Ottawa Vanier by-election: live-stream November 10th, 7pm

2016-11-10 - UPDATE: If you're wondering what happened to the stream, I had to end it as scheduled at 9:00. John Turmel burned up time so they kept the meeting open till 9:20, but I couldn't   ...read more...

MFIPPA: Ottawa Police Service How-to Guide

2016-11-01 - I wrote up an MFIPPA how-to guide for the City of Ottawa awhile ago. In the event you want to file an MFIPPA with the Ottawa Police Service, here's where you get started: You   ...read more...

The market price of 60 specific park-and-ride spaces

2016-10-19 - Economics is inescapable. To use something, first that something must be built. Then maintained. Then eventually replaced. Here's a short story about a the economics of 60   ...read more...

Part Lot Control: blocks and parcels and lots

2016-10-06 - Governments are fueled by their own words so I've started asking for copies of every by-law enacted after each council meeting. You can get them at ottwatch.ca/bylaws.  For   ...read more...

MFIPPA: A How-to Guide for the City of Ottawa

2016-07-15 - Everyone has the right to ask for information from the city. Here's a quick guide to get you started. First, just ask nicely. Staff genuinely want to do everything they   ...read more...

Forcing the Police Board to deal with an issue

2016-06-22 - UPDATE June 22: The police board will debate a change in policy at the next meeting, June 27th, where it would begin publishing the date/time, agenda and minutes of sub-committee   ...read more...

Sparks Street Mall Authority governance review: bumpy

2016-04-18 - Four years after starting a six-month project to revamp its taxi regime, the City of Ottawa has legalized Uber. A year and a half after being told to review the governance   ...read more...

Give me an ad Vasili

2016-11-07 - Update: After 10 months of running one ad OttWatch made $15 from Adsense. Not worth it; killed. I've decided to turn on one ad unit using Google Adsense, displayed   ...read more...

Zoning inflation: the Shania Twain effect

2016-02-29 - An interesting feature (bug?) of Ontario's land planning rules is how prescriptive our zoning rules can be. For instance as the applicants for D08-02-16/A-00037 (at Committee   ...read more...

Information Tickle Trunk

2016-02-28 - In addition to the already public data that OttWatch collects simply to make it easier to access, from time to time I ask for unique data either by media inquiries or by MFIPPA   ...read more...

Public Bathroom Map for Ottawa: a howto

2016-02-19 - This is a how-to of how I created the ottpee.ca application. This is not a how-to of how to use the bathrooms. You're on your own there. I wanted to write   ...read more...

Delegating to a City Committee

2016-02-03 - Someone asked me how they can go about delegating to a committee. Here's my email reply, which time permitting, I may fix up and make less ad-hoc over time. Delegating   ...read more...

Lebreton Redevelopment Story Collection

2016-01-27 - Hi kids. It's Lebreton redevelopment story time! Here's a collection of media stories and helpful links that I'll update as I read them. I'm only collecting things   ...read more...

A few of my favourite Joanne Chianello stories

2016-01-21 - The sad news today is that Joanne Chianello is leaving the Ottawa Citizen. I'll miss reading her work, a small portion of which I've collected here. Our election,   ...read more...

Online at last: Committee of Adjustment web presence coming in 2016

2015-11-24 - Sometime "early in the new year" the Committee of Adjustment (CoA) will start publishing its meetings and agendas using the City of Ottawa's existing e-Agenda tool.   ...read more...

Ottawa Centre #elxn42 Candidates Debate — Oct 1 — Livestream

2015-09-28 - The video stream should go live at around 6:50pm. Check back then and be ready for the 7pm start time! Of course, you should attend in person if you can! Mobile viewers might   ...read more...

If you were a ward boundary review petition, what would you look like?

2015-07-08 - It is rare that citizens are explicitely empowered to stick their fingers directly into government business. In the case of ward boundaries Ontario law lets electors put   ...read more...

Traffic cameras and a MFIPPA request

2015-06-18 - I've always been curious about the requests for traffic camera videos that regularly appear in the list of MFIPPA requests. How good is the video? Is it better than the still-frames   ...read more...

City Solicitor, DCR Phoenix and over-contributions

2015-04-20 - In Saturday's Ottawa Citizen, Joanne Chianello reported that DCR Phoenix has admitted to donating over $5,000 in total to candidates in the 2014 City of Ottawa   ...read more...

2014 Winners Donation Index and Audit Application Instructions

2015-04-17 - I just realized that the donation database can be pretty unwieldy if you try and start from the main search page. To help people get started I've collected links to just   ...read more...

Corporate Directory Search Crowdsourcing

2015-04-13 - As part of reviewing all donations to the 2014 municipal campaign I have been purchasing Corporate Profile Reports. This is important in order to determine if any two corporations   ...read more...

First Analysis of the 2014 Election Donation Index

2015-04-11 - I pulled my first all-nighter in I don't know how long and fixed up the last parts of the 2014 donation database. Thank you to the volunteers who pitched in to the digitize   ...read more...

Three Thousand Two Hundred and Nineteen - Digitizing 2014 Campaign Donations

2015-04-08 - Three Thousand Two Hundred and Nineteen. That's how many donations individudals, corporations and unions made to candidate in Ottawa's 2014 municipal election. Now I need   ...read more...

Goodwill motions: when motions are not real motions.

2015-03-26 - The Sens Mile. Playoffs. Hockey things. None of which I care about too much. But PROCEDURE can really light my fire. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, Matthew   ...read more...

