Mayor of Toronto

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Mayor of Toronto
Toronto, City of.svg
Municipal wordmark
Mayor John Tory in Toronto at the Good Friday Procession - 2018 (27264606888) (cropped).jpg
John Tory

since December 1, 2014
City of Toronto
Office of the Mayor
StyleHis/Her Worship
Member of
  • Executive Committee
  • City Council
Reports toToronto City Council
SeatToronto City Hall
AppointerDirect election
Term length4 years;
Constituting instrumentCity of Toronto Act
Inaugural holderHistoric: William Lyon Mackenzie
Post-amalgamation: Mel Lastman
FormationHistoric: March 6, 1834
Current: December 1, 1998

The mayor of Toronto is the head of Toronto City Council and chief executive officer of the municipal government. The mayor is elected alongside city council every four years on the fourth Monday of October; there are no term limits.[2] While in office, mayors are styled His/Her Worship.[3]

John Tory has served as the 65th and current mayor of Toronto since taking office on December 1, 2014, following the 2014 mayoral election. Tory was re-elected to a second term in 2018.


The role and powers of the mayor are set out in the City of Toronto Act, which include:[4][5][6]

  • chairing council meetings and ensuring city business is carried out efficiently and effectively at council (delegated to the speaker of Toronto City Council)
  • chairing the Executive Committee
  • appointing chairs of standing committees
  • declaring states of emergency and executing an emergency plan
  • ensuring administrative policies, procedures and practices are in place to execute the decisions of council
  • ensuring the transparency and accountability of city operations
  • representing the city and city council
  • carrying out the duties of the head of council under the City of Toronto Act or any other legislation

The mayor is responsible for the delivery of city services, however, decisions regarding the level of services, the adding or deletion of services, are approved by council. The city's budget is set by the Budget Committee, whose chair is appointed by the mayor.[7] The city manager, who serves as chief administrative officer and is the head of the Toronto public service is appointed at the recommendation of the mayor.[6]

The mayor is responsible for the efficient running of city council. The mayor serves as or delegates a speaker at meetings on the advice of council, and appoints councillors to chair the four standing committees (Economic and Community Development Committee; General Government and Licensing Committee; Infrastructure and Environment Committee; Planning and Housing Committee).

The mayor is the chair of the executive committee, which oversees major proposals, issues that affect government operations of more than one department or covered by more than one oversight committee, as well as the Striking Committee and Civic Appointments Committee. The mayor is a member of all Council committees.[7] Some governmental organizations have independent oversight, such as the Toronto Police Services, and the mayor is automatically a member of the Toronto Police Services Board and the Canadian National Exhibition Board of Governors.

Emergency powers[edit]

The mayor, acting as head of council may declare a state of emergency for all or part of the city under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act and City of Toronto Municipal Code, Chapter 59, Emergency Management.

On March 23, 2020, John Tory declared a state of emergency during the response to the COVID-19 pandemic across Canada.[8]

Deputy mayor[edit]

Statutory deputy mayor[edit]

The first deputy mayor performs the statutory roles and functions assigned to the "deputy mayor" as defined in various chapters of the municipal code.[9] The first deputy mayor is a member of council who is appointed to the role by the mayor, and assists him/her as vice-chair of the executive committee and acts as mayor when the mayor is away, ill or the office of the mayor is vacant. The deputy mayor has all the rights, power and authority of the mayor, save and except the "by-right-of-office powers" of the mayor as a member of a community council.[10]

Deputy mayor Term start Area represented/policy role[11][12] Constituency as councillor
Denzil Minnan-Wong December 1, 2014 North region (North York), statutory deputy mayor Ward 16 – Don Valley East

Non-statutory deputy mayors[edit]

In 2014, city council approved the creation three additional non-statutory deputy mayor positions. Non-statutory deputy mayors are members of council, appointed by the mayor, who advise him/her on local issues and represent him/her at events and ceremonies. Each (along with the first deputy mayor) represent a geographic area of the city, and are responsible for a specific policy role. The deputy mayors and the mayor meet each month to discuss efforts to bring the city together.[13]

Deputy mayor Term start Area represented/policy role[11][12] Constituency as councillor
Ana Bailão October 6, 2017[14] South region (Toronto and East York), housing Ward 9 – Davenport
Michael Thompson December 12, 2018[11] East region (Scarborough), jobs Ward 21 – Scarborough Centre
Stephen Holyday December 12, 2018[11] West region (Etobicoke and York), modernization and governance Ward 2 – Etobicoke Centre


From 1834 to 1857, and again from 1867 to 1873, Toronto mayors were not elected directly by the public. Instead, after each annual election of aldermen and councilmen, the assembled council would elect one of their members as mayor. For all other years, mayors were directly elected by popular vote, except in rare cases where a mayor was appointed by council to fill an unexpired term of office. Prior to 1834, Toronto municipal leadership was governed by the chairman of the General Quarter Session of Peace of the Home District Council.

Through 1955 the term of office for the mayor and council was one year; it then varied between two and three years until a four-year term was adopted starting in 2006. (See List of Toronto municipal elections.)

The City of Toronto has changed substantially over the years: the city annexed or amalgamated with neighbouring communities or areas 49 times from in 1883 to 1967.[15] The most sweeping change was in 1998, when the six municipalities comprising Metropolitan TorontoEast York, Etobicoke, North York, Scarborough, York, and the former city of Toronto–and its regional government were amalgamated into a single City of Toronto (colloquially dubbed the "megacity") by an act of the provincial government. The newly created position of mayor for the resulting single-tier mega-city replaced all of the mayors of the former Metro municipalities. It also abolished the office of the Metro chairman, which had formerly been the most senior political figure in the Metro government before amalgamation.

