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).

Background

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 31 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
  • 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.
  • 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 :)
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Mark Schram
    commented 2016-06-10 16:08:09 -0400
    Hi Jesse, I was just wondering if there has been any consideration or way to acknowledge rental properties in the proposed 3 bag/can per house hold garbage limit? Clearly there is a big difference between a single family home verses a house converted to apartments with 3-4 units in the one house? Is there a way for them to be exempt or identified?

    Thank you, Mark
  • P. S.
    commented 2016-05-26 07:19:22 -0400
    The LRT vs BRT debate concerns a matter so fundamental to the long-term future of London that the final decision shouldn’t be left to a handful of politicians and beaurocrats (with their various biases and conflicts of interests). Instead, we should hold a municipal referendum. (Its cost would be the price of true democracy If the law doesn’t allow for such an option, the law ought to be changed.) Each and every citizen of this city ought to have a right to directly participate in making this monumentally important decision.
  • Christopher Santana-Barnes
    commented 2016-05-12 15:59:41 -0400
    Hello Councillor Helmer,


    Can we get an update on the number of people that have signed the petition for LRT in London? The momentum is there and we are grateful you have ignited this. Personally, I am sharing like crazy. Thank you! Christopher
  • Bjorn Biggs
    commented 2016-05-12 01:04:23 -0400
    I have already signed but in light of remarks made by city politition Maureen Cassidy. “Cassidy said she didn’t intend those May 5 debate comments to “create a headache” for anyone in Ottawa or at Queen’s Park. She says she wasn’t referring to anyone specific at the time.” (LFP.) I think it is important that city hall step aside and put a vote to the people on what will be asked of upper levels of Government. If Miss Cassidy can not quote a source it is clear she was using a falsity to further her agenda.
  • Danny Marchand
    commented 2016-05-11 22:22:10 -0400
    Yes I will suggest and I will give you the Green Light

    For LRT Rail systems in London because London is growing

    And expanding from Dorchester to Dutton and West Lorne and Rodney

    And London will keep expanding into Komoka and Kilworth and Delaware

    And ilderton and Lucan and Arva as well too.

    And London Has already expanded into Hyde Park and Lambeth

    And will eventually expand into Thorndale.

    I think a Momorail will go a lot faster than a City Bus to get to all

    Those places.

    And I will give Mayor Matt Brown go ahead for the Monorail systems in London

    If Kitchener and Toronto has it why not London?

    Have a nice Day.
  • Danny Marchand
    commented 2016-05-11 22:22:08 -0400
    Yes I will suggest and I will give you the Green Light

    For LRT Rail systems in London because London is growing

    And expanding from Dorchester to Dutton and West Lorne and Rodney

    And London will keep expanding into Komoka and Kilworth and Delaware

    And ilderton and Lucan and Arva as well too.

    And London Has already expanded into Hyde Park and Lambeth

    And will eventually expand into Thorndale.

    I think a Momorail will go a lot faster than a City Bus to get to all

    Those places.

    And I will give Mayor Matt Brown go ahead for the Monorail systems in London

    If Kitchener and Toronto has it why not London?

    Have a nice Day.
  • Danny Marchand
    commented 2016-05-11 22:22:07 -0400
    Yes I will suggest and I will give you the Green Light

    For LRT Rail systems in London because London is growing

    And expanding from Dorchester to Dutton and West Lorne and Rodney

    And London will keep expanding into Komoka and Kilworth and Delaware

    And ilderton and Lucan and Arva as well too.

    And London Has already expanded into Hyde Park and Lambeth

    And will eventually expand into Thorndale.

    I think a Momorail will go a lot faster than a City Bus to get to all

    Those places.

    And I will give Mayor Matt Brown go ahead for the Monorail systems in London

    If Kitchener and Toronto has it why not London?

    Have a nice Day.
  • Danny Marchand
    commented 2016-05-11 22:22:05 -0400
    Yes I will suggest and I will give you the Green Light

    For LRT Rail systems in London because London is growing

    And expanding from Dorchester to Dutton and West Lorne and Rodney

    And London will keep expanding into Komoka and Kilworth and Delaware

    And ilderton and Lucan and Arva as well too.

    And London Has already expanded into Hyde Park and Lambeth

    And will eventually expand into Thorndale.

    I think a Momorail will go a lot faster than a City Bus to get to all

    Those places.

    And I will give Mayor Matt Brown go ahead for the Monorail systems in London

    If Kitchener and Toronto has it why not London?

    Have a nice Day.
  • Danny Marchand
    commented 2016-05-11 22:21:57 -0400
    Yes I will suggest and I will give you the Green Light

    For LRT Rail systems in London because London is growing

    And expanding from Dorchester to Dutton and West Lorne and Rodney

    And London will keep expanding into Komoka and Kilworth and Delaware

    And ilderton and Lucan and Arva as well too.

