February 19, 2021

FCM is intervening at the Supreme Court in a case surrounding the Ontario government’s decision to unilaterally reduce the size of Toronto City Council. Bill 5, also known as the Better Local Government Act, redrew Toronto City Council’s electoral structure, reducing the number of city wards and councillors from 47 to 25. Enacted in 2018, Bill 5 made these significant changes while Toronto was already in the midst of a municipal election.

FCM initially intervened in this case at the Ontario Court of Appeal, arguing that the principle of fair and democratic election of municipal councils is constitutionally protected. The Court of Appeal upheld Bill 5 in a narrow 3-2 decision and the City of Toronto appealed the decision to the Supreme Court of Canada.

In our intervention at the Supreme Court, we argue that “the democratic principle that is the foundation of the process through which Canadians choose their local elected officials is constitutionally protected from legislative infringement, particularly once the process has been set in motion.”

FCM’s participation in these court cases is funded by our Legal Defense Fund. The Fund allows us to intervene on behalf of municipalities in precedent-setting, federal appellate cases that impact municipalities across Canada. The Fund, which is supported by members through annual membership dues, has enabled FCM to cost-effectively defend municipal interests and influence legal precedents since 1997.

Read FCM’s full submission to the Supreme Court of Canada on Bill 5

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