Toronto City Council
Members represent wards throughout the city, and are known as councillors.
For ease of electoral division, wards are based upon the city's federal electoral districts as of the year 2000. While the federal districts have been redistributed since then, the ward boundaries remain the same.
The city council has 45 members: 44 ward councillors plus the mayor. The city posts agendas for council and committee meetings.
The salary for the mayor is $177,499 for 2014. The salary for a city councillor is $105,397 for 2014.
There are seven standing committees of council:
- government management,
- public works and infrastructure,
- economic development,
- parks and the environment,
- community services and recreation,
- licensing and standards, and
- planning and growth management.
There are three internal business committees:
- nominating and
The Executive Committee is composed of the Mayor, Deputy Mayor, chairs of the seven standing committees and four other members appointed by City Council. Sub-committees of the executive committee include the:
- budget committee,
- affordable housing committee and
- the employee and labour relations committee.
In addition to the standing committees, all members of Toronto city council serve on a community council. The city is divided into four community councils, each of which makes recommendations on local matters to the full city council. Although they are named "councils" they are really geographic standing committees of council with no final authority. The four community councils, and their meeting locations, are as follows:
- Etobicoke and York – Etobicoke Civic Centre
- North York – North York Civic Centre
- Scarborough – Scarborough Civic Centre
- Old Toronto and East York – Toronto City Hall
Original ward system
Toronto was divided into a group of wards, each named after a Christian saint. In 1834, the City had five wards and the number of wards would expand to nine by 1891. While out of use for over a century, these ward names continue to appear in neighbourhood names and subway stations and, until the 1990s, provincial electoral districts. The old wards and their boundaries in their final form, used from 1871 to 1891, were:
- St. Andrew's (named for Saint Andrew)- bounded by Dufferin, King, Queen, and Yonge Streets – St. Andrew's Church (Toronto) is located within the ward
- St. David's (named for Saint David) – bounded by Ontario, Don Mills Road (now Broadview Ave), Bloor and Queen
- St. George's (named for Saint George) – bounded by King, Yonge, Dufferin Streets and lakefront
- St. Lawrence's (named for Lawrence of Rome) – bounded by Queen, Yonge, lakefront, McGee
- St. Patrick's (named for Saint Patrick) – bounded by Yonge, Bathurst, Queen and College Streets (now part of Trinity-Spadina) – St. Patrick's Church is located within this ward
- St. John's (either for John the Apostle or John the Baptist) – bounded by Yonge, University, Bloor and Queen
- St. Stephen's (named for Saint Stephen) – bounded by Yonge, Bloor, Queen and Dufferin Streets
- St. Thomas's (named for Thomas the Apostle) – bounded by Jarvis, Ontario, Bloor, Queen Streets
- St. James's (named for James, son of Zebedee) – bounded by Yonge, Jarvis, King and Bloor – Cathedral Church of St. James is located within the ward
20th century structure
In the June 1891 the city moved to a six ward system, with each ward known by a number. Over the next three decades three new wards were added, one each in the north, east, and west, as new areas were annexed to the city of Toronto. This basic ward map remained in place until 1969. Overtime it became considerably unbalanced with the downtown wards having far fewer voters than those on the outskirts. In each ward the two candidates who received the most votes were elected. When a higher level of municipal government, Metro Toronto, was introduced in 1953, to co-orindate services between the city of Toronto and its suburbs, this system was adapted so that the top vote getter of the two elected councillors from each ward was also a member of Metro Council.
Until 1955 municipal elections were held annually, either on New Year's Day or on the first Monday in December. In 1955 council moved to two-year terms, and in 1982 three-year terms were introduced. Along with the other municipalities of Ontario, Toronto moved to a four-year municipal term in 2006.
From 1904 until 1969 there was a four person Board of Control in addition to city council. The Board was elected at large across the city, and its members had considerably more power than the city councillors. In 1969 the Board of Control was abolished and the four controllers were replaced by four new councillors from two new wards. The ward map was rebalanced to give more equitable representation.
