Rick Chiarelli

Richard "Rick" Chiarelli (born c. 1964)[1] is a politician in Ontario, Canada. He is an Ottawa City Councillor, and the second cousin of former Ottawa mayor Bob Chiarelli. He represents the College Ward covering part of Nepean and Ottawa's west end. On council, Chiarelli is known for being an "independent voice, often voicing dissent on issues his fellow councillors support".[2] He is currently the longest serving municipal politician on Ottawa's city council.

Rick Chiarelli
Ottawa City Councillor
Assumed office
January 1, 2001
Preceded byBrian Mackey
ConstituencyCollege Ward (2006-present)
Baseline Ward (2001-2006)
Nepean City Councillor
In office
Preceded byAl Brown
Succeeded byShayna Shuster
ConstituencyBorden Ward
Nepean City Councillor
In office
ConstituencyNepean Centre Ward
Carleton Separate School Board Trustee
Serving with Basil MacDonald, Mel Thompson and Hans Haigeler
In office
Preceded byYvonne O'Neill, Mary Haydon, Joe Mangione
Succeeded bySylvia Bredson
Personal details
Bornc. 1964
Political partyIndependent
Other political
Ontario Liberal Party
Spouse(s)Lida Chiarelli (née Fiala)
ResidenceLynwood, Bells Corners

Early years

Chiarelli grew up in the Qualicum-Graham Park neighbourhood of Nepean[3], and has lived in Nepean his whole life.[1] His father owned a real estate agency and a restaurant and co-started Ottawa/Algonquin Travel with Lowell Green, while his mother was a homemaker.[3]

At age 16, while attending St. Pius X High School[4] in Ottawa, Chiarelli formed the Ontario Students Alliance for Fair Funding (OSAFF) to fight for the equality that was promised in the Canadian Constitution. At this time, Ontario’s separate schools were funded only to grade 10. Beyond this, a high school student was required to pay substantial tuition fees.

Chiarelli began to speak at hundreds of schools and the OSAFF quickly grew to over 70,000 members across Ontario.

OSAFF launched a legal challenge against the Government of Ontario’s treatment of separate schools and convinced Ian Scott, a prominent Canadian lawyer, to represent them in court. The action was timed to coincide with the visit to the Premier by Pope John Paul II. The court imposed deadlines on the Province to file its full defence to the action. As a result, Premier Bill Davis announced a change in the Province’s century old policy and granted full funding to separate schools. The case was unanimously won by OSAFF 9-0 at the Supreme Court of Canada.

During OSAFF’s legal challenge, at the age of 19, Chiarelli ran for school trustee of the Carleton Separate School Board and won in the 1982 elections.[5] This resulted in Chiarelli becoming the youngest ever elected official in the province.[6]

Chiarelli has a law degree from the University of Ottawa[4], but is not a member of the Law Society of Ontario. He also has a Communications and Economics Degree.[1]

City Council

At the age of 22, Chiraelli ran for a seat on the council of the Regional Municipality of Ottawa Carleton in the 1985 elections, but lost by nearly 2,000 votes.[7]

In the 1988 municipal election, he was elected to the Nepean City Council for the Borden ward.[8] In the 1991 municipal election, he once again ran for a seat on regional council, but lost by 500 votes.[9] He ran for election on Nepean City Council in 1994 in the newly created Nepean Centre Ward and was re-elected by acclamation in 1997. While on Nepean City Council, he briefly served as acting mayor of the city.[4] On September 17, 1998, Chiarelli won the Ontario Liberal Party nomination for the new riding of Ottawa West—Nepean for the 1999 Ontario general election. Chiarelli defeated sitting Liberal MPP Alex Cullen, who was an "outspoken and independent minded MPP" and would later cross the floor to join the NDP in his defeat. Chiarelli would go on to lose the election to Progressive Conservative Gary Guzzo.[10]

