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Ward Boundary Review

In 2013, the City conducted a comprehensive review of Barrie's ward boundaries to develop an effective and equitable system of representation with reference to overall projected growth. The Ward Boundary Review addressed significant population differences across the City’s ten wards (both current and anticipated in the future). 

The revised ward structure, adopted by Council after the Ward Boundary Review, is being used for the purpose of conducting the 2014 Municipal Election and will come into effect with the inaugural of the 2014–2018 Council. 

Key Dates: 2013 Ward Boundary Review

On May 27th, 2013, the Staff Report regarding the Consultant Team's 2013 Ward Boundary Review Report and recommendation for revised ward boundaries was presented to General Committee.  The Consultant Team also provided a presentation regarding the 2013 Ward Boundary Review Report.   

On June 3, 2013, the staff report was referred to the next Finance and Corporate Services Committee for further consideration.  The meeting was held on Wednesday, June 19th, 2013 at 6:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber. 

On June 19, 2013, Finance and Corporate Services Committee recommended a new Ward Boundary Structure, which was considered by General Committee and City Council on Monday, June 24th, 2013

The By-law to adopt the new Structure was passed  at a special meeting on Wednesday, June 26th at 5:00 p.m. 

Notice of the Passage of the By-law to Re-divide the City of Barrie Ward Boundaries was issued on June 29, 2013

Notice of passing a by-law to change ward boundaries

RE: Passing of a By-law to Re-divide the City of Barrie Ward Boundaries

TAKE NOTICE that the Council of The Corporation of the City of Barrie passed By-law 2013-134 on the 26th day of June, 2013 pursuant to Section 222 of the Municipal Act, 2001.

AND TAKE NOTICE that By-law 2013-134 provides for the re-division of Barrie’s wards, as follows:

Ward Boundary Map

AND TAKE NOTICE that pursuant to Subsection 222(4) of the Municipal Act, 2001, any person or agency may appeal within 45 days of the passing of the by-law to the Ontario Municipal Board in respect of the by-law by filing with the Clerk of The Corporation of the City of Barrie a notice of appeal setting out the objections to the by-law and the reasons in support of the objections.  This notice of appeal must be accompanied by a certified cheque or money order in the amount of $125.00 made payable to the Minister of Finance.  Any notice of appeal must be filed with the City Clerk’s Office of the City of Barrie, at the address below, not later than 4:30 p.m. on the 12th day of August, 2013.

Additional information regarding By-Law 2013-134 may be obtained from Dawn McAlpine, City Clerk/Director of Legislative and Court Services at (705) 739-4220, ext. 4421, from the City of Barrie website, or by attending the Office of the City Clerk, 70 Collier Street, Barrie ON.

Dated at the City of Barrie this 29th day of June, 2013.

Dawn McAlpine, City Clerk/Director of Legislative and Court Services
The Corporation of the City of Barrie
70 Collier Street

PO Box 400
Barrie, Ontario, L4M 4T5

2013 Ward Boundary Review Background Information

The current ten wards had the following estimated population numbers based on the 2006 and 2011 Census data:  
Ward 2006 Census Population 2011 Census Population
1 17081 16349
2 13958 13882
3 12185 12443
4 9464 9348
5 15807 15872
6 12930 14008
7 14314 14982
8 8579 9386
9 14265 15312
10 10977 14835
TOTAL: 129560 136417


Frequently Asked Questions

When did Barrie last review its ward boundaries (prior to the 2013 Ward Boundary Review)?

Prior to the 2013 Ward Boundary Review, the City of Barrie’s ward boundaries were last reviewed in 2002 and the resulting adjustments to the ward boundaries were made effective for the 2003 Municipal Election.  The 2002 ward boundary review process recognized and incorporated anticipated growth for planned populations over a further five to seven year window (generally anticipated to be “build out” of the City of Barrie under the existing municipal boundaries), in the development of the ward structure. 

Bill 196, the Barrie-Innisfil Boundary Adjustment Act, 2009, resulted in annexation of a portion of the Town of Innisfil to the City of Barrie.  Ontario Regulation 501/09 altered the City of Barrie’s ward boundaries by adding the new lands from Innisfil to the southern most portion of the respective existing Barrie wards, resulting in the allocation of the 519 individuals in the area amongst wards 7, 8, 9 and 10.

What principles were used in reviewing Barrie’s ward boundaries?

