Budget 2020 an affordable plan for better mobility, infrastructure and housing

Ottawa – Draft Budget 2020 is a plan for an affordable, economically vibrant city that invests in core public services, closes the infrastructure gap and helps residents achieve a better quality of life. The proposed 2020 Budget adds investments in public transit, road maintenance and affordable housing.

The proposed operating budget is $3.76 billion, representing a $136.8-million increase over 2019. The three-per-cent tax increase amounts to an extra $109 for an average urban home, or about $9 a month.

The draft budget adds $15 million to the City’s affordable housing investment – repeating last-year’s record as the largest in the City’s history. Draft Budget 2020 maintains funding of $31 million for local agencies that offer housing and homelessness supports and services.

With increased support for infrastructure maintenance, the City would close the infrastructure gap – the difference between what the City spends and what it needs to spend annually to maintain infrastructure in good repair – in seven years, rather than 10 years. Without adding new debt, total investments to maintain and renew assets like roads, sidewalks and facilities would increase by $22.5 million, bringing the City to $151 million invested in 2020 – an increase of 18 per cent over 2019.

In 2020, the road resurfacing budget, including rural-road upgrades and road-surface preservation treatments, would be $51 million – up from the yearly average of $35.5 million during the previous Term of Council. For Ottawa’s rural communities, $44.5 million in infrastructure is budgeted for 2020, up from a four-year average of $39.7 million.

In response to severe winter weather challenges over the last two years, a 7.7-per-cent increase in winter operations budget is proposed, adding $5.6 million to that budget and bringing the total to $78.3 million.

The budget includes $7.5 million for bus transit, to enhance connectivity with Confederation Line stations, improve reliability, reduce wait times and expand service into growth areas.

The Budget will add $9.8 million to capital, offsetting the cancelled provincial gas tax increase. The budget includes $43 million to replace old buses and $9.6 million to support the EquiPass transit pass for lower-income residents. The cost of the EquiPass and the Community Pass for Ontario Disability Support Program recipients will be frozen at 2019 rates for one year. Draft Budget 2020 includes $6 million to introduce electric buses to OC Transpo’s fleet.

To protect the health and wellbeing of residents, the budget proposes 30 additional police officers and 14 additional paramedic staff.

The Budget commits community funding of $24.5 million for non-profit social services providers to help them deliver valuable services to residents facing the greatest needs. The budget also commits an additional $500,000 one-time funding to ensure continued support for local agencies as the City transitions to a new funding framework.

The proposed budget includes investments in the environment, including $17.5 million to rehabilitate the City’s wastewater treatment plant, $3 million to improve energy efficiency at City buildings, $3 million to rehabilitate water pumping stations and $2 million for enhanced corrosion control at the two water purification plants. The budget includes $1.5 million to plant about 125,000 trees.

The budget includes an array of projects to upgrade recreation facilities, such as sports courts, parks, theatres, outdoor rinks and museums. On top of that, it also includes $100,000 per ward, to be used at the discretion of the Councillor, to enhance recreation or park facilities. Councillors would also guide spending on $50,000 of traffic-calming projects for each ward.

The draft budget assumes a 1.5-per-cent increase in property assessment growth, worth an estimated $24.9 million.

The proposed spending plan will be considered by all Standing Committees, then by Council on Wednesday, December 11.

Residents can:

  • Register as a public delegation to make a five-minute presentation at a budget review meeting of any committee, board or commission
  • Visit ottawa.ca/citybudget to submit comments or questions online and to learn about meeting dates for committees, boards and commissions
  • Contact your City Councillor to express your view about Draft Budget 2020
  • Tweet @ottawacity using the hashtag #ottbudget
  • Call 3-1-1 / 613-580-2400 (TTY: 613-580-2401)

Quotes

“Budget 2020 delivers an affordable, economically vibrant city with strong transportation links between neighbourhoods and record investments in affordable housing. We’re closing the infrastructure gap and boosting support for people services while maintaining a prudent, responsible financial approach.”
Mayor Jim Watson

“With this budget, we’re putting more resources into frontline services, including transit, paramedics and police. We are delivering more of these core services while staying within Council’s tax-increase direction and its Long Range Financial Plan.”
City Manager Steve Kanellakos

 

Click here to read the Budget 2020 Backgrounder.


Mayor Jim Watson's Draft Budget 2020 speech

SPEAKING NOTES

Mayor Jim Watson

Budget 2020 Tabling

A budget that works for Ottawa/you

An affordable approach for responsible growth, safety and housing

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

********

 

Good morning everyone.

Bonjour tout le monde.

Today we table the draft 2020 Budget for public input.

At the same time, we are also considering the new Term of Council Priorities.

These are two of the most important discussions we as a City have each Term of Council.

C’est la discussion la plus importante que nous avons à chaque année.

Over the last few weeks, I had the pleasure of attending various ward consultations and I have heard from residents regarding their vision for their city and their budget priorities.

Residents are realistic about the City’s fiscal capacity – they know we must set a limit to the number of priorities we can achieve – and they want us to live within our means and keep our city affordable.

In other words, if we have 100 priorities – we really have no priorities.

We live in a City with a booming economy, with unprecedented levels of low unemployment, an abundance of opportunity with strong investment and smart growth.

As a local government, it is incumbent on us to help to strive to include everyone in that prosperity.

Nous devons nous assurer que tous nos résidents profite de cette richesse dans notre communauté.

I am pleased to report that we are bringing forward a budget for 2020 that delivers on key commitments, including:

  • reducing our infrastructure gap by boosting our spending on roads, sidewalks and critical infrastructure;
  • providing more affordable housing;

investing in transit and LRT to serve our growing population;

  • improving the core services people count on– like our world-class drinking water and our expanding transit system;
  • maintaining our cycling and pathway infrastructure to improve active mobility and safety;
  • building a strong and sustainable economy that supports our local job market and celebrates our regional economic diversity;
  • making our communities safer and more resilient; and,
  • keeping our tax rate affordable for all, especially for low income residents.

In 2020, we are putting forward a budget that addresses city-wide priorities with a tax rate of 3 per cent, with an additional 1.5 per cent for growth – for a total operating budget of $3.76 billion, when combined with fares and revenues, this represents a $136.8 million increase over 2019.

Budget 2020 also includes over $813 million for capital projects, which when added to the capital spend on Stage 2 LRT, equals $1.6 billion.

Au cours de la prochaine année, nous aurons plusieurs discussions importantes sur l’avenir de notre ville.

The tabling of the 2020 Budget, and the Term of Council Priorities today, is just the beginning of a much broader discussion we will be having on our Official Plan, Transportation Master Plan, Infrastructure Master Plan and the Development Charge By-Law.

These plans will be strengthened by hearing from residents about their vision and priorities for the future.

The choices we make today – and through these upcoming discussions – will set the path to what we want our city to look like in 10, 20 and even 50 years from now.

As we review the details of the budget document – with revenue tables and pie charts – we must remember what these discussions are about: they are always about our residents.

People like:

  • Small business owner Mike from Euphoria Salon on Richmond Road, who recently renovated his patio to host three new pop-up food entrepreneurs;
  • The over 9,500 people who have given of their time through Volunteer Ottawa
  • The 6,256 new immigrants who have settled in Ottawa every year;
  • The more than 35 per cent of new jobs in Ottawa that are generated by small businesses – which include over 49,000 jobs that have been created in Ottawa alone so far this year;
  • The 33,323 construction workers building our City in over 789 ongoing construction projects currently underway;
  • The 100,950 full-time college and university students who call Ottawa;
  • The families that are putting down roots with a booming number of housing starts in 2019; and
  • The over 5 million riders on our LRT in just seven weeks.

These discussions must also be about the kind of communities we want to live in.

Nous devons penser à quel genre de communauté nous voulons pour nos résidents.

Residents have told us that they want:

  • affordable communities;
  • a sustainable economy and environment that works for everyone;
  • well-maintained roads and transit that connects to employment;
  • infrastructure that is in a state of good repair;
  • services to support those most in need.

These are the priorities that we have heard through our consultation efforts, and these are the priorities that are informing our choices and our budget decisions.

Although our City is firing on all cylinders – it is important to remember that not everyone can access that prosperity equally.

In fact, in many areas of the City the booming economy is contributing to a housing crunch with a vacancy rate of under 1.6 per cent.

Housing affordability affects us all – and as the vacancy rate drops, prices rise.

Seniors, the working poor, newcomers and others on fixed incomes all face struggles with their finances.

Increasing prices and higher taxes also increase the risk of homelessness.

Ottawa is experiencing a high demand for emergency housing and our local shelters are struggling.

As of September 2, 2019, the City had 330 families in motels and 441 families in the family shelter system.

Although the need is great – we are all quite aware that the situation could be much worse, and I was pleased to hear that the proposed cuts by the provincial government to the Transitional Child Benefit were postponed – and hopefully cancelled.

I would like to thank Councillor Sudds for her collaboration on lobbying efforts that have resulted in this change in provincial position. I would also like to thank Ministers Lisa MacLeod and Merrilee Fullerton for their support.

Our Council is committed to helping our most vulnerable residents.

Nous devons en faire plus pour aider nos résidents dans le besoin, et ceux qui sont vulnérables.

That is why I am pleased to say that budget 2020 is the second year in a row that we will invest another $15 million to build new affordable housing in Ottawa.

I am pleased to say with last year’s investment – much has been accomplished with 266 new affordable units approved for development so far this term.

Grâce à nos investissements de l’an dernier, nous avons déjà approuvé la construction de 266 (deux-cent-soixante-six) unités de logement abordable dans ce mandat du Conseil.

We recently went to the market with a Request For Proposal for new affordable housing projects across Ottawa.

I am pleased to announce today that we will be funding more affordable housing projects with:

  • Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corporation’s proposal for a 31-unit apartment building at 159 Forward Avenue;
  • The Anglican Diocese of Ottawa, in partnership with the Christ Church Bells Corners Parish and Cornerstone Housing for Women, for a 35-unit building with a ground floor community services hub containing a food bank and community resource centre;
  • And another 160 units with Ottawa Community Housing for mixed demographic communities suitable for families and seniors.

Additionally, just last month we approved an agreement with Trinity Developments whereby they would contribute $7.5 million to the City’s affordable housing reserves to build new affordable housing.

The 2020 investment into the affordable housing reserve will keep this momentum going towards the development of additional affordable housing units in Ottawa.

Based on past practice, we can anticipate that this year’s City contribution to housing of $15 million will again leverage at least the equivalent amount of new federal and provincial dollars.

These efforts will lead to a significant increase in the number of affordable units built in Ottawa in 2020 and beyond.

Obviously, the City of Ottawa cannot go it alone in the fight against homelessness.

Over the course of the coming months, we will be pushing the Province of Ontario, the Government of Canada and our local housing partners to agree on even more ambitious targets and goals.

Nous devons travailler avec les autres niveaux de gouvernements et nos partenaires pour faire du progrès en matière de logement.

For example, the City is actively working with CMHC to support much needed renovations and repairs to the YM/YWCA at 80 Argyle Street.

The YMCA’s renovations will include the costs related to the conversion of three additional floors for family transitional housing.

Our $15 million-dollar investment in 2019, and again in 2020, are the largest direct municipal contributions to housing capital in the City’s history.

Ces investissements historiques dans le logement abordable sont les plus importants dans l’histoire de la ville.

We will also be funding over $31 million going to housing and homelessness agencies in 2020 for case management, housing loss prevention and operating funding for supportive housing.

I look forward to working closely with our Council Liaison on Housing and Homelessness, Catherine McKenney, Mathieu Fleury, Chair of OCH, Jenna Sudds, Chair of CPSC, Jan Harder, Chair of Planning, and all members of Council on providing more housing for the most vulnerable members of our community.

Important progress has also been made in the child care and early years sectors in recent years, including new provincial and federal investments of $50 million that have:

  • significantly reduced the waitlist;
  • provided fee subsidies for approximately 2,000 more children;
  • provided additional funding to child care service providers for increased access and affordability for families across the city; and
  • will create over 400 new spaces in Ottawa.

This is in addition to previous investments and growth in the sector that has seen close to 9,000 new spaces created between 2013 and 2018 – or growth of 42 per cent.

Council also recently approved the new Child Care and Early Year Service System Plan for 2019-2023.

With a cost of living increase in the Draft 2020 Budget, the Community Funding Program will benefit from a total investment of $24.5 million for community non-profit social service providers who deliver valuable services to residents facing the greatest needs across the city – an increase of $475,000.

Last month, you may have heard the discussion at CPSC that the City is completing a review of the Community Funding Program, in consultation with our community partners.

The goal of this review is to ensure agencies are better positioned to respond to the growing and emerging needs of residents.

Until such time as the review is fully implemented, I am pleased to say that the 2020 Budget includes $100,000 for project funding. In 2019, this funding went to eight agencies to address critical community needs.

In 2020, there is also an additional $500,000 in one-time funding to help transition agencies into the new community funding framework.

Cette revue du financement communautaire mènera à des recommandations plus tard en 2020, et j’ai hâte d’en voir les résultats.

At the start of this Term of Council, we appointed our City’s first Women and Gender Equity Liaison with Councillor Kavanagh as its champion.

Thank you, Councillor Kavanagh, for your leadership and your ongoing work in this new role.

In December 2018, Ottawa City Council endorsed the creation of a Women and Gender Equity Strategy.

This past September, close to 200 participants attended a Women and Gender Equity Public Forum to provide input into the Strategy.

I found it very encouraging to see this level of interest and engagement on women and gender equity.

Public consultations have now wrapped up and a draft Strategy will be presented to Council in 2020.

The Draft 2020 budget includes an investment for a staff position to advance and steward the Gender Equity Strategy.

En tant que gouvernement municipal, nous essayons constamment d’être plus ouvert et inclusif à tous nos résidents.

This Council is committed to ensuring all our residents feel welcome and safe.