Fourteen out of the first 29 mayors were lawyers, and 58 of Toronto's 64 mayors (up to Ford) have been Protestant, white, English-speaking, Anglo-Saxon, property-owning males.[16] There have been two women (Hall and Rowlands) and three Jewish mayors (Phillips, Givens[17] and Lastman).

Art Eggleton is the longest-serving mayor of Toronto, serving from 1980 until 1991. Eggleton later served in federal politics from 1993 until 2004, and was appointed to the Senate of Canada in 2005. David Breakenridge Read held the post of mayor of Toronto for the shortest period. Read was mayor for only fifty days in 1858.

No Toronto mayor has been removed from office. Toronto's 64th mayor, Rob Ford, lost a conflict of interest trial in 2012, and was ordered to vacate his position; but the ruling was stayed pending an appeal, which Ford won to remain in office.[18][19] Due to his substance abuse admission and controversy in 2013, Council stripped him of many powers on November 15, transferring them to the deputy mayor.[20] From May until July 2014, Ford took a leave of absence from the mayoralty to enter drug rehabilitation.

Post-amalgamation mayors of Toronto[edit]

The current City of Toronto was formed in 1998 from the amalgamation of Metro Toronto and its constituent municipalities. The following is a list of mayors of the current post amalgamation Toronto. It does not include mayors of the former, pre-1998 Toronto, metro chairs, or the mayor/reeves of amalgamated municipalities.

List of Mayors of Toronto since 1998 amalgamation
No. since 1834/1998 Portrait Mayor Terms of office Start and end of term Prior political experience
62 1 Mel Lastman at the 2018 CFC Annual BBQ Fundraiser.jpg Mel Lastman 2 January 1, 1998

November 30, 2003

North York Board of Control (1970–1973)

Mayor of North York (1973–1997)

Metro councillor (1970–1997)[21]

63 2 Flickr - Tsar Kasim - Mayor David Miller - cropped.JPG David Miller 2 December 1, 2003

November 30, 2010

Metro councillor for High Park (1994–1997),

City councillor for Ward 19 (High Park) (1997–2000)

City councillor for Ward 13 (High Park) (2000–2003)

64 3 Rob Ford Mayoral Candidates Forum June 2010 (crop).jpg Rob Ford 1 December 1, 2010

November 30, 2014

City councillor for Ward 2 (Etobicoke North) (2000–2010)
65 4 Mayor John Tory in Toronto at the Good Friday Procession - 2018 (27264606888) (cropped).jpg John Tory 2 December 1, 2014


Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario (2004–2009)

Member of Provincial Parliament for Dufferin—Peel—Wellington—Grey (2005–2007)

Ontario Leader of the Official Opposition (2005-2007)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Budgets and Expense Reports". City of Toronto. 2017-08-22. Retrieved 2022-04-08.
  2. ^ "AMO - Ontario Municipal Elections". Retrieved 2020-09-25.
  3. ^ "How to Address the Mayor & Dignitaries". City of Toronto. 2018-03-27. Retrieved 2020-09-25.
  4. ^ "The Roles of the Mayor and City Council" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 May 2019.
  5. ^ "2020 Program Summary Office of the Mayor" (PDF).
  6. ^ a b "My local government it's for me" (PDF).
  7. ^ a b "The Roles of the Mayor and City Council". City of Toronto. Archived from the original on May 30, 2017. Retrieved May 29, 2017.
  8. ^ "City of Toronto Declaration of Emergency" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2020-03-30.
  9. ^ "Deputy Mayor - Council Speaker - Deputy Speaker". Archived from the original on 23 May 2019.
  10. ^ "City of Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 27" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2019-05-09.
  11. ^ a b c d "Tory makes his picks for deputy mayors, committee chairs". Archived from the original on 2019-03-27.
  12. ^ a b "Toronto: Mayor's Recommended City Council Appointments Revealed".
  13. ^ Alcoba, Natalie (2015-01-24). "John Tory's plan 'to bring the city together': Four deputy mayors — one from each region of Toronto". National Post. Retrieved 2022-04-08.
  14. ^ "Mayor John Tory names Ana Bailao as new deputy mayor and Joe Mihevc as poverty reduction advocate". Archived from the original on 2019-07-26.
  15. ^ Derek Hayes. Historical Atlas of Toronto. pp. 90–91. ISBN 978-1-55365-290-8.
  16. ^ Mark Maloney (January 3, 2010). "Toronto's mayors: Scoundrels, rogues and socialist". Toronto Star. Archived from the original on January 11, 2013. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  17. ^ Globe Staff (November 26, 1963). "Givens Mayor by Unanimous Vote". The Globe & Mail. Toronto. p. 1.
  18. ^ "Toronto Mayor Rob Ford to appeal his ouster". CTV News. November 26, 2012. Archived from the original on November 29, 2012. Retrieved 2013-02-16.
  19. ^ Magder v. Ford, 2013 ONSC 263, 113 OR (3d) 241 (25 January 2013), Superior Court of Justice (Ontario, Canada)
  20. ^ Mendleson, Rachel; Peter Edwards (November 18, 2013). "Rob Ford stripped of power as mayor by Toronto council". The Toronto Star. Archived from the original on December 7, 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-18.
  21. ^ Star Staff (December 5, 1972). "Mel Lastman sweeps North York". The Toronto Star. pp. 1, 11. All municipal elected officials that won in the 4 DEC 1972 election took office on 1 JAN 1973.

External links[edit]