Draft Budget 2021

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It's your city and your budget, so we want to hear from you! Your feedback helps inform the City’s budget priorities and contributes to decisions about investments in services that you want and need. Using this online tool, you can ask questions, or share ideas about the budget.

How the City budget works

Watch a short video and learn the basics of how the City budget works.

For more information on understanding the City budget, visit https://ottawa.ca/en/city-hall/budget/understanding-your-city-budget.

Have your say

Share your feedback:

  • Submit a question below
  • Fill out the budget survey below
  • Submit your ideas to your Ward Councillor
  • Follow and communicate with us on Facebook and Twitter @ottawacity, using the hashtag #ottbudget
  • Call 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-2401). Rural residents call 613-580-2400.

Opportunities for participation in our budget process

The draft budget is developed in the summer and fall. During this time, members of the community can provide input by asking questions, communicating with the Mayor and Council, and completing surveys. There are Councillor led public consultation sessions for you to share your views with Council. Watch for updates to the schedule on this page.

The draft budget presentation and web cast is Wednesday, November 4. If you are interested in the budget of a specific City service, the City Services chart will show you where to look. Draft budget books are published on https://ottawa.ca/en/city-hall/budget.

Each standing committee or board will review the budget of specific service areas that reports to them. These meeting dates are published on this page. At the meetings, there is an opportunity for community delegations to register and make a brief presentation to the Standing Committee.

On Wednesday, December 9 Council will approve the 2021 budget. Once the budget books are updated, they are posted on https://ottawa.ca/en/city-hall/budget.

City services and standing committee/external board reporting structure

A list of all City Services, the department name, and the Standing Committee that reviews the budget is provided on this page if you wish to look at specific budget details.

For more budget information visit https://ottawa.ca/en/city-hall/budget.

It's your city and your budget, so we want to hear from you! Your feedback helps inform the City’s budget priorities and contributes to decisions about investments in services that you want and need. Using this online tool, you can ask questions, or share ideas about the budget.

How the City budget works

Watch a short video and learn the basics of how the City budget works.

For more information on understanding the City budget, visit https://ottawa.ca/en/city-hall/budget/understanding-your-city-budget.

Have your say

Share your feedback:

  • Submit a question below
  • Fill out the budget survey below
  • Submit your ideas to your Ward Councillor
  • Follow and communicate with us on Facebook and Twitter @ottawacity, using the hashtag #ottbudget
  • Call 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-2401). Rural residents call 613-580-2400.

Opportunities for participation in our budget process

The draft budget is developed in the summer and fall. During this time, members of the community can provide input by asking questions, communicating with the Mayor and Council, and completing surveys. There are Councillor led public consultation sessions for you to share your views with Council. Watch for updates to the schedule on this page.

The draft budget presentation and web cast is Wednesday, November 4. If you are interested in the budget of a specific City service, the City Services chart will show you where to look. Draft budget books are published on https://ottawa.ca/en/city-hall/budget.

Each standing committee or board will review the budget of specific service areas that reports to them. These meeting dates are published on this page. At the meetings, there is an opportunity for community delegations to register and make a brief presentation to the Standing Committee.

On Wednesday, December 9 Council will approve the 2021 budget. Once the budget books are updated, they are posted on https://ottawa.ca/en/city-hall/budget.

City services and standing committee/external board reporting structure

A list of all City Services, the department name, and the Standing Committee that reviews the budget is provided on this page if you wish to look at specific budget details.

For more budget information visit https://ottawa.ca/en/city-hall/budget.

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    I see that there is no specific budget committee meeting relating to housing, although I do understand that housing policy and funding could fall under any or all of City Services, Public Health, and Crime Prevention. How does the City intend to address our affordable housing and homelessness crisis/emergency, and what consideration is being given to the importance of affordable and reliable public transit in conjunction with affordable housing to ensure sustainable outcomes?

    Nathan Dale asked 9 days ago

    Thank you for your inquiry.

    The Housing and Homelessness budget will be discussed at the Community and Protective Services Committee on Thursday, November 19 and at Planning Committee on Thursday, November 26. Housing and Homelessness is a key priority of the City and several activities are underway. We work in collaboration with federal and provincial government access funding and programs to address and respond to the needs in our community.

