Ward Boundary Review

The Township of Cavan Monaghan is undertaking a Ward Boundary Review (W.B.R.).  The Township has retained Watson & Associates Economists Ltd., in association with Dr. Robert J. Williams, to conduct the Review.  The following provides context to the Review, including the study objectives, process, and schedule, as well as the guiding principles.  The guiding principles will help guide the development of ward boundary options for Council to consider for adoption.

The attached map shows each of the three wards in the Township, Cavan, North Monaghan and Millbrook.  If you are unsure of what ward you are in, you can use the interactive map.  Type your address into the address bar on the top right hand side of the screen.  

Community Feedback and Public Information Sessions

Have your say by filling out our online survey or by attending one of four Public Information Sessions being held throughout October and November. If you are unable to attend any of the virtual sessions, they will be available on the Township's Youtube Channel.  We encourage you to watch them at your convenience.  

Study Objectives

The project has several key tasks, as follows:

  • Develop a clear understanding of the present ward structure.  Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the present system and explore alternative options.
  • Develop and conduct an appropriate consultation process in accordance with the Township’s public engagement practices in the light of the present public health emergency.
  • Prepare population projections to 2030 and evaluate alternative electoral structures for the 2022, 2026 and 2030 municipal elections, and
  • Write and deliver a report that will set out alternative ward boundaries to ensure effective and equitable electoral arrangements for the Township.

Guiding Principles

There are no standard practices, terms of reference, criteria, or guiding principles, either in provincial legislation or regulation, that can be used to evaluate the municipality’s electoral system.  Instead, municipalities look to relevant Ontario Municipal Board (now the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal) decisions, case law such as Reference re Provincial Electoral Boundaries (Sask.), [1991] (“the Carter decision”), and best practices followed in other municipalities, to establish appropriate guiding principles.  The following guiding principles have been developed from such sources and will apply to the W.B.R. in Cavan Monaghan.

The objective of the W.B.R. is to evaluate the suitability of the present wards in terms of the guiding principles and to develop alternative designs that are consistent with these principles.

 Effective Representation
When defining effective representation as the right protected by the Charter, the Supreme Court of Canada noted that the relative parity of voting power was a prime, but not an exclusive condition of effective representation.  Deviations can be justified where the consideration of other factors, such as geography, community history, community interests, and minority representation would result in a legislative body that was more representative of Canada’s diversity.  According to the Court, considering all these factors provides effective representation.
 Representation by Population
  • Voters should be equally represented, and wards should have reasonably equal population totals.  Voter parity should be the goal of W.B.R.s.
  • Population size variances of between plus or minus 25 to 33 percent are generally accepted as the maximum variance to achieve voter parity.
 Representation of Communities of Interest

The Carter decision recognizes that the protection of communities of interest may justifiably override the principle of voter parity where the inclusion of a community of interest will lead to a system that is more representative of the Township’s diversity.  The Court did not define what constitutes a community of interest; however, it has been leveraged in Ontario Municipal Board appeals to recognize historical settlement patterns or existing communities and to represent social, historical, economic, religious, linguistic, or political groups. 

 Population & Electoral Trends

W.B.R.s should consider future changes in ward population.  Being mindful of anticipated population trends will ensure that a ward and its residents are neither advantaged nor disadvantaged because of development activity throughout the Township.  W.B.R.s should take into consideration anticipated changes in population of a period of twelve years, or three elections.

 Geographical and Topographical Features as Boundaries

Ward boundaries will be drawn impartially and with consideration to using distinct physical and geographic features.  Physical features should be leveraged as they create pre-existing boundaries which naturally divide Township residents and may facilitate the effective representation of the ward’s residents.

Study Process

 Task 1: Project Initiation, Information Gathering and Research

At the outset of the study process, members of the Consultant Team conferred with key municipal staff to discuss details of the proposed consultation, the scope of the project activities, deliverables, and the draft schedule for the project.  The Consultant Team will also undertake research on the present and historical electoral arrangements in Cavan Monaghan, as well as relevant academic and public  

 Task 2:  Interviews with the Mayor and Members of Council

Interviews will be conducted to understand and evaluate the operation of the current electoral structure and to determine what directions might be considered in developing ward boundaries.

 Task 3:  Compilation of Existing and Forecast Population, and G.I.S. Data Modelling

Using latest development data, discussions with Township planning staff and growth projections data, utilize geographic information systems (G.I.S.) software to represent existing 2020 population, forecast growth (2020 to 2030), and future year population in a spatial format.

 Task 4:  Public Consultation (Round 1) 

Public consultation is a valuable part of the W.B.R. and will be conducted in a format consistent with physical distancing protocols being enforced during the COVID-19 public health emergency.  The Round 1 consultation is intended to inform the public on the W.B.R. process and the guiding principles detailed in the Terms of Reference for the project.  Opportunities will be provided to permit participants to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the current ward structure, the guiding principles and their relative importance for consideration in the development of alternatives, including the identification of communities of interest.  Responses from participants will be collected through a survey available on the Township website and in other appropriate formats; the input received from the consultation will inform the development of the preliminary ward boundary options.

