Opening the doors to city hall

How City Government Works

Ottawa City Council

The City of Ottawa has a 24-member Council composed of the Mayor, representing the City as a whole, and 23 Councillors. The Councillors represent 23 wards within the City of Ottawa. Members of Council are elected for a 4-year term of office.

City Council is the decision-making body responsible for turning community needs into municipal services — from human services, such as social services and housing, to hard services, like roads and waste management.

Standing Committees

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 comprised solely of elected representatives with exception of Transit Commission which includes residents. It is at the Standing Committee level where residents can make presentations to express their views. Most decisions made by Standing Committees require final approval by City Council.

Ottawa Standing Committees:

Source: City of Ottawa, website

Council and standing committee meetings

When council meets

City Council usually meets at 10 a.m. on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month, except in March, July, August and December. Special Council meetings, Committees-of-the-whole, are called as needed, especially at budget time. All meetings are held at City Hall.

Council and standing committee meetings are advertised in the City page in Friday’s edition of Ottawa’s daily newspapers, as well as on the city website. For more information, contact a Committee Coordinator, listed on the city web-site.

Open to the public

Open to the public

Council and standing committee meetings are open to the public, unless an in-camera session is called.

  • You can sit in the public gallery to observe
  • You can watch on Rogers Television cable 22. (Rogers télé-communautaire 23, en français).

You can also view meetings live on the city website

Sign up now to receive your City Council Update via e-mail, within days of every Council meeting. It’s simple to register for this free service, and just as easy to unregister if you so choose.

Advisory Committees

Advisory Committees

The City of Ottawa also has advisory committees, composed entirely of volunteers, who provide advice to City Council on specifically mandated areas of interest. These committees contribute to the development of policies, programs and initiatives that enhance Ottawa’s quality of life.

City Staff – Who Makes Decisions?

City Staff- Who Makes Decisions?

See the main administrative structure of the City