In 1985 the system of electing Metro councillors was changed so that two separate ballots were held in each ward, one for the city the other for Metro. In the next election a separate set of wards was established for Metro councillors. Each Metro ward consisted of two city wards, each electing only one councillor.
With the amalgamation of the city of Toronto with the suburban municipalities of Metro in 1997, the councils of the six former cities were abolished. The new council for the "megacity" kept the ward map of Metro Toronto, but doubled the number of councillors by adopting the system of electing two councillors from each ward. East York had only one ward and was thus greatly underrepresented. Former East York mayor Michael Prue lobbied successfully for a third councillor to be elected from that ward, and this was implemented mid-term.
This system was only used for the first megacity election. In 2000 a new ward map was devised based on the federal ridings (electoral districts) that covered Toronto. Each riding was split in half to create the current system of 44 wards.
||This section possibly contains original research. (September 2013)|
Despite some attempts to bring political parties to Toronto municipal politics, organized parties have had limited influence. Over its history city council has thus been divided into unofficial factions. Upon the formation of the city, the first division was between the Tory Family Compact and reformers under the leadership of William Lyon Mackenzie. Mackenzie was elected as the city's first mayor, but after the defeat of the Upper Canada Rebellion, the reformers were marginalized. For the next century the Tories dominated Toronto municipal politics, as they did the other levels in "Tory Toronto". The Tories were associated with staunch Protestantism, shown through membership in the Orange Order, and support for the Lord's Day Act.
In the 1930s various forms of left wing opposition arose to the Tory dominated council. The Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) was founded in 1932 and the pro-labour social democratic party found support in various working class areas of Toronto and several of its members were elected to city council. Unaffiliated anti-poverty activists like May Birchard also were elected to council in this era. An important faction in Toronto politics in the 1930s and 1940s were the communists. There was considerable communist support in the downtown areas covered by Ward 4 and Ward 5, especially in the heavily Jewish areas of Kensington Market and the Garment District around Spadina Avenue and further west along College and up to Christie Pits including what is now Little Italy. The peak of communist influence was in the 1946 election where leader Stewart Smith was elected to the Board of Control and three other communists won seats on city council. With the beginning of the Cold War and staunch opposition from the other political groups, the communist presence quickly disappeared. The last communist alderman lost his seat in 1950.
The first part of the 20th century was also the era of the newspaper slates. Each of the daily newspapers would endorse a full slate of candidates for office. The two most influential were the right wing Toronto Telegram and the more left leaning Toronto Daily Star. In the early parts of the century, the duelling papers ran the communications portion of the campaign of the candidates they supported, using yellow journalism to extol those they supported and denigrate those they opposed. The newspaper slates did not have a unified ideology. Rather all the papers claimed to be seeking a balanced council, making sure that groups such as labour and Roman Catholics had representation on council. Beyond these few exceptions, the slates of all the papers were largely made up of male, white, Conservative, Orangemen. Many candidates also appeared on the slates of multiple newspapers. With the exception of James Simpson, who became Toronto's first socialist mayor in 1935, the city's mayors were Tories in the first half of the 20th century.
The character of Toronto politics began to change in the 1950s and 1960s as the Anglo Tory lock on power faded in the increasingly diverse city. In 1952 Allan Lamport became the first Liberal elected mayor in over 40 years. In 1954 Nathan Phillips, a long-serving Jewish alderman, was elected mayor, though he was himself a staunch Tory. His religion was an important issue in the election, in which his opponent proclaimed himself to be running as "Leslie Saunders, Protestant". In 1966 former CCF Member of Provincial Parliament William Dennison was elected mayor.
