P). Credit can be evaluated if rated by another agency; however, the rating must line up with the S&P rating equivalent

Multi-Year, Rate-Supported Budget Policy

Approved By: City Council
Category: Finance
Approval Date: January 23, 2013
Effective Date:  January 23, 2013 

Policy Statement

The City shall undertake a multi-year approach to budgeting for Rate Supported operating and capital programs unless otherwise direct by Committee and Council.  Where possible, the multi-year period should mirror the Term of Council.  


The purpose of this Policy is to enable the City’s approach to multi-year budgeting for rate supported operating and capital programs. The Policy provides direction in the development, approval and adjustment of multi-year budgets in order to recognize major changes in budgetary assumptions, legislation and Council priorities. 


This Policy applies to the Environmental Services department, which is responsible for the control, administration and management of the City’s Rate Supported operating and capital budgets and to all departments which support the delivery of rate supported services. 

Policy Requirements

Objectives of multi-year budgeting

The primary objectives are:

  • To have a longer-term funding plan for the City in order for long-term goals to be identified and achieved;
  • To provide residents with more certainty about the plans for City water and sewer services, finances, and rate levels;
  • To support more efficient and strategic decision making.  


The City shall adhere to all applicable legislation governing municipalities budgeting practices.  Specifically, the Municipal Act, 2001, (the ”Act”) sets the direction for the City to prepare and adopt a balanced annual or multi-year budget.  The City shall define the budget period to align with the Term of Council.  

When adopting a multi-year budget, the Act requires that in the second year, and each subsequent year, to which the multi-year budget applies, the City shall:

  • Review the budget in the year or the immediately preceding year;
  • Make required changes to comply with the Act;
  • Re-adopt the budget for that year and for subsequent years to which the budget applies.  

10-Year Long Range Financial Plan (LRFP) for water and sewer capital investment needs

The LRFP forms the basis from which the more detailed multi-year budgets shall be developed. Any updates to the LRFP, during the multi-year budget period, may result in recommended budget adjustments to the multi-year budget. 

Budget Preparation and Adoption

Staff shall prepare draft multi-year rate supported budgets in accordance with the LRFP. 

The governing Committee shall

  • prescribe the process and timetable for the submission and adoption of the draft budgets to Committee;
  • prescribe public consultation process; and
  • recommend the budgets for submission to Council for final adoption. 

In-year Operating and Capital Budgets Adjustments

Both the operating and capital budgets shall be monitored throughout each year of the multi-year budget period and quarterly status reports shall be presented to Committee and Council.  

Pursuant to the Delegated Authority By-law 2012-109 as amended, the City Treasurer is authorized to process operating and capital budget adjustments within specified limits.  Those that exceed these limits require Council approval.  Budget adjustments processed under delegated authority and those that require Council approval shall be reported in the quarterly status reports.  

Future Year Operating and Capital Budgets Adjustments

The Finance Department shall establish an adjustment review process to take place each year, immediately preceding the upcoming budget year.  All proposed changes to future years’ funding plans, operating and capital budgets shall be brought forward and approved by the governing Committee during the annual adjustment review. 

The budgets shall not be opened up for a full scale review. The intent is to adhere to multi-year city plans and budgets that support them and only to adjust the budgets when circumstances warrant. Budget adjustments shall be limited to the following circumstances:  

  1. External factors such as provincial or federal budgets, or changes imposed by legislation or external boards (i.e. OMERS, Clean Water Act, Source Water Protection Act, Water Opportunities Act);
  2. Adjustments to reflect operating impacts related to the implementation and completion of capital projects;
  3. Adjustments to capital program to reflect changes in project requirements, financing or the project work plan;
  4. Unforeseen changes to economic forecasts affecting costs, staffing requirements, service demand volumes, or revenue projections; and
  5. Council-directed changes to priorities, policies or programs. 

As a result of the annual adjustment review process, Environmental Services shall recommend to Committee and Council, necessary adjustments to the appropriate budgets for each year(s) in the multi-year period. 


Environmental Services and other supporting departments shall identify needs aligned to Council plans and priorities and changes to operational and capital requirements. 

Financial Services Unit shall assist client departments with developing the multi-year budget and the annual budget adjustment review process. 

Financial Planning and Budgets shall facilitate and co-ordinate the multi-year budget development and the annual budget adjustment review process. 


The City Treasurer and the General Manager of Environmental Services shall monitor current practices to ensure compliance with this Policy. 


The Corporate Planning Framework (Ref. No. ACS2011-COS-ODP-0007)

Fiscal Framework 2007 as amended

Long Range Financial Plan IV ? Water and Sewer Rate Supported Programs ACS2012-CMR-FIN-0004

Report on: Proposed Rate Budget Multi-year Policy ACS2013-CMR-FIN-0001 

Legislative and Administrative Authorities

Municipal Act, 2001, as amended
Delegation of Authority By-law 2012-109, as amended


Long Range Financial Plan – outlines the projected operating and capital requirements in order to provide and maintain these services to City residents 

Rate-Supported Services – the programs required to provide potable drinking water along with sanitary and storm water sewer services which are funded through revenues from water and sewer surcharge rates. 


Enquiries regarding this Policy should be directed to: 

Deputy City Treasurer

Corporate Finance 
Finance Department 
City Manager’s Office
Tel: 613-580-2424, ext. 41723

Ottawa Option Policy

Approved By: City Council
Category: Finance
Approval Date: February 25, 2009
Effective Date: February 25, 2009
Revision Approved By: Chief Procurement Officer
Revision Date: October 22, 2019

Policy statement

The City shall use a consistent approach to consider the merits of unsolicited proposals for the supply of goods and / or services received from private sector proponents, which complies with the Procurement By-law, ensures a procurement process that is open, transparent and fair to all proponents, and provides best value to the City.


The purpose of this Policy is to outline the City’s approach to evaluating and pursuing an unsolicited proposal from a private sector proponent for the supply of goods and / or services.


This Policy applies to all City of Ottawa employees and elected officials.

This Policy does not apply to the City’s local boards.

This Policy does not apply to real estate development projects or projects undertaken using a public-private partnership (P3) approach.

Policy requirements

Objectives of the Ottawa Option Policy

The City receives unsolicited proposals from private sector proponents for the supply of goods and / or services which may offer improved services, reduced cost, cost avoidance or other benefits. The objective of the Ottawa Option Policy is to provide a process for the City to receive and consider unsolicited proposals from private sector proponents that:

  • Eliminates the perception of bias and ensures an open, transparent and fair procurement process;
  • Provides best value to the City;
  • Protects the proprietary trade information of the private sector proponent.

Steps of the Ottawa Option Eligibility and Procurement Process

When an unsolicited proposal is received from a private sector proponent, the City shall follow a four- step process to evaluate the proposal’s eligibility for an Ottawa Option procurement process:

  • Eligibility Assessment
  • Evaluation of the Business Case
  • Approval of Funding (if required)
  • Procurement Process

Eligibility Assessment

The unsolicited proposal shall be submitted to the Chief Procurement Officer or to a General Manager responsible for areas discussed in the proposal. The information provided to the City shall be at a high conceptual level and shall include:

  • A profile of the proponent and key partners;
  • A project description including the key deliverables and benefits;
  • The proposed financial relationship between the City and the private sector proponent and allocation of risks;
  • The proponent’s expectations of the City including financial expectations and the assistance of staff in preparing or finalizing the unsolicited proposal.

The General Manager of the relevant operational department, in consultation with the Chief Procurement Officer, shall determine the eligibility of the unsolicited proposal under this Policy by considering:

  • The competitive market for the supply of the proposed goods and / or services;
  • The sufficiency of the proposed benefit given current City priorities;
  • The willingness of the City to fund its share of the costs of implementation or the competitive process;
  • The availability and cost of City staff and / or external resources required to evaluate the unsolicited proposal’s benefits to the City.

