The Ontario Court of Appeal has released its decision regarding the size of Toronto’s City Council, just weeks prior to the upcoming municipal election.
In its decision this morning, the Court has sided with Doug Ford, granting a stay on Bill 5, and making way for a 25-ward election, down from 47.
“Unquestionably, Ontario’s announcement of its intention to introduce Bill 5 disrupted the campaigns that were already underway,” states the court document. “However, Bill 5 does not limit or restrict any message the candidates wish to convey to voters for the remainder of the campaign. Nor does it erase messages conveyed earlier, although it may reduce their effectiveness.”
The court concluded that Bill 5 does “not suffer from constitutional infirmity,” and said that “we have no hesitation in finding that the balance of convenience favours granting a stay.”
Last week, Toronto city clerk Ulli Watkiss said that as the upcoming municipal elections near, “We have hit a tipping point.”
She also said that it is “virtually impossible” to hold a fair election amid the confusion over the cut in council.
But the clerk also took steps to implement a 25-ward election, which the court document mentions.
“The city clerk has indicated that she has done all she can in the circumstances to prepare for either a 25 or 47 ward election and, provided the issue is resolved promptly, an election on either basis remains possible,” it states.
The means that city staff will now be preparing for a 25-ward election, which is currently scheduled to be held on October 22.