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 am serving my second term on city council. I served as Deputy Mayor for two years, ending my term in Dec 2020.

As a city councillor representing Ward 4, my job has 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.

Showing 13 reactions

  • Graham Johnston
    commented 2021-02-24 21:57:19 -0500
    Mr. Helmer feel free to read comments on Old East London uncensored.. agree. A public inquiry into forestry London is needed.
  • William Riddiford
    commented 2021-01-30 18:13:05 -0500
    Ya $14,999.33. If you can justify that expense when the other councilor are so much lower maybe you should find another place to finangle.
  • Donald Gorassini
    commented 2021-01-07 15:33:58 -0500
  • William Riddiford
    commented 2020-12-10 18:28:29 -0500
    Taxes up again. What is the cost of living. , What is your reason for raising taxes. St. Thomas didn’t, Leamington didn’t but you immature civil servants haven’t got a clue how to conserve. Just a bunch of immature wannabes. Get off your collective ass’ and give us a tax break and some incentive to live in this city. You’re not mature enough to think in this

    messed up world. Absolutely incredible how you don’t know how to conserve. Wait until you’re old enough to be on a pension.
  • Hank Daniszewski
    commented 2020-12-10 09:16:54 -0500
    Hi Jesse

    Further to our conversation re the homeless shelter. I see the crews out this morning preparing for the installation. That’s good because the cold weather is already here. But I called Kevin Dickins a week ago and told a member of his staff I had questions and concerns. So far he has not called me back so it certainly looks like the city has no interest in community consultation. We still do not know who to call if there are problems and it certainly doesn’t promote any trust in this project going forward.
  • Jordan Vanderkuyl
    commented 2020-10-30 09:31:13 -0400
    I just wanted to add my voice to those who are displeased with the most recent restrictions regarding gyms. I believe that mental health is not being considered in London, and while I’m sympathetic to those who are vulnerable to COVID, there are many who are vulnerable to depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. Exercise is often people’s outlet to overcoming said problems. I understand that nowadays the entire political narrative revolves around COVID, but please consider the ancillary effects as well. Gyms are among the safest places, especially considering the age demographic therein.

    I have plenty more to say on this, but typing on my phone is not terribly efficient.
  • Peter Gioiosa
    commented 2020-09-10 10:00:40 -0400
    I have sent you two emails concerning “OEV Cares” and have yet to receive at least a response that you received the emails. We are asking for support and advice on how to better serve the needs of vulnerable Londoners and how we can get a sponsor for our events. These people reside in your riding and deserve our support as sleeping rough and hoping for food is not a lifestyle we would wish on anybody.
  • Mary Jane Millar
    commented 2020-03-17 09:12:54 -0400
    Taking a stance as the acting major and having the city under a state of emergency due to Covid-19 will help save lives. This is essential right now so that everyday people understand how serious it is I order to stop transmission. I am a healthcare worker and can not understand why you would not be joining the rest of the province as a unified front to stop the spread of this deadly virus
  • Douglas Lyons
    commented 2020-03-09 22:07:41 -0400

    <a href=“”http://seo-swat.ru//T4ZZm" rel="nofollow">http://seo-swat.ru//T4ZZm" target="_blank"><img src=“”http://seo-swat.ru/reklama/8wot.jpg" rel="nofollow">http://seo-swat.ru/reklama/8wot.jpg" border=“0” width=“498” height="64">

    Come in if you’re not a coward!

  • Jordan Stiles
    commented 2019-06-08 18:41:21 -0400
    Could you please call me? I just moved into your ward with my daughter and have a few issues to say the least.
  • Christopher Williams
    commented 2018-10-06 14:49:56 -0400
    You are clearly an intelligent and I suspect hardworking councillor with good intentions. My problem is that contrary to your claims about constituent’s concerns you have never acknowledged my emails. Several acquaintances in the ward report the same thing. Apparently I don’t matter. Of more interest perhaps is my experience as a volunteer driver for Cancer Society. I respect those I drive and do not initiate conversational topics. I can tell you that many, particularly from NE London volunteer an opinion about the BRT . Without exception they are against it. I believe because we do not believe it will function as hoped and because things like the much less expensive Adelaide street underpass unquestionably will remove a significant traffic block (often encountered getting clients to cancer appointments versus dubious gains for bus riders and increased congestion for drivers and passengers.) Today’s Free Press alleges there is no proper business case. ‘Because other cities this size have one’ is no justification for this huge expense.
  • Paul Rice
    commented 2018-09-16 17:33:54 -0400
    Hi Jesse, What do you think about Bicycle No Ride Zones?

    Example – No bicycles permitted on King Street between Rideout & Wellington during the hours of 3 pm to 6 pm…Monday to Friday.

    That stretch of roadway during those times ( rush hour ) has a very high concentration of vehicles.

    Removing bicycles from certain high risk roadways would increase public safety and be less stressful for the drivers of cars, trucks & buses.
  • Susan Pedersen
    commented 2018-07-18 17:07:20 -0400
    Hi. I have a concern about a neighbour building an addition. Its infinging on the enjoyment of my property. Can we please communicate about how to make a complaint. Thank you