In the late 1960s and 1970s a new division arose on city council between two groups that became known as the "Reformers" and the "Old Guard". Both groups crossed party lines and were divided by their approach to urban issues. The Reform faction arose in opposition to the urban renewal schemes that had been in favour in the previous decades. The two key battles were over the proposal for the Spadina Expressway and the replacement of the Trefann Court neighbourhood with a housing project. The Reformers opposed the destruction of existing neighbourhoods and followed the urban theories of recent Toronto arrival Jane Jacobs. The Old Guard supported new highways and housing projects, in part because of their close ties to the development industry. The debate between the two groups became the central issue of the 1969 municipal election with mayoral candidate Margaret Campbell running on an explicitly reform platform. Campbell lost the mayoralty, but on city council six veteran members of the Old Guard were defeated. In 1972 Reform leader David Crombie was elected mayor, and he was succeeded by one of the most radical reformers, John Sewell.
The Reformers won the major battles and reshaped the development of the city, but they still faced significant opposition from the right as new issues became central. Developers and business owners objected to the curbs on development. The right also capitalized on concerns about law and order and taxes. The right wing returned to power in 1980 when Art Eggleton was elected mayor and city council also shifted to the right that decade. The basic pattern of right wing and left wing factions has continued to the present. Since the 1990s the left has dominated as the Old City of Toronto shifted to the left, but amalgamation in 1997 added many suburban areas with more right-leaning voters. The left, composed of the New Democrats and some left-leaning Liberals, is the largest faction at city hall. They are opposed by the right, which consists of Conservatives and right-wing Liberals.
Changes for 2006–2010 Council
Changes were made to the council in 2007:
- Executive Committee consisting of two city councillors and the six heads of the city committees (Policy and Finance, Administration, Planning and Transportation, Economic Development and Parks, Works, Community Services)
- Speaker of Toronto City Council and Deputy Speaker of Toronto City Council
Current city council
On October 25, 2010, a record number of women were elected to council, with 15 female councilors comprising one third of all council members.
|Councilor||Ward||Community Council||Federal Electoral District||Notes|
|Ford, RobRob Ford||Mayor||-||Stripped of non-statutory powers and transferred to Deputy Mayor, City Clerk Office and City Council on November 18, 2013.|
|Crisanti, VincentVincent Crisanti||1||Etobicoke and York||Etobicoke North|
|Ford, DougDoug Ford||2||Etobicoke and York||Etobicoke North||Vice-chair of budget committee (de facto budget chair when budget chief unavailable)|
|Leon, PeterPeter Leon||3||Etobicoke and York||Etobicoke Centre||Appointed to replace Doug Holyday after Holyday's election as MPP|
|Lindsay Luby, GloriaGloria Lindsay Luby||4||Etobicoke and York||Etobicoke Centre|
|Milczyn, PeterPeter Milczyn||5||Etobicoke and York||Etobicoke—Lakeshore||Planning and Growth Management Chair|
|Grimes, MarkMark Grimes||6||Etobicoke and York||Etobicoke—Lakeshore||Etobicoke and York Community Council Chair|
|Mammoliti, GiorgioGiorgio Mammoliti||7||Etobicoke and York||York West||Community Development and Recreation Chair|
|Perruzza, AnthonyAnthony Perruzza||8||North York||York West|
|Augimeri, MariaMaria Augimeri||9||North York||York Centre||North York Community Council Chair, TTC Chair|
|Pasternak, JamesJames Pasternak||10||North York||York Centre|
|Nunziata, FrancesFrances Nunziata||11||Etobicoke and York||York South—Weston||Speaker|
|Di Giorgio, FrankFrank Di Giorgio||12||Etobicoke and York||York South—Weston||Budget Chief|
|Doucette, SarahSarah Doucette||13||Central Toronto and East York||Parkdale—High Park|
