Promises made. Promises kept.
Jim Watson was elected Mayor of the City of Ottawa in 2010, re-elected for a second term in 2014, and is seeking re-election on October 22, 2018.
Over the last two terms, tremendous progress on a number of important files has been made in the City of Ottawa:
- Transit: Light Rail Transit became a reality under Jim’s leadership. The first phase, the Confederation Line, will open in November 2018, and construction for Stage 2 LRT begins in 2019. Stage 2 LRT will go farther west to Moodie Drive and Algonquin College, farther East to Place d'Orléans and Trim Road, and farther south to Bowesville with a link to the Ottawa International Airport. If re-elected, Jim will work to extend rail further west to Kanata and Stittsville, farther south to Riverside South and to the Ottawa International Airport and to Gatineau over the Prince of Whales Bridge.
- Trust: Jim brought forward the most comprehensive integrity package in the province. City Hall has never been more transparent: lobbyist and gift registries, appointment of an integrity commissioner and posting of office expenses online.
- Taxes and affordability: Jim brought fiscal discipline to City Hall by keeping his commitment to cap tax increases to 2.5% or less in his 2010-2014 mandate and to 2% or less in his current mandate. The City has also maintained its excellent Moodie Aaa credit rating. As promised, parks and recreation fees were frozen for four years to keep programs affordable for families.
Learn more about why Jim is seeking re-election.
Jim has dedicated most of his career to public service in Canada's capital.
First elected as a Councillor in 1991, he was re-elected in 1994. Three years later, he was elected as the youngest Mayor in Ottawa's history with 82% of the popular vote.
Following the amalgamation of Ottawa and surrounding communities, Jim was appointed the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Tourism Commission, a federal crown corporation.
In 2003, he was elected as the Member of Provincial Parliament for Ottawa West-Nepean and immediately appointed to cabinet as Minister of Consumer and Business services.
In 2005, he was appointed as Ontario's first Minister of Health Promotion and he successfully implemented the Smoke Free Ontario Act.
Re-elected as MPP in 2007, he was promoted to Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. In that portfolio, Watson signed the largest Federal-Provincial Housing agreement in Ontario's History. In addition, he co-authored an historic agreement between the Province and Ontario's 444 municipalities that saw over $1.5 billion in social service costs removed from local property taxes.
Following his time in provincial politics, Watson was elected Mayor of the City of Ottawa in October 2010.
In his first term as Mayor, Watson oversaw the beginning of construction of the Confederation Line light rail transit line and the successful completion of the Lansdowne Park redevelopment. Watson brought renewed fiscal discipline to City Hall, bringing in the lowest tax changes several years while investing in renewed infrastructure, new community facilities and transit improvements in all parts of the city.
Jim’s first term saw the opening of the Shaw Centre, the EY Centre, TD Place, the revitalized Lansdowne Park, the Vimy Memorial Bridge, the Richcraft Sensplex East, Minto Recreation Complex – Barrhaven, the Francois Dupuis Recreation Centre, and the Richcraft Recration Complex – Kanata.
An active member of his community, Watson has served on the boards or as honourary chair of several community organizations, including the Riverside Hospital, the National Arts Centre, the Christmas Exchange of Ottawa and the Forum for Young Canadians. He served as chair of United Way's 2002 campaign, which raised a record $21 million.
An avid volunteer with several groups, he has helped serve meals at the Shepherds of Good Hope, a local soup kitchen. His commitment to those less fortunate was evident when, in August of 2000, he contributed his entire municipal severance payment of $31,000 to Ottawa's Union Mission for Men.
His years of active involvement and community service have made him the recipient of several awards and accolades, including Maclean's magazine's "100 Young Canadians To Watch," Carleton University Honours Award, the City of Ottawa's highest civic honour, the Key to the City; the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal; the Visionary Award by the Ontario Pharmacists' Association, and the National Leadership Award by the Canadian Council for Tobacco Control for his role in implementing the Smoke Free Ontario Act.
Jim was recognized for his support of the tourism industry by being named Ottawa Tourism Leader of the Year in 2012. In 2013, he was recognized by the Canadian Housing Renewal Association for his work on breaking the cycle of poverty. In 2014, Jim was named “Communicator of the Year” by the International Association of Business Communicators’ Ottawa chapter. In 2016, he was presented with the Water Leader Award by the Ottawa Riverkeeper, for his persistent leadership to prioritize the City's efforts to clean up the Ottawa River.