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Ottawa Residents Have Concerns Over Proposed Boundary Expansion

[Ottawa – May 25, 2020] Ottawa residents are expressing concerns over City staff’s recommendation to expand Ottawa’s urban boundary by up to 1,650 hectares. In a survey of 525 Ottawa residents, seven in ten (70 per cent) say such a move will put additional pressure on City services, and a similar proportion (69 per cent) feel this plan will increase greenhouse gas emissions in the region. More that half say the plan will also lead to greater traffic congestion (55 per cent) and higher taxes for City residents (55 per cent). The perception that taxes would increase is most strongly tied to opposition for such an expansion.

At the same time, many residents acknowledge an upside to expanding Ottawa’s urban boundary; more than one in three respondents (38 per cent) see this type of expansion as leading to increased housing affordability in Ottawa. In fact, perceived increase in housing affordability, along with not believing that taxes would increase, are most strongly tied to support for such an expansion.

All in all, half of respondents (52 per cent) say they oppose the boundary expansion, whereas one-third (31 per cent) support the move. Opposition is somewhat higher in Ottawa’s inner core. Support is higher among men and those under 35, the latter of whom are significantly more likely to say boundary expansion could improve housing affordability in the City.


This survey was conducted using High Definition Interactive Voice Response (HD-IVR™) technology, which allows respondents to enter their preferences by punching the keypad on their phone, rather than telling them to an operator. In an effort to reduce the coverage bias of landline only RDD, we created a dual landline/cell phone RDD sampling frame for this research. As a result, we are able to reach those with a landline and cell phone, as well as cell phone only households and landline only households.

The field dates for this survey are May 20-23, 2020. The survey was conducted in both English and French. In total, a random sample of 525 Ottawa residents aged 18 and over responded to the survey. The margin of error associated with the total sample is +/- 4.3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The margin of error increases when the results are sub-divided (i.e., error margins for sub-groups such as region, gender, and age). All the data have been statistically weighted to ensure the sample’s composition reflects that of the actual population of Ottawa according to Census data.

This survey was commissioned by Councillors Catherine McKenney, Shawn Menard, and Jeff Leiper.

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