    In reference to the importance of public transit in conjunction with affordable housing, Housing Services are working towards initiatives to advance the development of affordable housing and to ensure that affordable housing is part of new neighbourhoods that will evolve around our rapid transit corridors. Some of these actions and existing policies and programs include:

    • the City approved the update to the 10-year Housing and Homelessness plan in June 2020 (attached), which lays out ambitious targets to create between 5700 to 8500 new housing options (new builds and housing subsidies) over the next 10 years, with 644 units currently in development. 
    • the City has provided, through Budgets 2019 and 2020 $30 million to invest in new capital development which is supporting projects with Ottawa Community Housing, Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corporation, the Anglican Diocese, Habitat for Humanity and providing pre-development funding to five non-profit housing providers (up to 345 units) to have a pipeline of construction-ready projects.
    • the City is completing a Long-Range Financial Plan for Housing Services that will identify the funding required to maintain current service levels, respond to emerging demands, and determine available sources of funding to meet municipal commitments under the updated 10 Year Plan.
    • the Affordable Housing Land and Funding Policy provide both revenue and surplus city land to help build more affordable housing throughout the City and includes surplus city land along the light rail transit system.
    • ongoing engagement with the federal government to ensure that opportunities for affordable housing on federal lands near rapid transit is considered and required where appropriate. For example, the City worked closely with the federal government and Ottawa Community Housing Corporation to secure the lands known as Gladstone Village adjacent to the O-Train.
    • the City will continue to access provincial and federal funding opportunities such as the National Housing Strategy Federal Co-investment Fund and the Ontario Priorities Housing Initiative to promote the development of affordable housing.
    • the Interdepartmental Task Force on Affordable Housing Near Transit identified 20 parcels of land with short, medium and long-term development potential along the LRT/BRT to be held for affordable housing development which will ensure that opportunities to leverage land and financial resources around the rapid transit corridor are maximized.
    • the City is currently completing the required background studies as part of recommendations to Council on an Inclusionary Zoning By-law in 2021.
    • the City will continue to develop additional tools that promote and create affordable housing in strategic areas of the City
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    I would like to see a complete review of our municipal waste disposal system. In many other jurisdictions waste is collected by trucks with mechanical arms that do not require much manpower. Also all waste is collected every week, not every two weeks. I think a study looking at other canadian jurisdictions would be appropriate.

    MC2 asked 9 days ago

    The City of Ottawa is currently developing a Solid Waste Master Plan which will provide the overall framework, direction, goals and targets for solid waste management and will include the exploration of opportunities and options for the reduction, reuse, diversion, recovery and disposal of Ottawa’s waste for the next 30 years. The goal is to ensure that our municipality's waste is managed in the most sustainable manner possible. 

    This plan is being developed in three phases. Phase 1, which was completed earlier this year, explained “where we are” as a City, and included a comparative municipality scan which looked at ways comparative City’s across Canada are managing and diverting waste. Phase 2 of the plan is currently being development and will thoroughly detail “where we are going”. It will include a long list of options for waste management and diversion in Ottawa, including options such as automated collection systems. It will also include a needs assessment analysis, and an evaluation tool which will be used to evaluate all options for consideration.  Once approved by Council, staff will shortlist the options using the evaluation tool, and bring these options out for public and stakeholder consultation. Phase 3 will then bring forward the draft strategy for short term (5-year) implementation, with a full final strategy coming in 2022. 

    In 2011, Ottawa City Council approved the policy change to bi-weekly garbage collection. This change has increased diversion rates and helped optimize the use of the Trail Road Landfill which has in turn extended its life and delayed the City’s need to invest in a new landfill, or in alternative technologies to manage waste. 

    For more information on the Solid Waste Master Plan, and to be notified of future updates and engagement opportunities, please visit our page on Engage Ottawa.

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    Why does the Ottawa Police Service require a 3% budget increase? Why isn't 1.5% or 2% enough? I understand they are undergoing some new reforms and restructuring, but what new program is it exactly that their staff recommends a 3% increase that will cost millions? Can't the city save money on policing by giving a greater budget increase to Ottawa Public Health, a unit that can better deal with mental health issues and addiction that often lead to people getting policed rather than supported?

    Joy Liu asked 11 days ago

    The Ottawa Police Service (OPS) 3% tax levy increase reflects the annual increase in funding requirement to support and maintain the continued delivery of quality policing services. This increase is required to fund both operating and capital requirements.

    The main increase is attributed to compensation and benefit increases related to collective agreements and contract settlements, in addition to annual inflationary pressures for both operating and capital requirements. One significant difference with the OPS 3% tax levy increase in comparison to Ottawa Public Health is that OPS is required to fund the annual Capital Funding requirements, facility and fleet maintenance cost in addition to other IT and corporate support cost within this tax levy allocation.

