Why a new Official Plan?

Ottawa has changed dramatically since it was incorporated in 1855, when it was a small lumber town of 16,000 people. This year, the City of Ottawa will reach one million people and the Ottawa-Gatineau Metropolitan region will reach 1.5 million people.

Our current Official Plan is from 2003 - a response to the needs of the newly amalgamated city. Our region will hit 2-3 million people by the end of the century - our needs are evolving, change is accelerating. Resiliency and adaptability are needed.

What is an Official Plan?

An Official Plan provides the policy framework to guide the city's physical development including:

Regulating land use
Managing growth and change in the urban, suburban and rural areas
Planning for public works and infrastructure
Planning for new communities and existing areas undergoing change
Preserving natural systems providing for the wise use of resources


Don't understand some of the words in the report or survey? Check out this glossary of terms. If you have a word that isn't listed in the glossary, let us know and we will get a definition and add it!

Can I see the Current Official Plan?

You can get a sense of what such a plan looks like by reviewing the current Official Plan.

What is the process for creating a New Official Plan?

The process to create the new Official Plan is guided by requirements in the Planning Act and Provincial Policy Statement, 2014.

The process will run in coordination with the reviews of the Infrastructure Master Plan, Transportation Master Plan, Greenspace Master Plan and the Development Charges By-law.

All aspects of the Official Plan will be reviewed and updated, including secondary plans for urban neighbourhoods and rural Villages.

The process will take place over the course of two years as follows:

March 2019 to August 2019

Discussion papers on key issues facing the city released on March 4, 2019

Ongoing public consultations on discussion papers

August 2019 to September 2019

In response to comments on the discussion papers and the findings of the Beyond 2036 planning study, a report will be presented at a joint meeting of Planning Committee and Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee on August 22, 2019 and Council on September 11, 2019. The report will contain:

  1. High level preliminary policy directions;
  2. Draft projections for total population, housing and jobs to 2046;
  3. Draft growth strategies.

A link to the report in the Committee agendas and minutes will be available on August 12, 2019;

Public consultations on the high level policy directions will occur through September 2019.

September 2019 to December 2019

Detailed policy directions will be prepared for the new Official Plan and presented in a report at a public meeting held under Section 26 of the Planning Act in December 2019;

Council will give direction to table a draft Official Plan in June 2020, based on the policy directions in the December report;

The December report will include a description of:

  • Detailed policy directions to be included in the Plan;
  • Growth strategy for the city including growth projections and, if necessary, adoption of criteria for site evaluation for expansion areas, and;
  • Direction on secondary plans, site- specific policies and community design plans.

January 2020 to October 2020

A draft Official Plan will be prepared during this time, based on policy directions approved by Council in December 2019.

October 2020 to July 2021

The draft Official Plan will be tabled in October 2020;

Following tabling of the draft Official Plan, a 90-day statutory circulation to the public, technical agencies and Ministry will occur;

July 2021

Council adopts new Official Plan.

Following adoption by Council, the Plan will be sent to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. The Ministry has up to six months to review and approve the Official Plan. Approval by the Ministry is expected by late-2021.

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