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Constitutional Forum 30:1 (2021)


In 2018, the City of Toronto’s municipal election overlapped with a provincial election that brought a new government to office. While the municipal election ran for a protracted period from May 1 to October 22, the provincial election began on May 9 and ended about four weeks later, on June 7.On July 27, after only a few weeks in office, the provincial government tabled the Better Local Government Act (BLGA) and proclaimed the Bill into law on August 14.The BLGA reduced Toronto City Council from 47 to 25 wards and reset the electoral process, mandating that the election proceed under a different concept of representation for City Council.

The provincial government’s reorganization of City Council both ambushed and commandeered an ongoing democratic process. Tough municipal reform was not part of its campaign platform, the government reconstituted City Council just a few short weeks after its election, and did so without notice or consultation. Neither the City, nor candidates for office, much less the electorate, were warned that the newly elected government intended to restructure Council and recalibrate an ongoing electoral process.