If the General Manager determines that the unsolicited proposal is not in the best interests of the City, the proponent shall be advised, and the City shall take no further action in relation to the proposal concept.

If the General Manager determines that the unsolicited proposal is in the best interests of the City, the Chief Procurement Officer shall ensure that the proposal is not similar to a current or planned competitive procurement process and does not circumvent the Procurement By-law, in which case the unsolicited proposal will not be pursued.

If the unsolicited proposal is similar to a current or planned competitive procurement but presents a different scope, style or approach that would improve the City’s position, the Chief Procurement Officer may consider the proposal and choose one of the following two outcomes:

  • With the proponent’s concurrence, amend the current procurement documents and competitive process to include some or all of the key elements of the unsolicited proposal, and reissue the amended procurement document in an open, transparent and fair competitive process.
  • Reject the unsolicited proposal and continue with the current procurement process without amendments to the procurement documents.

If the unsolicited proposal qualifies for the Ottawa Option, the Chief Procurement Officer shall

  • Obtain written confirmation of the proponent’s agreement to enter into negotiations in accordance with the Ottawa Option Policy as well as acknowledgement from the proponent that the City is under no obligation to accept the proposal, that all costs incurred by the proponent in relation to the unsolicited proposal are incurred at the proponent's own risk, and that the City shall not be liable for any costs or damages in connection with the rejection or non-acceptance of the proposal;
  • Provide the proponent with any available information describing the City’s requirements for the goods and / or services proposed;
  • Request that the proponent prepare and submit, at its sole expense, a detailed proposal in a prescribed format and agreed timeframe.

All unsolicited proposals received under this Policy shall be open for acceptance by the City for a minimum period of six (6) months.

Evaluation of the Business Case

In consultation with Supply Services, the General Manager shall develop a business case based on the detailed proposal received and assemble an evaluation team of subject matter experts to (a) evaluate the technical, commercial, managerial and financial capacity of the private sector proponent to undertake the proposed project; and (b) evaluate the proposed scope, benefits and risk sharing of the unsolicited proposal for congruence with City priorities and available resources;

Based on the outcome of the business case evaluation, the General Manager may  (a) reject the unsolicited proposal;  (b) request amendments, clarifications or modifications  to the unsolicited proposal; or  (c) accept the unsolicited proposal as being in the best interest of City and, depending on the current conditions in the competitive marketplace, either seek approval for a non-competitive award of contract in accordance with section 22 (1) of the Procurement By-law or to consider the proposal in a competitive procurement process in accordance with the Procurement By-law.

Approval of Funding (if required)

Where a decision has been made to either award a non-competitive contract or commence a competitive procurement process but funding for the purpose envisioned in the unsolicited proposal is required, and it has not been previously approved by Council, the General Manager shall submit a report to Council for approval of the required funds.

 Procurement Process

If a decision is made to proceed with a competitive procurement process, Supply Services, in collaboration with the operational department, shall issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) and appoint a Fairness Commissioner to monitor and oversee the integrity of the competitive process.  Supply Services shall ensure that proposals are solicited in an open, transparent and fair competitive process in accordance with the Procurement By-law.

The RFP document shall provide the main concepts of the unsolicited proposal, including contract principles and risk sharing framework, without revealing proprietary information contained in the original proposal. The company that submitted the original unsolicited proposal must still submit a proposal in response to the RFP. An evaluation team shall evaluate all of the proposals received and the successful proponent shall be determined in accordance with section 20 of the Procurement By-law. 


The General Manager shall determine whether the unsolicited proposal qualifies under the Ottawa Option Policy from a business perspective, and if the City should continue to entertain the proposal.

The Chief Procurement Officer shall determine if the proposal is eligible for consideration under this Policy based on its similarity to any current procurement processes, and ensure that any procurement process resulting from the receipt of the unsolicited proposal complies with this Policy and the Procurement By-law.

City Council shall approve the funding required to pursue the unsolicited proposal if such funding has not been previously approved by Council.

Legal Services, or alternative external legal counsel retained by the City Solicitor and Solicitor to act on behalf of the City, shall review and approve all agreements that result from the procurement process.


General Managers shall monitor compliance with this Policy. Failure to comply with this policy may result in employee disciplinary action.

The Chief Procurement Officer shall ensure that the evaluation of unsolicited proposals and the procurement process comply with the Procurement By-law.

An independent Fairness Commissioner, when appointed, shall monitor and report on the integrity of the Ottawa Option procurement process to ensure compliance with the Procurement By-law.


Procurement By-law No. 50 of 2000 of the City of Ottawa, as amended
Business Case and Project Management Policy

Legislative and Administrative Authorities

Procurement By-law No. 50 of 2000
Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005
Ontario Regulation 191/11 Integrated Accessibility Standards Clause 5; Procuring or acquiring goods, services and facilities


Unsolicited Proposal: A proposal received by City staff from a private sector vendor, consortium, or any other proponent, which was not provided in response to a formal request from the City, but which was submitted through the initiative of the proponent.

Keyword Search

Unsolicited Proposal


For more information on this Policy, contact:
Manager, Strategic Sourcing and Supply Chain Management
Strategic Sourcing Branch, Supply Services
Innovative Client Services Department
Tel: 613-580-2424 extension 13564

Petition Policy

Approved By: City Council
Section: City Clerk
Approval Date: December 8, 2010 

Prior to December 2010, the City of Ottawa had no formal process for residents to submit petitions to City Council. Recognizing that petitions play an integral role in the communication between residents and elected officials, City Council adopted a Petition Policy as part of its 2010-2014 Governance Report, establishing procedures for the submission and recognition of public petitions.

All petitions that meet the standards set out in the Petition Policy will be presented to Council and listed as a Communication on a Council agenda. Standing Committees cannot formally accept petitions; therefore, petitions received at Standing Committees will be forwarded to the Clerk and presented to Council. Petitions containing original signatures should be sent to the attention of the City Clerk by mail or delivered in person to Ottawa City Hall or any City of Ottawa Client Service Centre. Petitions may also be submitted to the Mayor or any member of City Council.

Note: Petitions on matters that are solely within the decision-making authority of the Transit Commission are routed directly to the Commission rather than to Council.

A petition is considered a public document at the City of Ottawa and the information contained in it will be subject to the scrutiny of City Council (or the Transit Commission) and the general public. Your petition must include a disclosure statement on each page of the petition so that those who sign the document agree to, and are aware of, its public availability.

For further information, please contact or the City Clerk:

City Clerk
110 Laurier Avenue
Ottawa, Ontario
K1P 1J1

Policy statement

The City of Ottawa is committed to citizen engagement and supports petitions as one tool for citizens to have input into Council’s decision making process.

A petition can be most effective when the information contained in it is accurate and verifiable, and when the petition is recognized and accepted by decision makers.


This policy outlines the City of Ottawa’s procedure for receipt and recognition of public petitions.


This policy applies to all petitions submitted to the City of Ottawa, with the exception of those governed by another Act (such as drainage and local improvement petitions).

Policy requirements

Petition requirements

  • The petition must be addressed to the City of Ottawa/Ottawa City Council (or the Transit Commission) and request a particular action within the authority of Council.
  • Petitions must be legible, typewritten or printed in ink (no pencil).
  • The text of the petition must be listed at the top of each page for multiple-page petitions. Pages should be numbered and total number of pages indicated.
  • The petition must be appropriate and respectful in tone, and must not contain any improper or offensive language or information.
  • Each petitioner must print and sign his or her own name. A paper petition must contain original signatures only, written directly on the petition.
  • Each petitioner must provide his or her full address.
  • For electronic petitions, petitioners must provide name, address and a valid e-mail address.
  • The petition must clearly disclose on each page that it will be considered a public document at the City of Ottawa and that information contained in it may be subject to the scrutiny of the City and other members of the general public.