The recent work of Councillor Rawlson King illustrates the need to address systemic racism in our community.

To further advance the work underway on equity and inclusion – and to align ourselves with our federal and provincial partners on fighting racism – I would like to announce the creation of an Anti-Racism Secretariat for the City of Ottawa.

I want to thank Councillor King for his proposal leading to today’s announcement.

He worked tirelessly on this idea – in consultation with councillors and my office – and his hard work will see this initiative move forward next year.

This secretariat will target systemic racism by building an anti-racism approach into the way our City government develops policies, makes decisions, evaluates programs and monitors outcomes.

It will also seek to build on existing community partnerships to ensure we are all working together.

Like our Women and Gender Equity Strategy, it will include funding for one new FTE and a one-time operating budget of $100,000.

This year was the 75th anniversary of D-Day, and next year marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands by Canadian troops.

These anniversaries are an opportunity to remember the sacrifices so many have made and are making for our country.

This week is also Veterans Week (November 5-11).

Later this week, we will be hosting a ceremony to officially re-name the Ottawa Airport Parkway Bridge as the Juno Beach Bridge. Thanks to Councillors Brockington and Gower for their work on this important renaming.

One of our Members of Council is a veteran and a former staff member with the Minister of National Defence.

To show our continued appreciation and raise awareness about the challenges faced by our veterans, I am proud to announce that Councillor Matthew Luloff has agreed to take on the role of Council Liaison for Veteran and Military Affairs.

Councillor Luloff is also an advocate for better mental health services, with a strong understanding of both the supports available and challenges faced by our veterans.

Le conseiller Luloff en fait déjà beaucoup pour représenter les intérêts des ancien combattants à l’hôtel de ville.

Thank you for your service and ongoing commitment, Councillor Luloff, and for your willingness to take on this challenge, which will be funded from within existing budgets.

We recently had some good news about affordable veteran's housing – as a community-led project by Multi-faith Housing Initiative was approved by CMHC and will ultimately see 40 new affordable and supportive housing units for veterans built in Wateridge Village, the former Canadian Forces Base Rockcliffe.

Je veux aussi remercier le gouvernement fédéral de son appui à notre politique de bilinguisme et sa contribution récente à nos Services en français, un investissement de 224 000 dollars sur trois ans.

Le gouvernement provincial a aussi accepté récemment de financer notre demande de 20 000 dollars, qui viendra appuyer les activités d’engagement communautaire de Vision Vanier – Culture en action

Je veux aussi remercier le conseiller Jean Cloutier pour sa représentation de la Ville d’Ottawa et son travail auprès de l’Association des municipalités francophones de l’Ontario.

Je suis aussi heureux que le nombre de plaintes sur les Services en français soit passé de 119 en 2014 à 34 en 2018, soit une réduction de 71 pourcent.

Après plusieurs années de travail, la Maison de la Francophonie ouvrira finalement ses portes en début de 2020, grâce un partenariat entre le Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario et la Ville d’Ottawa.

J'ai bien hâte à son ouverture pour qu’on puisse commencer à offrir des services importants à la communauté francophone grandissante dans l’ouest de la ville.

Nous faisons d’autres investissements importants pour garder notre communauté en sécurité.

The availability of paramedics in the community is a core service expectation for Ottawa residents.

The City needs more paramedics to keep pace with our fast-growing city and to keep our response times in line with current standards.

That is why last year, I laid out a commitment to hire 56 additional paramedics during this term of Council.

Budget 2020 provided funding to hire 14 front-line paramedics, the 2nd installment on our four-year goal.

This investment will bolster our efforts to reduce wait times in our fast-growing suburbs and rural communities.

However, we know that more needs to be done to reduce the number of “level zeros” we are experiencing in Ottawa – which is a concern for me and residents alike.

I can assure you that senior staff, Chair Sudds and I are working with area hospitals to find solutions.

We hope that hospitals hire more nurses, secure more permanent beds and release paramedics back into the community to do their job.

Last Wednesday, I spoke with Premier Ford to explain this is an urgent matter and we need the Province to help break this constant logjam. He fully understands the dilemma many paramedics across Ontario are facing, and pledged to help us to find a permanent solution to this ongoing struggle.

The draft 2020 Budget will also maintain support for the addition of 85 new police officers over the course of this term. Again, this year we will see 30 new officers join the service.

Also, Budget 2020 supports Crime Prevention Ottawa to advance ongoing crime prevention initiatives, including with at-risk youth.

Crime Prevention Ottawa will receive over $1 million in funding to support crime prevention initiatives, which is an increase of $35,000 from 2019.

I would like to thank Councillor Deans for her leadership as chair of Crime Prevention Ottawa and the Ottawa Police Services Board.

I would also like to take this opportunity to formally welcome Chief Peter Sloly to Ottawa. I look forward to working with him on the Police Board. I told Councillor Deans last week that she and the Police Board did an excellent job in choosing the new Chief.

Earlier today, the Ottawa Police Service tabled their draft budget that comes in at 3% on the tax side, plus 1.5% in new growth dollars.

Council is also aware that traditionally, the City has had to cover OPS annual deficits, which for the last three years was a total one-time contribution of $12.3 million...

And you may remember that last, year we provided an additional $2.4 million from our tax stabilization fund towards their budget.

However, I am pleased to say that this year, OPS did not run a deficit – for that I would like to thank acting Chief Steve Bell for his stewardship and willingness to look for new ways of finding efficiencies and operational savings.

Un gros merci au Chef Steve Bell pour son service et leadership au cours des derniers mois, et sa volonté de trouver des façons d’équilibrer le budget de la Police.

In fact, I was pleased to hear that OPS is forecasted to end the year with a $2.4 million surplus, which will help offset the 2020 contribution from the City’s tax stabilization fund.

We all know that building safer and more resilient communities requires a balanced approach to spending.

Last year, I brought forward a motion to expedite the introduction of 20 new red-light cameras.

I am happy to say that these red-light cameras generated an additional $1.3 million for the Police Service to help offset their ongoing operational pressures.

This revenue to OPS is up from $450,000 in 2019.

In 2019, six red-light cameras were installed – and I am pleased to say that by the end of 2020, another 14 locations will be equipped with red-light cameras.

There has been a reduction of over 50% in right-angle collisions at intersections where red light cameras have been installed.

Nous avons fait beaucoup de progrès avec ces caméras aux feux rouges pour réduire le nombre d’accidents et financer les activitiés de la Police, de même que des mesures de sécurité de la route.

Revenues generated by these 20 red-light cameras will be directed to the Ottawa Police Service, and any additional cameras will be directed to fund the Strategic Road Safety Action Plan.

This Plan will implement traffic calming around schools, advance the pedestrian and cycling safety programs, install gateway speed signage in many neighbourhoods and make improvements to warranted pedestrian signals.

Last year, we also worked with the Ottawa Police Services Board to find more efficiencies in their budget.

To date, and in part through the provincial Audit and Accountability Fund, OPS has been able to identify $2.2 million in back-office efficiencies. It is my expectation that this review will result in even further savings in 2020.

We need to continue to work together with OPS on budget solutions, so that we are better placed to protect our ongoing investment in the hiring of front-line officers.

The City has been focusing on the revitalization of priority neighbourhoods with a ‘made-in-Ottawa’ strategy. Using new and existing program and service initiatives, updating infrastructure and promoting redevelopment, the Building Better Revitalized Neighbourhoods (BBRN) program improves the health, vibrancy and livability of priority neighbourhoods.

We will invest $180,000 in BBRN in 2020 to complete a variety of initiatives that were identified by the community as priorities.

I would like to thank Councillors Harder, Tierney, Deans and Fleury for their participation on the Building Better Revitalized Neighbourhoods Sponsors Group. Councillor King has also offered his support for BBRN.

Just last week, the City introduced a new approach to support residents in areas of emerging need through the Integrated Neighbourhood Services Teams. These teams will address the health and well-being of our neighbourhoods facing the most complex needs through a coordinated service delivery approach.

Initial areas of focus for the Integrated Neighbourhood Services Teams will include Vanier Overbrook, Caldwell-Carlington and Heron Gate-South End.

With the help of $2.7 million in funding from the Provincial Government, Ottawa Public Health will be introducing new dental care services for low income seniors at the four city-supported dental clinics and with dental service partners across our city.

Undoubtedly, 2020 will be a year of transition at Ottawa Public Health, with the recent announcements regarding governance of public health in Ontario and a change to the provincial funding formula.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Chair Keith Egli and Ottawa’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches and her team, for their proactive engagement on these consultations with the provincial government.

I believe that their leadership will help steward Ottawa Public Health through these changes, so they can continue to work towards positive health outcomes for Ottawa residents.

The City has a proactive environmental strategy that targets an 80% reduction in GHG emissions by 2050.

It is working toward this target through its Air Quality and Climate Change Management Plan, Official Plan policies, its energy transition strategy (Energy Evolution) and a variety of specific energy conservation and environmental initiatives.

The City is also taking a proactive approach to protecting and preserving its natural assets for future generations through initiatives such as the Ottawa River Action Plan and the Urban Forest Management Plan.

Nous devons investir dans notre environnement, et c’est ce que nous ferons dans le Budget de 2020.

Budget 2020 will invest $1.5 million in Tree Planting Programs to increase forest cover, enhance City streets, parks and facilities, and mitigate climate change. Our goal is to plant 500,000 trees in this Term of Council.

Many of the initiatives underway – for example, converting our streetlights to LED lighting, greening our vehicle fleet and our buildings – are also reaping economic benefits in terms of cost savings for our City operations.

We are also working on increasing the City’s capacity for climate resilience through important initiatives such as updating floodplain mapping and community flood risk profiles – to better position vulnerable areas for future environmental stresses.

Budget 2020 includes $3 million for the Energy Management and Investment Strategy to reduce the City’s environmental footprint, ensure compliance under the Green Energy Act and advance our energy conservation and demand management goals.

Budget 2020 also includes $200,000 for the Wild Parsnip Management Program. This funding supports approximately 1,500 kilometres of roadside spraying and spot spraying at over 100 parkland locations.

I would like to thank Chair Moffatt and Chair El-Chantiry for their commitment to this program and for their leadership on supporting an environmentally sustainable Ottawa.

2019 has been a year of change on City roads and across our transit system with the introduction of light rail.

It is not a surprise that again this year, the dominant issue that we heard from residents is that our residents want us to invest more in our city’s roads, our infrastructure and the transit system.

La condition de nos routes, de notre infrastructure et du transport en commun sont des priorités dans toutes les communautés.

Transit and transportation capital investments will be especially challenging this year due to the decision of the provincial government not to double the gas tax for municipalities.

As you may recall, last year, Council approved adding $9.8 million to the contribution to capital over a five-year period to eliminate this infrastructure gap.

A second challenge is that the doubling of the gas tax was built into the Transit Long-Term Financial Plan.

Over the 30-year period, $980 million in funds was to be provided through the gas tax increase to pay for transit capital works.

Both problems need to be solved through the 2020 Budget in order to meet the goals set by Council.

Thankfully in 2019, the federal government announced a one-time doubling of the federal gas tax, totaling $58 million for the City of Ottawa. I want to thank local government Members of Parliament and the Prime Minister for this much needed investment.

I would also like to thank our FCM representative, Councillor Tierney, for advocating so effectively for this announcement.

This 2019 federal funding allowed us to develop the plan that is before you today – one that will address these two issues for Council’s consideration in the 2020 budget.

For 2020, we are proposing that the transit levy increase and that we add a $9.8-million increase to transit’s capital contribution, which is within the overall tax cap of 3 percent.

It is important to remember that this increase in the transit levy represents roughly $42 for the average homeowner and is included within the overall tax cap of 3 per cent.

Ces mesures sont toutes à l’intérieur de l’augmentation maximale de 3 pourcent.

The city-wide tax levy will increase by 2% and the $58 million in one-time federal gas tax funds will be used as a substitute for the $9.8 million that would have been added to the contribution to capital to eliminate the infrastructure gap.

This innovative approach solves the two challenges resulting from the cancellation of the gas tax increase by the Province. It also ensures that we meet Council’s desire to see more investment in roads and infrastructure renewal works.

Our total investments to maintain and renew tax-supported assets such as roads, sidewalks and facilities will increase by $22.5 million this year – bringing us to $151 million invested in 2020.

That’s an increase of 18% over 2019.

Because of these investments, the existing infrastructure funding gap will be fully addressed within seven years – instead of the projected 10 years – while adding no new debt.

À ce rythme d’investissement, nous pourrons éliminer le déficit d’infrastructure de la Ville en sept ans.

Members of Council need to stay the course on this priority and get the job done to eliminate the infrastructure deficit facing our city.

We have heard at the budget consultations that we need to do a much better job of improving our roads, sidewalks, pathways and facilities

In 2020, the road resurfacing budget – including rural road upgrades and preservation treatments –  will be $51 million, up from the yearly average of $35.5 million over the last Term of Council.

This investment in road resurfacing includes:

  • $2.2 million for Heatherington Road, from Albion to Walkley, in Councillor Deans’ Ward, including sidewalk renewal;
  • $2.3 million for St. Laurent Boulevard, from Montreal Road to Donald Street, in Councillor King’s Ward, including sidewalk renewal;
  • $12.7 million for bridges (Booth, Mackenzie King and Pooley) in Councillor McKenney’s Ward;
  • $6.5 million for integrated work on Scott Street west of Smirle Avenue, in Councillor Leiper’s Ward;
  • $4 million for Riverside Drive, from Hunt Club to Walkley, in Councillor Brockington’s Ward;
  • $2.5 million for March Road, from Carling Avenue to Shirley’s Brook, in Councillor Sudds’ Ward;
  • Over $2 million for Bronson Avenue, from Brookfield to South of Brewer Way, and for the Southbound lanes and intersection at Sunnyside, in Councillor Menard’s Ward;
  • $1.6 million for Riverside Drive, from Hincks Lane to Tremblay Road, and $1.4 million for Chapman Boulevard in Councillor Cloutier’s Ward, including sidewalk renewal;
  • $2 million for Merivale Road and $4 million to resurface the parking lot at the Nepean Sportsplex in Councillor Egli’s Ward; and
  • $3.5 million to resurface Huntley Road, from Perth Street to Flewellyn Road, in Councillor Moffatt’s Ward.

