Applying a Climate Lens to Ottawa’s Official Plan

We are at a critical moment when global commitments, national policies, and local planning must work together to combat climate change and its impacts. Ottawa has seen increases in temperature, precipitation, heatwaves, flooding and tornadoes. Applying a climate lens in developing Ottawa’s new Official Plan was, therefore, a priority action approved by City Council in 2020, along with setting aggressive new targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 100% by 2050. This presentation will explain how Ottawa incorporated climate change considerations into its land use and growth management policies. Strategic goals were applied to multiple sections of the Plan using two distinct pathways: a mitigation pathway to reduce emissions, and an adaptation pathway to address the impacts of climate change.

Canada’s First Transect Official Plan

Ottawa’s new Official Plan is Canada’s first big-city plan to eschew the mid-20th Century land-use-based planning policy framework in favour of a Transect-based framework focused on form and function. The new Plan represents a milestone for the city as it surpasses the one million population mark and opens the O-Train system as the backbone of its transit network. The Transect-based plan aims to establish policy goals, objectives and approaches that are sensitive to context, capturing the range of environments for which the municipality plans (Downtown, Inner Urban, Outer Urban, Greenbelt, Suburban and Rural). It also sets the stage for evolution from suburban to urban, following the concentric rings that radiate from the downtown out.