Submission of petitions

  • Petitions containing original signatures should be sent to the attention of the City Clerk by mail or delivered in person to Ottawa City Hall or City of Ottawa Client Service Centre.
  • Petitions may also be submitted to the Mayor or any member of City Council.
  • Electronic Petitions may be submitted to the attention of the City Clerk at
  • All petitions that meet the above standards will be presented to Council (or the Transit Commission) at its next regular meeting, or the meeting at which the subject of the petition is to be discussed.
  • Standing Committees cannot formally accept petitions. Petitions received at Standing Committees will be forwarded to the Clerk and presented to full Council at its next regular meeting, or the meeting at which the subject of the petition is to be discussed
  • Council has the discretion to accept the petition, and Council’s decision is final.


The City Clerk is responsible for receiving all petitions and submitting them to the attention of Council or the Transit Commission.

City Council members are responsible for forwarding all petitions received by their offices to the attention of the Clerk.


The City Clerk will evaluate all petitions to ensure that the requirements of the policy are met.

Petitions deemed to be in non-compliance will not be formally accepted by Council or the Transit Commission.

However they will be listed as “other correspondence received” on the appropriate Standing Committee or Council agenda, if applicable.

Retention and disclosure

All petitions submitted to the City will be retained by the City Clerk’s office. Petitions meeting the requirements of this policy and therefore presented to and received by Council or the Transit Commission will be kept on file at the Office of the City Clerk and will be available for public viewing upon request.


For the purposes of this policy, a petition is a formal written request made to the City of Ottawa, Council or one of its Standing Committees.


Office of the City Clerk
Legislative Services Branch
Deputy City Clerk
110 Laurier Avenue West, Ottawa ON K1P 1J1

Petition form

Public Art Policy

Approved By: City Council
Category: General Administration
Approval Date: October 28, 2015
Effective Date: October 28, 2015

1. Policy Statement

Art can define a city. A city’s character, history, aspirations and challenges are expressed and reflected by its artists, through their work and with strong public engagement. Ottawa is home to myriad diverse neighbourhoods – urban, suburban and rural, as well as active communities of visual artists. The City of Ottawa recognizes culture’s role as the fourth pillar of sustainability and the important contribution artists make to a city. This policy is intended to leverage artists’ talent, vision and experience in order to develop Ottawa as an increasingly vibrant place in which to live and to visit.

Public art brings residents and tourists alike into vital everyday contact with original artworks created by professional artists. It adds to the identity and quality of the civic landscape; enriches our experience of public spaces; pays tribute to particular sites, individuals and events; builds civic pride; fosters community and enhances the city’s cultural heritage. Located in the public domain, public art is the most visible and accessible form of artistic expression supported by the City of Ottawa.

The Public Art Program strives to meet recognized professional standards and to address Ottawa’s full geographic scope. The Program:

  • Fosters public awareness, understanding and interpretation of Ottawa’s rich visual art history, and develops new audiences for artistic practice;
  • Holds the City of Ottawa Art Collection in trust for the people of Ottawa and preserves it for future generations;
  • Provides opportunities for emerging, mid-career and established professional artists across Ottawa’s full diversity and encourages participation by First Nations, Inuit, Métis, Francophone and new Canadian artists;
  • Promotes Ottawa’s artists and celebrates Ottawa’s unique status as a vibrant city and a national capital;
  • Is led, supported and developed by municipal employees who work with a network of internal and external collaborators; and
  • Generates significant quality-of-life and economic benefits for the people of Ottawa, elevating the civic landscape by improving its built and natural environments.

The City of Ottawa Public Art Program aligns with the Renewed Action Plan for Arts, Heritage and Culture in Ottawa, 2013-2018, and is implemented through Section 2.5.1 of the City of Ottawa Official Plan and other related plans, and best practices of other municipalities in Canada.

2. Purpose

Incorporating the strengths of the past 30 years in Ottawa and building on recent North American best practices, the Public Art Program will be governed by and will operate under one cohesive municipal policy. This renewed Public Art Policy articulates the planning, funding, selection, care and maintenance of public art, to provide the best possible program for residents now and in the future. The goals of the Policy are to:

  • Clearly define the Public Art Program’s scope and selection practices;
  • Enhance and expand public engagement, outreach and interpretation;
  • Ensure that municipal visual art assets in the City of Ottawa Art Collection are conserved and maintained, in keeping with professional standards;
  • Clearly delineate the roles and responsibilities for municipal employees, members of City Council and external collaborators;
  • Provide a  framework for a strategic, planned approach to ensure maximum impact and to extend opportunities into underserved urban, suburban and rural areas;
  • Increase professional development opportunities for emerging, mid-career and established professional artists across Ottawa’s full diversity and encourage First Nations, Inuit, Métis, Francophone and new Canadian artists; 
  • Align Public Art Commissions funding with Canadian municipal best practices; and
  • Increase collaboration and partnership with the private sector, internal and external stakeholders, and underserved communities.

The Public Art Policy adheres to the following core values:

  1. Responsible Stewardship: That the City of Ottawa Public Art Program use best practices to select, acquire, exhibit and conserve public art for current and future generations.
  2. Openness and Transparency: That policy, governance, process, selection, exhibition and management practices are founded on openness, competitiveness and transparency. Peer assessed selection is a cornerstone of the program. Selection process results from peer assessments are only subject to appeal on the basis of:
    1. Demonstrated deviation from compliance with the criteria and processes defined in this policy; and/or
    2. Issues raised through the public consultation process for exhibitions outlined in Section 4.2 of this policy.
  3. Engagement and Collaboration: That public art is the result of collaboration between artists, the public, municipal employees, public agencies, local stakeholders and the private sector.
  4. Encourage Excellence: That the policy, process and practice for City of Ottawa Art Collection development and management, commissions and exhibitions adhere to recognized professional standards and promote excellence in artistic practice.
  5. Planned Strategic Management Framework: That a successful Public Art Program is supported by solid planning and an integrated and strategic management framework

3. Policy Application

The Public Art Policy applies to Public Art Program employees and to all other municipal employees and departments that hold roles and responsibilities related to the Public Art Program.

3.1 Scope

The Public Art Program collects, commissions, presents and interprets artworks by professional visual artists. The Program is composed of two main areas of focus and function:

  1. The City of Ottawa Art Collection, and
  2. Exhibitions, Professional Development and  Public Education

Not included in the scope of the Policy are community galleries and display spaces; archaeological, archival and museum collections/exhibitions; the Ottawa Mural Program; signage by-laws; graffiti management; commemorations and monuments.

The scope of the Policy applies to the following Public Art Program activities: 

A) City of Ottawa Art Collection

Visual art, media art, fine craft and cross-disciplinary work with a visual art focus is acquired and accessioned into the City of Ottawa Art Collection through commission, purchase and donation.

The Art Collection, held in trust for residents, is an asset that requires professional stewardship, care, maintenance and conservation. The City of Ottawa Public Art Program follows standard collections management practices to protect the City of Ottawa Art Collection, and employs effective risk management through the provision of insurance coverage and regular appraisals of this municipal asset. Primary collections management functions include: acquisition, documentation, maintenance, conservation, interpretation and de-accessioning.

Public Art Commissions

Professional artists are commissioned to create original artworks that are funded from eligible municipal capital project budgets. Public Art Commissions enliven and add unique character to public gathering places and significant civic sites. Public art as creative place-making can also spark revitalization of and social engagement within a particular community or place. These artworks can vary in scale from art in a neighbourhood park to a major visual and iconic landmark contributing to the establishment of local distinctiveness.

Public Art Commissions are proactively integrated into the planning and implementation of municipal development and may be linked with strategic municipal objectives. Public Art Commissions may take the form of a standalone or architecturally integrated artwork, temporary or ephemeral artwork, digital artwork and other visual art forms. The Public Art Program recognizes that public art is a constantly evolving visual expression.

