Meet Laura

Dr. Laura Shantz is a researcher, part-time University of Ottawa professor, an active community member, and now, she is your progressive candidate for Ottawa city council in Rideau-Vanier. 

Laura is a 13-year resident of Vanier, where she lives with her partner Craig, their two boys, and their very friendly cat Martha. She has held a wide range of positions including in advocacy, policy development, research, and community engagement. Laura recognizes that policy influences individuals and communities. She knows it is important to ensure that policies translate into effective, relevant, and beneficial services that meet the needs of diverse communities and individuals.

While working at emergency shelters in downtown Ottawa, Laura saw how important it was to be able to connect with people in their first language. She set out to learn French and is now fluently bilingual, and so are her children.

She grew up in a rural area where she learned to value community support and taking care of neighbours. As a student at the University of Ottawa, Laura lived in abject poverty. She worked difficult, low-paying jobs to put herself through school and pay her rent, and often was left with almost no money to pay for food. These periods in Laura’s life guided her to recognize the importance of being inclusive and responding to the diversity of people’s experiences. 

Laura is passionate about justice and believes in listening to the stories of those often not heard. Her deep sense of justice, fairness, equity, and inclusion led her to pursue a Ph.D. in criminology, studying women over the age of fifty experiencing homelessness. She appreciates and values that each person experiences life differently. Laura is committed to meeting the needs of Ottawa’s diverse community, including by drawing on her own lived experience with autism. 

Laura envisions Rideau-Vanier as a community where everyone can thrive and succeed together. A place where taking care of each other and treating each person with dignity and respect are defining values. For Laura to make this vision a reality, changes must be made. Improving transit and active transportation is necessary for all to move around the city easily and safely. More affordable and quality housing is needed so all residents can have a place to call home. Climate issues must be addressed to create a safe environment for future generations. To Laura, it is vitally important for the lived realities of people in her ward to be brought to city hall. She will ensure that the issues that matter to her constituents receive the attention they deserve. As City Councillor, Laura will never stop fighting for the essential, inclusive, and evidence-based changes that residents need. 

Laura has a multitude of lived experiences that she can draw on: being a parent, a homeowner, having lived in poverty, and being neurodivergent. Above all else, she is committed to not only listening to her community, but taking what she hears to the council table. Laura has faced seemingly insurmountable challenges throughout her life. Now she’s taking on a new kind of challenge, with your support, Laura will work to facilitate a more inclusive, welcoming and safe community in Rideau-Vanier, one that moves forward, together.

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