Aug 13, 2018
By Jane Brown
Should Ontario Premier Doug Ford go ahead with his plan to reduce Toronto City Council by nearly half for the coming October election, some experts are saying city council has the power to change how it governs without the approval of Queen’s Park.
University of Toronto Urban policy professor Gabriel Eidelman says council could adopt a two-tier system like the one in Los Angeles with 97 neighbourhood councils, or in New York City with 59 community boards.
Eidelman says nothing in Ford’s Bill 5 limits city council from re-thinking and redesigning its own internal decision making processes. In fact, he says, it may actually wake council up to take action.
Urban governance expert, U of T Professor Alexandra Flynn, says if Toronto wants some version of what the U.S. cities have, the key is using the four community councils it already has as a starting point to institutionally have more opportunities for the public to have their voices heard in an official manner.
Toronto’s community councils, created after Toronto’s amalgamation, are Etobicoke York, North York, Scarborough, and Toronto/East York.
Mayor John Tory is waiting on the city solicitor to come up with possible options for a legal challenge against Premier Ford’s proposal to reduce city council from 47 to 25 wards. A special Toronto City Council meeting is scheduled for August 20th.