About Me

jesse-helmer-root-cellar.JPGI was sworn in as the city councillor for Ward 4 on 1 December 2014. I was re-elected in 2018 and finished serving my second term on city council on 15 Nov 2022. I served as Deputy Mayor for two years, ending my term in Dec 2020.

As a city councillor representing Ward 4, my job had several distinct aspects:

  • Legislator: along with my colleagues, and with the advice of city staff (provided through reports and at meetings) and residents (often shared via email or at meetings), we work in standing committees and as a council to consider, debate and pass bylaws regulating a wide range of activity in our city, including, for example, parking, trees, land use planning, taxation, business licensing and animal protection. 
  • Resource allocator: we work as a council to set the City of London's operating budget ($867,194,000 in 2017) and capital budget ($215,835,000 in 2017) and allocate funding to the various services provided by the city (roads, snow removal, fire and police services, homelessness prevention, affordable housing, parks and recreation, etc). The city also funds agencies, boards and commissions, such as the library, London Transit and the public health unit, and some non-profit organizations.
  • Helping residents navigate the bureaucracy at city hall and connect with the right city staff person to resolve issues. Our excellent five-person staff team in the Councillors' Office, which works with all fourteen councillors, does a lot of this work.
  • Listening, connecting, advocating and informing: within our wards, the broader city and outside the city, councillors learn a lot about what's happening in the city and play a connecting role between residents and various businesses, nonprofits and other levels of government. Councillors also share information with residents about what's happening at city hall.

As a councillor, I serve on the following committees, working groups, boards and commissions (attendance record in %):

Past committee appointments:

All of the meetings that I have missed for the health unit and the Old East Village BIA have conflicted with council or committee meetings, primarily because of the more frequent meetings related to the City of London's strategic plan and budget in January and February 2015. I missed three meetings (one planning and environment, one civic works and one Lake Huron water board) during a June 2015 trip to the Canadian Urban Transit Association conference in Winnipeg and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference in Edmonton. I missed a Lake Huron water board meeting in June 2016 because I was attending the Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference in Winnipeg.

I also attend meetings of committees of which I am not a member (audit, 88%; community and protective services, 98%).

My overall participation for meetings of council, committees, boards and commissions is 96% (733/766 meetings) as of 28 Sept 2018. See this Google sheet for details.

Disclosures of pecuniary interest

For the first forty months that I served on council (Dec 2014 - April 2018), I was a part-owner of Groundforce Digital, a company that designs and produces websites and trains people how to use digital tools effectively, and I declared a pecuniary interest in matters relating to current clients during that time period.

I own shares in Tesla, Seagate Technologies and Northland Power, publicly-traded companies that operate globally.

My father, Alan Helmer, was the general manager of South Muskoka Curling & Golf Club in Bracebridge for the first 17 months that I served on council (Dec 2014 - April 2016) and I declared an indirect pecuniary interest in matters relating to the City of London's golf courses during that time period. As of August 2018, he is employed by the National Golf Course Owners' Association, of which the City of London is a member.

As of Sept 2018, I am employed as a part-time teaching assistant at Western University and a member of PSAC Local 610. I will declare a pecuniary interest in matters where my employer or union has a pecuniary interest.

Disclosure of expenses

Each councillor has a maximum budget of $15,000 for expenses. Reports on our expenditures are published every three months on the City of London web site.

I've published a summary of my expenses on a quarterly basis in this Google sheet.

I usually attend the following conferences: Association of Municipalities of Ontario (August), Federation of Canadian Municipalities (June), FCM Sustainable Communities Conference (February), Ontario Good Roads Association (February), and the Canadian Urban Transit Association (May or June).

I usually do not charge per diems, home office internet, tickets to attend community events or pay for advertising that is self-promotional. I do not claim a travel allowance, as I am able to travel quickly from City Hall to locations in my ward on my bike or on the bus, which is very inexpensive.

Statement of Remuneration

In addition to quarterly disclosure of our office expenses, city staff report annually on the overall remuneration for each councillor. This report includes compensation, benefits and stipends or expenses paid for as a result of our service on agencies, boards and commissions.

Page one of the report for 2015 shows $33,427.91 in compensation (keep in mind that 1/3 of that is not taxable), $10,166.26 in benefits and $1,754.03 in expenses not included in my general expense account (for a tour of rapid transit projects in Ontario and attending the CUTA conference in Winnipeg).

Page two of the report for 2016 shows $38,306.27 in compensation (keep in mind that 1/3 of the council portion is not taxable), $10,488.84 in benefits and $1,728.91 in expenses not included in my general expense account (for the CUTA conference in Halifax).


tl;dr: see my LinkedIn profile.

