Ward Boundary Review

Why a Ward Boundary Review?

  • The City of Hamilton's population has gone up more than 30,000 people since the last review in 2001
  • To ensure effective representation for all citizens

The City is working with Watson and Associates Economists Ltd., as well as Dr. Robert J. Williams, Trust Learning Solutions and ICA Associates Inc. The consultants will operate independently from Council and City staff as they work with residents and stakeholders to design possible ward boundary lines.

Guiding principles

The City will use these guiding principles to ensure options for change are determined in a fair and open process that will benefit the City as a whole.

  1. Representation by Population
    Ensure that every Councillor represents an equal number of constituents while allowing for some variation
  2. Population and Electoral Trends
    Look at future increases or decreases in population to keep ward sizes as balanced as possible until at least 2018
  3. Means of Communication and Accessibility
    Group existing neighbourhoods into wards that reflect current transportation and communication patterns
  4. Geographical and Topographical Features
    Use natural features as ward boundaries while keeping wards as compact as possible
  5. Community or Diversity of Interests
    Draw ward boundary lines around recognized settlement areas, traditional neighbourhoods, and community groupings, not through them 
  6. Effective Representation
    Evaluate the capacity of each ward to give residents an effective voice in decision-making

Current ward structure

  • City Council consists of an elected Mayor and 15 Ward Councillors

Image of current ward boundary map

The ward boundary review study began in October 2015. Ward boundary options and the consultants' report will be presented to Council in fall 2016.

Phase 1 (complete)


  • Review data
  • Develop public engagement strategy
  • Gather information on the present ward system

Phase 2 (complete)


  • Public meetings
  • Consultation sessions will be held to look at the current wards and future options

Phase 3 (complete)


Phase 4



Phase 1 and 2 summary and resources

Participants in the round one of public consultations (February 2016) ranked the guiding principles in order of importance.

Principles ranked highest:

  • Representation by population
  • Population and electoral trends
  • Community or diversity of interests

Principles ranked lowest:

  • Means of communication and accessibility
  • Geographical and topographical features

The principle of “Effective Representation” is an overarching principle that takes all the others into consideration.

This input from citizens is important because the options offered for consideration in this second round of consultations attempt to hold these prioritized principles. 


Project resources

Additional resources will be posted as they become available.

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