Toronto City Council is challenging the provincial government’s legislation that cuts the size of council to 25 wards at a Superior Court hearing today.
Starting at 10 am, a judge will begin hearing arguments on whether the Ford government’s proposed slashing of council should be in effect for the upcoming election, which is scheduled to take place on October 22.
On July 27, the provincial government announced it would be introducing Bill 5, also known as the Better Local Government Act, that would cut the number of wards for Toronto’s election from 47 to 25.
Bill 5 also cancels planned elections in the regional municipalities of Muskoka, Peel, York, and Niagara. The head of council in each region will instead be appointed.
The bill became law on August 14.
Mayor John Tory strongly opposes the legislation, calling Bill 5 “wrong and unacceptable.”
“Challenging this legislation and the process used to introduce it is the right and responsible thing to do,” said Tory in a statement on August 20.
Today, City Council voted in favour of initiating a legal challenge of the Ontario government’s Bill 5. pic.twitter.com/ys5H0ELnY7
— John Tory (@TorontosMayor) August 20, 2018
The newly elected provincial government claims that reducing the size of council will make city hall more efficient and would save Toronto taxpayers more than $25.5 million over four years.
City of Toronto, 25 electoral wards
Thanks to the Ford government’s majority at Queen’s Park, the bill had no problem passing legislature earlier this month, less than 90 days before the planned municipal election.
The new legislation will see Toronto’s municipal ward boundaries mirror federal ridings, with each city councillor expected to represent an average of 109,000 residents.
However, Tory has repeatedly criticized what he calls an unacceptable process that didn’t include any input from the City or its residents.
“The City Council and the Mayor are here to represent all of the people who call Toronto home – every single one – and to make sure that decisions that affect our city and our residents, now and in the future, are done right, and that we make our position known clearly and with determination,” said Tory.