Purchase and Donation of Artwork

Each year, visual art of interest and importance to the City of Ottawa is acquired both through a purchase program that is funded through a municipal operating budget allocation, and by donation. Centred on the work of local, professional visual artists, purchased and donated artworks in this moveable collection are regularly circulated and displayed throughout 150 civic buildings.

Firestone Collection of Canadian Art

This significant collection of artwork by Canadian artists that spans the modern period (1900-1980), was donated by O.J. and Isobel Firestone to the Ontario Heritage Foundation in 1972. Ownership of this collection was transferred to the City of Ottawa in 1992. Works in the collection are cared for, managed and displayed by the Ottawa Art Gallery, through a legal agreement with the City of Ottawa.

B) Exhibitions, Professional Development and Public Education

Exhibitions, mentoring and internship, artist-in-residence programs, and outreach/public education increase access to visual art, provide development opportunities for artists and related sectors, and foster public engagement. 


The City exhibits artwork in all media that are of interest and importance to the community, that foster a sense of who we are, and that reflect current artistic practice. These exhibitions are presented in the public domain allowing for an appreciation, understanding and interpretation of our past and present through the gallery program.

Public Art Program exhibitions focus on local emerging, mid-career and established professional artists working in visual arts, media arts, fine craft and cross-disciplinary work with a visual art focus. Exhibitions provide artists with opportunities to display new work, collaborate with their peers and mount retrospectives. Artists benefit from public exposure, a professionally produced exhibition and the opportunity for career development. Exhibitions take place at Karsh-Masson Gallery, City Hall Art Gallery and at other locations offering residents and visitors opportunities to experience an ever-changing and compelling variety of artistic expressions.

A public gallery is a forum for the exploration of diverse ideas. Artists in Canada of all faiths, backgrounds and cultures have the right to artistic expression as granted by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The City of Ottawa Public Art Program upholds the right of all residents to experience and express diverse visions and views in harmony with the City’s Equity and Diversity Policy.

Mentoring and Internship

Professional development for artists is an inherent aspect of all Public Art Program activities. In addition, formal mentorship opportunities are developed and implemented, whereby established artists pair with emerging artists to collaborate on specific commissions as appropriate. Post-secondary students in related disciplines will also be offered opportunities to participate in internship programs. Other mentoring and internship opportunities may be developed in the future.


Artist-in-residence programs are developed in partnership with municipal departments and interested external organizations and agencies. These collaborations are intended to provide mutual benefit to the artist and to the sponsoring residency provider.

Outreach and Public Education

Outreach and public education activities are designed to increase public understanding, awareness and engagement and to create a stronger presence for and knowledge of Public Art.

4. Policy Requirements

4.1 City of Ottawa Art Collection

The City collects and exhibits artworks to foster a sense of place and of who we are. The collection is comprised of artworks in all media that are of interest, of importance, and that engages the community. These artworks are presented in the public domain allowing for an appreciation, understanding and future interpretation of the City’s visual arts history.

Public Art Commissions

One percent of eligible municipal capital construction budgets of $2 million or more from the Growth, Strategic Initiatives and Renewal capital budget categories of the City of Ottawa and its Boards and Commissions, as well as one percent of eligible P3 projects, are designated for Public Art Commissions.  

The one percent applies to the individual project level of municipal construction budgets, and to the municipal contribution to construction projects funded by other agencies. Non-applicable municipal capital budgets include budget for - new equipment and lifecycle of equipment, studies, briefs and assessments related to a capital project, the soft cost components of eligible capital projects, environmental mitigation measures for an eligible project, unplanned repairs, repairs prolonging the life of an existing asset, land purchases and disposals.

This one percent portion of eligible capital funds will be transferred to a dedicated Public Art Fund specifically created and identified for Public Art projects following annual Council approval of the Capital Budget. This fund will be for the sole use of funding the Public Art projects under the delegated authority of the General Manager of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services. The Public Art Fund covers all aspects of commissions including project management, artists’ fees, the execution, installation, interpretation, maintenance and conservation of Public Art projects.

The Public Art Fund will be allocated to projects in accordance with the following goals:

  • To address Ottawa’s full geographic scope (urban, suburban and rural) and underserved areas in particular;
  • To determine scale of commissions and select appropriate sites with a view to improve access and visibility of public art; and
  • To develop a long term vision and location plan that aligns with the Official Plan, and other related plans.

An Interdepartmental Planning Group will work collaboratively with the Public Art Program and the Public Art Committee to achieve these goals. The General Manager, Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services, will approve the annual work plan for commissioned art.

Public Art Commissions are managed according to the following practices: 

  • Public Art Commissions may be associated with the capital construction project site or where the funding source allows, may be associated with alternative sites that are more publicly accessible or that address underserved areas and strategic objectives;
  • Projects such as recreation facilities, libraries and other large municipal buildings are ideal locations for public art commissions and priority will continue to link public art installations and budgets directly with these project sites;
  • Where the funding source allows, projects for roadways, sidewalks, sewers, water mains, work yards, and similar infrastructure where public visibility and accessibility to public art is not inherent will see the public art commission budget pooled into a fund for allocation to more appropriate, visible and accessible locations;
  • Public Art Commissions will reflect a thorough and sensitive understanding of place, context and setting and will vary in scope from neighbourhood based projects to temporary projects to larger iconic works;
  • The Public Art Program will engage community stakeholders and consult the Ward Councillor on Public Art Commissions;
  • Calls to artists will range in scope from local to national and international, depending on available resources, project scope and related criteria;
  • Artists will be included on capital project design teams as early as possible, where applicable, to ensure successful integration of artwork;
  • Commissions are selected through competitive, curatorial and/or invitational peer assessed processes that remain open and transparent and can include: Requests for Qualifications; Requests for Proposals; Requests for Expressions of Interest; and limited, invitational, or from a  prequalified roster;
  • Peer assessed selection is recognized as a valid evaluation protocol within City of Ottawa purchasing practice and is the protocol of choice for the Public Art Program;
  • Selection criteria for commissions are project based and advertised through a competition process;
  • Where appropriate, artwork for designated capital projects may be purchased rather than commissioned, providing that the work meets site specific requirements and has been selected through peer assessment; and
  • The City may partner with the private sector, agencies and institutions, e.g. the National Capital Commission, the National Gallery of Canada, or other municipalities, to augment the one percent allocation and/or to implement commissions, providing that the Public Art Policy is upheld.
Purchase and Donation of Artwork

The Public Art Program invites local, professional artists to submit artwork in all visual arts media for peer assessment and potential purchase and donation into the City of Ottawa Art Collection. Purchase and donation are governed according to the following practices: 

  • Preference is given to local, professional artists who live, or have lived, in Ottawa or within 150 km from the centre of the City of Ottawa;
  • Work by a non-local, professional artist may also be considered for acquisition if the artist or artwork has a connection to Ottawa that is clearly demonstrated in a proposal or donor submission;
  • Work must adhere to established selection criteria for purchase and donation include artistic merit, regional importance and innovation, and conservation and maintenance requirements;
  • Focused calls to artists related to a particular theme or period of time may be implemented in order to address strategic initiatives;
  • The Public Art Program recognizes exhibition rights and non-commercial reproduction rights for promotional purposes; and
  • Works are circulated and displayed in urban, suburban and rural municipal buildings and facilities and strive to ensure that artwork is fairly distributed across Ottawa’s full geographic scope, with particular attention paid to underserved areas. Accessible places of prominence and community gathering spots are considered to be prime display locations.
Collections Management

Standard professional collections management practice is implemented to manage the City of Ottawa Art Collection as a recognized municipal asset and to adhere to risk management procedures. Policy requirements include the following:

  • Documentation of each artwork is maintained including provenance, legal title, photographic documentation, materials pertaining to accession, electronic records including database, accessioning and cataloguing data, information on the artist, location history and loan records, condition reports and conservation history;
  • Copyright and moral rights of artworks remain the property of the artist or estate;
  • Program staff apply professional standards to the physical management of the City of Ottawa Art Collection, including care and handling, maintenance, monitoring and conservation treatment as required;
  • Artworks in the City of Ottawa Art Collection are eligible for external exhibition loans;
  • The City of Ottawa Art Collection is appraised by an independent qualified appraiser at least once every five years. Funds will be allocated for ongoing conservation and maintenance of commissioned artwork. A percentage of the total annual Purchase operating allocation is reserved for preventative conservation;
  • The City provides insurance for the City of Ottawa Art Collection and sound risk management practice;
  • Any removal, relocation or de-accessioning of commissioned artwork is accomplished in consultation with the Public Art Program, artists and/or artists’ estates, the Public Art Committee, the General Manager of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services and where warranted, City Council; and
  • De-accessioning of purchased and donated works is conducted on a case-by-case basis. The Public Art Program monitors artworks to determine whether specific pieces should be recommended for de-accessioning, in consultation with the Public Art Committee (see Section 5.3) and/or an independent conservator. The determination is evaluated according to collections management practice and includes such considerations as the current condition, security, or cost of rehabilitation of the artwork.

