The nation’s highest court will rule today on whether Ontario Prime Minister Doug Ford’s decision to reduce the size of Toronto’s city council during the last municipal elections was constitutional.
The Canadian Supreme Court’s decision will come about a year before Ontario’s next municipal vote.
In 2018, the municipal campaign was underway when the Ontario legislature passed a law that reduced the number of council seats in Toronto from 47 to 25, aligning them with federal districts.
READ MORE: Charter section will be key in Toronto court battle over council cut
Ford, a former Toronto city councilman and failed mayoral candidate, argued at the time that the change would streamline the council’s operations and save $ 25 million.
Critics, however, denounced it as undemocratic and arbitrary.
Toronto successfully challenged the legislation in Superior Court, and the judge found it unconstitutional.
READ MORE: With Toronto City Council reduced to 25 boroughs, the focus is on governing
Ford threatened to use the Constitution clause to push for the change, but did not have to invoke it because the province won a stay of the decision pending appeal.
The Ontario Superior Court then issued a split decision on the matter, with three judges deciding to overturn the Superior Court’s decision and two to uphold it.
READ MORE: Ontario Court of Appeals Rules 3-2 in Favor of Law That Slashed Toronto’s City Hall
The Supreme Court of Canada agreed to hear the city’s challenge to the Court of Appeals ruling, with a hearing held in March.
© 2021 The Canadian Press