OTTAWA -- Cumberland residents could go to the polls on October 5 to elect a new Councillor.

City staff recommend Council approve holding a byelection to fill the seat vacated by Stephen Blais, who was elected Liberal MPP for Orleans in February.

Council has two options for filling the vacant seat: holding a municipal byelection or appointing a Councillor to fill the role until the 2022 municipal election.

Council delayed a decision on how to fill the vacant seat due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a report for Wednesday's Council meeting, staff recommend Council hold a byelection to fill the vacant seat in Cumberland ward. If approved, the deadline to file nomination papers would be August 21, and voting day would be Monday, October 5.

Under the plan, the city would hold traditional, in-person voting and a special mail-in ballot process to allow electors to vote without having to attend a polling station.

Staff say measures will be put in place at polling stations to encourage physical distancing and limit the spread of COVID-19, including:

  • Limiting the number of electors in a voting place
  • Developing a line management strategy and installing signage at voting places
  • Installing acrylic barriers in voting places
  • Requiring electors to wear masks in voting places
  • Personal protective equipment, including masks and gloves, for staff in voting places
  • Providing single use stationery at voting places
  • Developing a plan for voting in long-term care homes

Council can also decide to fill the vacant Cumberland ward seat by appointment. A special meeting would be held on August 14 to fill the seat.