I believe politics can be a force for good in our community. I’ve been involved in politics since I was a teenager as a member of several political parties, as a student journalist covering politics and as an elected student representative. I was honoured to serve as a councillor representing arts co-op students at University of Waterloo, on the board of directors of the student union, on the Senate of the university and as president of the student newspaper. I learned that to be an effective elected representative, you need to be inclusive, transparent, responsive to your constituents and able to disagree respectfully with your fellow representatives (we're not going to agree on everything!). I’ve also worked as a volunteer on local, provincial and national political campaigns.

Curious by nature, I enjoy asking questions, learning about issues and bringing people together to figure out how we can innovate to solve problems. Recently, I led a team of grassroots Liberals who championed the idea of a basic income pilot to dramatically reduce poverty in Canada, reaching out directly to Members of Parliament, policy experts and Canadians more broadly. We were thrilled when the idea was adopted as party policy at the national convention. I also facilitated the Emerging Leaders working group on economic prosperity, which recommended at London X that we invest in a municipal fibre optic network to make affordable high speed internet more widely available to Londoners and to provide an economic advantage to London businesses.

Because I believe that Londoners are experts on their own lives and often have very good ideas on how to make our city a better place to live and work, I started Better London a couple of years ago to provide Londoners with a platform to share their ideas, get their neighbours to contribute, and create a better community and city together. Now in the capable hands of Michael McAlpine, Better London has helped in a small way to support the campaign to Save Lorne Ave, to bring food trucks to London and to encourage people to opt-out of the Yellow Pages.

I’ve been incredibly fortunate in my life, and with the help of my parents, student loans and a bursary, I earned a Master of Public Administration from Queen’s University, where I focused on the non-profit sector and international trade. I then joined the staff of the Loran Scholar program in Toronto, where I worked with a great team of colleagues and volunteers to raise over $20 million from business and community leaders that we invested in hundreds of young Canadians all over the country who demonstrate outstanding character, service and leadership potential.

Through my work and volunteer experience, I've helped to develop or overseen budgets ranging from several hundred thousand dollars (student newspaper) to several million dollars (at the scholarship foundation, the student union and on the Senate of the university). I have some experience asking uncomfortable questions about budgets (ask me about the time the now Governor General yelled at me in a Senate meeting).

For over 20 years, my Dad was a branch manager for TD Canada Trust, which meant our family moved every few years to a new community in Ontario. Moving got harder as we all got older and our family eventually settled in Bracebridge, where I attended high school and worked part-time as a crew coordinator at the local McDonald’s and as a cook at Santa’s Village. I spent a lot of time riding my motorcycle, shooting pool and playing golf. These days I’m riding a bicycle, but you’ll still find me on the course at Fanshawe Park or River Road.

Have a question or comment?

Showing 75 reactions

  • Jesse Helmer
    published this page 2022-11-15 10:04:18 -0500
  • Jesse Helmer
    published this page 2018-05-04 14:07:16 -0400
  • William Riddiford
    commented 2018-03-05 17:23:31 -0500
    Well here we go. To everybody’s benefit just stop this BRT insanity. If you were in private industry and came up with a plan like this you’d be out of a job. It’s just full of holes and major parts of the city are left out. This is such a mess. Many people will be paying taxes for this that will have no reason to use. If you like your job walk away from it. The public are telling you this at every meeting.
  • Dave Taylor
    posted about this on Facebook 2018-01-29 11:37:59 -0500
    About @jesse_helmer, Councillor, Ward 4 in #ldnont
  • Dave Taylor
    commented 2018-01-29 11:37:46 -0500
    Yes. This looks a lot like campaigning and should not be happening until May 1.
  • Ann Buchanan
    commented 2018-01-08 19:49:26 -0500

    This is not a question or maybe it is, the sidewalks along oxford street have over two feet of snow, most caused by the plows since there is no room between the road and the sidewalk. This is from mornington to at least Quebec. People are walking down oxford st on the road. Tomorrow schools will be open and this is a route to two schools, how are the kids to get there. I understand we have had a great deal of snow but the sidewalks are not useable. The city needs to get their act together.
  • Dawna Perry
    commented 2017-07-03 11:03:26 -0400
    Hi Jesse, I was wondering how best to contact you and the other councillors involved with the London Transit Commission. Can you let me know? Thanks.
  • sheila carter
    commented 2017-05-31 16:05:25 -0400
  • Liz Lehman
    commented 2017-05-13 07:36:46 -0400
  • Marisa Cooper
    commented 2017-05-11 22:02:15 -0400
  • Skylar Franke
    commented 2017-05-11 10:05:12 -0400
    You’re doing a great job :)
  • Clive Bowden
    commented 2017-05-09 21:19:37 -0400
    I am disappointed with you and our entire council. Your comments on the recent poll show how out of touch you are with the large majority of Londoners. The quiet ones. Forget the accuracy or inaccuracy of data. The majority of people are against any form of BRT that clogs up our roads.. I have not spoken to one person amongst friends, family and neighbours who are for it. Improve the LTC and roads. That should be your direction! If BRT proceeds the next Mayor and council will cancel it!!
  • Dawn Anderson
    commented 2017-05-04 21:47:00 -0400
    What construction is happening on Ashland north of Dundas?The city has put up barriers in the middle of the street and temporary speed bumps, there’s nothing on the city of London website about any upcoming construction.
  • Graham Burgess
    commented 2017-05-03 19:37:04 -0400
    Hi Jesse,