The 2000 municipal election was the first for the newly amalgamated City of Ottawa. Chiarelli, who had been a leading opponent of amalgamation, faced long-time Councillor Al Loney in what was thought would be one of the tightest election battles of the year. Chiarelli prevailed by nearly 2,000 votes, and became councillor for Baseline Ward. In 2003, Chiarelli was re-elected by acclamation. In 2006, after ward boundary changes, Chiarelli faced a challenge from cycling activist Brett Delmage in the newly created College Ward. Chiarelli won by a wide majority, securing 73% of the votes. He won despite criticisms that he appeared to be "bored with his job", and sometimes slept at council meetings. His campaign focused on improving police and fire services in his ward and a desire to keep property tax increases to a minimum. During his time on council, he voted against expanding Ottawa's north-south light rail plan and served as chairman of the Ottawa Public Library Board.[11] He was easily re-elected in 2010 running on a campaign of wanting to "keep taxes down" and having council focus on "'core' services", as well as his work with the plan to redevelop Lansdowne Park, improving Centrepointe Town Centre and the launch of the Bells Corners business Improvement association.[12] He was again easily re-elected in 2014, an election which made him the longest serving city councillor (including his time on Nepean council). During the campaign, he spoke out against illegal rooming house conversions and his ward becoming a "party scene" student ghetto for Algonquin College.[13] Chiarelli faced tougher competition in 2018, defeating lawyer Emilie Coyle by 1,300 votes. Voters in the ward had called for renewal of city facilities and infrastructure and student housing.[14] Chiarelli campaigned on maintaining roads and infrastructure in the short-term.[2]


Beginning in September 2019, several former employees have come forward with allegations of sexual harassment experienced in the Councillor's office.[15] Since these allegations, Chiarelli has issued no response and instead announced his leave because of medical reasons.[16] Shortly after, he was seen in Prague.[17] Even more women have since come forward.[18]

Personal life

Rick Chiarelli is a second cousin of former Mayor Bob Chiarelli with whom he often disagreed on matters of policy. Chiarelli is married to Lida and has three daughters.[4] They live in the Lynwood neighbourhood of Bells Corners.[3]

Election results


2018 Ottawa municipal election
College Ward
Council candidate Vote %
Rick Chiarelli7,07946.79
Emilie Coyle5,75138.01
Ryan Kennery2,29915.20
2014 Ottawa municipal election
College Ward
Council candidate Vote %
Rick Chiarelli9,60170.39
Guy Annable2,08415.28
Craig MacAulay1,0657.81
Scott Andrew McLarens8896.52
2010 Ottawa municipal election
College Ward
Council candidate Vote %
Rick Chiarelli10,53165.54
Lynn Hamilton2,36714.73
Julia Ringma1,1397.09
Catherine Gardner6063.77
Ralph Anderson5133.19
John Campbell4232.63
William McKinnon2491.55
Craig MacAulay2391.49
2006 Ottawa municipal election
College Ward (Ward 8)
Candidate Votes %
Rick Chiarelli 13,761 72.59%
Brett Delmage 3,765 19.86%
Laura Lee Doupe 1,432 7.55%
"2006 Municipal Election Results". City of Ottawa. Archived from the original on 2010-10-29. Retrieved 2010-03-11.
2003 Ottawa municipal election
Baseline Ward (Ward 8)
Candidate Votes %
Rick Chiarelli ACCLAIMED
"2003 Municipal Election Results". City of Ottawa. Archived from the original on 2010-10-29. Retrieved 2010-03-11.
2000 Ottawa municipal election
Baseline Ward (Ward 8)
Candidate Votes %
Rick Chiarelli 5,738 59.67
Al Loney 3,879 40.33
1999 Ontario general election: Ottawa West—Nepean
Party Candidate Votes%Expenditures
Progressive ConservativeGarry Guzzo22,83447.79$ 52,524.00
LiberalRick Chiarelli16,41934.3669,057.01
New DemocraticAlex Cullen7,70116.1232,467.74
GreenRichard Warman4530.950.00
IndependentMegan Hnatiw1290.270.00
IndependentJohn Turmel940.200.00
Confederation of RegionsAnthony C. Silvestro790.17806.00
Natural LawLester J. Newby700.150.00
Total valid votes/Expense limit 47,779 100.0   $ 78,526.08
Total rejected ballots 393 0.82
Turnout 48,172 58.89
Eligible voters 81,798

