Ward Boundary Review

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The Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville has six wards - three in ‘rural’ areas and three in the Community of Stouffville. Each is represented by one councillor.

According to Town policy, a ward boundary review must be conducted after the conclusion of three municipal elections to recognize the impacts of growth and its implications on representation. The last ward boundary review was conducted in 2009; therefore, a new study had to be completed before next year’s election.

Therefore, over the last seven months, Town staff and consultants Watson and Associates Economists Ltd. conducted an in-depth study of the boundaries. This study involved research, community and stakeholder engagement and the development of options on how a new ward system could be laid out in Whitchurch-Stouffville.

On March 23, Council was presented with the new ward options. They choose a new system that had two ‘rural’ wards and four ‘urban’ wards.

Each new ‘rural’ ward is physically larger than its predecessor, with Ward One’s eastern boundary now being McCowan Road north of Vandorf Sideroad, and Highway 48 south of Vandorf Sideroad. Ward One now includes both Vandorf and Gormley.

Except for the Sleepy Hollow Estates, Ward Two now extends south from Davis Drive to Bethesda Sideroad. It now encompasses Ballantrae, Musselman’s Lake and Bloomington.

Some significant changes have been made in the Community of Stouffville, most notably the inclusion of Ward Three within the community’s boundaries. Ward Three had previously been in the Gormley area.

Ward Three is now east of the Tenth Line and south of Bloomington Sideroad. Over 5,700 people currently live in this area. However, it is expected to grow to over 11,400 people by 2030 due to new developments at the old flea market site and the new Lincolnville GO station area.

Wards Four, Five and Six are now almost perfect rectangles.

Ward Four is now bounded by Highway 48, the Markham-Stouffville border, the Ninth Line and Bethesda Sideroad.

Ward Five is now bounded by the Ninth Line, Main Street, the Tenth Line and Bethesda Sideroad.

Ward Six is now bounded by the Ninth Line, the Markham-Stouffville border, the Tenth Line and Main Street.

For complete descriptions of the new wards, download the full Ward Boundary Report. All ward boundaries become effective for the next municipal election in October 2022.





Study Background



Study Objectives

The project has a number of key objectives. The Review will:

  • Develop a clear understanding of the present ward structure. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the present system and explore alternative options;
  • Develop and conduct an appropriate consultation process in accordance with the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville’s public engagement practices in the light of the present public health emergency;
  • Prepare population projections to 2030 for the development and evaluate alternative electoral structures for the 2022, 2026 and 2030 municipal elections; and
  • Write and deliver a report that will set out alternative ward boundaries to ensure effective and equitable electoral arrangements for the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville.


Guiding Principles

There are no standard practices, terms of reference, criteria, or guiding principles either in provincial legislation or regulation, that can be used to evaluate the municipality’s electoral system. Instead, municipalities look to relevant Ontario Municipal Board (now the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal) decisions, case law such as Reference re Provincial Electoral Boundaries (Sask.), [1991] (“the Carter decision”) and best practices followed in other municipalities to establish appropriate guiding principles. The following guiding principles have been developed from such sources and will apply to the W.B.R. in Whitchurch-Stouffville.

The primary objective of the W.B.R. is to evaluate the suitability of the present wards in terms of the guiding principles set out in section 3.3 of the Electoral Ward Boundary Review Policy and to develop alternative designs that are consistent with these principles.

The policy directs that, subject to the overriding principle of ‘effective representation,’ as set out in the 1991 Supreme Court of Canada ‘Carter decision,’ the following criteria will be referred to for guidance in the conduct of the review:

Communities of Interest

  • Consideration of communities of interest and neighbourhoods including the unique rural/‌urban nature of the municipality. It is desirable to avoid fragmenting the traditional neighbourhoods and communities of interest within the Town. The rural interests represent one of the communities of interest within the Town and must be given proper consideration.

Future Population Trends

  • Consideration of present and future population trends. A balance should be struck between present and anticipated population trends.

Physical and Natural Boundaries

  • Consideration of physical features as natural boundaries. The ward boundaries should be coherent and contiguous in shape. The natural features used for boundary delineation should be straightforward and easily recognizable.

Representation by Population

  • Consideration of representation by population. To the extent possible, given the geography and varying population densities, consideration should be given to representation by population.

Effective Representation

  • The goal of “effective representation” is considered an integral part of the evaluation of electoral systems in Canada dating from the Carter decision in 1991. In the Court’s decision, relative parity of voting power (“representation by population”) was deemed to be a prime, but not an exclusive, condition of effective representation. Deviations can be justified where the consideration of other factors, such as geography, community history, community interests, and minority representation, would result in a body that was more representative of Canada’s diversity. According to the Court, considering all these factors constitutes the “overriding” principle of effective representation.



The Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville has six wards - three in ‘rural’ areas and three in the Community of Stouffville. Each is represented by one councillor.

According to Town policy, a ward boundary review must be conducted after the conclusion of three municipal elections to recognize the impacts of growth and its implications on representation. The last ward boundary review was conducted in 2009; therefore, a new study had to be completed before next year’s election.

Therefore, over the last seven months, Town staff and consultants Watson and Associates Economists Ltd. conducted an in-depth study of the boundaries. This study involved research, community and stakeholder engagement and the development of options on how a new ward system could be laid out in Whitchurch-Stouffville.

On March 23, Council was presented with the new ward options. They choose a new system that had two ‘rural’ wards and four ‘urban’ wards.

Each new ‘rural’ ward is physically larger than its predecessor, with Ward One’s eastern boundary now being McCowan Road north of Vandorf Sideroad, and Highway 48 south of Vandorf Sideroad. Ward One now includes both Vandorf and Gormley.

Except for the Sleepy Hollow Estates, Ward Two now extends south from Davis Drive to Bethesda Sideroad. It now encompasses Ballantrae, Musselman’s Lake and Bloomington.

Some significant changes have been made in the Community of Stouffville, most notably the inclusion of Ward Three within the community’s boundaries. Ward Three had previously been in the Gormley area.

Ward Three is now east of the Tenth Line and south of Bloomington Sideroad. Over 5,700 people currently live in this area. However, it is expected to grow to over 11,400 people by 2030 due to new developments at the old flea market site and the new Lincolnville GO station area.

Wards Four, Five and Six are now almost perfect rectangles.

Ward Four is now bounded by Highway 48, the Markham-Stouffville border, the Ninth Line and Bethesda Sideroad.

Ward Five is now bounded by the Ninth Line, Main Street, the Tenth Line and Bethesda Sideroad.

Ward Six is now bounded by the Ninth Line, the Markham-Stouffville border, the Tenth Line and Main Street.

For complete descriptions of the new wards, download the full Ward Boundary Report. All ward boundaries become effective for the next municipal election in October 2022.





Study Background



Study Objectives

The project has a number of key objectives. The Review will:

  • Develop a clear understanding of the present ward structure. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the present system and explore alternative options;
  • Develop and conduct an appropriate consultation process in accordance with the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville’s public engagement practices in the light of the present public health emergency;
  • Prepare population projections to 2030 for the development and evaluate alternative electoral structures for the 2022, 2026 and 2030 municipal elections; and
  • Write and deliver a report that will set out alternative ward boundaries to ensure effective and equitable electoral arrangements for the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville.


Guiding Principles

There are no standard practices, terms of reference, criteria, or guiding principles either in provincial legislation or regulation, that can be used to evaluate the municipality’s electoral system. Instead, municipalities look to relevant Ontario Municipal Board (now the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal) decisions, case law such as Reference re Provincial Electoral Boundaries (Sask.), [1991] (“the Carter decision”) and best practices followed in other municipalities to establish appropriate guiding principles. The following guiding principles have been developed from such sources and will apply to the W.B.R. in Whitchurch-Stouffville.

The primary objective of the W.B.R. is to evaluate the suitability of the present wards in terms of the guiding principles set out in section 3.3 of the Electoral Ward Boundary Review Policy and to develop alternative designs that are consistent with these principles.

The policy directs that, subject to the overriding principle of ‘effective representation,’ as set out in the 1991 Supreme Court of Canada ‘Carter decision,’ the following criteria will be referred to for guidance in the conduct of the review:

Communities of Interest

  • Consideration of communities of interest and neighbourhoods including the unique rural/‌urban nature of the municipality. It is desirable to avoid fragmenting the traditional neighbourhoods and communities of interest within the Town. The rural interests represent one of the communities of interest within the Town and must be given proper consideration.

Future Population Trends

  • Consideration of present and future population trends. A balance should be struck between present and anticipated population trends.

Physical and Natural Boundaries

  • Consideration of physical features as natural boundaries. The ward boundaries should be coherent and contiguous in shape. The natural features used for boundary delineation should be straightforward and easily recognizable.

Representation by Population

  • Consideration of representation by population. To the extent possible, given the geography and varying population densities, consideration should be given to representation by population.

Effective Representation

  • The goal of “effective representation” is considered an integral part of the evaluation of electoral systems in Canada dating from the Carter decision in 1991. In the Court’s decision, relative parity of voting power (“representation by population”) was deemed to be a prime, but not an exclusive, condition of effective representation. Deviations can be justified where the consideration of other factors, such as geography, community history, community interests, and minority representation, would result in a body that was more representative of Canada’s diversity. According to the Court, considering all these factors constitutes the “overriding” principle of effective representation.



Page last updated: 13 April 2021, 14:57