    I am currently watching the SHIFT public meeting showing on Rogers TV. I am listening to Paul Chan talking about the BRT. I have to agree with him that this is not a good idea. I did not agree with the change in voting either. We do not have to be first city to approve that rank ballot major change, especially without knowing all costs. This BRT can wait, better to use funds for other needed improvements. Lets be prudent and keep our powder dry, we do not need to rush into this. We go to the poles again next year. If we do this and approve this BRT fiasco without concern for us the taxpayers, it will prove to be a terrible waste of money and also people who will be affected.
  • Dawna Perry
    commented 2017-04-28 14:21:39 -0400
    Thanks for all your hard work in continuing to campaign for Rapid Transit in London. I’ve seen a lot of (wealthy, car-owning) citizens opposing the plan, but London transit users desperately need improved service. You have my full support!
  • Matt Polfuss
    commented 2017-04-26 17:22:16 -0400
    Hello Jesse. I’d just like to thank you for the speed bumps on Charlotte. The speed of the traffic was instantly improved. The street is by far safer. Thanks again.
  • Vel Patzer
    commented 2017-03-19 13:31:20 -0400
    I was part of the group that fought City Hall for years to get Queens Ave reduced to one lane to change it from the freeway it was to a route suitable for a residential area. Now I hear that they plan to run one of the rapid transit lines down Queens Ave. That would nullify everything we did to try to slow traffic on this street. I have lived in this neighbourhood for over 40 years. Will we always have to put up with being the neighbourhood that gets stuck with everything that other areas would never accept. The downtown section of the plan also sounds like a disaster. The majority of people do not want this. Please reassure me that you do not support this plan and let me know if there is anything tangible I can do to fight this.
  • Graham Burgess
    commented 2017-03-14 10:41:15 -0400
    Jesse, I have two comments and concerns. First, please do not sell any part of London Hydro. Since moving here to London from Ottawa I have been notably impressed by this company. You do not give away your diamond ring. It is not good business sense to hire out when you have a well run operation to date. My second concern is rapid transit. I know a number of people love to spend money especially if they can get that money from another pocket. I firmly believe that we should spend any monies on better ideas such as vastly improving our bus system, such as improving service and wait times, lengthening operating times, improving bus stop areas.What we need is better service rather than faster service. Hope you read this Jesse and thanks for providing me an way to state my concerns.
  • Cris Hodgson
    commented 2017-02-27 16:09:21 -0500
    Disgusted that you chose not to accept the proposal for Lorne ave school from campus creative.back to conservative,negative city planning once again.instead of a fantastic,innovative community centre we get a demolished building.for shame!
  • William Riddiford
    commented 2017-02-27 11:27:05 -0500
    Re the proposed Vimy park by the roundabout on Hale. What a shame to let the council have to discuss in length their proposal. The people have taken time and effort to make this little park a memorial. I’ve been to Vimy. Extremely touching. Make it a park stop playing politics.
  • Peter
    commented 2017-01-27 00:52:08 -0500

    I live on Stackhouse crescent London Ontario. I wish that city could add speed bump on Stackhouse crescent close to fanshawe park road east . This 200-300 meter S shaped road is a little bit dangerous, people drive fast on it, I wish you add bump on it.

    Thank you

  • Dawn Anderson
    commented 2017-01-25 07:44:03 -0500
    About the vending machines – let’s let people make their own decisions about what they consume.
  • Don Kerr
    commented 2016-11-24 10:30:25 -0500
    Hi Jesse,

    So did anything come of that query on Census Data on commuting patterns. I just glanced at a report put together by some firm (it looked “really” expensive) on commuting patterns of Londoners. The questionnaire was quite thorough, and the sample size was very large (over 14000 respondents). The report was prepared by some company out of Whitby (AECOM). My guess, it must of cost several $100,000. Published in 2010.

    As a social scientist (I worked at Stats Can for over a decade on methodology), the first thing I’m skeptical about is: no discussion of “non-response” at all. What was the response rate? It is standard in the industry to get response rates in the order of 10 – 20%. In my mind, even after their attempts to “post stratify”, the quality is of very questionable merit.

    It talks about a “target sample size”.. and an “obtained sample size”, and they correspond. But did they get this with a non-response rate of 90% or 10% or what? Anything over 50% in my mind is garbage.

