Voter turnout in Ottawa’s most recent municipal elections was only 40%
In 2014, the most recent municipal election in Ottawa, only 40% of residents who were eligible to vote actually participated in choosing their mayor, councillor and school board trustee. But Ottawa is not alone in low voter turnout. Of Canada’s six largest cities, only Toronto posted a significantly higher turnout in their most recent municipal election, with participation by 55% of eligible voters.
Surprisingly, given the role that local government plays in the everyday lives of people, voter turnout at the municipal level across Canada is typically significantly lower than for federal and provincial elections.
- City of Ottawa. 2014 Election Results. Accessed March 7, 2017
- City of Toronto. 2014 Election Statistics. Accessed March 7, 2017
- City of Vancouver. 2014 Municipal Election. Accessed March 7, 2017
- City of Edmonton. Edmonton Elections 2013. Accessed March 7, 2017
- City of Calgary. 2013 General Election Official Results. Accessed March 7, 2017
- Ville de Montréal. Bilan élection générale de 3 novembre 2013. Accessed March 8, 2017
A relatively high proportion of Ottawa residents are satisfied with their Mayor and Council
Based on a January 2017 poll to gauge approval ratings of municipally elected officials, Ottawa residents are more satisfied with their Council than residents in Canada’s five other major cities. The same holds true with respect to the Mayor. Of the nearly 600 Ottawa residents polled, 64% “strongly approved” or “somewhat approved” of their City Council. A similar proportion of residents were also satisfied with their own Councillor. The Mayor’s approval rating was 79%. Ratings in Ottawa were very similar regardless of gender or age.
- Mainstreet/Postmedia. Canadian Mayors. January 2017. Accessed March 7, 2017
Ottawa has a relatively low proportionate number of women on City Council
When the composition of a city council reflects the diversity of the population it serves, the odds are that it will better represent issues relevant to all residents.
Only 4 of Ottawa’s 24 councillors -- 17% -- are women. Among Canada’s six major cities, only Calgary and Edmonton have lower percentages of women on their councils. The average proportion among the six cities is 25%. On the other hand, Ottawa has had three female mayors in its history, more than any of the other major cities.
Reasonable representation on Council of the racial diversity of Ottawa’s population is also lacking. While some other major Canadian cities fare better in this regard, Municipal councils have by far the lowest rates of visible minority representation compared to other levels of government.
- City of Ottawa. Mayor and City Councillors Accessed March 7, 2017
- City of Toronto. Council Members. Accessed March 7, 2017
- City of Vancouver. City Councillors. Accessed March 7, 2017
- City of Edmonton. City Councillors. Accessed March 7, 2017
- City of Calgary. Councillors and Wards. Accessed March 7, 2017
- Ville de Montréal. Elected Officials. Accessed March 7, 2017