1.2.3 City Decision Making

City Council

The City of Ottawa has a 24-member Council: the Mayor and 23 councillors. Members of Council are elected by residents for a 4-year term. The Mayor represents the City of Ottawa as a whole, chairs city council meetings and may chair Standing Committee meetings. The Councillors each represents one of 23 wards within the City of Ottawa. City Council is the decision-making body responsible for turning community needs into municipal services — from human services (also called social infrastructure), such as social services and housing, and public transit to hard services (also called physical infrastructure), like roads and waste management.


Standing Committees

To assist it in its deliberations, City Council appoints Standing Committees to study issues and to make recommendations to Council. These Standing Committees are made up of elected representatives. The exceptions are the Transit Commission and Built Heritage Sub-Committee, both of which include members of Council and residents. It is at the Standing Committee level where residents can make presentations to express their views. Most decisions made by Sanding Committees require final approval by City Council.

Ottawa Standing Committees:

  • Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee (ARAC)
  • Audit Committee
  • Community and Protective Services
  • Committee (CPS)
  • Environment Committee
  • Finance and Economic Development Committee (FEDCO)
  • Planning Committee
  • Transit Commission
  • Transportation Committee

Check the City website (subject to change)


Advisory Committees

The City of Ottawa also has four advisory committees, made up of community volunteers, appointed by Council. The advisory committees provide advice to City Council on specific areas of interest.

These committees contribute to the development of policies, programs and initiatives that enhance quality of life for Ottawa residents.

Ottawa Advisory Committees:

  • Accessibility
  • Environmental Stewardship
  • Arts, Culture, Heritage and Recreation
  • French Language Services

See the list of advisory committees on the City of Ottawa website


City Staff

City staff manage the operations of the City and present reports to Council to receive direction. They follow the strategic plan as set by Council for each term of Council. In consulting with the public, they are to follow the principles of the City’s Public Engagement Strategy and apply the Equity and Inclusion Lens to all aspects of their work.

City staff working on a specific issue or report for Council can be contact to provide information.