    If the city only needs to know about “commuting patterns” at a very refined level of geography, there is the census, which was mandatory in 2016 (long form). And, it is likely of high quality. I have no idea as to whether the data AECOM provided is of quality (my guess, it is seriously biased). STats Can refuses to release data with less than 50-60% response, and there they have some of the most talented methodologists/statisticians in the country adjusting for non-response. Who does it at AECOM?

    D. Kerr
  • Teena Plant
    commented 2016-11-15 08:08:03 -0500
    I agree with Jim McCallum. I’ve been asking this for years. The answer was always that it’s an arterial roadway and would slow traffic down. I would be interested to know how many accidents there have been on Highbury between Florence and Trafalgar in the past year alone because of speed. I live on Langmuir and have been almost hit by a car twice, standing on my property, by people racing around the corner in order to avoid turning left (east) onto Brydges because of this. It’s gotten so bad that you hear the squeal of brakes and just wait for the bang. Cars heading north down the overpass with a green light can be doing 70 by the time they pass my street.
  • Jim McCallum
    commented 2016-11-11 19:28:12 -0500
    Can something be done about the intersection of Highbury & Brydges? In my opinion, there needs to be an advanced green for left turns northbound and southbound on Highbury. Between 5 and 6 p.m. especially the left turn lane northbound is always backed up with FedEx trucks, LTC , and numerous vehicles all trying to turn left onto Brydges, often blocking the straight through lane. On average, only one vehicle per yellow light can make the left turn, while Highbury continues to get backed up. Any thoughts on how this could be helped?
  • Dean Baker
    commented 2016-10-19 08:57:13 -0400
    Well, the city"ostriches" have their heads well buried in the sand. I’m confused how information that will allow an informed decision is dangerous. If they are afraid to listen for fear of not understanding, we’ll use small words! Are all multi-million $ development deals approved/unapproved without weighing all the pros and cons and gathering as much info (lets do a study!) as possible? Not their decision? Bull. All city employees are entitled to be heard and treated fairly, not singled out year after year as the only evil entity in the city. The slander campaign is going at full steam and the fire department the proverbial beating post again.Go ahead council look the other way as the firefighters offered millions in savings, when an arbitrator may possibly hand over more than the Fire Department is asking. Are you then going to say “I didn’t know”! You had your chance to save time effort and money and show council can indeed show foresight and lead London in making important decisions. Otherwise what is council actually for? I’m surprised how short sighted some of our “new council” is! Ignorance must be bliss!
  • Julienne Reteff
    commented 2016-09-25 15:54:12 -0400
    Hi Jesse,

    We arrived home from vacation today to find a white wire running from our cable box, along our fence to the next store neighbor’s fence and into their cable box. We were not asked or informed of this or why it was done. The neighbor informed us that their landlord had cut a wire when digging the lawn and this was the cable company’s fix. The wire being WHITE is offensive and we want to removed, I feel that the wire should have been directed to the cable box(boxes) that are on the streets not into our box attached to our house. Do these companies have the RIGHT to come onto our property, use the box attached to our house WITHOUT our permission? Should they not at least have left us some kind of notice in our mailbox with their explanations and if it is a temporary or permanent solution . Please advise of our rights in this matter.


  • Kenneth Vowles
    commented 2016-09-20 10:26:43 -0400
    I think you are doing a good job, but I understand that you are agreeing or pushing to let UBER into town. Have you done checks on the taxi industry ? I drove twice once in ealy 80,s and later in early 90,s. The city has a set amount of plates for the taxi drivers based on the size of the city. Taxi drivers can sit for hours and wait for a call , if it does not come they do not get paid and they STILL have to pay for a lease on their car and pay for own fuel. It is the lowest paying job in the city , no stat pay ,no holiday pay and mostly based on lease or commision. Now if you allow UBER to come in we will now have the possiblilty of more vehicles on the road for the size of the city then nessassary, hence taking away even MORE money from those legally on the road. Taxi drivers have to pay BIG money just to get a license, and work long hours to get reward for that. I do not know what UBER does, I think UBER is taking away money from the taxi drivers in the city.
  • Charlie Moher
    commented 2016-08-21 10:13:12 -0400
    Just heard about the iminent tree bylaw. Can you please ask Council to exclude trees which are (i) on private property and (ii) can be demonstrated to be damaging the owners property ?? Case in point, I own a black walnut that is raining walnuts on my car roof and threatening the sewers with it’s root system. Surely I ought not to be penalized for removing it. Indeed, I think walnut trees ought to be excluded period as I’m told they shed growth inhibiting, toxic sap onto the ground around them.
  • Jesse Helmer
    commented 2016-07-21 22:03:25 -0400
    Hey Jesse helmer