Ward Boundary Review

The City of Vaughan is undertaking a comprehensive review of its ward boundaries. A ward is a geographical division of a city or town for administrative or political purposes. The Ward Boundary Review will assess if the current wards constitute an effective, equitable and democratic system of representation and, if not, to propose alternatives. Watch a video that explains more about ward boundaries and the City’s review process.

Citizens were invited to attend one of four virtual public open houses to learn review alternative ward structures, view maps, provide input and ask questions. Thank you to all those who attended. Public input to the Ward Boundary Review will be examined in detail by the consulting team to learn what is important to residents of Vaughan.


For those who were unable to attend one of the four virtual public open houses, view a summary of the alternative ward structures presentation (PDF). As well, citizens are encouraged to review the three proposed alternate ward boundary configurations through the virtual interactive mapping tool.

Frequently Asked Question

Find answers to some frequently asked questions about Ward Boundary Review below.


A ward is a geographical area or division of a city or town for administrative or political purposes. For example, citizens living in each of these areas elect one local councillor per ward. Most cities elect Councillors from wards in this format. Some cities elect Councillors from across the city (at-large). Vaughan’s system of representation consists of a nine-member Council, composed of the Mayor as the Head of Council, three Local and Regional Councillors (elected at-large) and five Local Councillors (each representing one ward). Based on a decision made by York Regional Council, Vaughan citizens will have the option to elect at large a fourth Regional Councillor in the 2022 municipal election.


A Ward Boundary Review is a task conducted on behalf of a municipality to assess whether the present wards constitute an effective, equitable and democratic system of representation and, if not, to propose alternatives.


The Town of Vaughan was created by provincial legislation in 1971 as an amalgamation of the Village of Woodbridge and portions of the Townships of Vaughan and King. The Police Villages of Thornhill and Maple were dissolved, with their responsibilities taken over by the newly created municipality. In 1991, the municipality achieved official city status.


Although the municipality began with all Members of Council elected at-large, a ward system was established in 1985. The configuration was modified in an Ontario Municipal Board (OMB), now known as the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal, order in 1994 from three wards electing a total of five Councillors to five wards each electing one Councillor. Some minor boundary changes were approved before the 2000 and 2006 municipal elections. A by-law passed by Council following a staff-run review was appealed to the OMB in 2009. The existing boundaries date from the OMB’s 2009 order. In 2016, an independent boundary review brought an alternative configuration to Council, but it was not adopted.
Over the last decade, Vaughan’s population has grown by more than 28 per cent (2006 to 2016), but the growth has not been uniform across the city and has resulted in population disparity among the five wards. The City is seeking a ward system that represents each of its residents equitably and effectively.


Vaughan’s Council makes important decisions about the municipality that impact your daily life. While the Mayor and the three (soon to be four) Local and Regional Councillors are elected by the entire city, the five Local Councillors are elected in separate wards. It is these electoral districts that are under consideration in this review.
A successful ward system should ensure that all areas of the municipality are represented fairly and accurately so that your voice and needs are reflected in Council decision-making.


The objective of the Ward Boundary Review is to assess whether Vaughan’s present wards are continuing to provide  effective, equitable and democratic representation. This will be achieved by evaluating the suitability of the present wards or new proposed wards using the following guiding principles, in accordance with the Directions for Ward Boundary Review and Council Composition Review, presented to Council in May 2020:

  • representation by population
  • consideration of current and future population trends
  • consideration of physical and natural boundaries
  • consideration of communities of interest
  • 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 from questions like:

  • Are the individual wards proposed reasonable and clear 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 a Councillor’s constituents successfully?
  • Do the wards constitute a system that can be judged to deliver effective representation even if some of the specific principles are only partially successful?  
  • What does “effective representation” mean?

The concept of “effective representation” has become an integral part of the evaluation of electoral systems in Canada.
To help ensure a municipal Council effectively represents the population of the community, 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, considering all these factors constitutes the overriding principle of effective representation.


The City of Vaughan has retained Watson and Associates Economists Ltd., ICA Associates, Dr. Robert Williams and Dr. Zachary Spicer to conduct a comprehensive and independent Ward Boundary Review through a process established by Council. Together, the consulting team has conducted more than 20 ward boundary reviews in Ontario. They will use their experience to assess the present electoral arrangements in Vaughan and design alternatives consistent with the guiding principles.
This consulting team has been hired to provide neutral, expert recommendations to Council for consideration. The report to Council requires the wisdom and input of citizens. There will be several opportunities for citizen input in the review. In the end, it is up to the Mayor and Council to decide on any changes to the ward boundaries well ahead of the next election in 2022.
A final report will be submitted to Council, who will:

  • determine how Members of Council are elected (i.e. in wards or at-large).
  • divide, re-divide or dissolve existing wards.
  • December 2020 to January 2021: stakeholder interviews, online open houses, launch project website and first survey
  • January to February 2021: development of alternatives
  • March 2021: second round of consultations, online open houses and second survey of responses to many alternatives
  • April 2021: development of recommendations
  • May 2021: report to Council
  • June 2021: Council decision

For questions and to sign up to recieve updates, contact wardboundary@vaughan.ca.