 Task 5:  Evaluation of the Existing Ward Structure

The degree to which the current ward boundary configuration is effective and equitable based on the guiding principles will be evaluated.

 Task 6:  Development of Preliminary Ward Boundary Alternatives

A number of preliminary ward boundary alternative configurations will be developed for the Township. Each alternative will be developed and evaluated in terms of the guiding principles identified. 

 Task 7:  Public Consultation (Round 2)

Following the format for Round 1, the consultant will seek public perceptions of the preliminary alternatives based on a draft report.  Responses from participants will be collected through a survey available on the Township’s website and in other appropriate formats; the input received from the consultation will inform the development of the alternative ward boundary options to be presented to Township Council.

 Task 8:  Finalization of Alternatives

Further analysis and evaluation of preliminary alternatives based on feedback will be conducted and alternatives will be finalized. 

 Task 9:  Prepare Reports

A draft and a final report will be prepared which will present the finalized ward boundary alternatives, including recommended alternatives, and be presented to Township Council.  Once Council has made its decision, a final set of maps will be provided to the Township in support of the necessary by-law. 

Ward Boundary Review Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

 What is a Ward Boundary Review?
A ward is a geographical division of a city, town or township for administrative or political purposes.

A Ward Boundary Review (WBR) is a task conducted on behalf of a municipality to assess whether the present wards constitute an effective and equitable system of representation and, if not, to propose alternatives.

Cavan Monaghan is governed by a five-member Council, composed of a Mayor, a Deputy Mayor and three local Councillors who represent the wards of Cavan, Millbrook and North Monaghan. In addition, the Mayor and Deputy Mayor also represent Cavan Monaghan on the County of Peterborough council. 

Ward Boundary Map - static

Ward Boundary Map - Interactive

 Why is Cavan Monaghan Conducting a Ward Boundary Review?
The ward boundaries in Cavan Monaghan have not been reviewed since 1998. Since then, The Township’s population has grown by approximately 15% and is expected to continue growing.

 

In addition, growth has not been uniform and over the next decade will continue to be concentrated in specific areas. This means that there is a significant variation in population between wards. The Township aspires to a ward system that represents each of its residents equally.

 Cavan Ward Population
 2016 Census Population: 5,839
 Millbrook Ward Population
 2016 Census Population: 1,745
 North Monaghan Population
 North Monaghan Ward: 1,245
 What Does a Ward Boundary Review Mean for Me?

Cavan Monaghan’s Council makes important decisions about the Municipality that impact your daily life. The three councillors in the Township are elected in separate wards. A successful ward system should ensure that all areas of the Municipality are represented fairly and accurately so that your voice and needs are reflected in Council decision-making. 

The ward boundary review is being completed to ensure that the electoral system functions in a way that is representative of the entire community.

 What Will Be Considered in the Ward Boundary Review?

The objective of the WBR is to ensure that residents benefit from an effective and equitable system of representation. This will be achieved by evaluating the suitability of the present or proposed wards using these guiding principles: 

  • Effective representation
  • Representation by population (relative population parity) 
  • Communities of interest (recognize community groupings/avoid fragmenting communities of interest)
  • Future population trends (consider population for 3 election cycles)
  • Physical and natural boundaries (easily recognizable, make use of permanent natural features)
 Who is Conducting the Ward Boundary Review?

The Municipality has retained Watson and Associates Economists Ltd. and Dr. Robert Williams to conduct a comprehensive and independent WBR through a process established by Council.

Together the consultant team has conducted over twenty ward boundary reviews in Ontario. They will use their experience to assess the present electoral arrangements in Cavan Monaghan and design alternatives consistent with the guiding principles.

 How and When Will the Ward Boundary Review be Conducted?
 
 Discovery - October 2020
 The consultants will assess the present ward boundaries and develop alternative designs.
 Engagement - 1st Round December 2020/2nd Round TBD

Public consultation is essential for the review process to be legitimate and effective, by allowing the community to provide input on the current and proposed ward boundary structures. The first phase of public consultation will focus on the evaluation of the existing wards and gathering information on which of the guiding principles should be prioritized. The second phase of public consultation will focus primarily on ward boundary reconfiguration options.

  • Public consultation sessions (i.e. open houses) will be held virtually to advise the public and gain their feedback. Visit the Township’s website for information. 
  • Surveys will be available during the open house sessions, as well as on this website
 Approval/Adoption - Before June 2021

A final report will be submitted to Council, who will:

  • determine how members of council are elected (i.e. in wards or at-large); and
  • divide, re-divide or dissolve existing wards.
 Reconsideration (if Required) - Before September 2021

Municipal electors may also petition Council or appeal ward boundary decisions to the Local Planning

Appeal Tribunal (formerly the Ontario Municipal Board.)

Who should I contact for More Information about the Ward Boundary Review?

Elana Arthurs - Clerk Township of Cavan Monaghan

Tel: 705-932-2929

Email: earthurs@cavanmonaghan.net 

* In the light of the pandemic, public consultation will be implemented in accordance with the Township of Cavan Monaghan’s public engagement practices, in a format consistent with required social distancing protocols. The sessions will be converted to live meetings as soon as such events are permitted.