The City of Ottawa is seeking feedback on six options for realigning the city’s ward boundaries. The options were developed by an independent, third-party consultant team as part of the Ottawa Ward Boundary Review 2020.
Ottawa’s ward boundaries last underwent a major review in 2005. Since then, the city’s population has grown significantly, especially in suburban wards. This has resulted in substantial population imbalances between wards that affect fair and equal representation for voters and their communities.
In June 2019, City Council directed City staff to retain an independent consultant to conduct a comprehensive review that will establish ward boundaries that could be used in at least three municipal elections (2022, 2026 and 2030) and possibly a fourth election in 2034. The Ottawa Ward Boundary Review 2020 is meant to balance population numbers and achieve other components of “effective representation,” as established by the Supreme Court of Canada and Ontario’s Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (formerly the Ontario Municipal Board). The consultant team will collect public feedback on the six options for realigned ward boundaries from August 19 to September 25, 2020. The options include:
• Option 1, which increases the number of wards to 25, with 13 urban wards, nine suburban wards and three rural wards.
• Option 2, which increases the number of wards to 24, with 12 urban wards, nine suburban wards and three rural wards.
• Option 3, which maintains the current number of wards, 23, and includes 11 urban wards, nine suburban wards and three rural wards.
• Option 4, which also maintains the number of wards at 23. It also includes 11 urban wards, nine suburban wards and three rural wards. The boundaries for each ward are different than those in option three.
• Option 5, which reduces the number of wards to 17, with nine urban wards, six suburban wards and two rural wards.
• Option 6, which increases the number of wards to 24, with 12 urban wards, nine suburban wards and three rural wards. It minimizes ward boundary changes.
The options are available online at ottawa.ca/wardboundary, where wards can be viewed at the individual street level and options can be layered over one another to view the boundary changes proposed in each option.
After this round of public consultation, it is expected that the consultant team will bring forward a Final Report with recommendations to be considered by the Finance and Economic Development Committee and City Council in Q4 2020.
Residents can participate online or by phone in virtual public consultation sessions to be held through Zoom. Registration is required through ottawa.ca/wardboundary. The public consultation dates are for Citywide consultations, Sept. 10 from 7-9 pm, and Sept. 12, 19 from 10am-12pm. There is a suburban consultation Sept. 14 from 7-9 pm, and a rural consultation Sept. 22 7-9 pm.
In addition, a guestbook option and survey are available through Engage Ottawa until September 25, 2020. Residents may also send comments to email@example.com or contact 613-580-3620 to request printed copies of the survey.
Please visit ottawa.ca/wardboundary for more information.