A Debate Over Five Words: and the City of Ottawa

2015-03-26 - Councillor Tobi Nussbaum tabled a notice of motion (video at 1h:15m:25s) that, if passed, will have the City of Ottawa officially ask the Provincial Government for the   ...read more...

Reporters' Privacy and the Daily Media Call Summary

2015-03-02 - Last week a staff member in the City of Ottawa's communications department distributed the Daily Media Call Summary to everyone on the media distribution list, thus spilling   ...read more...

Browse and Search the 2015 Draft Budget

2015-02-08 - Ottawa is in the process of finalizing the 2015 budget. Participation from residents is very important at this stage. In addition to hosting consultations the city has released   ...read more...

Taxi Regulation Report: Uber Late with no ETA

2015-01-29 - Among Ottawa businesses we love our food trucks, music festivals, restaurants and craft beer pubs, all of which are regulated by the city in one way or another. Then we have taxis,   ...read more...

Assorted By-Laws

2016-10-12 - The City of Ottawa publishes unofficial copies of some by-laws on their website. Over time I've asked for a few of the by-laws that are not online. As I collect them I'll   ...read more...

Postmedia's conversation with the Mayor

2014-11-09 - On November 3rd, 2014, Ryan Kelahear of Hill+Knowlton, on behalf of his client Paul Godfrey (President and CEO of Postmedia), met with the Mayor of Ottawa and his staff to   ...read more...

Detailed #OttVote Results: 2014

2014-11-01 - The City of Ottawa has published detailed poll-by-poll results for the 2014 municipal election as opendata. I've pulled this information in the OttWatch database in order   ...read more...

Website Screengrabs - 2014 OttVote Edition

2014-10-27 - I've captured the "above-the-fold" images for 93 candidate websites, for posterity's sake. I wonder if municipal candidate websites will have evolved much   ...read more...

Ottawa Citizen #OttVote Candidate Survey - Index

2014-10-25 - The Ottawa Citizen put out a comprehensive questionnaire to every municipal candidate. Click through for the compilation of answers by ward. If you have links for Barrhaven and/or   ...read more...

Kitchissippi All Candidates Debate Livestream

2014-10-09 - The livestream worked! Below is the resulting 2.5 hour livestream. Here is an index of where specific questions were asked. 0h18m30s Opening Statements Questions from   ...read more...

In Support of Ottawa123 and Ranked Ballots

2014-10-03 - Thank you for visiting my OttWatch project. It's something I created to make it easier for people to participate in city politics. The good kind of politics. The kind where   ...read more...

OttWatch's avatar is...

2014-09-30 - I've wondered about how people perceive OttWatch's avatar before. Now that it came up randomly on Twitter, I thought a poll would be fun. @solemom @BegleyChris @ODonnell_K   ...read more...

OttVote Advocacy: Find Your Ward Widget

2014-08-04 - Are you involved with an advocacy group that will be lobbying candidates this fall? Want to make it easier for your supporters to find out who their candidates are? Here's   ...read more...

The Fundamentals of Municipal Finance: Seminar

2014-07-18 - (Short version: I recommend all Council candidates - and all city hall watchers for that matter - check out Lorne Cutler's seminar on municipal finance, then contact   ...read more...

Digitizing the 2014-Q1 MFIPPA disclosure list

2014-07-04 - UPDATE July 2014. Many thanks to the anonymous contributors who completed the data-entry task. "Team Citizens" (as I like to think of you all) digitized all 143 records   ...read more...

Committee of Adjustment: Agendas

2016-01-28 - Committee of Adjustment meetings are now online! It turns out 2016 is the year the CoA has entered the digital age. The city now publishes CoA meetings using the e-Agenda system,   ...read more...

Ottawa Stop Sign Requests: mapped

2014-02-02 - Right off the top full credit for map goes to Carys Mills of the Citizen for her article on stop sign requests in Ottawa. Along with the article she shared the raw data,   ...read more...

Campaign Transparency: 2003 and 2006 campaign returns

2014-02-09 - Would you like to help digitize the 2003 and 2006 campaign donations? OttWatch needs your help, even more than the last time. The crowdsourcing effort to fully digitize the   ...read more...

How to comment on Committee of Adjustment applications

2014-01-28 - If you have an opinion on a Committee of Adjustment (CoA) application the best thing to do is show up to the meeting and say your piece. But that's hard. It turns out you   ...read more...

Donations and Maps

2014-01-23 - In a Herculean effort, OttWatch community members crowdsourced the digitization of 2010 campaign finance returns for the City of Ottawa municipal election (all 4602 of them).   ...read more...

Committee of Adjustment: Panel Agendas

2014-01-20 - Photo: Richard Akerman The City of Ottawa plans to put Committee of Adjustment meeting agendas into the public e-Agenda system sometime soon (e-Agenda is the system that   ...read more...

Minority Report

2014-01-07 - Since mid-2012, City of Ottawa councillor Doug Thompson has voted against the majority will of his peers only once*. On November 26, 2013 when Council debated the Transportation   ...read more...

Inside the Lobbyist Registry

2013-11-14 - On November 14th I met with two members of the Service Ottawa team to talk about open-data and discuss with them my experiences while developing OttWatch. The purpose of   ...read more...

Tiny Zoning Tour

2013-11-07 - A brief tour of odd things you can find in the zoning layer. Where might the smallest country in the world put a diplomatic mission in the Nation's Capital? Small   ...read more...

OttWatch Publishes Freedom of Information Requests

2013-11-07 - When, if ever, should we know what the City of Ottawa has produced in response to a access to information (ATIP) request? Immediately is one answer. Never is the current   ...read more...