Joanne Chianello

City affairs analyst

Joanne Chianello is an award-winning journalist and CBC Ottawa's city affairs analyst. You can email her at or tweet her at @jchianello.

Latest from Joanne Chianello


Mayor's meeting with LRT executives largely political posturing

The high-powered group gathered in Mayor Jim Watson' boardroom Tuesday appeared not to even try to dress the latest LRT completion date up as good news.

We're officially a big city. Let's start acting like one

What does it actually mean to be a city of one million? A little more risk-taking, a tad more swagger and an insistence on excellence, Joanne Chianello writes.

OC Transpo drivers offered rich incentives to work OT

OC Transpo is offering lucrative incentives to induce bus drivers to work more overtime, as the LRT delay is putting continued stress on Ottawa's transit system, CBC News has learned.

Fleury urges council to overturn Vanier shelter decision

An Ottawa city councillor is hoping a revelation about the Salvation Army's proposal to build a 350-bed shelter on Montreal Road will convince his colleagues to take a fresh look at the controversial plan.

LRT is 377 days late and counting. Now what?

Here are five takeaways from this week's disappointing, if not shocking, news about the further delay of Ottawa's Confederation Line.

Château Laurier architects unwilling to make 'significant' alterations to latest design

The owners of the Château Laurier have no intention of making substantial changes to the latest version of a controversial addition to the historic hotel, despite an outcry from residents, heritage experts and politicians alike.

It's hard to see how LRT will be ready by Canada Day

Ottawa's Confederation Line, already more than a year late, is supposed to ready by the end of June. But some trains still have defects, there are issues with rail switches, and that 12-day test run? It hasn't even started.

Don't like the Château Laurier addition? Blame your councillor

If you hate the latest version of the Château Laurier hotel addition, and if you believe the much-maligned modernist new wing will ruin our beloved heritage building, don't blame the architect — blame your councillor.

Doug Ford is obsessed with running Toronto. What does that mean for Ottawa?

Before he was premier, Doug Ford wrote that if he ever entered provincial politics, the first thing he'd change is 'municipal affairs.' What does that mean for our city?

Suddenly, this city's budget is in disarray

At the end of last year, the city boasted a surplus of nearly $19 million. Five short months later, Ottawa's finances are, in  Mayor Jim Watson's own words, "in chaos," throwing into question the future of municipal services and tax increases alike.

Take 5: Latest Château Laurier addition design already under fire

The fifth — and possibly final — version of the controversial addition to Ottawa's iconic Château Laurier is now public, and while it's smaller in scale than what was originally proposed almost three years ago, it's unlikely to find many fans among those who've already criticized the modern design.

LRT train derails at Belfast Yard

An LRT train came off the track at the Belfast Yard maintenance and storage facility Friday morning in what city officials are characterizing as a "minor setback."

Ontario budget delivers cuts — and confusion — to Ottawa

The PC government's first provincial budget delivered on some big-ticket items for Ottawa. But almost immediately, it has become clear the budget will also cost the city. Almost as troubling? The confusion over what's on the chopping block.

The provincial budget just cost Ottawa $1B in transit cash. So why is Jim Watson smiling?

The city was banking on a big boost in provincial gas tax transfers to fund Stage 2 LRT and other future transit projects. So when the PC government cancelled the plan in this week's budget, why didn't the mayor mention it?

PC budget gives Ottawa police $2M to fight guns and gangs

The Ottawa Police Service is getting $2 million from the province to help combat guns and gang violence in 2019, but there's no guarantee the money will continue to flow in subsequent years.