Martin Ritsma


  • Middle child of 11
  • Married 36 years to Kathryn, 2 children Benjamin(LIndsay) and Jillian(Cal)
  • Graduate of Stratford NWSS
  • 36 years in teaching and Administration in secondary school with Avon Maitland Board
  • Actively involved in coaching community and school sports
  • Operation of three farms
  • Actively involved in local rural and urban community organizations and activities

Each Candidate was asked to send a bio, photo and to respond to the ten questions below with a limit of 75 words per answer. We have identified any truncated content with “...[]” Please feel free to reach out to each candidate for more information.


1. Over the last five years, how have you contributed to the City of Stratford (volunteering, boards, etc.)?

  • Deputy mayor for past 4 years\
  • Board member of Technical Training Group (TTG)
  • Chair of University of Waterloo-Stratford Campus-Town and Gown Committee
  • Chair of St. Joseph's Catholic Church $4 million Capital Campaign
  • Board member of Stratford Agricultural Society
  • Board member of Stratford Perth Museum
  • Chair of Stratford Fall Fair
  • Board member of Stratford-Perth Shelter-Link for at Risk Youth
  • Ombudsman for the Avon Maitland District School Board
  • Founder and Coach of 35th Year of Basketball Camp...[]

2. What do you believe your unique contribution will be to council (strengths)?

  • Good listener, patient and willing to take the time to do the job well
  • Excellent understanding of the needs of various age groups in our City

3. What would you like to see achieved over the next four years (be specific)?

  • Improvement in affordable housing inventory and continued work towards the 10 year housing plan
  • Continued development of the All Wheel park
  • Start the development of the community hub
  • I would like to see the City host a mental health symposium working in conjunction with local school boards and community agencies

4. What committees do you see yourself sitting on and what experience qualifies you for those committees?

  • Planning and Heritage (chair)
  • Social Services
  • Community Services

I have served on these three committees over the past 8 years and have a good understanding of the work that needs to be done and have a strong relationship with Directors and City Staff in these areas

5. What means of transportation are you using in the city, and/or in and out of town and what improvements do you recommend?

  • Walking, bicycle and car are modes of transportation I use in Stratford.
  • Improvements I would like are further development of bike lanes and multi-use trails
  • Also further education on the philosophy of sharing the road
  • Maintenance of our current bus transit system and One Care transportation

6. Describe what you believe the Cooper Site should look like in 10 years?

  • The Cooper site should look like a Community Hub with a number or organizations and uses in it
  • First phase to be a new home for SLAAA and possibly a new YMCA facility

7. What are your objectives with respect to housing and how do you expect to accomplish them?

  • To see the Britannia St. Housing Project-- all phases completed
  • Continue to look at current housing inventory and invest in these facilities and sell some existing inventory to build new

8. If elected, what three steps would you take to put our city on a firmer financial footing?

  • Expand our industrial land foot-print so that we can continue to attract new industry and businesses
  • Provide opportunities for current industries and businesses to expand in newly acquired lands
  • Provide opportunities to train or re-train workers for existing and future jobs

9. How will the new provincial legislation with respect to conflict of interest on municipal councils, coming into effect January 2019, hinder your effectiveness on council?

I do not see this posing any difficulties in my role as a councillor

10. How will you encourage youth engagement, retention, re-attraction and skills development?

  • Continue to promote and support the YOUTH CITY COUNCIL Project
  • Partner with local secondary schools, businesses and industry to host job fairs
  • Continue to support The Connect -Skills Project in partnership with provincial and municipal levels of government and local industry and businesses