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Welcome to the Council Watch webpage! 

Council Watch is a volunteer-powered group coordinated by Ecology Ottawa that 

  • Identifies issues of ecological significance before Council
  • Recommends actions for Ecology Ottawa and/or the Ottawa ecology community to take on these issues
  • Publishes reports for the general public

Our goals with these activities are to increase the public’s awareness of ecological issues that come before Council, to empower the public with information to take ecological action, and to hold City Council accountable for their decisions.

Currently, we’re a group of around 15 volunteers. Apart from meetings of the entire City Council, we also monitor activities of the following committees/commissions: Environment and Climate Change, Transportation, Planning and Housing, and Transit. (See here for a complete list of committees.) We also monitor media and other reports of council activity.

We’re currently reviving Council Watch following a hiatus that included last fall’s elections. As we find our rhythm, we'll keep posting new reports below as well as other products that we think Ottawans will find useful—like our primer on City Council. (We recently published our page with contact information for Council and for committees that we follow!) If there are any other resources that you'd like to see, please let us know!

If you’d like to join us, find out more about the group, or send feedback, please contact the group’s current coordinator, William van Geest. We welcome a variety of participation, including watching meetings, writing reports, producing media, keeping records, translating, or webpage support.

In the meantime, if you’d like to watch City Council on your own time, here are few resources to get you started:



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: City’s proposed ‘Gold Belt’ is a mirage

(OTTAWA) – On January 16, on the heels of a May 2020 decision to expand Ottawa’s urban boundary, city planners released a draft report recommending the development of various parcels of land on the fringes of Ottawa’s urban area. Beyond the new land slated for development is a proposed “Gold Belt” that would create ultimate limits for Ottawa’s suburban communities. 

City of Ottawa Draft Budget 2021 – A tale of three budgets

On Wednesday, November 4, 2020, Mayor Jim Watson presented the City of Ottawa’s draft 2021 budget. As the mayor noted, 2020 has been a year unlike any other in Ottawa’s history, with the COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc on the daily life of all Ottawans, as well as on city finances.

What progress did Ottawa make towards becoming the green capital of Canada in 2020?

What's next for climate action, active transportation, urban biodiversity and greenspace protection as we look forward to 2021?

Join Ecology Ottawa's Executive Director Robb Barnes for the 2020 State of the City Year-in Review. We'll look at major council decisions, pressing environmental issues facing Ottawa, and opportunities as we approach the new year.

December 7, 2020

OTTAWA – The City of Ottawa has released its annual greenhouse gas emissions inventories in the lead-up to the December 15, 2020 meeting of the Standing Committee of Environmental Protection, Water and Waste Management. The inventories show new emissions data for 2019, now at 6,140 kt CO2e community-wide. This represents a rise in emissions above the levels recorded in each of the preceding three years. Local emissions have not been this high since prior to the provincial coal phase-out.

Today, council's Environment Committee will receive Energy Evolution, the latest and most comprehensive version of the city's climate action plan. There's a lot at stake to getting this right. Here are our thoughts...

Council Watch February Report

In February, we attended two meetings: the Planning Committee and City Council. The highlights of these meetings were motions regarding a new subdivision, traffic control, and public transportation, as well as an inquiry by Councillor McKenney.

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