Nous allons voir des investissements en infrastructure dans tous les coins de la ville.

Some priority resurfacing projects require a coordination of timelines with planned and needed sewer and culvert projects.

As you can imagine, staff must juggle the coordination of infrastructure investments, the need to consider local traffic and mobility, and the restriction of funding constraints.

In addition, Council has approved our priorities through our Comprehensive Asset Management Program and the Transportation Master Plan which guide their infrastructure needs forecast.

Our rural infrastructure investments will reach $44.5 million in 2020, up from the four-year average of $39.7 million.

For example, our rural investments include:

  • $1.8 million to design and construct 11 culverts in Councillor Moffatt’s Ward;
  • $2 million for Piperville Road and Bearbrook Bridge in Councillor Blais’ Ward;
  • $3.6 million to design and build 25 culverts, and $3.1 million for gravel road upgrades, including Spruce Ridge Road in Councillor El-Chantiry’s Ward; and
  • $1.2 million for Dalmeny Road, $2.4 million for Snake Island Road, and $1.3 million for River Road in Councillor Darouze’s Ward.

Budget 2020 also invests $66.2 million for Road Growth projects, including:

  • $41 million for Strandherd Drive, from Maravista to Jockvale, in Councillor Harder’s Ward; and
  • $4.2 million for Kanata South Link, between Hope Side to Highway 416, something I know Councillor Hubley has worked to secure for many years.

Budget 2020 will allow the City to resurface, renew or rehabilitate approximately 100 kilometres of roads across the city.

Nous savons qu’Ottawa a l’un des plus grands réseaux de transport au Canada.

City teams regularly clear 6,000 kilometres of roads and 2,300 kilometres of sidewalks throughout the city.

Maintaining our network is expensive – and last year’s harsh winter left our winter maintenance budget in deficit.

The 2020 estimated base budget for Winter Operations is increasing by $5.6 million for a total of $78.3 million, which is a 7.7% increase over 2019.

Of the $5.6 million increase, approximately $2.9 million will be allocated to sidewalk maintenance.

I am pleased to say that the Winter Operations budget now reflects the latest 3-year average actuals (2016-2018).

The 2020 Draft Budget also includes $250,000 in funding to undertake a review of the winter operations Maintenance Quality Standards, which will focus on sidewalks and Class 5 residential roads.

Following last year’s challenging winter, staff have been reviewing their service delivery model to ensure better sidewalk maintenance this coming winter.

They will be increasing coverage on the network with a goal of having 24/7 coverage available on all sidewalk beats.

We are getting away from a “one size fits all” approach, and salt, sand and grit will be available across all areas.

Staff have also created area-specific heat maps focusing on problem areas across the city, like catch basins that have been problematic in the past.

Finally, we are deploying more and better sidewalk clearing equipment, like the very effective ice-breakers we started piloting last winter.

We believe all these measures will lead to better clearing and safer sidewalks for residents this coming winter.

Avec toutes ces mesures, nous croyons que nos résidents profiterons de meilleurs conditions sur les trottoirs au cours de l’hiver prochain.

The number of freeze-thaw cycles in 2019 also led to far too many potholes.

For example, between January 1 and October 15, City staff have filled 262,000 potholes across the city – which is 18% higher than the three-year average.

The 2020 budget for pothole repair includes a $600,000 increase to the asphalt repair program, bringing the annual program to $9.8 million, which is a 7% increase over 2019.

Budget 2020 also includes $1.65 million to fund the Traffic and Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Program, with each Councillor receiving $50,000 for road safety initiatives in their community – an increase of 25% over 2018.

There is also $500,000 set aside for Pedestrian Crossovers, in order to improve the safety of pedestrians at key crossings across the city.

As a result of the 2016-2018 Pedestrian Crossover Pilot Program, there is a list of approximately 100 locations city-wide that have been confirmed to meet the pedestrian/traffic volume warrants for PXO implementation.

Further review of these locations is underway to select the type of PXO required.

Once the reviews are concluded, staff will be working with respective Ward Councillors to prioritize the installation of the warranted PXOs within their wards.

The 2020 list of PXO installations will be available in the coming weeks, once all meetings have concluded with Councillors.

I know that Councillors Gower and Darouze want to see PXOs in their respective wards at Stittsville Main Street and at St. Mark’s High School and Greely Elementary.

There is also $4.2 million for intersection control measures, and just over $3 million for network modifications for Albion Road and Leitrim Road.

Budget 2020 includes:

  • $2.4 million for New Traffic Control Devices Program;
  • $1 million for the Safety Improvements Program, which monitors traffic collisions annually and undertakes necessary roadway modifications.

In 2020 this program will see improvements at Laurier Avenue West – between Elgin and the Queen Elizabeth ramp – and road safety improvements at McCarthy Road Curve;

  • $600,000 towards Accessible Pedestrian Signals; and
  • $420,000 for Safer Roads Ottawa.

Again, this year, Budget 2020 also includes funding for active transportation – with an investment in both the Ottawa Pedestrian and Cycling Plan of $9.1 million.

Ce financement nous permettra de prévenir ou d’éliminer les décès et les accidents de la routes à travers Ottawa.

We remain committed to develop a safe and sustainable transportation environment that focuses on pedestrian and cycling safety, with funding geared towards highest ranked locations – as I think we can all agree that any cycling or pedestrian death is one too many.

Ottawa has:

  • 980 km of cycling facilities;
  • over 356 km of City-owned multi-use pathways (MUPs);
  • 117 km of cycling facilities that were added in during the 2014-2018 Term of Council; and
  • More than $80 million of investments over the 2014-2018 Term of Council to expand cycling and pedestrian infrastructure in all parts of the city.

The multi-use-pathway network includes 30 major grade-separated structures that provide connections for pedestrians and cyclists across major roadways, rail corridors and rivers.

Examples of active transportation projects to be funded in 2020 include:

  • $4.71 million for the Ottawa Cycling Facilities Program, to plan design and construct cycling facilities identified in the Cycling Plan;
  • $2.75 million for the Pedestrian Facilities Program;
  • $1.95 million for the cycling and pedestrian bridge over the Rideau River at Carleton University;
  • $22,000 for pedestrian intersection improvements;
  • $1.35 million to improve active transportation links to Stage 2 LRT;
  • $34,000 to introduce new Transportation Demand Management measures, such as cycling education, cycling safety, school travel planning, bike-to-work campaign, carpooling promotion and for the development of regional cycling maps; and
  • $6.24 million will be used to repurpose the bus lanes, widen sidewalks and improve cycling facilities on Albert and Slater Streets between Empress and Waller.

Budget 2020 also includes $4.2 million for intersection control measures in growth areas. There is also $3 million for modifications to existing intersections.

Staff will be working to make intersections safer with $2.4 million towards the New Traffic Control Devices Program in established areas.

For example, through this program, we will be installing a pedestrian signal on Laurier near Percy.

Roundabouts are also considered as an alternative means of providing traffic control.

In 2020, funding is going towards the construction of a roundabout at:

  • Huntmar Drive at Richardson Side Road in Councillor El-Chantiry’s Ward; and
  • Barnsdale Road at Prince of Wales Drive in Councillor Moffatt’s Ward;

In addition, Budget 2020 includes $4 million towards initiatives identified in the 2020-2024 Strategic Road Safety Action Plan.

The Strategic Road Safety Action Plan identifies areas for road safety, along with countermeasures that can be implemented to address associated collision types.

These initiatives align with Vision Zero (or Safe System) principles of road safety. The emphasis will be on areas with vulnerable road users – pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists – at intersections and on rural roads.

I want to thank Chair Blais for his hard work on this long list of road safety initiatives.

Staff are currently undertaking a study to better understand the condition of roads impacted by spring flooding and the recent tornado. This is particularly important for Councillors El-Chantiry, Kavanagh, Blais and Egli, who’s wards were hardest hit by the tornado and the flooding.

This study is expected in the coming weeks and will inform the rehabilitation of roads in Wards 5, 9, 10, 7 and 19.

The City will also be seeking provincial disaster mitigation funding to increase our investment in these impacted areas.

In 2020, the City will be investing $4 million to improve the City’s capacity to manage stormwater and reduce the risk of flooding through the Wet Weather Infrastructure Master Plan. Further flood-mitigation efforts include $15 million to repair and replace culverts, including $9 million in the rural areas.

Council recently approved an additional $500,000 investment in the Britannia Village berm in Councillor Kavanagh’s Ward. The berm was effective in protecting Britannia during the 2017 and 2019 floods, but the flood in 2019 was prolonged and there is evidence of leakage due to floodwater. The money will be used to make much needed repairs.

We also heard from residents across the city about the need to improve transit – connectivity to our LRT system and to improve bus dependability across the city.

I would like to remind residents about the largest single investment in transit in 2020 – our Stage 2 LRT system: a $4.7 billion investment.

Stage 2 of Ottawa’s light rail transit system will extend service:

  • East by 12 kilometres and five stations, from Blair Station to Trim Station;
  • West by 15 kilometres and 11 stations, from Tunney’s Pasture Station to Algonquin and Moodie stations;
  • South on Trillium Line by 12 kilometres and eight stations, from Greenboro Station to Limebank Station in Councillor Meehan’s Ward, and this ncludes a link to the Ottawa International Airport.

In 2020, the City is forecasted to spend $817 million on the Stage 2 project.

Along with this investment in LRT, the City will be spending $725,000 to review and update our Transportation Master Plan.

Nous commencerons cette année l’exercise important de revoir le Plan directeur des transports de la Ville.

I want to take a moment to recognize and acknowledge that there have been times over the last few weeks where both our bus and LRT service has been challenged.

As a City, we need to do better.

We will have a more fulsome discussion on LRT at Transit Commission this afternoon, as Chair Hubley and Mr. Manconi will update the Commission on their progress to finding solutions to these frustrating issues.

In anticipation of these challenges, in 2019 we included $5.1 million annually to deliver bus service improvements to many communities across the city.

This funding saw incremental investments in routes in almost every ward. But this investment has proven not to be enough.

That is why again in 2020, we will be investing an additional $7.5 million to expand the bus network to improve service reliability, increase capacity, reduce waiting times and provide new connections to growth areas.

This funding will increase the number of standby buses at key locations and will allow for additional time on routes to accommodate for traffic.

It will also increase capacity on high-ridership routes, provide improved connections in new growth areas, allow for additional early and late trips and improve service to employment hubs and park-and-rides.

We have heard loud and clear that riders on routes 20, 39, 257 and 75 – among many others that will be discussed later today at Transit Commission – want better dependability in their bus service.

My staff has been working with the Good Companions Centre to increase service and access to the centre, which plays such an important role in fighting social isolation for hundreds of seniors in our community. A solution has been found and will be announced in the near future.

Staff are currently reviewing service needs in the following areas:

  • Capacity on Orleans routes connecting to and from Blair Station, to better serve Councillor Tierney, Blais, Dudas and Luloff’s Wards;
  • Barrhaven routes connecting to and from Tunney’s Pasture Station for residents of Councillors Harder and Egli’s Wards;
  • Service to National Defence Headquarters in Councillor Kavanagh’s Ward;
  • Possible earlier and later trips on local routes, as customers adjust travel times;
  • Weekend service to the Museum of Canadian History;
  • Overnight service and connections to Rideau Station; and
  • All connections to fast growing areas in Barrhaven South, Ottawa South, Stittsville, Kanata, Orleans and Richmond.

Merci à tous les conseillers qui ont fait pression pour obtenir ce nouvel investissement.

Budget 2020 includes $43 million to replace 63 buses that have reached the end of their 15-year life cycle, and $6 million for the introduction of electric buses, as part of a pilot program that will start next year with the support of the federal government – thanks to Minister Catherine McKenna.

With the launch of LRT in our city, we also put in place measures to ensure that these historic transit investments benefit all residents – including those who need it the most – either to go to work or to get to medical appointments.

That is why we introduced the EquiPass and EquiFare in 2017 – to offer our low-income residents access to transit services at a deep 50 per cent discount.

In the month of October 2019, more than 4,000 EquiPass monthly passes were sold, and 12,800 residents had registered as eligible EquiPass users.

The EquiPass costs $58.25 monthly for residents below the poverty line, and saves eligible users approximately $700 annually.

I am happy to announce that the cost of the 2020 EquiPass and Community Pass will both be frozen at 2019 rates.

This one-year freeze for our most vulnerable riders will be achieved with a one-time contribution of $95,000 for the EquiPass and $75,000 for the Community Pass – to bring the total subsidy to $9.6 million in 2020.

Je suis fier que nous puissions aider nos résidents dans le besoin à profiter du transport en commun.

We have also heard from the community that more needs to be done to improve service for Para Transpo uses.

Budget 2020 includes an increase of $2 million in annual funding for Para Transpo, to provide more capacity to meet increasing ridership levels – and this brings the total Para Transpo operating budget to just over $33 million annually.

In 2020, Para Transpo will also introduce a full suite of online services to improve the booking experience and reduce wait times for customers.

Budget 2020 also recommends investing $14.5 million in transit growth projects, including:

  • $9.3 million for transit-priority measures along Baseline – west of Woodroffe to Bayshore Station;
  • $1.7 million to acquire property for new park-and-ride facilities, including Fernbank in Kanata;
  • $1.7 million to purchase railway corridors for Transit Corridor Protection; and
  • Over $1 million for rapid transit planning through environmental assessments.

My thanks to Chair Hubley and Vice-Chair Cloutier for their strong advocacy to ensure that we drastically improve the reliability of the service.