    And London Has already expanded into Hyde Park and Lambeth

    And will eventually expand into Thorndale.

    I think a Momorail will go a lot faster than a City Bus to get to all

    Those places.

    And I will give Mayor Matt Brown go ahead for the Monorail systems in London

    If Kitchener and Toronto has it why not London?

    Have a nice Day.
  • Gabriel Elias
    commented 2016-05-11 12:15:21 -0400
    Jesse, I want to applaud your efforts to improve London’s rapid transit plan, and keep it (at the very least) on par with other developments. This decision is crucial for the future of the city — don’t let London fall behind compared to other SW-ONT cities that already have a strategic advantage of closer proximity and faster connections to Toronto.


    I’m posting because I want to address a point in today’s lfpress article “Light rail gets thumbs down from businesses”. In the article, several magnates say LRT would stymie numerous downtown residential developments. This is backwards thinking. From the developers mindset, ‘if they build it, they will come’, but how are these people gonna move around the city? Indeed, as downtown residences invariably attract young people a great many of these will be students who will undoubtedly rely on LTC to get about town. If you think about other major intensification projects where public transportation planning did not take into account massive increases in riderships commensurate with residence development - i.e. Liberty Village in Toronto- then this push back against LRT is simply small-town thinking that will stymie London’s development well into the next century, if the city even recovers.
  • Josh Langille
    commented 2016-04-29 18:06:32 -0400
    I wanted to let you know that I support your stance on the future of London’s transit system and the benefits light rail would provide for our community. Keep fighting the good fight and know that you have support from the people you represent. Thanks Jesse.
  • Paul Tack
    commented 2015-11-24 12:31:44 -0500
    Hello, when I went for a walk the other day I saw bicycle a route sign on a stop sign post at Victoria on the west side of McNay St. If a person was to follow the signs they would never reach where they wanted to go, as the sign pointed north to go downtown. At least this is my interpretation. I did not go and check the other side, maybe they just need turning.

    Thanks,

    Paul.
  • Bill Sheldon
    commented 2015-09-30 10:39:13 -0400
    I have concerns about your stand on UBER. It places passengers at risk due to unregulated drivers. Also my concern is it is against London’s bylaws. You were voted in to represent the citizens of London, which includes taxi drivers. Why have you forsaken your constituents? Makes us question why we voted for you!
  • Bill Sheldon
    commented 2015-09-30 10:39:12 -0400
    I have concerns about your stand on UBER. It places passengers at risk due to unregulated drivers. Also my concern is it is against London’s bylaws. You were voted in to represent the citizens of London, which includes taxi drivers. Why have you forsaken your constituents? Makes us question why we voted for you!
  • Bill Sheldon
    commented 2015-09-30 10:39:11 -0400
    I have concerns about your stand on UBER. It places passengers at risk due to unregulated drivers. Also my concern is it is against London’s bylaws. You were voted in to represent the citizens of London, which includes taxi drivers. Why have you forsaken your constituents? Makes us question why we voted for you!
  • Paul Tack
    commented 2015-07-06 18:16:40 -0400
    Question? Why do we need a registered lifeguard for wading pools? It seems to me that the parents should be looking after their kids. I know we did. What ever happened to common sense? I know it is in short supply these days, but a wading pool? What a waste of resources. Are the pools closed with no water or did the people get told not to use them?
  • barbara adkin
    commented 2015-06-18 15:55:19 -0400
    They?have cut down the boulevard trees on glasgow st infront of school I have water ed those tree’s for 6 years as the city requested cared for an injury why they young couldn’t they been moved why plant more or water when just cut down
  • Cherie Emms
    commented 2015-05-07 09:03:17 -0400
    Hi Jesse, I’m writing to you as a concerned parent and individual. We visit Boyle Park about three times a day with a young toddler – with the warmer weather, we’ve noticed a foul, toxic smell coming from Forest City Moulds & Patterns. I am not sure of what I am smelling, but know it does not smell safe, nor should be downwind of any public spaces, especially a childrens playground. I DO NOT want another vacant building in OEV, but wonder if there are clean air initiatives, or controls that this company has to abide by? Also, if there has been any reviews or air quality tests completed for this business in recent years that you can share? I called the company and they had advised me that they have never been asked for an air quality report and do not have one to provide to me.


    Last night (May 6) was especially bad, and the park was full of around 150 people with soccer – which occurs several times a week.


    I appreciate you looking into this for me and my neighbours.
  • @ tweeted this page. 2015-02-22 22:54:14 -0500
    About Jesse Helmer, Councillor, Ward 4, City of London http://www.helmer.ca/about?recruiter_id=5608