4.2   Exhibitions, Professional Development and Public Education


An annual open call invites professional artists, artist collectives and curators working in visual arts, media arts and fine craft to propose exhibitions. Proposals for exhibitions, to be presented in a one year cycle, are reviewed by peer assessment jury. The exhibition program, and jury assessment is governed according to the following parameters:

  • Preference is given to local artists, artist collectives and curators who live, or have lived, in Ottawa or within 150 km from the centre of the City of Ottawa;
  • Proposals for other touring and special exhibitions are eligible, providing there is no significant cost to the City;
  • A roster of eligible candidates for peer assessment juries is selected annually through a collaborative review process involving the appointed members of the Public Art Committee;
  • An open Call for Proposals to artists outlines requirements, which include a proposal statement accompanied by supporting images and a résumé; 
  • Selection of proposals for exhibitions presented during one calendar year is made one year in advance by a peer assessment jury  and is based on artistic merit, regional importance, innovation, professionalism, cohesiveness and appropriateness to the public nature of the gallery space;
  • The annual jury selections for exhibitions, including exhibit and artist details and schedule, is broadly communicated to the general public before finalization.  Members of the public are invited, within a 30 day period, to raise any concerns with one or more proposed exhibits and request that a reconsideration should a concern arise that the peer assessment jury’s deliberations and recommendations did not follow publicly announced assessment criteria and procedures;
  • Public Art Program employees direct concerns received during the 30 day public consultation process period to the Public Art Committee to assess and determine policy compliance and the validity of a concern from the public.  The Committee reports its findings to the General Manager of Parks, Recreation and Culture for resolution;
  • At any time, if there is a concern or inquiry about an exhibition, Public Art Program employees may refer the inquiry to the Public Art Committee for consideration and a final decision may be made by the City Manager in consultation with the City Solicitor, who will consider the details of the concern or inquiry about the artwork, the peer assessment, the Public Art Committee’s recommendations, and all other relevant information. 
  • In the event of a determination that an exhibit proceeds, Public Art Program employees will work to create a dialogue with the public to address and mitigate potential areas of concern;
  • Where no public concerns are received within the 30 day consultation period, proposed annual exhibit schedule will be finalized and implemented by staff;
  • Other temporary and permanent sites may be identified for exhibition and installation in order to supplement exhibition programming at Karsh-Masson Gallery and City Hall Art Gallery, and/or to focus on new or underserved areas;
  • Professional artists are paid Canadian Artists’ Representation/Le Front des artistes canadiens (CARFAC) fees when their work is exhibited; and
  • Selected artworks from the City of Ottawa Art Collection are displayed in the City’s professional galleries as part of exhibition programming.
Mentoring and Internship

Mentoring and internship opportunities are developed and implemented for artists, post-secondary students and other interested parties, according to the following practices: 

  • Public Art Program mentorship opportunities for artists will be advertised through open calls and selected through peer assessment;
  • Students enrolled in post-secondary institutions may be eligible to participate in an unpaid, curriculum-based work placement;
  • The Public Art Program provides guidance and an exhibition venue to local academic institutions, to assist in the completion of their thesis requirements, where appropriate; and
  • The Public Art Program participates in opportunities arising from cultural exchanges, trade delegations and twin city relationships.

Artist residencies are sponsored by private partners, communities and/or institutions where there is demonstrated collaborative potential, an opportunity for cross-sectoral innovation, and/or where the residency has the potential to be mutually beneficial.

Outreach and Public Education

The City of Ottawa Public Art Program will provide adequate resources to ensure that interpretation, outreach and public education in both official languages is implemented. Other languages, such as Algonquin, may also be used as appropriate. The Public Art Program will use current technology and best practices to promote the Art Collection, local artists, and its exhibitions, activities and events. Outreach, education and social practice activities aimed at engaging and informing the public across Ottawa’s full geographic scope will be carried out with the appropriate resources.

5. Responsibilities

5.1 Public Art Program Employees, Cultural Services Branch

The City of Ottawa Public Art Program employees work with artists, municipal planners, capital project managers, community representatives and private and business sector representatives to plan and integrate art into public settings. The Public Art Program champions, guides and implements all aspects of the program. Public Art Program employees are responsible for acquisitions, collections management, commissioning, co-ordination of the selection process, presentation and interpretation of all artworks within the scope of this Policy. Public Art Program employees are also responsible for developing procedures relating to the City of Ottawa Art Collection and the Public Art Program, and for coordination of the Interdepartmental Planning Group and the Public Art Committee. The Arts and Heritage Development Unit, in consultation with Public Art Program employees and other internal/external stakeholders, is responsible for Public Art Policy development.

5.2 Public Art Interdepartmental Planning Group   

The Public Art Program will establish and implement an Interdepartmental Planning Group, which includes representatives from City Departments and Boards with responsibility or knowledge relating to the planning or implementation of Public Art Commissions.

This internal working group will:

  • Represent departmental perspectives in developing criteria for site selection;
  • Participate in location planning for commissioned public art; and
  • Ensure early integration of commissioning in the planning process and open communication about commissioned artwork.

5.3 Public Art Committee

A Public Art Committee will advise municipal staff on all Public Art Policy directions: Commissions, Purchase, Exhibitions and Outreach. Experts from the community will be selected to serve as members of this Committee, thereby increasing community engagement.

The Public Art Committee is a Departmental Consultative Group attached to the Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services (PRCS) and reporting to the General Manager, PRCS

The following applies for the selection and administration of the Public Art Committee:

  • Experts will be invited to apply through an open call process and will be selected through peer assessment;
  • Committee members will demonstrate professional expertise relating to public art and will reflect Ottawa’s official language groups, diversity and geographic scope;
  • Committee members will participate with City staff in high level planning activities led by the City, review policy, and meet annually with the Interdepartmental Public Art Planning Group;
  • Committee members will serve as a collaborative forum for feedback as new ideas are being developed;
  • Committee members will provide high level input on public art initiatives and procedures as required by the Public Art Program, including but not limited to public art site planning, pilot projects, review of prequalified roster of selection committee candidates, recommendations for de-accessioning, and Policy compliance;
  • Committee members will assist to foster community engagement and public support to enhance the value and impact of the Public Art Program;
  • Committee members will review proposals for permanent public art on municipal land (not commissioned through the Public Art Program) for policy compliance and advise the General Manager, Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services; and
  • Committee members will review complaints, and exhibition reconsideration request for policy compliance and makes recommendations for resolution to the General Manager, Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services.