The City is also investing in several parks and community facilities, including but not limited to:

  • $4 million for Blackburn Arena Expansion and $350,000 for a new splash pad at Blackburn Park in Innes – a project Councillor Dudas has been pursuing for the past several years;
  • $1.4 million for Corkery Community Building Expansion in West Carleton – a important priority for Councillor El-Chantiry;
  • Over $1 million for park improvements, including a playground and pathway in Fairmile View Park, a park replacement at Richmond Lions Park and Healey’s Heath Park, and new parks in Meynell and Washka Park in Rideau-Goulbourn – long overdue investments in Councillor Moffatt’s Ward;
  • $300,000 for Stinson Park and the study for Field Hockey Park in Barrhaven;
  • $205,000 for Kenmore Bicentennial Park playground structure in Councillor Darouze’s Ward;
  • $300,000 for Village Square Park in Stittsville – an important project in Councillor Gower’s Ward and the site of many community activities; and
  • $700,000 for park improvements in Kanata North.

New in 2020, through strategic initiatives, is a $2.4 million ward-specific Recreation Infrastructure Investment Fund.

This fund will provide each Member of Council with $100,000 to allocate towards local capital priorities.

Projects could include park improvements like courts, gazebos, rink bunkers and boards. This fund could also go towards building improvements like climbing walls, and floor upgrades in gyms and fitness areas.

Ce fonds permettra à chaque membre du Conseil de répondre rapidement aux besoins de la communauté pour des améliorations mineures dans des parcs ou des installations municipales.

In 2020, funding from upper levels of government will be announced for projects approved through the new Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program – Community, Culture and Recreation Fund.

As you are all aware, this infrastructure program is to be funded jointly by the federal, provincial and municipal governments.

The municipal share of each project approved will be 26.67%.

Ottawa is anticipating an allocation of approximately $65 million through this program.

It is my understanding that we have submitted several exciting projects for consideration including, but not limited to:

  • East Urban Community Centre;
  • Le centre récréatif Francois Dupuis;
  • Barrhaven Community and Cultural Centre in Councillor Meehan and Harder’s Ward; and
  • Five parking lots at recreation facilities like Fitzroy community Centre.

There are several areas of Ottawa where the community and the not-for-profit sector has demonstrated a renewed interest in the development and maintenance of winter trails, in order to facilitate a variety of non-motorized winter sports.

I am pleased to say that the City and the NCC have been working together in a coordinated fashion to support winter trails and that staff have come to an agreement on a cost-sharing basis to support a number of trail initiatives.

Staff is working with the Winter Trail Alliance to finalize these agreements to support Ski Heritage East in Councillor Luloff’s Ward and SJAM, in partnership with Dovercourt, in Councillor Leiper and Kavanagh’s Wards.

As you know, Ottawa 20/20 Arts and Heritage Plan, adopted by City Council in 2003, articulated a 20-year vision and strategic direction for the advancement of culture in Ottawa.

City of Ottawa departments have planned and delivered on the 57 actions recommended in the plan and other key cultural projects since 2013.

Cities worldwide are embracing culture as critical to a city’s identify, livability, social cohesion and economic prosperity.

Les arts et la culture sont essentielles à notre identité et à notre prospérité.

In 2018, the City processed 471 submissions resulting in a total of 321 unique allocations to 175 local not-for-profit cultural organizations and 103 individuals to deliver arts, heritage, festival and cultural programs.

Budget 2020 includes an additional $255,000 for a total budget of just over $10.7 million for the cultural community.

The next two years will focus on completion of actions underway and the review of outstanding actions.

In 2020, we will begin planning and consulting to produce Ottawa’s next 10-year cultural blueprint.

Ottawa has also made several important capital investments in the arts and culture community   including $19.4 million for the Ottawa Art Gallery and Arts Court redevelopment, and more than $2 million for La Nouvelle Scène.

Later this month, we are hosting the final series of public engagement sessions for the future Central Library, a partnership with Library and Archives Canada. This concludes the most ambitious public consultation the City has undertaken for a public facility.

Councillor Tim Tierney has been working tirelessly on this project, and he has assured me without hesitation that the entire city will be very impressed. We will unveil the design with our federal partners in the first quarter of 2020.

I know that our residents will be very excited with the proposed design of this important civic facility.

To date, close to 6,000 citizens have contributed in-person and online and they have inspired the location and design of this iconic facility in the heart of our nation’s capital.

I want to thank Minister Catherine McKenna for her steadfast support of this project – a partnership with Library and Archives Canada.

Budget 2020 also includes funding to celebrate Kanata’s 50th Anniversary with the residents in Councillors Hubley and Sudds’ wards. $50,000 in funding will be available to celebrate this unique golden anniversary.

Yesterday at FEDCO, we approved $300,000 in funding for the Heritage Grant Program for Building Restoration and $500,000 for the Tax Increment Equivalent Grant.

I would like to thank chair Gower for his leadership on navigating these useful tools that will assist in the preservation of properties designated under the Ontario Heritage Act.

Since I was elected Mayor, I have made a commitment to the residents of Ottawa to keep taxes reasonable, deliver the services residents expect and keep the city affordable while building our core infrastructure.

These have been my top priorities over the past two mandates.

Je suis fier d’avoir respecté mes engagements envers les contribuables au cours des huit dernières années.

With a new government at the Province and a minority government at the federal level, it is clear that again this year, we need to be prepared for a change in approach, variations in policy and some uncertainty in funding – many of which could impact areas of municipal life.

I believed in being up front with residents – and that is why I have been consistent and transparent about our tax goal of no more than 3 per cent for 2020.

I’ve heard from residents – and I believe they are prepared to contribute to improve our transit service, infrastructure and mobility and they have made it clear that they want their City to provide services that put residents first.

We also heard that they want Budget 2020 to balance fiscal and social responsibility.

I think that Budget 2020 strikes that right balance.

The budget proposes innovative solutions to address our infrastructure funding issues made more challenging by changes in funding from upper levels of government.

By taking a balanced approach, Budget 2020 helps ensure Ottawa remains a safe and vibrant community for decades to come.

It also keeps a keen eye on the conditions that create economic opportunities and includes programs to help communities thrive.

Budget 2020 also keeps our debt affordable, our debt ratio well below the provincial average and maintains our triple A credit rating.

Our city must remain affordable so that people can have a place to call home in a safe and supportive community.

With Council’s support, I will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that Ottawa gets its fair share of available funding from upper levels of government moving forward on such city building priorities as extending LRT to Stittsville, Kanata and Barrhaven in Stage 3.

I want to thank all residents and Members of Council who contributed ideas to the 2020 Budget process.

Merci à tous nos résidents qui ont contribué au processus budgétaire 2020.

I also want to thank all the Chairs, Vice-Chairs and Committee members for their input to date – and for the work ahead to facilitate their respective budgets through their committees.

Merci à tous les conseillers pour leurs idées et leur participation importante à ce processus budgétaire.

I would like to thank my own team in the Mayor’s Office in particular Robyn Guest and Serge Arpin for working closely with the City Manager and City Treasurer on Budget 2020, as mandated by Council.

I would like to end by expressing my gratitude for the hard work, integrity and professionalism of our municipal public service – work often done under very challenging conditions.

This budget will be the last for our exceptionally competent and dedicated General Manager of Financial Services and City Treasurer, Marian Simulik.

I want to thank Marian for her patience, persistence and dedication to the 2020 Budget and the many, many budgets that preceded it.

Ms. Simulik has a unique gift of exceptional financial facts, innovative imagination and a keen dedication to finding elegant solutions to complex financial problems that save money and protect taxpayers.

Marian also has an unprecedented ability to communicate complex budget information to the average taxpayer and to explain the financial complexities to Members of Council.

Marian, on behalf of all of Council, and the over one million residents of Ottawa, I would like to thank you for your years of service, for your work ethic, your candor and your steadfast commitment to this city and its long-term financial health.

It would be a gross understatement to say that you will be greatly missed.

But for now, I am thrilled to know that you will be with us for these final deliberations on Budget 2020.

I believe that Budget 2020 strikes the right balance between:

  • keeping our city affordable;
  • improving the conditions on our roads and transit network;
  • delivering a sustainable infrastructure plan; and
  • maintaining core services and programs.

This balanced approach positions Ottawa for continued growth, prosperity and livability.

Thank you / Merci

...and now we will hear from the City Manager.

 

 


Statement from Mayor Watson and Transit Commission Chair Allan Hubley regarding recent LRT issues

ʺOver the last few weeks, we have been as frustrated as our transit users with the poor performance of LRT and the unreliability of our bus system. Following a number of issues taking place this morning, we once again convened a meeting with the City’s senior leadership team to see what can be done to bring some short-term stability to the system and enhance reliability for all users, both on LRT as well as our bus network.

This morning, we approved $3.5 million in additional spending authority, to ensure that staff have the resources they need to increase the current level of service for our transit users.

At our request, OC Transpo General Manager John Manconi and his team are taking the following actions, which will be implemented starting next week:

  • Of the fleet of buses that had recently been taken out of service, 40 are still MTO certified and will be brought back into service starting next week.
  • Working hand in hand with ATU 279 president Clint Crabtree, Mr. Manconi has found a solution to extend the current service booking past December 31st, which will free up the bus drivers needed to operate these additional buses.
  • These additional buses will be deployed on routes that have faced chronic issues since the October 6 service change, such as the 39 in the east, the 257 in the west and the 75 in the south.
  • On January 1st, 2020, an additional 19 buses will join the fleet and further improve service for our customers.

We want to thank Mr. Crabtree and the ATU 279 members for their collaboration and support during these trying times for our drivers and customers.

Chair Hubley and I also want to reassure residents that these LRT issues are being taken extremely seriously. Finding solutions to these problems continues to be the number one priority at City Hall – both at the political and staff level.

At next week’s tabling of the Draft 2020 Budget, we will be announcing further transit investments that will aim to improve the experience of transit customers across the city.

As the operations of the Confederation Line are being overseen by RTG and RTM, we convened a meeting this past Monday with the entire Executive Committee of the consortium, which includes senior staff from all participating companies. They have assured us that they are bringing in experts from Toronto and Europe to provide the technical knowledge required to find the root causes of these ongoing issues. They have created task forces on each of the recurring issues, and they are reviewing every incident in order to identify probable causes and solutions.

Mr. Manconi will provide further details on the work that is ongoing to find permanent solutions to the LRT issues at the Transit Commission meeting of November 6.

We are holding RTG/RTM to account for this ongoing poor performance of the system. As a result, and consistent with the Project Agreement, we have instructed staff to deduct $2.8 million from RTG’s October payment. Similar deductions will be made until the performance of the system improves and stabilizes.

In the meantime, we want to once again apologize to our transit customers as we work through the growing pains of launching the Confederation Line.ˮ


Job opportunity

Special Assistant – Position Overview

The Office of Mayor Jim Watson is hiring a Special Assistant.

The ideal candidate:

  • Is highly organized, motivated, punctual, and able to work well under pressure;
  • Has strong interpersonal skills including tact, diplomacy and the ability to interact well with people;
  • Is required to work flexible hours, including evenings and weekends;
  • Will staff the Mayor at community events throughout the city;
  • Possesses a valid Ontario Driver’s License (Class “G” unrestricted);
  • Collaborates well with others and has a strong sense of accountability;
  • Is social media savvy and has a general understanding of website management;
  • Possesses excellent writing and editing skills;
  • Must have an interest in municipal affairs and the ability to engage with residents on their issues and concerns;
  • Undertakes other duties as assigned including providing general clerical support, and preparing correspondence and outreach regarding resident inquiries and various municipal issues;
  • Bilingualism (English and French) is an asset.

Please send your resume in complete confidence no later than October 28th 2019

James Armbruster, Special Assistant – Community Relations

Office of Mayor Jim Watson / Bureau du maire Jim Watson

City of Ottawa / Ville d’Ottawa

110 Laurier Ave. West / 110 ave. Laurier Ouest

Ottawa, Ontario K1P 1J1

E-mail : james.armbruster@ottawa.ca

 

We are grateful for all applications submitted. Given the high volume of applications received, we are only able to acknowledge those applicants who are retained for an interview.‎


Responses to Mayor Watson's Questionnaire to local Federal election candidates

Mayor Jim Watson's questionnaire was sent the following Ottawa region Federal elections candidates and their party leaders on September 24, 2019. Below are the unedited submitted responses:

Liberal Party of Canada

  • Chris Rodgers, Carleton
  • Karen McCrimmon, Kanata-Carleton
  • Chandra Arya, Nepean
  • Marie-France Lalonde, Orléans
  • Catherine McKenna, Ottawa Centre
  • David McGuinty, Ottawa South
  • Mona Fortier, Vanier
  • Anita Vandenbeld, Ottawa West-Nepean

 Green Party of Canada

  • Gordon Kubanek, Carleton
  • Jennifer Purdy, Kanata-Carleton
  • Jean-Luc Cooke, Nepean
  • Michelle Petersen, Orléans
  • Angela Keller-Herzog, Ottawa Centre
  • Leslie P. Schram, Ottawa South
  • Oriana Ngabirano, Vanier
  • David Stibbe, Ottawa West-Nepean

 New Democratic Party of Canada

  • Kevin Hua, Carleton
  • Melissa Coenraad, Kanata-Carleton
  • Zaff Ansari, Nepean
  • Jacqueline Wiens, Orléans
  • Emilie Taman, Ottawa Centre
  • Morgan Gay, Ottawa South
  • Stéphanie Mercier, Vanier
  • Angella MacEwen, Ottawa West-Nepean

 Conservative Party of Canada

  • Pierre Polièvre, Carleton
  • Justina McCaffrey, Kanata-Carleton
  • Brian St. Louis, Nepean
  • David Berts, Orléans
  • Carol Clemenhagen, Ottawa Centre
  • Eli Tannis, Ottawa South
  • Joel Bernard, Vanier
  • Adul Adbi, Ottawa West-Nepean

 Transit and active transportation

1. Long-term transit funding certainty provided by a permanent, direct, allocation-based federal transit funding mechanism will allow for the continual build-out of major transit expansions in urban areas, building on transformative projects currently underway. Dedicated federal transit investments through the Investing in Canada Plan total $23.2 billion over the 2018-19 to 2027-28 10-year period.