1997 Nepean municipal election
Nepean Centre Ward
Council candidate Vote %
Rick Chiarelli Acclaimed
1994 Nepean municipal election
Nepean Centre Ward
Council candidate Vote %
Rick Chiarelli3,20251.70
Beth Graham2,84045.86
Jim Wisking1512.44
1991 Nepean municipal election
Ottawa-Carleton Regional Council
Council candidate Vote %
Three to be elected
Gord Hunter16,10524.43
Al Loney16,00924.29
David Pratt14,94722.68
Rick Chiarelli14,59222.14
Curt Nielson4,2626.47
1988 Nepean municipal election
Borden Ward
Council candidate Vote %
Rick Chiarelli2,68539.97
Margaret Rywak1,83127.26
Barbara Bowman1,75326.09
Richard Stead4496.68

1985 Nepean municipal election
Ottawa-Carleton Regional Council
Council candidate Vote %
Three to be elected
Gord Hunter11,69124.04
Frank Reid9,60620.37
Beryl Gaffney9,51919.57
Margaret Ellen Rywak8,87318.24
Rick Chiarelli7,64915.73
Andrew Dynowski9972.05
1982 Carleton Separate School Board election
Trustee candidate Vote %
Four to be elected
Basil MacDonald3,90322.18
Mel Thompson3,82622.74
Richard Chiarelli3,75121.32
Hans Daigler*3,05717.37
Maurice Walsh*3,05917.38

* Daigler would later win by 8 votes on a recount.


  1. "3 candidates giving it the old college try in College". CBC. September 12, 2018. Retrieved 26 September 2019.
  2. Warren, Ken (September 22, 2018). "College ward: Rick Chiarelli wins again, but it's no landslide". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 26 September 2019.
  3. "Survey: Rick Chiarelli, College". Ottawa Citizen. October 12, 2010. Retrieved 26 September 2019.
  4. Mills, Carys (October 6, 2014). "Ottawa votes: College ward candidates answer our questions". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 26 September 2019.
  5. "Unknowns, veterans win seats", Ottawa Citizen, Reid Masson, November 9, 1982, pg 18
  6. "Councillor Rick Chiarelli". City of Ottawa. 2002-02-18. Archived from the original on 2010-07-28. Retrieved 2010-01-27.
  7. https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=6NYyAAAAIBAJ&sjid=uO8FAAAAIBAJ&pg=1526%2C1015400 Ottawa Citizen, November 13, 1985, pg B3, "Ben Franklin simply coasts to an easy victory", by Charles Rusnell
  8. Ottawa Citizen, November 15, 1988, pgs C1-5
  9. Ottawa Citizen, November 14, 1991, pg B2
  10. Richard Brennan, “Cullen hailed, savaged as MPP crosses to NDP: Liberal outcast called ‘whore’ by seatmates,” The Ottawa Citizen (November 24, 1998).
  11. Panetta, Simona (November 14, 2004). "Jubilant Chiarelli ready to take on challenges in city's largest ward". Ottawa Citizen.
  12. "Voters stay the course with Chiarelli". Ottawa Citizen. October 26, 2010. Retrieved 26 September 2019.
  13. Berthiaume, Lee (October 28, 2014). "College: Win makes Rick Chiarelli longest serving councillor". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 26 September 2019.
  14. "Rick Chiarelli wins College ward, but rivals make it interesting". CBC. October 22, 2018. Retrieved 26 September 2019.
  15. Chianello, Joanne (September 12, 2019). "Councillor asked job applicant about going braless, woman alleges". CBC. Retrieved 26 September 2019.
  16. Chianello, Joanne (September 24, 2019). "Rick Chiarelli announces leave due to unspecified illness". CBC. Retrieved 26 September 2019.
  17. Chianello, Joanne (September 25, 2019). "Chiarelli vacationed in Prague 2 days after being rushed to hospital, video shows". CBC. Retrieved 26 September 2019.
  18. Chianello, Joanne (September 26, 2019). "'Better without a bra': More women come forward with allegations against Chiarelli". CBC. Retrieved 26 September 2019.
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