5.4 Public Art Development by the Private Sector

On City Lands

Private agencies who commission public art on City lands must comply with the following directions:

  • Permanent Public Art Commissions on City of Ottawa land not commissioned through the Public Art Program must adhere to the City of Ottawa Public Art Policy, including the requirement to commission professional visual artists and to include them in the selection process; and
  • These proposals for public art on City-owned land will be reviewed by the Public Art Committee for policy compliance prior to the granting of development approvals.
On Private Lands

The City actively encourages the private sector to include public art in development projects as an option to elevate and improve the civic landscape. The City will:

  • Work to establish Public Art Commissioning Guidelines (including development of project specifications, selection process, installation) for public art projects on private property in consultation with representatives from the private sector; and
  • Actively provide the private sector and Business Improvement Associations with the Public Art Commissioning Guidelines, and will attach them to the City of Ottawa Development and Review application stage. Public Art Program employees may provide the private sector with consultative services related to public art project specification, selection process and installation, for a fee and according to a developed fee schedule.

Section 37 of the Ontario Planning Act permits the City of Ottawa to authorize increases in the permitted height and/or density of buildings through zoning by-laws in return for specific community benefits. These increases in height and/or density act as incentives for developers to provide these benefits at no cost to the City. Public art is included in the listing of community benefits. Where Section 37 funds are used for Public Art, the Public Art Policy must be adhered to.

5.5 City of Ottawa Urban Design Review Panel

Ottawa’s Urban Design Review Panel is an independent advisory panel of volunteer design professionals who provide an objective peer review of both public and private sector development projects throughout the City’s Design Priority Areas. Established in 2010, this Panel is intended to enhance the City’s capabilities in achieving architectural and urban design excellence. The City of Ottawa Design Objectives include public art (Design Objective 1.3, Create Unique Communities). To increase adherence to the City’s Urban Design Objectives, the Public Art Program will:

  • work with municipal Urban Design employees to further connect public art with design objectives; and
  • where appropriate, one professional visual artist will be added to the Urban Design Review Panel for technical advice

6. Monitoring Conventions

Cultural Services and the Public Art Program and the Public Art Committee will collaborate to monitor Public Art Policy implementation to determine if:

  • The assumptions underpinning the Policy continue to be valid;
  • Policy priorities remain constant;
  • The Policy is being carried out; and
  • The Policy is having the desired outcome.

The Public Art Program may bring forward amendments to this Policy when required. A complete review of the Policy will occur once every ten years.

7. References

In 1985, the City of Ottawa developed one of the first visual art policies in Canada. The City of Nepean approved a Public Art Policy in 1989, followed by Kanata (1997) and the City of Gloucester (1998). The Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton approved an Art in Public Spaces Policy in 1990.

During development of the renewed City of Ottawa Public Art Policy (2015), reference was made to:

  1. Public Art policies from pre-amalgamation municipalities and the Regional Municipality; and
  2. Current Public Art policies in other North American cities, including Calgary, Chicago, Edmonton, Moncton, Montreal, Richmond Hill, Surrey, Toronto, Kingston, and Vancouver.

8. Legislative and Administrative Authorities

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)

Bilingualism Policy, City of Ottawa

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Constitution Act, 1982

Canadian Artists’ Representation/Le Front des artistes canadiens (CARFAC)

Code of Conduct for Members of Council, City of Ottawa

Comprehensive Asset Management Policy, City of Ottawa, 2012

Copyright Act (R.S.C., 1985, c.C-42), Government of Canada

Cultural Property Export and Import Act, (R.S.C.1985. c.C_51), Government of Canada

Departmental Consultative Groups Framework, City of Ottawa

Employee Code of Conduct, City of Ottawa

Equity and Diversity Policy, City of Ottawa

Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act

Official Plan, City of Ottawa

Ontario Heritage Act, R.S.O.1990, c.0.18

Ontario Human Rights Code

Planning Act, RSO 1990, Province of Ontario

Renewed Action Plan for Arts, Heritage and Culture in Ottawa (2013-2018), City of Ottawa

Status of the Artist Act, CSC 1992, Government of Canada

Tangible Capital Asset Policy, City of Ottawa

Urban Design: A Reference Guide to Creating Great Places and Great Spaces, City of Ottawa

9. Definitions

Accessible: Used in this policy as a term to describe ease of interaction for the public with an artwork

Accession :The act of recording and processing an acquisition to the permanent collection

Acquisition: Obtaining art through commission, purchase, donation, gift or bequest

Artist, Professional:  A visual artist who has completed specialized training in his or her artistic field or is recognized by his/her peers as such; is committed to his/her artistic activity; and has a history of public presentation

  • Emerging artist: A visual artist in the early years of a professional career who may have had previous professional exhibitions, commissions, presentations or installations
  • Mid-career artist: A visual artist who has received basic training in his/her artistic field, has practiced his/her art for four to seven full years and has created at least two presentations, exhibitions or installations in a professional context
  • Established artist: A visual artist who has an extensive body of work, a history of national and/or international presentation and who has achieved wide recognition
  • Local artist: A visual artist who lives, or has lived, in Ottawa, or within 150 km. from the centre of the City of Ottawa

Best Practice: A method or technique that has consistently shown results superior to those achieved with other means, and that is used as a benchmark. In addition, a best practice can evolve to become better as improvements are discovered.  Applying best practice combines the ability to balance the unique qualities of an organization with the practices that it has in common with others.

Creative Place-making: A practice that intentionally leverages the power of the arts, culture and creativity to serve a community’s interest while driving a broader agenda for change, growth and transformation in a way that also builds character and quality of place.

Copyright: Grants the author of an artwork the sole right to reproduce, distribute, display, and alter their artworks. It expires 50 years after the artist’s death. It may be assigned or licensed to another individual or institution and/or it may be assigned exclusively or jointly. Copyright also extends to the use of images of an artwork for promotional or educational purposes.

  • Moral Rights include the right to the integrity of the artwork in regard to associations or modifications. They include the right to be associated with the artwork as its author by name, pseudonym or the right to remain anonymous. Moral Rights are non-transferable and endure even after copyright has been assigned. The rights may be waived by the artist agreeing to not exercise them in whole or in part. Examples of violation of Moral Rights may include:
    • An act or omission performed on the artwork that affects the honour or reputation of the artist; and
    • Changing the colour of the artwork or adorning it with additional elements

Taking steps to restore or preserve the artwork would not be included as long as this work is performed in good faith. Also, changing the location of the work does not generally constitute a violation, but in the case of works of public art, the exact siting may be considered part of the work.

De-accession: (1) An object that has been removed permanently from a collection; (2) Formal removal of accessioned objects from a permanent collection. The act of physically removing object(s) from a collection.

Interpretation: A term used in art galleries and museums to describe educational, explanatory or didactic material or activities

Mentorship: An opportunity for an emerging artist to work with an established artist on a project relevant to his/her area of work and interest

Peer Assessment: All commissioned, purchased and donated artwork, and exhibitions are selected through peer assessment in accordance with the criteria described in this policy. The makeup of peer assessment juries vary according to requirements. Membership includes emerging, mid-career and established professional artists, and may also include external art administrators, art academics, as well as related experts and community stakeholders. Peer diversity is considered, with attention paid to the inclusion of First Nations, Inuit, Métis, Francophone and new Canadian artists. A roster of pre-qualified candidates for peer assessment juries is reviewed annually by the appointed members of the Public Art Committee.