$34 billion is required over the subsequent 10-year period to maintain a consistent level of dedicated federal investment in public transit. Canadian cities, through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, are asking the federal government to commit to these investments. If your party forms government, do you commit to the creation of this permanent fund dedicated to public transit projects?

Yes                 No

 

Liberal Party of Canada – Candidates Chris Rodgers, Carleton, Karen McCrimmon, Kanata-Carleton, Chandra Arya, Nepean, Marie-France Lalonde, Orléans, David McGuinty, Ottawa South, Mona Fortier, Vanier, Anita Vandenbeld, Ottawa West-Nepean

Strong public transit systems across Canada are a key part of our Climate Change plan “Clean Canada”. Making sure that people have choices in the way they get to work, go shopping, and serve their daily needs means less time spent in traffic and a cleaner environment for everyone. We want to encourage people to choose cleaner ways of getting around which is why in government, we introduced $28 billion in infrastructure for over 1,400 public transit projects across the country. For the first time, every transit system in Canada was given 10-year allocations for public transit funding to support local transit priorities, as it is doing in Ottawa with the investment of $1.15 billion in Stage 2 LRT.

The historic transit investment we have put forward has already delivered concrete results across the country providing 3,600 new buses, building and upgrading 15,000 bus stops and shelters, and upgrading over 200 transit stations. These investments are making communities better places to live, creating good middle-class jobs and ensuring that we can all spend less time commuting and more time with our families.

And we will go further. If re-elected your Liberal government will continue to help cities get the stable, predictable transit funding they need to plan the expansion and maintenance of their public transit systems by permanently investing at least $3 billion per year in public transit, on top of the federal Gas Tax Fund.  In addition, Liberal MPs Catherine McKenna and Karen McCrimmon in Ottawa have committed to ensuring the federal government is a partner in the City of Ottawa’s Electric Bus Pilot Project and in the larger goal of transitioning from diesel-fueled to electric buses.

 

Liberal Party of Canada – Candidate Catherine McKenna, Ottawa-Centre

Strong public transit systems across Canada are a key part of our Climate Change plan “Clean Canada”. Making sure that people have choice in the way they get to work, go shopping, and serve their daily needs means less time spent in traffic and a cleaner environment for everyone. We want to encourage people to choose cleaner ways of getting around so our government has invested $28 billion in infrastructure for public transit across the country.

And we will go further. If re-elected we will help cities get the stable, predictable funding for transit they need to be able to plan expansion and maintenance of their public transit systems by investing $3 billion per year in public transit, on top of the federal Gas Tax Fund. The City of Ottawa is planning to pilot an electric bus program with 2 buses; I will make sure the federal government works with the City to support this program.

 

Green Party of Canada – All candidates

Yes

The Green Party of Canada has always been supportive of municipal mass transit infrastructure and we continue to be. As part of moving to zero-carbon transportation, cities will need good mass transit infrastructure and the federal government will need to play a significant role in funding these projects.

 

New Democratic Party of Canada – All candidates

Yes

When it comes to getting around, people in Ottawa should be able to count on public transit that’s convenient and affordable. We’re committed to making the investments needed to make your commute easier, all while taking cars off the road, cutting emissions, and reducing gridlock. New Democrats understand that getting our communities moving is critical for our economy and our quality of life. That’s why we’ll put in place a permanent, direct, allocation-based funding mechanism for modern public transit across Canada for the long run. We’ll also step up investments now to help cities transition their bus fleets to electric and to expand affordable rail and bus options in all parts of the country. And for municipalities that make it a priority, a New Democrat government will work with them towards reducing fares and fare-free transit to ease commutes and make life more affordable.

 

Conservative Party of Canada

Candidates Pierre Polièvre, Carleton, Brian St. Louis, Nepean, David Berts, Orléans, Carol Clemenhagen, Ottawa Centre, Eli Tannis, Ottawa South and Joel Bernard, Vanier, did not provide a response.

Candidates Adul Adbi, Ottawa West-Nepean and Justina McCaffrey, Kanata-Carleton, provided the following response:

Thank you for reaching out with this questionnaire. The questions asked are of importance to all Ottawa residents.

As the Campaign continues the Conservative Party will continue to release exciting new pieces of the platform that will help Canadians get ahead, not just get by. My campaign and I will be more than happy to discuss the questions your questionnaire posed after the platform is out, and I look forward to continue to engage with and meet the residents of Ottawa West-Nepean over the next few weeks.

 

2. After the Stage 2 LRT project is complete, the City of Ottawa plans to extend the LRT west to Kanata/Stittsville and south to Barrhaven. Do you commit to funding 50 per cent of Ottawa’s Stage 3 LRT project?

Yes                 No

 

Liberal Party of Canada – Candidates Chris Rodgers, Carleton, Karen McCrimmon, Kanata-Carleton, Chandra Arya, Nepean, Marie-France Lalonde, Orléans, David McGuinty, Ottawa South, Mona Fortier, Vanier, Anita Vandenbeld, Ottawa West-Nepean

The first phase of LRT has been a huge success since its launch. It is revolutionizing the way the residents of Ottawa are moving around and, when you consider that by 2030 it will reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the city by 100 000 tonnes, it is the equivalent of taking 25 000 cars off the road. This is the single largest reduction in CO2 emissions in the city’s history.

Our government invested $1.15 billion in phase 2 of LRT to build on this success. We understand the importance of extending the LRT system via the Stage 3 project which will give residents of Stittsville and Barrhaven more convenient and cleaner options when they want to travel around Ottawa to work, shop and play.  We believe strongly in local decision making through historic investments in public transit and we will continue to support local priorities.

 

Liberal Party of Canada – Candidate Catherine McKenna, Ottawa-Centre

LRT has been a huge success. It is revolutionizing the way the residents of Ottawa are moving around and, when you consider that by 2030 it will reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the city by 100 000 tonnes, it is the equivalent of taking 25 000 cars off the road. Our government invested 1.1 billion in phase 2 of LRT to build on this success. I will advocate for federal support of the construction of phase 3, so that residents of Stittsville and Barrhaven have more convenient and cleaner options when they want to travel around Ottawa to work, shop and play.

 

Green Party of Canada – All candidates

Yes

Through some combination of ⅓ direct funding of Stage-3 of the Ottawa LRT and the federal portion of the gas tax, Green MPs want to see the LRT complete to its full objectives - to reach deep into the suburbs. Municipalities are where investments like this make the greatest reductions in traffic congestion and increases in quality of life.

 

New Democratic Party of Canada – All candidates

Yes

Expanding LRT is an important way to improve transit in Ottawa. Municipalities are already investing in making their transit systems better and more environmentally friendly – it’s time that they had a federal partner that was there to help.

New Democrats understand that getting our communities moving is critical for our economy and our quality of life. That’s why we’ll put in place a permanent, direct, allocation-based funding mechanism for modern public transit across Canada for the long run.

A New Democrat government will also modernize and expand public transit in communities across Canada, and ensure that federal transit funding flows with an emphasis on scaling up low-carbon transit projects, like zero-emissions buses and electric trains, with the goal of electrifying transit and other municipal fleets by 2030.

 

Conservative Party of Canada

Candidates Pierre Polièvre, Carleton, Brian St. Louis, Nepean, David Berts, Orléans, Carol Clemenhagen, Ottawa Centre, Eli Tannis, Ottawa South and Joel Bernard, Vanier, did not provide a response.

Candidates Adul Adbi, Ottawa West-Nepean and Justina McCaffrey, Kanata-Carleton, provided the following response:

Thank you for reaching out with this questionnaire. The questions asked are of importance to all Ottawa residents.

As the Campaign continues the Conservative Party will continue to release exciting new pieces of the platform that will help Canadians get ahead, not just get by. My campaign and I will be more than happy to discuss the questions your questionnaire posed after the platform is out, and I look forward to continue to engage with and meet the residents of Ottawa West-Nepean over the next few weeks

 

3. A recent study by Ville de Gatineau for its structuring public transit project in the city’s west end found that the Prince of Wales Bridge does not have the capacity to be the main rail link between the train systems in Ottawa and Gatineau. This presents an opportunity to convert this bridge into a pedestrian and cyclist crossing, which would cost approximately $10 million. Given that the Prince of Wales is an interprovincial bridge, do you commit to funding the full cost of the work required to make the bridge suitable for pedestrians and cyclists in the area?

Yes                 No

 

Liberal Party of Canada – Candidates Chris Rodgers, Carleton, Karen McCrimmon, Kanata-Carleton, Chandra Arya, Nepean, Marie-France Lalonde, Orléans, David McGuinty, Ottawa South, Mona Fortier, Vanier, Anita Vandenbeld, Ottawa West-Nepean

One of the great things about the National Capital Region is that people live, work and play on both sides of the river. We also benefit from a wide network of multi-use pathways that make it easier to walk and bike for fun or just to get around.

To make moving across the Ottawa River safe and more secure by foot or by bicycle, our Liberal government will champion repairing the Prince of Wales bridge for the use of cyclists and pedestrians and will work with all orders of government to secure the funding to make the necessary changes.

 

Liberal Party of Canada – Candidate Catherine McKenna, Ottawa-Centre

One of the things I love about the National Capital Region is that people live, work and play on both sides of the river. We also benefit from a wide network of multi-use pathways that make it easier to walk and bicycle for pleasure and to get around in our daily lives without increasing carbon emissions. In the last election, I promised put a bridge across the Rideau Canal at Clegg Street; today, people are using the Flora Footbridge to move back and forth across the canal without having to jump in a car, relieving traffic on the roads and reducing carbon emissions. To make moving across the Ottawa River safe and secure by foot or by bicycle, I will champion repairing for the use of cyclists and pedestrians the Prince of Wales bridge and will work with all levels of government to secure the funding necessary to make the necessary changes.

 

Green Party of Canada – All candidates

Yes

Increased investments in active transportation are absolutely necessary. Working together with municipal and federal government we will work towards solutions to increase and optimize our active transportation infrastructure. The Privy Council decision on the 5th of April brought some clarity to the Prince of Wales bridge situation. It is unfortunate that a rail link could not be established between our two cities. The development of a bridge suitable for pedestrians and cyclists aligns with our priorities.

 

New Democratic Party of Canada – All candidates

Yes

We will work with Ottawa and Gatineau to encourage active transportation throughout the National Capital Region. Better commutes include promoting smart community planning and active transportation like walking and biking, helping people in Ottawa make choices that are healthier and more affordable for everyone. We believe that with the right investments in infrastructure, we can encourage more Canadians to choose active transportation as their mode of transportation. That’s why a New Democrat government will work with other levels of government to support community planning and design that makes travel safe, convenient and comfortable for everyone, regardless of their mode of transportation.

 

Conservative Party of Canada

Candidates Pierre Polièvre, Carleton, Brian St. Louis, Nepean, David Berts, Orléans, Carol Clemenhagen, Ottawa Centre, Eli Tannis, Ottawa South and Joel Bernard, Vanier, did not provide a response.

Candidates Adul Adbi, Ottawa West-Nepean and Justina McCaffrey, Kanata-Carleton, provided the following response:

Thank you for reaching out with this questionnaire. The questions asked are of importance to all Ottawa residents.

As the Campaign continues the Conservative Party will continue to release exciting new pieces of the platform that will help Canadians get ahead, not just get by. My campaign and I will be more than happy to discuss the questions your questionnaire posed after the platform is out, and I look forward to continue to engage with and meet the residents of Ottawa West-Nepean over the next few weeks

 

Infrastructure 

4. Municipalities own 58 per cent of Canada’s infrastructure, yet receive only 8 per cent of the tax revenue. In its budget 2019, the federal government announced a one-time doubling of the federal gas tax transfer, which would allow cities and towns to make the necessary investments to properly maintain municipal infrastructure. Do you commit to support the proposal to double the gas tax transfers on a permanent basis and index it to the cost of living?

Yes                 No

 

Liberal Party of Canada – Candidates Chris Rodgers, Carleton, Karen McCrimmon, Kanata-Carleton, Chandra Arya, Nepean, Marie-France Lalonde, Orléans, David McGuinty, Ottawa South, Mona Fortier, Vanier, Anita Vandenbeld, Ottawa West-Nepean

The federal Gas Tax Fund provides predictable funding to municipalities to support a wide variety of local initiatives. Our Liberal government doubled the Gas Tax Fund in Budget 2019 as a one-time measure to address an infrastructure deficit after a decade of neglect, and ensure that projects were moving ahead in cities across Canada. We will continue to work with all orders of government to ensure that the necessary investment is there to build stronger and more resilient communities across Canada. This includes providing a permanent and ongoing investment in public transit, in addition to the federal Gas Tax Fund.

A re-elected Liberal government will also require that all provinces and territories identify and approve all of their long-term infrastructure priorities within the next two years. Funds that aren’t designated for specific projects by the end of 2021 will be reinvested directly in communities through a top-up of the federal Gas Tax Fund.

 

Liberal Party of Canada – Candidate Catherine McKenna, Ottawa-Centre

See Question 1.

 

Green Party of Canada – All candidates

Yes

The Green Party sees municipalities as vital partners in the transition needed to avert the worst parts of climate change - we would give municipal governments a seat at the policy-making table through the Council of Canadian Governments.

We need “All hands on deck” to tackle climate change and municipal infrastructure will be a key part of our nation’s transition.

Green MPs will also institutionalize federal transfers to municipalities through the creation of a Municipal Fund, renaming the Gas Tax funds, which were delinked from gas tax revenue years ago. Ensure a doubling of current funding to ensure predictable and reliable funding to municipalities.