    The new reforms and restructuring within OPS are being funding within existing budget funding allocations and not creating additional funding pressures. The 2021 budget is being designed to introduce even more investments to drive more changes to the OPS structure, culture and operations. Some of these investments include:

    • more neighborhood policing with new Neighborhood Resource Teams; 
    • a new Mental Health Response Strategy with increased training for members;
    • the addition of mental health professionals to our responses and better coordinated services for people in mental health crisis;
    • new investments in Violence Against Women services including more Sexual Assault investigators with a specific focus on supporting indigenous women; and
    • ongoing work on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion both within the OPS and in our service to the community.  


    Further to OPS’s commitment to reform and change, OPS continues to implement continuous improvements and efficiencies and have realized over $17 million dollars in efficiencies since 2012. 

    Another significant difference in funding between OPS and OPH relates to the Provincial funding allocation to OPH. The majority of the programs and services offered by the Board of Health are cost shared with the provincial government. Some programs receive 100% of their funds from the Province, with a net overall funding allocation of 70% Provincial and 30% Municipal.

    Thank you again for your interest in the City of Ottawa’s draft 2021 Budget and for your question.

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    I acknowledge that only one of three factors in determining the overall tax burden on rate payers is within the City's control. I also applaud the Mayor's commitment to keeping next year's *increase* to 3%. However, my concern is over what will likely be a significant increase in property value assessment by MPAC this coming year. I have seen my own property insurance rise 38% from this year to next, based entirely on a signficant increase in replacement value. If that much of an increase were applied to my property assessment by MPAC (all at once--I know that their increases are spread over four years), my property taxes would rise 38% even before the City's meager 3% increase. So, my question would be: does the City, in determining the tax base for the coming year, account for any projected increases in property value?

    R.M. Lilienthal asked 13 days ago

    Thank you for your recent feedback on the City of Ottawa’s draft Budget 2021 that we received through Engage Ottawa.

    I would like to assure you that an increase in assessed property value is not directly proportionate to an increase in property taxes. The City of Ottawa has excellent on-line information that includes a short video on how property values are related to property taxes - https://ottawa.ca/en/living-ottawa/taxes/understanding-your-property-tax-bill#how-your-property-taxes-are-calculated. I would encourage you to read that information on our site and watch the video –  I am confident that it will both answer your questions and provide you with assurance that your property taxes will not increase at the same rate as your assessed property value. 

    Note that the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) has postponed the planned 2021 property reassessment exercise to 2022. As a result, all properties in the province will be billed based on their 2020 assessment value. There will be minimal reassessment impact. 

    In 2022, once MPAC affects the revised assessment values, if your property value increase is higher than the average residential increase for the City you will see a slightly higher than announced increase on you tax bill during the new tax cycle. Conversely if your property value increase is lower than the average residential increase for the City you will see a slightly lower than announced increase. This is referred to as the impact of reassessment. Reassessment causes some shifting of taxes between properties within the property class, but the City does not collect any additional revenue. 

    If you have outstanding questions after reviewing the information, please feel free to follow up with another inquiry.

    Thank you again for your feedback.

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    How do you manage head count? So many on your payroll and on our tax money aren’t productive at all. Reduce head count instead of an increase to any type of tax

    Concerned_Ottawa asked 7 days ago

    Thank you for your question. Since 2001, we have conducted many reviews of our operations, ensuring our administrative staff is as lean as possible so that our growth investments are directed to front line services. Savings have been achieved through a series of structured, continuous improvement initiatives in areas such as business process improvements, organizational and administrative efficiencies, technological improvements, and enhanced revenues using best-practice programs. In addition to the formal programs, in order to achieve annual draft budgets that adhere to Council directions, the Senior Leadership Team engages in a rigorous challenge function, employing numerous mechanisms to identify, strengthen and achieve efficiency improvements prior to draft budgets being tabled with Council.

    We have received your comments and will include them in the overall feedback and input from residents that we provide to the Mayor and City Council.

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    As i proposed before for $ $ for City Budgets at same time as generating SAFER Homes for Seniors City can BUY OUT Private Senior Residences FOR Profits $$$. SO My Question remains : WHEN can the City BUY OUT the aweful mismanaged "for profit" Private Senior Residences ?

    jolovestodance@gmail.com asked 19 days ago

    Thank you for your question regarding long-term care homes in Ottawa.

    The Ministry of Long-Term Care (MLTC) manages the licensing for all long-term care (LTC) homes in Ottawa, including privately-run homes.  All LTC homes are accountable to the MLTC to ensure that they are meeting the requirements of their license and following all applicable legislation. Licensed LTC beds are not available for purchase by the City.

    Housing Services is exploring the acquisition of available property to increase affordable housing options for those in need including seniors as part of the 10-Year Housing and Homelessness plan.

    Thank you again for your inquiry and your support for the vulnerable seniors in our community.

