Council Composition Review


Your voice does not have a deadline.   Although the official city-led public engagement period ended on September 4, 2020, that doesn't mean it's too late to express your thoughts and opinions on how council will represent you in the future. 

The city-led survey results will form the basis of a report that will come back to Council in the form of a report in November.   When the report is released, you can respond to the recommendations, you can delegate to Council or write letters to members of Council.

But before that... you can still have your voice heard by your Ward 5 councillors.  Although your responses will not be included in the consolidated public input results, your answers to the survey questions below will help inform us -- your ward councillors --  in our decision-making and in our review of the forthcoming Council report. 


Send your answers to us by email at and


But first, some background reading:

Study Overview

Current Electoral System

At-Large or Wards Backgrounder

Full-time or Part-Time Councillors Backgrounder

Size of Council and Structure Backgrounder

Ward Boundary Review Backgrounder



Here is a copy of the Council Composition Review survey from the City of Guelph website:  

Council Composition Review


The City of Guelph is seeking input from citizens on its “Council Composition”. This is Phase 1 of a larger review of how citizens elect their local government representatives. 

The following survey seeks your input on:

  • The size of Council in total;
  • How Councillors should be elected from wards or at large;
  • If Councillors are to be elected from wards, how many Councillors to elect from each ward; and,
  • Whether the role is seen as a part-time or full-time position.


Thank you for your interest in how democracy works in Guelph and for your participation!




This question is here for you to explain some of your intentions and to take one step beyond the current way of doing things and toward future solutions. 

1.  What would you hope to see in 5 years as proof that the way citizens elect their Council in the City of Guelph is working well?

2.  What is your understanding of the primary role of the whole city council?

  1. A city Council is more like a “board of directors” of a company or charity, providing governance and oversight to the corporation itself.
  2. A city Council is more like a “parliament” for political debate and expression of citizen interests.
  3. Both
  4. Other (please specify)

3.  What do you see as the primary role of each individual city Councillor? Your choice does not eliminate the other roles, just underlines what you think is most important.

  1. Engagement: Councillors actively and frequently engage with the public to understand the interests of citizens and to represent those interests when making decisions.
  2. Policy: Councillors focus on creating and improving policies and not focus on day-to-day operations.
  3. Advocacy: Councillors are available and responsive when citizens ask for assistance dealing with any local issues.
  4. Administration: Councillors focus on overseeing the proper functioning of City administration.
  5. Autonomy: Councillors use their own best judgement when making decisions and citizens only get involved through elections.



Currently the City of Guelph has 12 elected Councillors plus a Mayor. How many Councillors makes the most sense from a citizen perspective? The question is deceptively simple because there is no easy answer. After making your suggestion you will be asked to explain why.

4.   What number of Councillors do you prefer for the City of Guelph?*

  1. Shrink it SMALLER than the current 12
  2. Grow it LARGER than the current 12
  3. Keep it the SAME number of 12 Councillors
  4. I don't know




Since the early 1990s, the City of Guelph has elected Councillors from 6 local wards.

A “ward” is like a “riding” in a federal or provincial parliamentary election. It has geographic boundaries and political candidates run for election within only one ward.

If you read the background document, our research indicates that most cities in Ontario the size of Guelph use a ward system. Other municipalities have tried getting rid of wards and electing representatives from across the whole city or using combination of wards and representation from across the whole city. There are important impacts on how citizens feel about being represented. Neither option is right or wrong. Each has strengths and weaknesses. What makes the most sense to you?

5.   From your perspective as a citizen, which way of electing Councillors do you think makes the most sense for the City of Guelph?*

  1. Local, “ward” based elections where you can only vote for the candidates running in your part of the city, with the exception of the mayor who is elected city wide.
  2. City-wide, “at-large” elections where everyone can vote for candidates from the whole pool of candidates.
  3. A mixed system with some ward voting and some general voting. Some councillors would be elected for wards and others city wide.
  4. It doesn't matter to me
  5. I am not sure




Currently the City of Guelph has 6 wards and citizens vote to elect 2 Councillors per ward. The previous question was about having wards or not. Assuming there will be wards, we are seeking your input on whether there should be one Councillor elected per ward or more.

6.  From a citizen of Guelph perspective, how many Councillors should be elected from each ward?*

  • Elect one councillor per ward
  • Elect more than one Councillor per ward
  • It doesn't matter to me
  • I am unsure
  1. Other (please specify)

7.  Please share your ideas about WHY you recommended that number of councillors per ward.



Currently, City Councillors in Guelph are viewed as serving on a part-time basis and are compensated accordingly. We are seeking citizen input on whether the city Councillor role should be treated as a full-time position or part-time. The background study has identified that there are some cities in the province of Ontario that employ each of these options. What makes the most sense in Guelph?

For the moment, in answering the following questions, please try to focus on how to make democracy work well in Guelph. While the cost of full-time and part-time Councillors can be calculated, your wisdom and insight cannot, so please share your thoughts in the open-ended question below.

8.  From a citizen perspective, how do you recommend that the role of city Councillor be viewed in Guelph?*

  • It is a PART-Time responsibility
  • It is a FULL-Time responsibility
  • It doesn't matter to me
  • I am unsure




To make sure this survey has reached lots of diverse people from across the city we are asking questions to learn more about you. These questions are optional. 

9.  What is your age range?   

10.  What is your postal code?

11.  Did you learn anything from this survey experience?

  • Yes
  • No

12.  Do you have any further comments?