 

New Democratic Party of Canada – All candidates

Yes

New Democrats believe that Canadians should be able to count on the federal government to sustainably and predictably invest in infrastructure to make a real difference in communities, not pad the bank accounts of investment firms as the Liberals have done with the Infrastructure Bank.

Our vision is one where communities can plan for the long term and afford to build the infrastructure they need to thrive, from roads and bridges to community centres and child-care centres, and everything in between. These investments will create good

jobs in every part of the country.

To get there, we will partner with the provinces, territories, First Nations, and municipalities to deliver reliable public infrastructure funding that puts people – not profit – first. By using Community Benefit Agreements, we will guarantee that good jobs, training, apprenticeships and support for local businesses are part of every infrastructure project.

 

Conservative Party of Canada
Candidates Pierre Polièvre, Carleton, Brian St. Louis, Nepean, David Berts, Orléans, Carol Clemenhagen, Ottawa Centre, Eli Tannis, Ottawa South and Joel Bernard, Vanier, did not provide a response.

Candidates Adul Adbi, Ottawa West-Nepean and Justina McCaffrey, Kanata-Carleton, provided the following response:

Thank you for reaching out with this questionnaire. The questions asked are of importance to all Ottawa residents.

As the Campaign continues the Conservative Party will continue to release exciting new pieces of the platform that will help Canadians get ahead, not just get by. My campaign and I will be more than happy to discuss the questions your questionnaire posed after the platform is out, and I look forward to continue to engage with and meet the residents of Ottawa West-Nepean over the next few weeks

 

Affordable Housing

5. The City of Ottawa is working towards the goals of our 2018 Ten Year Housing and Homelessness Plan. The City will continue to implement the Plan’s key initiatives through a variety of funding opportunities and programs to increase the availability and affordability of housing through new development, the provision of housing subsidies, and to ensure that people are able to access the supports they need to find and maintain housing. Will your party commit to tackling housing affordability by funding access to social and affordable housing for low-income residents? Will your party engage directly with municipalities to tackle the specific municipal context which impacts rents, home prices and income levels?

Yes                 No

 

Liberal Party of Canada – Candidates Chris Rodgers, Carleton, Karen McCrimmon, Kanata-Carleton, Chandra Arya, Nepean, Marie-France Lalonde, Orléans, David McGuinty, Ottawa South, Mona Fortier, Vanier, Anita Vandenbeld, Ottawa West-Nepean

We believe that all Canadians have a right to housing. That is why, in Budgets 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019, the Trudeau Government made significant new investments in housing. That is also why we introduced Canada’s first-ever National Housing Strategy, a landmark 10-year $55 billion plan to provide homes to hundreds of thousands of Canadians who need them. Our plan will build a new generation of housing in this country.

Our plan is working. In the last four years, the Trudeau Government committed more than $13 billion to specific housing projects, which will result in more than 40,000 new units, nearly 230,000 units being repaired, and hundreds of thousands of families benefiting from rental support.

Because of the National Housing Strategy, and associated investments, housing providers across the country will be able to build on these results. From 2018 to 2028, the National Housing Strategy is expected to reduce housing need for more than 500,000 families, protect affordability for 385,000 housing units, build 125,000 new homes, and repair another 300,000. This level of ambition in housing has not been seen at the federal level of government in generations.

In Ottawa alone, we've invested more than $135 million in housing, in projects like those at 70 Gloucester Ave. and the Passive House near the Catherine Street bus terminal.

But, we know there is more work to do. That is why we are committed to the implementation of the new Canada Housing Benefit— starting in 2020—, as well as Phase II of the Federal Community Housing Initiative— also starting in 2020. It is why the Trudeau Government launched the new First-Time Home Buyer Incentive in September 2019; and why we recently committed to an expansion of the initiative. The First-Time Home Buyer Incentive is a bold effort to help Canadians achieve home ownership. The Incentive allows homeowners to lower their monthly mortgage payments without increasing down payments. We also recently committed to address the impact of foreign speculation, which drives up housing costs, by putting in place a consistent national speculation and vacancy tax for non-resident, non-Canadians.

We are committed to developing a distinctions-based urban Indigenous strategy, which will help to close major infrastructure gaps in addition to other investments already being made as part of the NHS. We will co-develop this strategy in collaboration with communities, and Indigenous housing providers.

And finally, we are committed to further the progressive realization of the right to adequate housing, which thanks to our hard work over the past four years, now has the backing of federal law. This includes the appointment of a Federal Housing Advocate as well as the creation of a National Housing Council.

 

Liberal Party of Canada – Candidate Catherine McKenna, Ottawa-Centre

Housing affordability has been a concern of our government from when we first formed government. Every Canadian deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. Our National Housing Strategy will do just that. With an investment of $40 billion over 10 years, it will bring 530 000 Canadians out of housing need by building 100 000 new housing units and repairing or renovating 300 000 more housing units. Starting in 2020, Canadians who are renting will be benefitting from an average of $2500 a year from the Canada Housing Benefit. Our government has invested $220 million in affordable housing for Ottawa Centre.

In Budget 2019, we introduced legislation recognizing the right of Canadians to have access to adequate housing. This will make the federal government’s commitment to providing Canadians with affordable housing permanent, whichever party may be in power.

We will continue our investment in affordable housing through the National Housing Strategy for the residents of Ottawa and for all Canadians.

 

Green Party of Canada – All candidates

Yes

The current government has made the rash decision to use the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (an insurer of residential mortgages) to co-own first time home buyers up to 10% of the value of their home.  The CMHCs original mandate was to use some of the excess profits from insurance premiums to fund non-market affordable/rent housing. The Green Party would restore  this mandate and give to municipalities and provinces towards affordable housing.

 

New Democratic Party of Canada – All candidates

Yes

Canada is facing a housing crisis, and New Democrats believe that it’s time to help people now. We have an ambitious plan that will make a difference in every community in our country – because finding a good, affordable place to live shouldn’t be like winning the lottery. It’s time to relieve the stress and worry that people feel making it easier to affordably rent or buy a home.

A core component of our approach is enshrining the right to housing in law and starting work now with a goal of ending homelessness in Canada within a decade. In a country as wealthy as Canada, there is no excuse to leave any Canadian living in poverty without a safe roof over their head.

A major part of the long-term solution to the problem is to ensure that more social housing and affordable rental homes are built across the country. One in three Canadians is a renter. In many cities, the few affordable apartments available get snapped up quickly, and people end up living in either inadequate housing or forced to spend a huge chunk of their income on rent.

The Liberal housing plan invests 19% less in affordable housing as a proportion of GDP than the ten years previous, and is simply inadequate compared to the scale of the crisis Canadians are facing.

People need real help. That’s why a New Democrat government will create 500,000 units of quality, affordable and social housing in the next ten years, with half of that done within five years. This will be achieved by working in partnership with provinces and municipalities, building capacity for social, community, and affordable housing providers and co-ops, and meeting environmental energy efficiency goals.

This ambitious plan will create thousands of jobs in communities all across the country, and help Canadians get the affordable housing they need. Our federal investment will begin with $5 billion in additional funding in the first year and a half of a New Democrat government.

In order to kick-start the construction of co-ops, social and non-profit housing, we will also set up dedicated fast-start funds to streamline the application process and help communities get the expertise and assistance they need to get projects off the ground today, not years from now.

A New Democrat government will also spur the construction of affordable homes by waiving the federal portion of the GST/HST on the construction of new affordable rental units – a simple change that will help get new units built faster and keep them affordable for the long term.

These measures will help address the housing crisis at the source, but we also need to make sure that families who are hurting get help now. That’s why we’ll

provide immediate relief of up to $5,000 per year for families struggling to afford rent in otherwise suitable housing, while we bring forward long-term solutions to the housing affordability crisis.

 

Conservative Party of Canada

Candidates Pierre Polièvre, Carleton, Brian St. Louis, Nepean, David Berts, Orléans, Carol Clemenhagen, Ottawa Centre, Eli Tannis, Ottawa South and Joel Bernard, Vanier, did not provide a response.

Candidates Adul Adbi, Ottawa West-Nepean and Justina McCaffrey, Kanata-Carleton, provided the following response:

Thank you for reaching out with this questionnaire. The questions asked are of importance to all Ottawa residents.

As the Campaign continues the Conservative Party will continue to release exciting new pieces of the platform that will help Canadians get ahead, not just get by. My campaign and I will be more than happy to discuss the questions your questionnaire posed after the platform is out, and I look forward to continue to engage with and meet the residents of Ottawa West-Nepean over the next few weeks

 

6. In 2015, more than 25,000 Syrian refugees settled in communities across Canada, where they were welcomed with open arms. Since then, the City of Ottawa and its residents have hosted thousands of refugees and refugee claimants, which has added to existing pressures on the City’s temporary and emergency lodging resources. Do you commit to continuing to financially support the City of Ottawa in its efforts to accommodate refugee claimants?

Yes                 No

 

Liberal Party of Canada – Candidates Chris Rodgers, Carleton, Karen McCrimmon, Kanata-Carleton, Chandra Arya, Nepean, Marie-France Lalonde, Orléans, David McGuinty, Ottawa South, Mona Fortier, Vanier, Anita Vandenbeld, Ottawa West-Nepean

Ottawa has a proud history of supporting refugees in their time of need, and our Liberal Government’s resettling of 25 000 Syrian refugees is a story of Canadians coming together quickly and effectively to help people in need. This is what we do as a country. We are committed to helping those fleeing persecution to find a safe place to live. In Canada, we provide support to refugees through the Resettlement Assistance Program in their first few weeks in the country while they are linked up with other federal and provincial assistance programs as well as private sponsors.

When it comes to providing shelter for asylum seekers, municipalities need solutions, and above all else a provincial partner. We have now reached cost-sharing agreements with Quebec, British Columbia and Manitoba, and remain willing to work with affected provinces, including Ontario. Despite repeated requests the Ford government has simply refused to collaborate, and would rather put the politics of fear and division over meaningful solutions. In the absence of a provincial partner, we have worked with municipalities such as Ottawa and will continue to work with them to ensure they have the resources they need.

We recognize the tremendous work that officials and Mayor Watson are undertaking to provide temporary housing for those seeking Canada’s protection. This work is essential to who we are as Canadians and our country’s role on the international stage. We will continue working with everyone who helps welcome refugees to Canada.

 

Liberal Party of Canada – Candidate Catherine McKenna, Ottawa-Centre

The resettlement of 25 000 Syrian refugees is a story of Canadians coming together quickly and effectively to help people in need. This is what we do as a country. We are committed to helping refugees across the world find a safe place to live be that in other countries or in Canada through our commitments to the United Nations Commissioner for Refugees. In Canada, we provide support to refugees through the Resettlement Assistance Program in their first few weeks in the country while they are linked up with other federal and provincial assistance programs as well as private sponsors.

This work is essential to who we are as Canadians and our country’s role on the international stage. We will continue working with everyone who helps welcome refugees to Canada.

 

Green Party of Canada – All candidates

Yes

Our Syrian friends have been enormously brave, surviving their conflict at home, and coming to a different country in search of a better life. The Green Party wants to support the integration of refugees into our society by funding language and skills training, as fluency in our official languages is imperative to ensure that they are able to join the workforce and provide for their families. Most refugees had careers in Syria, and were doctors, lawyers and engineers, whose credentials are not recognized in our country because of barriers set by professional societies. The Green Party will press professional societies to remove unnecessary barriers hindering the recognition of professional credentials of immigrants.

Canada’s multiculturalism is one of our greatest assets, we will invest to make sure no one is left behind.

 

New Democratic Party of Canada – All candidates

Yes

Immigration makes Canada stronger. Welcoming new talent and energy from around the world builds our communities and boosts our economy. Canada is one of the most diverse countries in the world and we are richer and stronger for it.

Ottawa has a long and proud tradition of welcoming refugees, from Marion Dewar’s Project 4000 in 1979, to the thousands of Ottawa families who have warmly welcomed Syrian and other refugees today. As the world experiences an unprecedented refugee crisis, New Democrats will continue to provide support to make sure that those fleeing persecution and danger can find a safe home in Canada.

 

Conservative Party of Canada

Candidates Pierre Polièvre, Carleton, Brian St. Louis, Nepean, David Berts, Orléans, Carol Clemenhagen, Ottawa Centre, Eli Tannis, Ottawa South and Joel Bernard, Vanier, did not provide a response.

Candidates Adul Adbi, Ottawa West-Nepean and Justina McCaffrey, Kanata-Carleton, provided the following response:

Thank you for reaching out with this questionnaire. The questions asked are of importance to all Ottawa residents.

As the Campaign continues the Conservative Party will continue to release exciting new pieces of the platform that will help Canadians get ahead, not just get by. My campaign and I will be more than happy to discuss the questions your questionnaire posed after the platform is out, and I look forward to continue to engage with and meet the residents of Ottawa West-Nepean over the next few weeks

 

Environment and climate change

7. The National Capital Region experienced record flooding in 2017 and 2019 as well as tornadoes in 2018 that impacted residents and municipalities at considerable expense. A permanent funding source will help Ottawa fight and adapt to climate change and support to local projects that can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Do you commit to providing a permanent, flexible, long-term increase the current funding of $2B for cities to protect residents from climate change and extreme weather events by investing in municipal adaptation projects?

Yes                 No

 

Liberal Party of Canada – Candidates Chris Rodgers, Carleton, Karen McCrimmon, Kanata-Carleton, Chandra Arya, Nepean, Marie-France Lalonde, Orléans, David McGuinty, Ottawa South, Mona Fortier, Vanier, Anita Vandenbeld, Ottawa West-Nepean

We are dealing with the effects of climate change every day. Here in Ottawa, we’ve recently experienced extensive flooding and powerful tornadoes. Climate change adaptation presents extra costs to both governments and individuals – we know that well.