Professionally-Produced Exhibition: Includes catalogue and invitation design and printing, technical assistance, promotions, and opening reception event planning

Public Art: A visual artwork in any media created by an artist(s) that has been planned and executed with the specific intention of being sited or staged in public space, and is acquired in compliance with the City of Ottawa’s Public Art Policy

  • Integrated public art forms a physical part of a building, structure or landscape. If the site were to be redeveloped, the art would be as well.
  • Stand-alone (non-integrated) public art is not a physical part of a building, structure or landscape
  • Temporary public art is an original work by an artist(s) that is created for a specific occasion, time frame or event and which is situated at a particular site on a temporary basis. The art may cover a range of forms including, but not limited to, visual art, digital art, sound art, and performance-based work.
  • Site-specific art, whether long-term or temporary, functional or aesthetic, stand-alone or integrated and in any media, is an original work that is created in response to the immediate context

Sign: Any visual medium used to convey information by way of words, pictures, graphics, emblems or symbols, or any device used for the purpose of providing direction, information, identification, advertisement business promotion or the promotion of a product, activity, service or idea [Permanent Signs on Private Property, City of Ottawa By-law No.2005-439]

Urban Design: The process of applying desired functional and aesthetic parameters to the design of the city and its parts

10. Keyword Search

City of Ottawa Art Collection
Collections Management
Public Art Committee
Public art

11. Enquiries

For more information on this Policy, contact:

Nicole Zuger
Program Manager, Arts and Heritage Development
613-580-2424 x 23150

Public Conduct Policy and Corporate Trespass to Property Procedures

Routine Disclosure and Active Dissemination Policy

Approved By: City Council
Category: General Administration
Approval Date: July 17, 2013
Effective Date: July 17, 2013
Revision Approved By: M. Rick O’Connor, City Clerk (Housekeeping amendments)
Revision Date: September 16, 2019

Policy Statement

One of the key principles of the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA) is that “information should be available to the public”. In an effort to engage citizens and demonstrate accountability and transparency, the City proactively provides the public with access to the information that matters most to them. The practice of Routine Disclosure and Active Dissemination is a cost-effective and client friendly way of providing information to the public.

The overarching principle in this Policy is to advance the view that information held by the City of Ottawa should be made available to the public, and any exceptions to this principle should be limited and specific.

The City and its departments shall provide greater public access to information by making certain records routinely available in response to informal requests for access or by means of periodically releasing certain records. These Routine Disclosure and Active Dissemination (RD/AD) processes will not require the submission of formal access to information requests under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA).


This Policy identifies the requirement for City departments to develop plans for routinely releasing or automatically making available certain records to the public. In order to ensure that an appropriate balance exists between ease of access to information and protection of privacy and of Confidential Information, City departments will adhere to the requirements of MFIPPA in respect of exemptions to disclosure for Personal Information, proprietary third-party information, and other Confidential Information.

MFIPPA provides the public a formal right of access to records that are in the City’s custody, or under its control, subject to limited and specific exemptions to disclosure. While the City may legitimately require that formal access requests be submitted in respect of certain types of records for a variety of reasons, a practice of providing RD/AD for “everyday”, non-confidential records is beneficial as it allows the City to:

  • Make more City records available to the public and ensure that information is easily accessible to the residents of Ottawa;
  • Proactively streamline the access to information process;
  • Reduce staff time in responding to formal requests for information, resulting in greater cost efficiencies;
  • Assist in reducing administrative costs;
  • Provide greater accountability and transparency in its day-to-day operations; and
  • Ensure a balance between providing greater access to City information while at the same time protecting Personal and Confidential Information.

RD/AD is consistent with the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario’s Access by Design principles and existing City practices to make certain information available to the public, such as but not limited to the Open Data initiative, the Gifts Registry and the public disclosure of Members of Council’s expenses.


This Policy applies to all City staff and to all records in the custody and under the control of the City of Ottawa. Personal and constituency records of the City’s elected representatives are not considered to be in the custody and control of the City and therefore not subject to this Policy.

Policy Requirements

Every City department shall establish a RD/AD Plan that identifies:

(1) Official Business Records (OBR) that are to be disclosed without a requirement for submission of a formal access to information request;

(2) The method by which the department will make the records available to the public, either in response to an informal request from the public or a periodic release, as the case may be; and

(3) All department RD/AD Plans shall be approved by the Manager of the ATIP Office, or designate.

The following underlying principles shall guide the development of the RD/AD Plan by each department:

  1. The focus on identifying records that are subject to RD/AD processes should be on records that are of interest to the public, for which there are no exemptions to disclosure under MFIPPA, and that do not contain any Confidential Information. Classes of records which are often requested and regularly released ought to be considered for inclusion in the RD/AD Plan, with appropriate severances of Personal or otherwise Confidential Information as required.
  2. In determining which records are to be subject to RD/AD, staff should not consider the identity of requester(s).
  3. Service Excellence should always be considered when developing RD/AD Plans, and the method by which the records are disseminated ought to provide the public, to the greatest extent possible, ease of access to the information.
  4. New programs and policies should be developed with an understanding of the routine disclosure and active dissemination opportunities, and these should be incorporated into any related staff report and/or the departmental RD/AD Plan.
  5. The department shall review and update RD/AD Plan(s) at a minimum once a year as outlined later in this Policy and in the RD/AD Guideline.

The development of a RD/AD Guideline followed this Policy and identifies among other things the types of records that are not suitable for RD/AD, and the specific types of information that must be excluded (severed) within records prior to disclosure.

When the City’s Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) Office receives a request under MFIPPA that should be released as routine disclosure, ATIP staff will direct the request to the responsible department and, where necessary, assist staff in understanding their obligations to release the information. A similar approach will be taken where possible with respect to requests received under the Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004, relating to requests by individuals for their own personal health information.


All City staff must comply with the RD/AD Policy and with the applicable department’s RD/AD Plan(s).

The City Manager, if it is determined applicable, and each General Manager shall develop their own RD/AD Plan in respect of records in their offices. Each General Manager will ensure a RD/AD Plan is developed in respect of their department. The RD/AD Plans shall be developed using the RD/AD Guideline and in consultation with ATIP Office. More than one RD/AD Plan may be developed for each department.

Senior Management will be responsible for promoting compliance with this Policy and ensuring RD/AD Plans are developed in consultation with the Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) Office. Senior Management shall also ensure that a review of the RD/AD Plan as it relates to their respective area occurs at a minimum of once a year.

Managers are responsible for identifying records suitable for RD/AD in their own respective areas.

Program Managers and Managers shall provide to their General Manager updates or modifications to the RD/AD Plan with respect to their area as new classes of records are created, existing classes are deleted, or as otherwise needed.

The Manager of the ATIP Office, or designate, shall work with all departments to identify types of records suitable for routine and automatic disclosure and be responsible for approving all RD/AD Plans to ensure compliance with MFIPPA. The Manager of the ATIP Office, or designate, shall also be responsible for developing and updating the RD/AD Policy and RD/AD Guideline.


The City Clerk shall be responsible for receiving complaints or concerns related to this Policy.

Legislative and Administrative Authorities

The Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA) governs the collection, use and disclosure of information by certain institutions in Ontario including municipalities, public library boards, and police services boards. The purpose of MFIPPA is to provide a right of access to information in the custody of and under the control of the institutions with the principle that information should be made available to the public and that necessary exemptions from the right of access should be limited and specific. The purpose of MFIPPA is also to protect the privacy of individuals with respect to Personal Information about themselves held by institutions and to provide individuals with a right of access to that information.


Routine Disclosure and Active Dissemination

(RD/AD) are activities designed to provide greater access to government information. Routine Disclosure (RD) is the routine or automatic release of certain records in response to informal rather than formal requests under MFIPPA. Active Dissemination (AD) is the periodic release of certain records in the absence of a request, for example periodic posting of operational records to the City of Ottawa website.

Confidential Information

Means information that is subject to the exemptions to disclosure found in s. 9 (Relations with Governments), s. 10 (Third Party Proprietary Information) and s. 14 (1) (Personal Privacy) of MFIPPA, as well as any other information that the City deems to be confidential, as further set out in the RD/AD Guideline.  MFIPPA means the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, R.S.O. 1990, c.M.56, as amended, and includes any regulations passed under it.

Open Data

Is a philosophy and practice requiring that certain data are made freely available to the public, in machine readable format without restrictions from copyright, patents or other mechanisms of control. Most commonly, Open Data focuses on non-textual material such as geographic data, schedules, statistics, and demographic data.

Personal Information

Means information about an identifiable individual as defined in Section 2(1) of MFIPPA.

