The City is conducting a ward boundary review to ensure that residents receive fair representation at their local council table.

The current ward structure has been in place for approximately 40 years with the exception of a minor change to the City’s ward boundaries in 2005.

The review will identify effective and equitable electoral arrangements for the 2022 municipal election and beyond, taking into account changes in the size and distribution of Pickering’s population since the present wards were established, as well as the City’s forecasted population growth.

How well do you know Pickering? Try our brainteaser to test your knowledge.

Watch our animation to learn more about the Ward Boundary Review process. 

Phase 1 virtual open houses were held on October 7 and 15, 2020. Check out the community engagement section below to access the open house video and complete the survey or simply click the “Complete the Survey” button below to provide your input.

Complete the survey


Current Ward Representation

Pickering is currently divided into three wards. Use the ward map to find out what ward you are in, or search your ward by address using our Interactive Ward Map.

Pickering City Council is comprised of a Mayor, 3 Regional Councillors and 3 City Councillors. The Mayor is elected by voters across the entire City, while the Regional and City Councillors are elected by voters in one of the 3 respective wards.

The Mayor and Regional Councillors sit on both the City Council and the Council of the Regional Municipality of Durham. The City Councillors sit on City Council only. 


The City has retained Watson & Associates Economists Ltd. and Dr. Robert J. Williams to conduct the comprehensive and independent Ward Boundary Review. 

The consultant team and their expertise with ward boundary reviews will ensure that all relevant factors are taken into account to achieve effective representation for all residents. The Review will be carried out in accordance with the Terms of Reference which provide guiding principles focused on five key areas:

  1. Representation by Population
  2. Protection of Communities of Interest
  3. Current and Future Population Trends
  4. Physical Features as Natural Boundaries
  5. Effective Representation

View the Terms of Reference

Reports to Council

Report Number: CLK 01-20
Date: July 27, 2020

Report Number: CLK 05-19
Date: December 2, 2019

Community Engagement

Phase 1 virtual open houses were held on October 7 and 15, 2020. If you were unable to participate, you can view the open house session and complete the survey.

Phase 2 open houses will be scheduled for early 2021. Check back for more details!

Discussion Paper

Pickering 2020 Ward Boundary Review Discussion Paper [PDF]

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Ward?

A ward is a geographical division of a city or town for administrative or political purposes.

What is a Ward Boundary Review?

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. Pickering’s system of representation consists of a seven-member Council, composed of a Mayor and six Councillors, two representing each of the three wards, one a Regional Councillor and one a City Councillor.

Why is Pickering conducting a Ward Boundary Review?

The City of Pickering was established under provincial legislation at the beginning of 1974. The present ward boundaries have not been modified since 1982 with one exception, a minor adjustment in 2005. See the Interactive Ward Map.

Despite being familiar to many Pickering residents, the wards themselves should be seen as “temporary” not permanent: wards normally have a limited lifespan since they are designed to capture the distribution of population at a given time. When that population distribution changes, the wards should change, meaning that the collections of identifiable neighbourhoods and communities within the City should be regrouped to achieve a more equitable ward system.

When Pickering was created, the population was less than 40,000; in 2020 it is approximately 92,000 and will grow by a further 40,000 – 50,000 by 2030, primarily in the present Ward 3. Moreover the population growth has not been uniform across the City and future growth will be concentrated in the northern parts of the City.

What does a Ward Boundary Review mean for me?
Pickering’s Council makes important decisions about the City that impact your daily life. The City is responsible for Fire Services, Community Centres, an Official Plan for land uses within the City, standards for property maintenance, the maintenance of playgrounds, boulevards and green space plus much more.

A successful ward system should ensure that all areas of the municipality are represented in such a way that your voice and needs are reflected fairly and accurately in council decision making on these and other topics.

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. One preliminary question will be to confirm whether having three City Councillors (the same number as when Pickering’s population was under 40,000) is sufficient from a democratic perspective to provide effective representation to a City twice that size and growing.

The WBR will begin by evaluating the suitability of the present wards using the guiding principles established in the Terms of Reference for Pickering’s Ward Boundary Review and will apply the principles to all proposed alternatives.

Terms of Reference

1. Representation by Population

2. Protection of Communities of Interest

3. Current and Future Population Trends

4. Physical Features as Natural Boundaries

5. Effective Representation

No ward system design can uniformly meet all the guiding principles since some criteria may work at cross-purposes to one another.  As well, different observers will prioritize certain principles over others. Ultimately, the final ward design should be the one that best fulfills as many of the guiding principles as possible.

Effective representation will serve as a kind of summary evaluation built around the other four principles.  For example,

  • Are the individual wards proposed plausible and coherent units of representation?
  • Do they provide equitable access to councillors for residents of the municipality?
  • Are the proposed wards of a size, scale, and shape that a representative can serve her or his constituents successfully?

In sum, do the wards constitute a system that can be judged on balance to deliver effective representation even if some of the specific principles are only partially successful?

What is Effective Representation?

The concept of “effective representation” has become an integral part of the evaluation of electoral systems in Canada.

To help ensure that a municipal council effectively represents the population of the community within the limits imposed by the social and natural environment, it is important to make voter parity (“representation by population”) a priority but also to consider other important factors, including geography, community history, community interests and minority representation. According to the Supreme Court of Canada, all these factors contribute to meaningful on-going representation after the election which is captured in the “overriding” principle of effective representation. When a Councillor casts a vote around the council table, each one should be reflecting roughly the same number of the City’s residents.

Who is conducting the Pickering Ward Boundary Review?

The City has retained Watson and Associates Economists Ltd. and Dr. Robert Williams to conduct a comprehensive and independent WBR through a process established by Council (see CLK 05-19.)

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 Pickering and design alternatives consistent with the guiding principles.

How and when will the Ward Boundary Review be conducted?

Discovery - December 2019

First, the consultants will gather information on the present ward system from interviews with municipal staff and elected officials, and compile data on the present and projected population.

Development - Fall 2020/Winter 2020

The consultants will assess the present ward boundaries and develop alternative designs.

Engagement - October 2020 and Spring 2021

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:

  • Public consultation sessions (i.e. open houses) will be held virtually to advise the public and gain their feedback.

Surveys will be available during the sessions, as well as on this website 

Approval / Adoption - 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,
  • adopt a by-law divide, redivide or dissolve existing wards.

Reconsideration (if required) - August 2021

Municipal electors may appeal ward boundary decisions to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (formerly the Ontario Municipal Board) once a by-law has been adopted.

Who should I contact for more information about the Ward Boundary Review

Phone: 905.420.4611

Share your Feedback

Share your feedback by taking our survey.

If you cannot access the on-line survey, paper copies are available at City Hall and the Pickering Public Library, Central Library Branch.

Please submit survey responses by October 30, 2020.