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City of Toronto Act

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The City of Toronto Act is the name of a series of different acts of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario that have governed the organization and political powers of the city since Toronto's original incorporation as a city in 1834.

Incorporation of the City of Toronto, 1834[edit]

The Incorporation of the City of Toronto on March 6, 1834, was a provincial legislative act creating the City of Toronto from the unincorporated town of York. The act severed Toronto from York County. This allowed for the creation of the local government or city council. The act was transferred to the succeeding governments of Canada West in 1840 and Ontario in 1867. The incorporation remained in effect throughout Toronto's mergers with other cities and towns of York County until the creation of Metropolitan Toronto in 1954.

Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Act, 1953[edit]

An Act to provide for the Federation of the Municipalities in the Toronto Metropolitan Area for Certain Financial and Other Purposes[1] was a provincial act passed on April 2, 1953,[2] to coordinate the services in the various municipalities of southern York County. The southern municipalities – East York, Etobicoke, Forest Hill, Leaside, Long Branch, Mimico, New Toronto, North York, Scarborough, Swansea, Toronto, Weston, and York – were separated from York County[3] and organized under a new regional federation, named the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto (commonly known as "Metro Toronto").

The act went into effect on April 15, 1953[4] and the Metropolitan council met thereafter. The federation's taxation and legislative powers took effect on January 1, 1954.[5] The federation was governed by a council made up of representatives of the member municipalities and a chairman to oversee the council. The first chairman was Fred Gardiner, appointed by the Ontario provincial government. Subsequent chairmen were selected by the council itself and later directly elected.

On January 1, 1967, seven of the thirteen municipalities were absorbed into the remaining six federation members: Toronto, Etobicoke, North York, East York, York, and Scarborough. The Metropolitan Toronto Act was revised in 1990 and finally repealed in 1997 with the amalgamation of the Metro Toronto government and the governments of the municipalities within.

City of Toronto Act, 1997 (Bill 103)[edit]

In 1997, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario enacted a law to amalgamate the Metro Toronto government and the six municipalities within the Metro Toronto boundaries into an enlarged City of Toronto. A referendum in the six constituent municipalities showed residents opposed the merger by a ratio of more than three to one. However, municipal governments in Canada are subject to their respective provincial governments; thus, the Progressive Conservative government was able to move forward with the merger despite the referendum, which they did. The act took effect on January 1, 1998.

Stronger City of Toronto for a Stronger Ontario Act, 2006 (Bill 53)[edit]

On December 14, 2005, the first reading of Bill 53[6] was given in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Also known as the Stronger City of Toronto for a Stronger Ontario Act, 2006, it enacted the new City of Toronto Act, 2006, as well as amended and repealed various public acts related to Toronto, and repealed various private acts also related to the city. The bill received its second reading on April 10, 2006, and was referred to the Standing Committee on General Government, which returned it to the legislature on May 30, 2006. On June 12, 2006, the bill received its third reading and royal assent after a 58–20 vote.[7]

This law permitted the Toronto government to enter into agreements with other governments and increased the scope for the city government to raise revenue.[8] Tax powers in Canada are defined by the constitution and restrict certain powers of direct taxation only to the federal government.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ontario 1953, pp. 405–502.
  2. ^ Ontario 1953, p. 405.
  3. ^ Ontario 1953, p. 446.
  4. ^ Ontario 1953, p. 406.
  5. ^ Ontario 1953, pp. 419, 425–427, 431–432, 442–446, 448, 450–453, 456–459, 462, 465–466, 468, 471–472, 475–476, 479, 497, 500–501.
  6. ^ "Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Library". Archived from the original on February 28, 2006.
  7. ^ "Stronger City of Toronto for a Stronger Ontario Act, 2006 / Loi de 2006 créant un Toronto plus fort pour un Ontario plus fort". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). Vol. 38. Ontario: Legislative Assembly of Ontario. June 12, 2006. The Clerk of the Assembly (Mr. Claude L. DesRosiers): The ayes are 58; the nays are 20.
    The Speaker: I declare the motion carried. Be it resolved that the bill do now pass and be entitled as in the motion.
  8. ^ City of Toronto: Former Mayor David Miller 2003–2010 – Speech: Standing Committee on General Government Bill 53, Stronger City of Toronto for a Stronger Ontario Act. Toronto.ca. Retrieved on July 26, 2013.

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