The 2013 Ward Boundary Review in Barrie had regard for the following principles:

  • Representation by Population
    Considering representation by population or every Councillor generally representing an equal number of constituents within his or her respective wards. Given the geography and varying population densities and characteristics of the City, a degree of variation will be acceptable.
  • Population and Electoral Trends
    Accommodating for and balancing future increases or decreases in population growth/decline to maintain a general equilibrium in the representation by population standard, until the year 2018 (at minimum).  
  • Means of Communication and Accessibility
    Arranging ward boundaries by primary and secondary road patterns, railway and public transit accesses, telephone exchanges, postal codes and servicing capabilities to help foster an identity and neighbourhood groupings.
  • Geographic and Topographical Features
    Utilizing geographical and topographical features to provide for ward boundaries and compact and contiguous areas (similar to the use of man made features).   
  • Community or Diversity of Interests
    Recognizing settlement patterns, traditional neighbourhoods and community groupings (social, historical, economic, religious and political diversities) while, at the same time, not fragmenting a municipality.
  • Effective Representation
    Considering an overriding principle of effective representation as described by the Supreme Court of Canada in its decision on the Carter case.
Was the public consulted about changes to Barrie’s ward boundaries?

The City retained Watson & Associates Economists Ltd. and Dr. Robert Williams, Professor Emeritus, University of Waterloo, to facilitate the review.

Community representatives and residents were invited to share their thoughts and help ensure effective representation for all Barrie's residents. Watson & Associates Economists Ltd. and Dr. Robert Williams  prepared the following draft options for public feedback:

Option 1         Option 2         Option 3         Option 4

Three public consultation sessions took place as follows:

April 18th at 7:00pm,  Painswick Library
April 24th at 7:00pm,  City Hall (Huronia Room)
April 25th at 7:00pm,  Dorian Parker Centre 

A comment sheet was made available at these consultation sessions, with a deadline for submission of no later than May 3rd, 2013.

How was the Review be done and how long did it take?

The Review had several main phases:

  • PHASE 1, February – March  2013
    Consultant conducted a review of background data and initiated consultation process
  • PHASE 2, March – April 2013
    Consultant  formulated draft options for revised ward boundaries and undertook public consultation on draft options
  • PHASE 3, May 27, 2013 - June 2013
    Prepared final options and report for presentation to General Committee (May 27, 2013) & Council (then subsequently referred to Finance and Corporate Services for further consideration) 
What were the responsibilities of the consultants?

Watson & Associates Economists Ltd. (Watson & Associates) and Dr. Robert J. Williams brought together extensive experience across a diverse range of expertise related to population forecasting, growth modelling, electoral system evaluations and ward boundary designs across the Province and beyond. The consultants were responsible for:

  • Research
  • Public consultation
  • Formulation of options
  • Final report and recommendations

Watson & Associates Economists Ltd.

Watson & Associates is one of Canada’s leading land economics firms, known for their quality of analysis and insightful interpretation of the issues at hand.  Watson & Associates has served municipalities, school boards, Provincial Ministries/agencies throughout Ontario for more than 30 years.  Over this time period, the firm has undertaken numerous studies related to housing and population forecasting, growth management studies and ward boundary reviews. 

Dr. Robert Williams, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, University of Waterloo

Robert J. Williams was a faculty member in the Department of Political Science, University of Waterloo, from 1971 until he took early retirement at the end of 2006. He completed a B.A. and M.A. at McMaster University and a Ph.D. in Political Science at the University of Toronto. He presently holds the designation Professor Emeritus. Throughout his career, his research and teaching interests have included municipal government, Ontario and Canadian politics and electoral systems.

Since retirement, Dr. Williams independently designed and evaluated electoral systems in urban and urbanizing municipalities. He has served as an expert witness at numerous Ontario Municipal Board hearings on electoral systems and ward boundaries, beginning in the late 1980s and continuing until 2010. He appeared as both a consultant and volunteer at those hearings. He has also provided advice and support for successful ward boundary reviews to municipal clerks in Waterloo Region and was a member of a joint staff-citizen advisory committee that designed the ward system implemented in the City of Waterloo for the 2006 municipal election.

In early 2008, he was awarded a contract to conduct a ward boundary review for the City of Kitchener. In 2009, he was retained by the Town of Milton, the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville, the Town of New Tecumseth and the City of Windsor to conduct ward boundary reviews. Dr. Williams served in an advisory capacity to the Clerk in the Town of Ajax on that municipality’s review. Dr. Williams also worked in collaboration with Watson and Associates on a ward boundary review in the Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury and the Town of Gravenhurst.

He also appeared in 2009 and 2010 as an expert witness before the Ontario Municipal Board on behalf of petitioners in the Town of Kearney, the City of Vaughan and the Town of East Gwillimbury on matters pertaining to the electoral arrangements in those municipalities.

In 2011, Dr. Williams prepared a report for the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board providing recommendations as to the optimal number or range of numbers of councillors for each of Halifax and Cape Breton Regional Councils. Between 2011–2013, Dr. Williams conducted ward boundary reviews for the Town of Oakville and the City of Markham and served in an advisory capacity to the Clerk in the City of Brantford for its ward boundary review.

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