|Perks, GordGord Perks||14||Central Toronto and East York||Parkdale—High Park||Central Toronto and East York Community Council Chair|
|Colle, JoshJosh Colle||15||North York||Eglinton—Lawrence|
|Stintz, KarenKaren Stintz||16||North York||Eglinton—Lawrence|
|Palacio, CesarCesar Palacio||17||Central Toronto and East York||Davenport||Licensing and Standards Chair|
|Bailão, AnaAna Bailão||18||Central Toronto and East York||Davenport|
|Layton, MikeMike Layton||19||Central Toronto and East York||Trinity—Spadina|
|Vaughan, AdamAdam Vaughan||20||Central Toronto and East York||Trinity—Spadina|
|Mihevc, JoeJoe Mihevc||21||Central Toronto and East York||St. Paul's|
|Matlow, JoshJosh Matlow||22||Central Toronto and East York||St. Paul's|
|Filion, JohnJohn Filion||23||North York||Willowdale|
|Shiner, DavidDavid Shiner||24||North York||Willowdale||Executive At-Large Member|
|Robinson, JayeJaye Robinson||25||North York||Don Valley West|
|Parker, JohnJohn Parker||26||North York||Don Valley West||Deputy Speaker|
|Wong-Tam, KristynKristyn Wong-Tam||27||Central Toronto and East York||Toronto Centre—Rosedale|
|McConnell, PamPam McConnell||28||Central Toronto and East York||Toronto Centre—Rosedale|
|Fragedakis, MaryMary Fragedakis||29||Central Toronto and East York||Toronto—Danforth|
|Fletcher, PaulaPaula Fletcher||30||Central Toronto and East York||Toronto—Danforth|
|Davis, JanetJanet Davis||31||Central Toronto and East York||Beaches—East York|
|McMahon, Mary-MargaretMary-Margaret McMahon||32||Central Toronto and East York||Beaches—East York|
|Carroll, ShelleyShelley Carroll||33||North York||Don Valley East|
|Minnan-Wong, DenzilDenzil Minnan-Wong||34||North York||Don Valley East||Public Works Chair|
|Berardinetti, MichelleMichelle Berardinetti||35||Scarborough||Scarborough Southwest||Executive At-Large Member|
|Crawford, GaryGary Crawford||36||Scarborough||Scarborough Southwest|
|Thompson, MichaelMichael Thompson||37||Scarborough||Scarborough Centre||Economic Development Chair|
|De Baeremaeker, GlennGlenn De Baeremaeker||38||Scarborough||Scarborough Centre|
|Del Grande, MichaelMichael Del Grande||39||Scarborough||Scarborough—Agincourt||former Budget Chief; Executive At-Large Member|
|Kelly, NormNorm Kelly||40||Scarborough||Scarborough—Agincourt||Deputy Mayor; Parks and Environment Chair; Chair of the Executive Committee (appointed by City Council on Monday, November 18)|
|Lee, ChinChin Lee||41||Scarborough||Scarborough—Rouge River|
|Cho, RaymondRaymond Cho||42||Scarborough||Scarborough—Rouge River|
|Ainslie, PaulPaul Ainslie||43||Scarborough||Scarborough East||Scarborough Community Council Chair, Toronto Public Library Board Chair, Toronto Zoo Vice-Chair|
|Moeser, RonRon Moeser||44||Scarborough||Scarborough East|
Office of the Mayor
The office is located on the second floor at City Hall. The general public and media can access it via stairs. Office staff and the Mayor can reach the office by elevator from the ground floor or the garage.
The current staff of the office consists of:
- Chief of Staff (acting Chief of Staff and Director of Stakeholder and Council Relations)
- Executive Assistant to the Chief of Staff (Vacant)
- Director of Operations and Logistics (Vacant)
- Special Assistants
- Policy Advisor and Council Relations (1 position vacant)
- Senior Policy Advisor
- Executive Assistant to the Mayor (vacant)
As of May 30, 2013, the positions of Deputy Chief of Staff, Press Secretary and Deputy Press Secretary no longer exists. Staffing roles and hiring is directed by the Mayor and not by Council or City of Toronto.
The current travel arrangement for the Mayor is by use of his own vehicle and driven by a driver hired by the city. Previous arrangements had the Mayor being driven by himself.
Currently the Mayor's office has a staff of 9:
- On November 19, 2013, 9 of 20 staffers transferred to the office of the Deputy Mayor, including Chief of Staff Earl Provost and Director of Policy Shelia Paxton. Due to budget restrictions, Director of Operations and Logistics David Price and Deputy Chief of Staff Sunny Petrujkic were dropped from the office.
