Governance Manual

The Governance Manual institutionalizes an approach to governance that leads to The Ontario Plan serving as a business plan for the City.  The Manual includes a set of high-level governance principles with long-term value as well as Vision-driven goals and broad policies.  Together, the goals and policies support consistent City leadership sustained through time and succession.  The Governance Manual promotes the principles of regional leadership, transparency, long-term value, accountability, and inclusivity.


The City of Ontario is incorporated under State law as a general law city with a Council-Manager form of government.  The Mayor and Council are directly elected by the voters as their representatives. The City Council sets policy through the adoption of minute actions, resolutions and ordinances and determines the allocation of City resources through the adoption of the City Budget.  The Mayor and Council hire a professional administrator, the City Manager, to hire staff, advise them, implement their policies and run the day to day operation of the City.  The Mayor and Council acting as a body, not as individuals, provide direction to the City Manager and staff in duly noticed public meetings.


The City of Ontario has a very definite approach to governance.  It begins with the realization that the City is a corporation.  It may be a municipal corporation but it is a corporation nonetheless.  The City operates using a corporate paradigm.

The Mayor and City Council are the elected board of directors.  They are responsible for making policy.  They hire a CEO, the City Manager, to advise them, implement their policies and run the day to day operations of the City.

We believe that the job of the City is to create, maintain and grow economic value.  We do this through the provision of infrastructure and services.  Everyone choosing to buy a home, shop, open a business or develop in our community has invested in our community.  They are our shareholders.  Their return on investment is the maintenance and growth of both quantitative (monetary) and qualitative (quality of life) value-added.  (Link to Complete Community)

Every action of the City and every interaction with current and potential shareholders is an opportunity to retain or capture their investment.


The Governance Manual:

  • Provides guidance for ongoing City leadership.
  • Describes how the City will operate in a business-like way.
  • Requires the decision-making system to always add value.
  • Integrates The Ontario Plan into the City’s daily operations.
  • Guides the budget process (the most tangible expression of the City’s commitments) towards the Vision.
  • Provides for effective administration of The Ontario Plan.


We believe in:

  • A clear Vision and Policy Plan which is communicated to City leaders, staff and the public, serves as the foundation for informed decision making..

  • Stable, predictable, timely and effective governance is essential to achieving the Ontario Vision.

  • The Ontario Vision should guide community decisions.

  • Our job is to create, maintain and grow economic value and we do our job by providing infrastructure and services.

  • Regular investment is needed to maintain the community’s public and private built environments.

  • Ontario is in competition with other cities for this investment.

  • The better we do our job, the more investment we will attract and the more revenue it will generate for reinvestment, creating a self-sustaining cycle.

Governance Manual Sections