Bill to slash the size of Toronto city council officially passes

Aug 14 2018, 8:06 pm

The bill to cut the size of Toronto city council nearly in half passed legislature on Tuesday at Queen’s Park.

The passing of Bill 5 comes after Premier Doug Ford announced on July 27 that his new government would slash the number of municipal wards from 47 to 25 ahead of the upcoming municipal election.

The legislation, named Better Local Government Act, reduces the Toronto city council to 25 councillors and returns to the 2014 method of selecting chairs in the regions of York, Peel, Niagara and the District of Muskoka.

Ford’s government has a majority and was able to pass the bill with 71 votes to 39.

The recently elected provincial government claims that reducing the size of Toronto City Council is estimated to save Toronto taxpayers more than $25.5 million over four years.

“Streamlining Toronto council will help the city make decisions more quickly and effectively,” said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

“It saves the city more than $25 million – money it can use to build transit, housing and infrastructure and make life better for the people of Toronto.”

Mayor John Tory has been strongly opposing the change calling it “unacceptable and unfair” and will be meeting members of City Council on Monday, August 20, regarding Ford’s move.

Following today’s vote, Mayor Tory issued the following statement:

I continue to believe that the process followed to date is absolutely wrong and that you don’t change the rules in the middle of an election.

At the last City Council meeting, the City Solicitor was directed to report back on the City’s legal options at a special session of Council to be held on August 20, 2018. At that time, City Council will vote to direct any official legal action, which could include the request for injunction relief.

I look forward to Monday’s meeting where we will receive advice from our City Solicitor on what steps we can take to ensure a proper process is followed.

On August 31, a judge will hear arguments on whether the Ford government’s proposed slashing of Toronto council should be in effect for the upcoming election which is scheduled to take place on October 22.

The summer session at Queen’s Park has now ended, with MPPs not expected back until the fall.

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