We introduced the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation fund with an initial investment of $2 billion. We are committing to increasing this fund by $1 billion, if elected, as well as investing in other conservation and adaptation projects as part of an additional $1 billion investment in nature-based climate solutions. This will include important investments in watershed management and other steps to make our natural environment more resilient to climate change. More needs to be done.

For example, Steven MacKinnon, MP for Gatineau, along with Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin announced funding for a project to make essential improvements to the stormwater and runoff management systems in the Wabassee Creek watershed. Once completed, this work will increase the community’s flood resilience and better protect over 12,500 people. It will also reduce by 91% the number of residents who go without essential services during floods, reduce the local economic impact by 80% and save long-term recovery and replacement costs.

We will work to complete mapping of flood plains across Canada so that people will have this information when deciding to build and buy real estate. We will create a new national flood insurance pool to keep insurance affordable for those who are at high risk of flooding and we will introduce an EI Disaster Assistance Benefit – when people’s lives are hit by natural disaster and they need to take time off work, this benefit will help when they need it most.

A re-elected Liberal government would help Canadians adapt to climate change by:

  • protecting homeowners who are at high risk of flooding and don’t have adequate insurance protection, by creating a low-cost national flood insurance program;
  • helping Canadians better understand the risks they face when they buy a home, by working with provinces and territories to complete all flood maps in Canada;
  • developing a national action plan to assist homeowners with potential relocation for those at the highest risk of repeat flooding; and
  • helping Canadians whose jobs and livelihoods are affected when disaster strikes, by working with stakeholders and experts to design an E.I. Disaster Assistance Benefit.

These measures will build on four years of climate action by our government, including:

  • a new Canadian Centre for Climate Services, giving everyone better access to climate science and information.
  • In connection to the CCCS, the government has supported the creation of ClimateData.ca, a new climate data portal, which equips public health professionals, engineers, planners, and others with detailed climate change data to help Canadians understand and adapt to climate change
  • a Climate Lens to ensure that future climate impacts are considered and addressed in federally funded infrastructure projects.
  • stronger codes and standards to ensure that the buildings and infrastructure of the future can withstand the impacts of climate change.

We’re also working with Indigenous communities to better understand our changing climate through the Indigenous Community Based Climate Monitoring Program.

 

Liberal Party of Canada – Candidate Catherine McKenna, Ottawa-Centre

Climate change is real and we are dealing with its effects every day. Here in Ottawa, we have recently experienced extensive flooding and powerful tornados. Climate change adaptation presents extra costs to both governments and individuals – we know that well.

We introduced the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation fund with an initial investment of $2 billion. We are committing to increasing this fund by $1 billion, if elected. More needs to be done.

We will work to complete mapping of flood plains across Canada so that people will have this information when deciding to build and buy real estate. We will create a new national flood insurance pool to keep insurance affordable for those who are at high risk of flooding and we will introduce an EI Disaster Assistance Benefit – when people’s lives are hit by natural disaster and they need to take time off work, this benefit will help when they need it most.

 

Green Party of Canada – All candidates

Yes

The Green Party’s plan for climate change also includes responses to the increasing number of extreme weather events. Our MPs would direct the Canada Infrastructure Bank, revamped to exclude private profit in infrastructure, to invest in climate-proofing essential infrastructure, prioritizing upgrades to drinking water and wastewater systems to protect against flooding, droughts and contamination

One small but significant change the city can make is by having compostable burlap or similar bags stocked and ready to replace the plastic sand bags we recently used.

 

New Democratic Party of Canada – All candidates

Yes

Canadian families are already living with the impact of climate change – for too many, climate-related disasters like flooding have turned their lives upside down, destroying homes and neighborhoods – with no end in sight. New Democrats have a bold climate plan that will confront the climate crisis and help our communities protect themselves from the impacts of climate change, like flooding and forest fires. We won’t leave Canadians to deal with these disasters by themselves – it’s time to step up.

We’ll expand federal funding by $2.5 billion to help communities respond to disasters and strengthen infrastructure to withstand floods and other extreme weather events. We will sit down with provinces, territories and local governments to ensure that the Disaster Mitigation and Adaption Fund meets the needs of communities.

 

Conservative Party of Canada

Candidates Pierre Polièvre, Carleton, Brian St. Louis, Nepean, David Berts, Orléans, Carol Clemenhagen, Ottawa Centre, Eli Tannis, Ottawa South and Joel Bernard, Vanier, did not provide a response.

Candidates Adul Adbi, Ottawa West-Nepean and Justina McCaffrey, Kanata-Carleton, provided the following response:

Thank you for reaching out with this questionnaire. The questions asked are of importance to all Ottawa residents.

As the Campaign continues the Conservative Party will continue to release exciting new pieces of the platform that will help Canadians get ahead, not just get by. My campaign and I will be more than happy to discuss the questions your questionnaire posed after the platform is out, and I look forward to continue to engage with and meet the residents of Ottawa West-Nepean over the next few weeks

 

Public Safety

8. The City of Ottawa supports a multi-faceted strategy to combat gun violence, including a comprehensive approach that includes issues like housing, education, poverty and social infrastructure. Guns and gang related violence remains a top operational priority of the Ottawa Police Service, and Ottawa has a refocused strategy to address these issues. Is your party committed to a comprehensive strategy that includes additional funding for front line police officers to combat gun and gang violence and legislation to strengthen gun control? Will your government invest in programs and supports for youth and families at risk and other measures for building an inclusive city?

Yes                 No

 

Liberal Party of Canada – Candidates Chris Rodgers, Carleton, Karen McCrimmon, Kanata-Carleton, Chandra Arya, Nepean, Marie-France Lalonde, Orléans, David McGuinty, Ottawa South, Mona Fortier, Vanier, Anita Vandenbeld, Ottawa West-Nepean

Our Liberal government is committed to keeping our communities safe by strengthening Canada’s gun laws. We will ban all military-style assault rifles, supported by a two-year amnesty to facilitate a buy-back program to make sure these weapons are out of the reach of criminals. We will also work with the provinces and territories to give municipalities the ability to ban handguns should they choose to do so. To keep guns out of the hands of criminals we will make sure that the RCMP and Canadian Border Services Agency have the resources they need to detect and stop the flow of guns at our borders.

Ending gun violence doesn’t stop there. To help deal with gang violence, we are investing an additional $50 million a year over five years to help municipalities deal with the needs of communities at risk, and we will expand successful diversion programs to keep at-risk-youth out of the criminal justice system.

This is part of our proposed $400-million investment over the next four years that will go towards multiple initiatives aimed at reducing gun violence, which also includes a $200-million to begin the work next year on for the buyback for all legally purchased assault rifles.

 

Liberal Party of Canada – Candidate Catherine McKenna, Ottawa-Centre

We will start by making our gun laws stronger. We will ban all military-style assault rifles, supported by a two-year amnesty to facilitate a buy-back program to make sure these weapons are out of the reach of criminals. We will also work with the provinces and territories to give municipalities the ability to ban handguns should they choose to do so. To continue making it more difficult for criminals to get guns we will make sure that the RCMP and the Canadian Border Services Agency have the resources to detect and stop the flow of guns at our borders.

Ending gun violence doesn’t stop there. To help deal with gang violence, we are investing an additional $50 million a year for five years to help municipalities deal with the needs of communities at risk, and we will expand successful diversion programs to keep at-risk-youth out of the criminal justice system.

 

Green Party of Canada – All candidates

Yes

We know cities such as Ottawa realize gun and gang violence does not come from a single source but a wide range of problems: poverty, social support systems access to weapons, etc., and . The Green Party is determined to eliminate poverty through a Guaranteed Livable Income; replacing a plethora of programs and applications with a simpler safety net. Also we would ban the sale and possession of handguns and assault guns except when stored at certified shooting ranges. Finally, we would increase funding for the CBSA and other enforcement agencies, federal and municipal.

 

New Democratic Party of Canada – All candidates

Yes

Expand youth gang prevention programs.

Everyone in Ottawa deserves to feel safe in their community. Prevention is a critical component of community safety. To that end, we will create a $100 million

fund dedicated to helping keep young people out of gangs with a boost to community programs. New Democrats also support allowing municipalities to ban handguns and cracking down on gun smuggling at the border.

 

Conservative Party of Canada

Candidates Pierre Polièvre, Carleton, Brian St. Louis, Nepean, David Berts, Orléans, Carol Clemenhagen, Ottawa Centre, Eli Tannis, Ottawa South and Joel Bernard, Vanier, did not provide a response.

Candidates Adul Adbi, Ottawa West-Nepean and Justina McCaffrey, Kanata-Carleton, provided the following response:

Thank you for reaching out with this questionnaire. The questions asked are of importance to all Ottawa residents.

As the Campaign continues the Conservative Party will continue to release exciting new pieces of the platform that will help Canadians get ahead, not just get by. My campaign and I will be more than happy to discuss the questions your questionnaire posed after the platform is out, and I look forward to continue to engage with and meet the residents of Ottawa West-Nepean over the next few weeks


Rowan and Avery Parkinson receive the Mayor’s City Builder Award

Ottawa – Mayor Jim Watson and Rideau-Rockcliffe Ward Councillor Rawlson King presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Rowan Parkinson and Avery Parkinson at City Council today, in recognition of their charitable contributions in Ottawa and beyond.

Sisters Rowan and Avery, aged 12 and 14 respectively, are Elmwood School students who are on a mission to make Ottawa a better place.

Following their grandfather’s Parkinson’s disease diagnosis, Rowan, who is now in grade nine, committed to raising awareness and funds for research into the disease.

Avery, now in grade six, was moved by the homelessness she witnessed in Ottawa. She began making hundreds of sandwiches for the residents of Shepherds of Good Hope and the Ottawa Mission.

Their idea to start a non-profit organization, called the MapleWishes Foundation, was born out of acts of empathy and generosity. MapleWishes’ motto is “Inspiring one another to leave positive and enduring footsteps in our wake.” Through their foundation, the girls fundraise, volunteer and motivate their peers to support eleven charitable causes in the Ottawa area.

Rowan and Avery have committed to raise $50,000 for the Parkinson Research Consortium at the Ottawa Hospital. Some of the other projects supported by the MapleWishes Foundation include QUAIL House, a home in Chelsea for developmentally-challenged adults, More Bees Please, which aims to help restore the bee population in the Ottawa area and Bookmarked, which builds and renews the collections of local libraries.

MapleWishes is committed to diversity and to providing a welcoming environment to Ottawa’s immigrant youth through the Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization Youth Program, known as YOCISO.

The Mayor’s City Builder Award is a civic honour created to recognize an individual, group or organization that, through outstanding volunteerism or exemplary action, has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to making our city a better place today and for the future. This may include lifelong service, outstanding acts of kindness, inspiring charitable work, community building or other exemplary achievements.

Individuals, groups or organizations may be nominated by members of City Council or the public.


Mayor Watson and Mayor Pedneaud-Jobin launch survey for Federal election candidates

Ottawa - Following the precedent established in 2015, Mayor Jim Watson and Gatineau Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin have jointly announced their priorities for the upcoming federal election. As mayors of two cities that make up the National Capital region, it was important that they speak with one voice when raising key issues for the next four years.

As members of Big City Mayors’ Caucus of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), both mayors also took the opportunity to talk about the leading role that cities play in the country’s economic and social development. Cities cannot fulfill this role without support from other levels of government, including the federal government.

Today, local candidates and the leaders of the federal parties will receive a letter from each city with a questionnaire covering the priorities outlined below. The responses we receive will be published on Mayor Jim Watson’s and the City of Gatineau’s website during the week of October 7, giving citizens an opportunity to consider elected officials’ responses before voting day.

The Mayors’ priorities for the upcoming federal election relate to the following four themes: Active and Public Transportation, Infrastructure, Climate Change, and Housing.

Active and Public Transportation

The Cities of Ottawa and Gatineau are experiencing significant growth, and have identified active and public transportation as one of their most important priorities. Both cities have undertaken Light Rail Transit projects to ensure the long-term availability of a transportation network that efficiently meets the commuting and travel needs of residents. In recent years, the cities of Gatineau and Ottawa have worked together to better align their transportation plans for the first time in their history.

It is therefore essential that the federal parties pledge to maintain their funding commitment to Ottawa’s Stage 2 LRT project, commit to funding Ottawa’s Stage 3 LRT and provide federal funding for the light rail project in western Gatineau. These city-building projects are not only essential for building a dynamic metropolitan region worthy of the 21st century, but also represent the preferred solution put forward by experts for solving traffic congestion while addressing global warming concerns.

Given that the planning and implementation of such complex public transportation projects require multiple years of work, we also support the FCM’s request that the next federal government establish a permanent public transportation fund.

In addition, we request that the next federal government fund the rehabilitation of the Prince of Wales Bridge into a pedestrian and cycling link. This measure would improve the alignment of the two cities’ active transportation networks.

Infrastructure

Across Canada, cities are responsible for 58 per cent of public infrastructure, yet receive only 8 per cent of overall tax revenue. In its budget 2019, the federal government announced a one-time doubling of the federal gas tax. We hope to see the federal gas tax Fund doubled permanently.

Fighting Climate Change

In recent years, Ottawa and Gatineau have experienced extreme weather events, including floods, tornadoes and torrential rains that affected residents and municipalities at considerable expense. Federal programs currently exist, but more can be done to meet the needs of cities to better adapt to climate change. We hope to see an increase in this funding and the flexibly to allow cities to identify the measures necessary for adapting to climate change.

Housing

The housing vacancy rate is at 1.6% in Ottawa and under 1% in Gatineau, a historic low. The mayors have asked for federal support to ensure that all citizens have access to adequate housing. The federal government must ensure that funding announced in the context of the National Housing Strategy makes its way into the hands of cities.