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    Why can't you freeze property taxes since so many businesses are being shut down and with people unemployed or without salary increases due to Covid?

    Tony_pcar968 asked 15 days ago

    Thank you for your recent inquiry.

    The direction approved by Council for 2021 is to maintain the municipal tax levy at 3%, to ensure the City has sufficient funds to continue providing vital city services. Most of the City services impacted by COVID are fee for service programs, like recreation centres and transit. Revenues for these services have declined significantly. The services paid for by property taxes are primarily the core services that must be delivered even in a pandemic and in many cases the cost of delivering that service has increased due to stricter health and safety regulations due to COVID-19. The City must continue to deliver these services taking into consideration these additional costs, inflationary increases and ensuring that we continue to invest in infrastructure renewal; but also continuing to maintain costs within the 3% threshold.  

    Recognizing the difficulties businesses and residents are facing during COVID-19, the City immediately implemented a number of measures to provide relief, including a grace period for interim property tax payments, and a COVID-19 Property Tax Hardship Deferral Program for qualifying residents and businesses that have an assessed property value of 7.5M (captures 91% of all commercial properties). As well, there are several relief programs for small business from all levels of government which have been summarized on ottawa.ca.

    On Friday, October 9th, 2020 the Province of Ontario announced plans to make up to $300 million available to assist local businesses that are directly affected by heightened public health restrictions.  Businesses will be able to apply for funding to help pay for operating costs such as property taxes, hydro and natural gas bills.

    The press release is available at:

    Ontario Implementing Additional Public Health Measures in Toronto, Ottawa and Peel Region: Government Taking Further Steps to Support Small Business in these Hotspots

    Key Points:

    • Provincial funding is being made available to businesses in Toronto, Ottawa and Peel Region that have been significantly affected by recently announced public health measures and renewed restrictions that directly impact business operations and profitability.
    • Financial assistance will be made available, on an application basis, to offset affected businesses’ fixed operating costs, including property tax, hydro and natural gas bills.
    • Details on eligibility, application requirements and the timing of payments will be released in coming weeks, according to the Government of Ontario press release.
    • The City is working with our provincial partners to help deliver this much needed financial assistance to Toronto businesses, while continuing to offer financial assistance and tax relief, in the form of deferrals, to eligible business owners and tenants.


    The City is tracking all Provincial and Federal announcements on ottawa.ca, a number of which are related to COVID-19 relief.

    I encourage you to share your thoughts with your Ward Councillor by email or phone, attend a public consultation session, or by registering to speak at a Committee Budget Meeting.

    Thank you

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    How will Municipal Nomination for Permanent Residence work?

    Amit asked 15 days ago

    Thank you for your recent inquiry.

    The Municipal Nomination Program was recently announced by the federal government and is still in development. The City of Ottawa is currently awaiting further details. Once we receive details on the program including eligibility criteria, rules, suitability, etc. we will complete a more detailed analysis. If it is deemed suitable and appears to a good fit, then the City of Ottawa would explore working with the Ottawa Board of Trade, the Local Employment Council and Invest Ottawa on a coordinated approach for Ottawa. 

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    I notice you seem to be still applying your 20th-century budgeting approach. rather than a 21t-century sustainability approach Understand why, but I also understand COVID-19 and even if they get a vaccine to-morrow. The ofdds are we could be as long has 3 budgets before the system get a handle on it. Then the recover, has I notice the big boys are still saying if you want it to pay for it and from what I see and very good at doing. Seeing who understand their reality and looking at coming into the 21st-century. tht charging more will continue you getting less.

    fmlcoach asked 16 days ago

    Thank you for your recent feedback on the City of Ottawa’s 2021 draft budget.

    We have received your comments and will include them in the overall feedback and input from residents that we provide to the Mayor and City Council. I encourage you to further share your thoughts with your Ward Councillor by email or phone, attend a public consultation session, or by registering to speak at a Committee Budget Meeting.

    We sincerely appreciate your valuable input on Budget 2021.

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    I would like to see the major street arteries completely paved not just patching. Jeanne d'arc, Orleans Blvd, St. Joesph etc.

    JCM asked 16 days ago

    Thank you for your recent correspondence on the Budget 2021 Engage Ottawa site regarding paving on major street arteries including Jeanne D’Arc, Orleans Blvd and St. Joseph Blvd. We have received your comments and will include them in the overall feedback and input from residents that we provide to the Mayor and City Council. I encourage you to further share your thoughts with your Ward Councillor by email or phone, attend a public consultation session, or by registering to speak at a Committee Budget Meeting.

    We sincerely appreciate your valuable input on Budget 2021.