Draft 2020 Ottawa City Budget

On November 6, the draft 2020 Ottawa City Budget was tabled. This is an exciting budget, as this year, Ottawa reached a population of over 1 million residents, opened an LRT system – albeit with growing pains – and we now have the opportunity to truly become a world-class capital.

It is important, however, that we are prepared for future growth, so as not to run the risk of service decline. As we look at the proposed budget, we see that the City has worked to strike a balance between spending on existing services and investing for the future.

With increased competition globally for economic investment, as well as dealing with the impacts of climate change, it is important that the City prepares for sustainable long-term growth, while tackling the changing service needs and expectations of residents.

The City’s Draft 2020 City-wide Budget Includes:


  • $817 million to fund Stage 2 of Ottawa’s light-rail transit system, extending 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 Baseline and Moodie stations, and south on O-Train Line 2 Trillium Line by 12 kilometres and eight stations from Greenboro Station to Limebank Station, along with a link to the Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport
  • $3.8 million to implement the Strategic Road Safety Action Plan
  • $788,000 to implement temporary traffic-calming measures
  • $380,000 for intersection improvements at one location in each Ward through the Pedestrian Safety Improvement Program – locations to be determined
  • $200,000 to conduct network screening to identify locations with high incidence of left-turn collisions and prioritize improvements to increase safety


  • Increasing to $51 million the road resurfacing budget
  • $930,000 to purchase additional vehicles and equipment for Roads Services
  • $190,000 to replace small equipment used for road maintenance operations

Winter Snow Services

  • $295,000 to research and pilot new technologies to support winter snow and ice removal operations
  • $78.3 million for the 2020 estimated base budget for Winter Operations, which is an increate of 7.7% over last year. $2.9 of this is allocated to sidewalk maintenance.


  • $15 million to create more affordable and supportive housing, building on last year’s investment, the single largest affordable housing investment in the City’s history
  • $31 million to maintain support for local agencies to fund housing and homelessness supports and services to residents


  • $2 million for enhancements at the Lemieux Island and Britannia water purification plants
  • $500,000 for a leachate liner to cover the Stage 5 development of the Trail Road Landfill
  • $250,000 for a leachate recirculation system for the Trail Road Landfill
  • $500,000 for engineering and construction of improved municipal drains
  • $3 million for the Energy Management and Investment Strategy to reduce the City’s environmental footprint, ensure compliance under Green Energy Act and continue to serve a leadership role in respect to energy conservation and demand management
  • $1.49 million to plant approximately 125,000 trees, part of a larger strategy to plant 500,000 trees during this term of Council, to regenerate Ottawa’s forest cover across rural, suburban and urban communities

Emergency Services

  • 30 new police officers
  • 14 full-time equivalent paramedic staff and associated vehicles to address new and future growth, as well as Level Zero scenarios

Arts and Culture

  • $40,000 to renew the Shenkman Arts Centre by replacing equipment, upgrading theatre systems, adopting new customer service technologies and maintaining community theatre facilities
  • $126,000 to repair and maintain cultural buildings and equipment, including improvements to meet health and safety standards and accessibility requirements, to replace program equipment and to upgrade systems
  • $200,000 for the Museum Sustainability Plan to maintain equipment and upgrade buildings to meet health and safety standards and accessibility requirements
  • $50,000 for the professional care of more than 300,000 objects of historical and cultural significance in the City’s art, artefact and archaeological collections


  • $49.3 million on infrastructure, including:
  • $11 million to repair and improve sewers
  • $1.5 million to rehabilitate trenchless sewers
  • $360,000 for comprehensive asset management
  • $2 million to renew guiderails
  • $11.6 million to improve and rehabilitate water distribution systems and watermain infrastructure
  • $1.5 million to rehabilitate stormwater management infrastructure
  • $4 million for the Wet Weather Infrastructure Master Plan, which improves the City’s capacity to manage stormwater and reduce flooding risk
  • $850,000 for the study, design, and delivery of capital projects that will improve the public realm


  • $43 million to replace 63 buses that have reached the end of their 15-year life, and $6 million toward the electric bus pilot
  • $7.5 million to expand the bus network to improve service reliability, increase capacity, reduce wait time and provide for new connections to growth areas
  • 2020 Equipass and Community Pass rates will be frozen at 2019 rates
  • $5.8 million to renew existing transit infrastructure, including buildings and Transitway
  • $2.85 million to improve Transitway and O-Train stations and other facilities with amenities like benches for the benefit of customers and operations
  • $1.8 million to replace operational support vehicles for security, supervision, maintenance, stores and other services
  • $4.8 million for the Rail Operational Readiness Program to support expanded multimodal transit service as part of Stage 2, through communications and training initiatives
  • $900,000 to install new bus pads, shelters and other bus stop improvements
  • $15 million to implement the first portion of bus service detours, specifically for Line 2 and the east extension of Line 1, that will be in place for construction of Stage 2
  • $500,000 to fund accessibility improvements to Transitway and O-Train stations and other facilities

Parks and Facilities

  • $2.58 million for parking facility repairs, including at City Hall and in the ByWard Market
    $575,000 for accessibility improvements at the City Hall parking facility
    $860,000 to invest in on-street parking system changes
  • $310,000 to repair, upgrade and maintain Public Works Yards facilities
  • $560,000 for winter material storage facilities
  • $300,000 for repairs costing less than $10,000 per project, that will improve public access and service at Recreation, Cultural and Facility Services buildings
  • $200,000 to redevelop and refurbish outdoor sports courts, including through resurfacing, improving drainage and adding or upgrading lighting
  • $250,000 for pathway lighting in City parks
  • $400,000 for equipment at outdoor rinks
  • $774,000 to upgrade infrastructure, adding functionality and meeting community needs at the 1275 properties and 867 facilities overseen by Recreation, Cultural and Facility Services
  • $100,000 to upgrade outdoor security for the City’s outdoor pools through improved fencing, perimeter protection and monitoring equipment
  • $446,000 to undertake planning studies that will inform development of the recreation master plan and the recreation standards and strategy reports

I look forward to going through the budget documents line-by-line to gain a better understanding of what is proposed for our ward.

I want to thank everyone who shared their suggestions and priorities for the budget with me. Whether it was during the budget consultation held last month, or directly with my office, the feedback received was instrumental in identifying the community’s priorities. I would encourage you to read over the draft budget information above or the more in-depth version at ottawa.ca and provide any comments or feedback to me at Laura.Dudas@ottawa.ca.

Over the next month, the City’s committees and boards will be reviewing their draft budgets, with final approval taking place at Council on December 11.

As always, you can also attend any committee or board meetings to share your thoughts about the budget. The list of committee dates can be found on Ottawa.ca.