Earlier this year, a review was undertaken by the Federal Electoral Boundary Commission for the Province of Ontario’s federal electoral districts. The final report was issued today, Friday, Feb. 10, 2023, and has Kingston residents who live north of Highway 401 returned to the Kingston and the Islands riding.
In 2012, residents who lived north of the highway were encompassed in the Lanark-Kingston-Frontenac riding, which didn’t sit well with many of them, according to Mark Gerresten, Member of Parliament for Kingston and the Islands. In fact, Gerretsen’s office created a form for anyone who wished to provide feedback to help inform this current redistribution report.
“The Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for Ontario has listened to the countless voices that came forward from Kingston residents north of the 401 and agreed that these residents rightly belong in Kingston and the Islands,” Gerretsen said in an email to his constituents.
“Thank you to the many community members who shared feedback with the Commission. You can read all the testimonies that were formally submitted here,” he added. “We are one step closer to having all residents of Kingston in the same electoral district again.”
The report from the commission outlines the many items taken into consideration in order to inform the newly drawn boundaries between each electoral district. There are now 122 electoral districts in the Province of Ontario, which is one additional seat from the last redistribution plan prepared in 2012.
“The Commission concluded that the effect of uneven population shifts across the province, with significant growth in some areas and only modest growth in others over the past decade, required adjustments to many existing district boundaries in order to address patterns of voter under-representation and over-representation,” the report reads.
In Eastern Ontario, the Commission noted that the boundary changes resulted from the goal of achieving population equality, however, in Kingston and the Islands, the population encompassed by the new federal district is an increase of 15.3 per cent over the 2012 district boundaries.
“With respect to Kingston and The Islands, there were many submissions that the parts of Kingston north of Highway 401 should be included in that district to preserve their community of interest and to enhance their representation,” the report reads. “The Commission concluded that this should be implemented. All of the City of Kingston is now in the final district of KINGSTON AND THE ISLANDS, along with the Township of Frontenac Islands.”
In the report, the Commission also determined that this boundary change is necessary based on geographical circumstances. “There are limitations on where this district can be divided considering that the southern part of the district consists of islands. Further, there was an overwhelming number of independent submissions to maintain the municipal boundary as the district boundary, where the anticipated growth is relatively modest.”
However, the Commission also observed that it may not be “reasonably possible to maintain these boundaries in the future.”
Read the full report here.