“Over the last few years, the City of Ottawa and the City of Gatineau have worked together in our efforts to align priorities that impact the Ottawa-Gatineau region as a whole, a first in the history of the two cities. It is crucial that we continue to foster collaboration and include the Federal government as an important partner in the National Capital’s development and growth.”
- Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson

“We feel the need to reiterate the importance of having a federal government that listens to cities’ needs. Our country’s development takes shape at the municipal level, and it is important that our two levels of government work toward the same goals. The same goes for the future of Canada’s National Capital Region.”
- Gatineau Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin

 

View Mayor Jim Watson's Questionnaire to Candidates

View Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin's Questionnaire to Candidates (in French only)


Ottawa’s economic mission to the Netherlands generates tourism and business opportunities

Ottawa – Ottawa’s economic mission to the Netherlands, with Mayor Jim Watson and a delegation of 20 business and tourism leaders, forged partnerships and generated opportunities in tourism, technology, security and education. The resulting partnership agreements and strategic relationships developed between Ottawa organizations and their Dutch counterparts will generate long-term benefits in investment attraction, business development and trade.

The delegates from Ottawa included representatives from Invest Ottawa, Ottawa Tourism and local technology companies. During stops in The Hague, Eindhoven, Rotterdam and Amsterdam, the delegation met with Dutch counterparts and stakeholders, signed partnership agreements advancing Ottawa’s business and tourism interests, and built on the strong bonds of cooperation and friendship that Ottawa has shared with the Netherlands since the Second World War. The delegation focused on promoting Ottawa as a destination, facilitating business development and investment, and exchanging best practices with municipal and industry leaders.

During his meeting with Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet, Mayor Watson expressed his wish for the Princess to visit Ottawa in 2020, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Liberation of the Netherlands. Mayor Watson also met with his Dutch counterparts Mayor Pauline Krikke of The Hague and Mayor Femke Halsema of Amsterdam, to grow our cities’ friendships and discuss issues of mutual interest, like affordable housing, flood mitigation and active transportation, and opportunities for greater collaboration in tourism.

The delegation hosted signature events in both The Hague and Amsterdam, inviting Dutch leaders in tourism and business to celebrate and build on our 75 years of friendship. The events highlighted how Ottawa truly represents Canada In One City, making it the ideal place to invest, visit and study. Delegates networked with industry leaders, decision-makers and government officials.

Tourism opportunities

  • Ottawa Tourism and The Hague Convention Bureau signed The Hague to Ottawa (H2O) agreement, a memorandum of understanding between the two cities to promote one another as destinations of choice to attract new international conventions and business events. The two organizations will collaborate to open new doors for both capitals, pitching each other as gateway cities to North America and Europe.
  • The business events industry in Canada generates $33 billion annually in direct spending, directly employs more than 229,000 people and generates $19.3 billion towards Canada’s gross domestic product. In 2018, 16 per cent of events held in Ottawa were from the US or overseas, representing 9,700 delegates and 16,000 room nights for Ottawa’s hospitality sector.
  • Ottawa Tourism is hoping to leverage the partnership to help attract up to four large meetings and conventions over the coming years, particularly in the sectors of technology, security, defence and life sciences. They also hope to generate new leisure travel itineraries with tour operators.
  • Ottawa Tourism, the City of Ottawa and Destination Think! signed a three-year agreement to continue their work and grow the relationship, including hosting Destination Think!’s international forum, which will bring together the world’s most innovative destination marketers in Ottawa in 2020.
  • Frank Cuypers, Senior Strategic Consultant at Destination Think! and visiting professor on City Making at Columbia University, will be this year’s guest speaker at the Ottawa’s Economic Outlook event on November 5, 2019. Visit the event page for more information.
  • Ottawa Tourism’s President and CEO Michael Crockatt presented at both signature events, inspiring guests to visit Ottawa by highlighting the ways our city represents the people, cultures and experiences of Canada. Home to so many national cultural institutions and major festivals, our welcoming city is a unique destination for visitors, as well as a perfect setting for conferences and events.
  • Based on previous experience with similar international initiatives, the connections forged on this mission will help to secure future meetings, conventions and new leisure travel itineraries, and to generate media coverage, for an estimated future economic impact of more than $2 million.

Business development

  • Invest Ottawa and The Hague Security Delta renewed an agreement to promote bilateral trade and investment, as part of their respective soft-landing program for start-ups wishing to establish themselves in the partner market. The Hague Security Delta is one of the largest and continuously growing security networks of businesses, governments and knowledge institutes in Europe. With nearly 300 partners, it is recognized as the security port to Europe.
  • This agreement ensures that Ottawa is connected with the European leaders in security and will result in knowledge sharing, promotion and partnership opportunities for Ottawa’s security sector firms, which are always seeking new opportunities to grow abroad.
  • Ottawa-based Assent Compliance, a global leader in supply chain data management, continued its worldwide expansion by officially opening its new European headquarters in Amsterdam. This new hub strengthens the longstanding bond between Ottawa and the Netherlands and establishes Assent as a true force in the modernization of global supply chains. Despite already having many clients in Europe, this first brick-and-mortar office will give Assent a full-time presence that will play a key role in growing its footprint within the European Union.
  • Accenture is a multinational professional services company that provides services in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations. They are also a key partner in the Ottawa L5 testing facilities. Accenture convened many partners, including representatives from Martello and the City of Amsterdam, to a thought-leadership session to share best practices and innovation trends in mobility, innovation and smart cities.
  • Martello Technologies Group welcomed the delegation to their Amsterdam office, where they provided a client demonstration of their IT operations analytics software. The City of Ottawa uses this software to visualize and manage the performance of its IT infrastructure through simple service-oriented dashboards. Headquartered in Ottawa – with offices in Montreal, Amsterdam, Paris, Dallas and New York – Martello provides control over complex IT systems with solutions such as SD-WAN technology, network performance management software and IT analytics software.
  • Invest Ottawa held 12 foreign direct investment meetings with Dutch companies in the connected and autonomous vehicles sector to promote the advantages of doing business, research and development in Ottawa’s world-class  ecosystem for connected and autonomous vehicles and L5 testing facilities.
  • They also met to build strategic partnerships in the sector with Brainport in Eindhoven, a business and innovation district similar to Kanata North in Ottawa. Brainport is a driver of Dutch exports and houses half of the national auto sector. This cluster presents opportunities for Ottawa to grow its relationship with companies operating in the autonomous vehicles space in the Netherlands by leveraging our Ottawa L5 autonomous vehicles cluster and test-track.
  • Invest Ottawa’s Director of Autonomous Vehicles, Kelly Daize, took the stage at both signature events in The Hague and Amsterdam to showcase the many advantages of doing business in Ottawa, including our diverse technology sector, great access to talent, low cost of doing business, superb quality of life and an accessible global network. Ottawa is especially well-equipped to collaborate on innovative and future-ready technology, with the second-highest concentration of high-tech firms and talent in North America.

Education partnership

  • The City of Ottawa, the University of Ottawa and Fontys University of Applied Sciences announced a partnership to promote academic, economic and research mobility between Ottawa and the Netherlands.
  • This agreement will establish research placements that will support the development of Ottawa’s Nightlife Economy Strategy, with Dutch students finding work placements at the City of Ottawa to conduct research and provide an external perspective on how to grow Ottawa’s nighttime economy, including the musical and cultural spaces that make our city an attractive place for young professionals.

Quotes

“This has been a very successful mission, generating partnerships that are helping us grow Ottawa’s global reputation as the Canadian destination of choice, for potential Dutch visitors as well as investors. The collaborations announced on this mission represent important access to markets and networks in the Netherlands, and the first critical step in forging lasting and prosperous relationships that will bear fruit for years to come. I want to thank every member of the delegation, who all contributed to sharing our pride in Ottawa as a welcoming and innovative world-class capital and helped us build on 75 years of friendship with the Netherlands.”
Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

“The parallels between Ottawa and the Netherlands are many and our ties our strong. From a tourism perspective, the mission was a success in building relationships with tour operators, meeting planners and travel media. We’ve signed agreements to further Ottawa’s interests in the convention sphere and in the destination development world. We look forward to building on this success in the years to come.”
Michael Crockatt, President and CEO, Ottawa Tourism

“Invest Ottawa representatives were proud to take part in this strategic mission to drive investment for our great city of Ottawa, with such a dedicated and professional group of Ottawa’s business professionals and leaders. With already established strong ties between our business communities, the mission went a long way in strengthening relationships, building new connections and exploring mutually beneficial opportunities in key sectors, including autonomous vehicles, smart cities, software and defence. Invest Ottawa is excited to build off of the mission and the new opportunities that will emerge for our next 75 years of friendship with the Netherlands.”
Michael Tremblay, President and CEO, Invest Ottawa


Building on 75 years of friendship between Ottawa and the Netherlands - Day 5

Mayor Jim Watson is leading a delegation of 20 Ottawa business and tourism leaders to the Netherlands. This five-day mission will strengthen our business and tourism relations, and build on the strong bonds of cooperation and friendship that Ottawa has shared with the Netherlands since the Second World War.

Day 5 (September 19, 2019) – Amsterdam

On the last day of the mission, Mayor Watson and the Ottawa delegation covered a lot of ground in Amsterdam to launch exciting new business ventures for fast-growing companies that joined the mission as commercial delegates.

Ottawa-based Assent Compliance(link is external), a global leader in supply chain data management, continued its worldwide expansion by officially opening its new European headquarters in Amsterdam today. This new hub in Amsterdam strengthens the longstanding bond between Ottawa and the Netherlands, and establishes Assent as a true force in the modernization of global supply chains. Despite already having several clients in Europe, this first brick-and-mortar office will provide Assent with a full-time presence that will play a key role in growing its footprint within the European Union.

Assent Compliance opening

Accenture(link is external) is a multinational professional services company that provides services in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations. They are also a key partner in the Ottawa L5 testing facilities(link is external). Accenture convened many partners, including representatives from the City of Amsterdam and Martello, to a Thought-Leadership Session to share best practices and innovation trends in the areas of mobility, civic innovation and smart cities.

Martello Technologies Group (link is external)welcomed the delegation to their Amsterdam office, where they provided a demonstration of their IT operations analytics software. The City of Ottawa uses this software to visualize and manage the performance of its IT infrastructure through simple service-oriented dashboards. Headquartered in Ottawa – with offices in Montreal, Amsterdam, Paris, Dallas and New York – Martello provides control over complex IT systems with solutions such as SD-WAN technology, network performance management software, and IT analytics software.

Group picture from demonstration

Mayor Watson also met with Mayor Femke Halsema, the first woman elected as Mayor of Amsterdam. They discussed opportunities to grow our cities’ relationship and issues of mutual interest, such as tourism, affordable housing and cycling infrastructure. Like Ottawa, Amsterdam is viewed as a bustling hub of commerce that welcomes visitors from around the world and immigrants from other cultures with open arms. It is also a lovely canal-side city with a rich history and wonderful green surroundings.

picture of Mayors

Over the last five days, Mayor Watson hosted signature events in The Hague and Amsterdam, inviting Dutch leaders in tourism and business to celebrate and build on over 75 years of friendship between our two countries. The Mayor highlighted how Ottawa truly represents Canada In One City, making it the ideal place to invest, visit and study. The events shared our pride in Ottawa as a world-class capital, globally recognized as a diverse metropolitan hub, with a friendly atmosphere and magnificent natural beauty, not to mention a brand new state-of-the-art light rail transit system.

Through the course of the week, Invest Ottawa’s Director of Autonomous Vehicles, Kelly Daize, took to the stage to showcase the many advantages of doing business in Ottawa, including our diverse technology sector, great access to talent, low cost of doing business, superb quality of life, and an accessible global network. Ottawa is especially well-equipped to collaborate on innovative and future-ready technology, with the second-highest concentration of high-tech firms and talent in North America.

Ottawa Tourism’s President and CEO Michael Crockatt also inspired guests to visit Ottawa by highlighting the ways our city represents the people, cultures and experiences of Canada. Home to so many national cultural institutions and major festivals, our welcoming city is a unique destination for visitors, as well as a perfect setting for conferences and events.

Picture from event
Mayor Watson speaking

Building on 75 years of friendship between Ottawa and the Netherlands - Day 4

Mayor Jim Watson is leading a delegation of 20 Ottawa business and tourism leaders to the Netherlands. This five-day mission will strengthen our business and tourism relations, and build on the strong bonds of cooperation and friendship that Ottawa has shared with the Netherlands since the Second World War.

Day 4 (September 18, 2019) – Rotterdam and Haarlem

As Ottawa prepares its new Official Plan, our focus is to build a resilient city that is adaptable, sustainable and innovative, now and for many years to come. Rotterdam’s ambitious work on climate-proofing their city makes it an ideal place to learn and experience resilience in practice, such as the City delegation’s visit to the award-winning Water Squares(link is external), multi-use public plazas that collect storm water runoff. The City of Ottawa’s General Manager of Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development, Stephen Willis, also met with Rotterdam’s Chief Resilience Officer, Arnoud Molenaar, to discuss the future of sustainable cities.

Picture of one of Rotterdam’s Water Squares

On the way to Amsterdam, Mayor Watson made a stop at the Rudolf Steiner College in Haarlem, a town roughly 20 minutes outside of Amsterdam. This special visit came about approximately two weeks ago when grade 9 teachers Nina and Maartje sent an email to Mayor Watson to let him know how much their students had been moved by the story of his coming out. At the time, Nina shared that every student in her class was in the process of writing him a letter expressing sentiments of pride and well wishes in his newfound freedom. Two weeks ago, Nina and Maartje were not aware of the Mayor’s upcoming travels to the Netherlands.

On Sunday, upon his arrival in The Hague, those letters were waiting for Mayor Watson at the hotel. Today, Mayor Watson happily visited Nina and Maartje’s class in Haarlem. Approximately 35 students were in attendance: mostly grade 8 students, and a few older students who are openly gay at the school. They were all very much looking forward to sharing their stories with Mayor Watson, and it made for an emotional and memorable visit.