The Executive Committee is an advisory body with chaired by the mayor and members appointed by the Mayor.
The Executive Committee makes recommendations to city council on:
- strategic policy and priorities
- governance policy and structure
- financial planning and budgeting
- fiscal policy (revenue and tax policies)
- intergovernmental and international relations
- Council operations
- Human resources and labour relations
Current members of the Committee:
- Gary Crawford
- Vincent Crisanti
- Frank Di Giorgio
- Rob Ford - formerly Chair
- Norman Kelly - Acting Chair
- Peter Leon
- Giorgio Mammoliti
- Peter Milczyn
- Denzil Minnan-Wong
- Cesar Palacio
- Anthony Perruzza
- David Shiner
- Michael Thompson
Vacancies in a council seat may be filled in one of two ways, either by the holding of a by-election or through direct appointment of an interim councillor chosen by the council in an internal vote. Normally the council is allowed to decide which process to follow in each individual case; however, if the vacancy occurs after March 31 in the year of a regularly scheduled municipal election, then the vacancy must be filled by direct appointment as provincial law prohibits the holding of a by-election in the final six months of a council term.
The process often results in public debate, however. The by-election process is widely seen as more democratic, while the appointment process is seen as less expensive for the city to undertake.
When the appointment process is followed, people who are interested in the appointment are asked to submit their names to the local community council for the area where the vacant seat is located; the community council then evaluates and interviews the applicants, and submits a recommendation to the full city council for a final vote. Normally, a condition of the application process is that the appointed interim councillor does not run as a candidate in the next regular election, so that he or she does not gain an unfair incumbency advantage. There have, nonetheless, been instances in which appointed interim councillors have tested the rule; most recently, Paul Ainslie did so in 2006 by running for re-election in a different ward than the one where he had been appointed.
The most recent vacancy occurred in 2013, with the resignation of Doug Holyday following his election to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. The council opted to fill the vacancy by appointment, with Peter Leon's selection announced on October 10, 2013.
- William R. Allen - Metro Toronto's second chairman from 1962-1969, son of Robert A. Allen, an east end Alderman and MPP in the 1930s
- Josh Colle – current city councillor; son of former Metro Toronto Councillor and City of York Councillor, and current MPP Michael Colle
- Mayor Ralph Day's son married to the daughter of Mayor Allan A. Lamport
- Rob Ford – current mayor and former city councillor; brother Doug Ford, Jr. is current city councillor
- Michelle Berardinetti Councillor for Ward 35, Scarborough Southwest, is married to Lorenzo Berardinetti, former Councillor and now MPP.
- Brothers William Holmes Howland and Oliver Aiken Howland both served as Mayor of Toronto
- Mike Layton – current city councillor; son of former city councillors Jack Layton and Olivia Chow (step mother)
- David Shiner – current city councillor; son of former North York borough alderman Esther Shiner
- William Summerville – former Toronto Ward 1 alderman; father of Ward 8 alderman, member of Board of Control and Mayor Donald Dean Summerville; daughter-in-law (wife of Donald Dean) Alice Summerville was former Ward 8 alderman
- Adam Vaughan – current city councillor; son of former city councillor Colin Vaughan
- William Peyton Hubbard - former city alderman and father of Frederick Langdon Hubbard, who was Chair of the Toronto Transportation Commission
- City Council agendas
- A map of Toronto's historical wards
- Carter-Edward, Dennis Russell (1971). Toronto in the 1890's A Decade of Challenge and Response. Peterborough: Trent University. p. 79.
- Ron Haggart. "Here's How the Toronto Newspapers Suggest You Vote – And Why." Toronto Star November 29, 1960 pg. 7
- "Porter: Female breakthrough on Toronto city council". Toronto Star, October 27, 2010.
- Jeff Gray. "Councillor's stand-in breaks promise not to run for office". The Globe and Mail, October 4, 2006. pg. A12.
- "Peter Leon to replace Doug Holyday in Ward 3". Toronto Star, October 10, 2013.