Keyword Search

Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP)
Active Dissemination
Automatic Disclosure
Information Security Classification
Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA)
Open Data
Records Management
Routine Disclosure


Access to Information and Privacy Office
Tel: 613-580-2424, ext. 21898

Statutory Officer Recruitment, Appointment and Contract Administration Policy and Procedures

Responsible Computing Policy

Approved By: Chief Corporate Services Officer
Category: Information and Technology
Approval Date: July 13, 2001
Effective Date: August 13, 2001
Revision Approved By: General Manager, Corporate Services
Revision Date: January 30, 2018

Policy statement

The City of Ottawa is committed to protecting our employees, partners and the corporation itself from illegal or damaging actions by individuals through the use of information or information technology (IT) assets, either knowingly or unknowingly.

Information, electronic and computing devices, and network resources, are the property of The City of Ottawa. These systems are to be used for business purposes in serving the interests of the City of Ottawa, and of our clients and customers in the course of standard operations. Incidental personal use is permitted, provided the privilege is not abused.

It is the responsibility of every employee to conduct their activities in a manner consistent with the City of Ottawa Employee Code of Conduct.


The purpose of this Policy is to outline the acceptable use of all computing devices at the City of Ottawa. These rules are in place to protect both the City of Ottawa and its employees. Inappropriate use exposes the City of Ottawa to risks including malicious attacks, compromise of network systems and services, and legal issues. Use of these assets, services and information must be consistent with the City of Ottawa Employee Code of Conduct and Information Security Policy.


This Policy applies to the use of information, electronic and computing devices, cloud services, and network resources to conduct City of Ottawa business or interact with City of Ottawa networks and business systems, whether owned, leased or hosted by the City of Ottawa, the employee, or a third party.

This Policy applies to all City employees, contractors, consultants, and other workers at the City of Ottawa.


All employees shall read this Policy, be familiar with their responsibilities and comply with its provisions.

All managers shall ensure that their employees, contractors, consultants, and other workers at the City of Ottawa, including all personnel affiliated with third parties comply with the provisions of this Policy.

Policy requirements

  1. General use and ownership
    1. City of Ottawa proprietary information stored on electronic and computing devices whether owned or leased by the City of Ottawa, the employee or a third party, remains the sole property of the City of Ottawa.
    2. Employees have a responsibility to promptly report the theft or loss of any City of Ottawa electronic and computing devices to Corporate Security by filling out the Incident Report – Corporate Security form.
    3. An employee who believes a violation of this Policy has occurred shall immediately notify either their Manager, the City Clerk and Solicitor, the City Manager or the Auditor General of the violation, as per the Employee Code of Conduct.
    4. Employees may access, use or share City of Ottawa proprietary information only to the extent it is authorized and necessary to fulfill your assigned job duties.
    5. Incidental personal use is permitted, provided the privilege is not abused. Use of these assets, services and information must be consistent with the City of Ottawa’s Employee Code of Conduct. If there is any uncertainty, employees should consult their Supervisor or Manager.
  2. Email and communication activities
    1.  When using City resources to access and use the Internet, employees must realize they represent the City of Ottawa at all times.
    2. Employees shall be vigilant when using the email system. Unsolicited emails, in particular the attachments should be deleted and not opened.
    3. Sending unsolicited email messages, including the sending of "junk mail", “chain mail”, “joke emails” or advertising material to individuals who did not specifically request such material (email spam) is prohibited.
    4. As per the Employee Code of Conduct, any form of harassment via email, telephone or other communications method, whether through language or frequency is prohibited.
    5. Any unauthorized solicitation of email for any other email address, other than that of the employees account, with the intent to harass or to collect replies is prohibited.
    6.  Employees are responsible to ensure that all bulk electronic messaging is in accordance with the provisions of the Canada Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL)
  3. Security and proprietary information
    1. All computing devices (including mobile devices) that connect to information, electronic and computing devices, and network resources must comply with the applicable Technology Security Standards in the References section.
    2. Accounts and passwords must comply with the Technology Security Standard - Password and Account Management.
    3. Employees are accountable for all activity conducted under any of their City issued accounts (including but not limited to network, email, voice mail, or application, including cloud hosted accounts)
    4. Providing access to another individual, either deliberately or through failure to secure personal access, is prohibited.
    5. Employees must lock their device or log off when the device is unattended.
    6. Removable media which contains confidential information must be protected against unauthorized disclosure, as outlined in the Technology Security Standard - Encryption.
    7. Corporate devices shall be safeguarded from public access using approved physical security controls as authorized by Information Technology Services.
    8. Employees are responsible for safeguarding Official Business Records (OBRs) in their custody and control, in accordance with the Records Management Policy and Records Management Procedures.
    9.  Employees are responsible for safeguarding confidential information in their custody and control, in accordance with the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA). For further information regarding MFIPPA, please contact:
    10.  Credit card data must be protected in accordance with the Credit Card Data Security Policy.
  4. Social media
    1. Social Media activities by employees, whether using the City of Ottawa’s property and systems or personal computer systems, are subject to the terms and restrictions set forth in the Employee Code of Conduct, Communications Policy and Social Media Guidelines.
    2. Employees are prohibited from revealing any City of Ottawa confidential or proprietary information, trade secrets or any other material when engaged in social media activities.
    3. Employees may not attribute personal statements, opinions or beliefs to the City of Ottawa when engaged in Social Media activities. If an employee is expressing his or her beliefs and/or opinions in blogs, the employee may not, explicitly or implicitly, represent themselves as an employee or representative of the City of Ottawa. Employees are to conduct their activities in a manner consistent with the City of Ottawa Employee Code of Conduct when posting on social media.
  5. Unacceptable use
    The following is a list of activities that are generally prohibited. While this list is by no means exhaustive, it provides a framework for activities which fall into the category of unacceptable use.
    1. Non-City network devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, access points, routers, switches and hubs must not be connected to the corporate network without first obtaining the approval of Information Technology Services.
    2. Violating the rights of any person or company protected by copyright, trade secret, patent or other intellectual property, or similar laws or regulations, including, but not limited to, the copying, installation and distribution of copyrighted material for which the City of Ottawa does not have an active license.
    3. Accessing data or City resources for purposes outside an employee’s job function.
    4. Introducing malicious programs into the network (e.g., viruses, worms, Trojan horses, e-mail bombs, etc.).
    5. Revealing your account password to others or allowing use of your account by others. This includes family and other household members when work is being done at home.
    6. Using a City of Ottawa computing asset to actively engage in procuring or transmitting material that is in violation of the City of Ottawa Employee Code of Conduct.
    7. The following activities are prohibited unless approved by Information Technology Services:
      1. Disrupting/intercepting network communications,
      2. Breaching/disabling security controls,
      3. Executing any form of vulnerability security scanning or Pen Testing type activity,
      4. Executing any form of network monitoring which will intercept data not intended for the employee, unless this activity is a part of the employee’s standard job/duty.
      5. Circumventing authentication or security of any host, network or account


The use of City of Ottawa IT services and assets for business or incidental personal use, including but not limited to the Internet, email, wireless, telecommunication and messaging services, is subject to monitoring by the City of Ottawa. Automated audit and logging tools are used for monitoring all network activity.

Failure to comply with this Policy may result in disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal as outlined in the Discipline Policy.

Legislative and administrative authorities

Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA)
Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA)
City of Ottawa By-law No. 2013-375, to establish the position and duties of the Auditor General of the City of Ottawa.
City of Ottawa By-law No. 2015-11, to establish the position and duties of the Auditor General of the City of Ottawa.Canada
Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL)
Credit Card Data Security Policy
Communications Policy
Discipline Policy
Employee Code of Conduct
Information Security Policy
Records Management Policy
Records Management Procedures
Social Media Guidelines


For more information on this Policy, contact:
Technology Security Branch, Information Technology Services
Innovative Client Services Department
613-580-2424 x21998