City councillors are members of the city council that represent and are in charge of a ward in the city. The Councillors are in charge of the city’s services, which include affordable housing, air quality, animal services, architecture and urban design, arts and culture and privacy. They also look after major services that are delivered through agencies and companies such as the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC). Councillors are responsible for consulting their citizens and ensuring that all sides are considered before making a decision for their ward.
There are four Community Councils, each representing a different geographic area of the city. Their responsibilities include making recommendations and decisions on local planning and development, as well as neighbourhood matters including traffic plans and parking regulations.
Councillors can sit on various Council Committees. Council committees discuss certain services and issues. As these Committees go through the items on their agenda they typically make recommendations to the larger City Council. For example, the Parks & Environment Committee might recommend that Council adopt a staff report, or they may recommend Council adopt it with changes suggested by the Committee. When City Council meets, they consider these recommendations from the Standing Policy Committees to help with their decision making. Members of the public may arrange to speak or submit comments on agenda items to these committees.
Some city councillors are part of the Executive Committee, which is guided by the mayor of Toronto. The role of the Executive Committee is to se the City of Toronto’s main priorities to manage financial and budgeting, labour relations and human resources.
Local government elections are held every four years. The next election is in two years, in October 2018. To run for mayor or council, a person must be:
In Toronto, councillors run by ward. They do not have to be living in the ward they chose to run for, but if they chose to do so, they will not be able to vote for themselves. The person running also has to represent a political party or can also run as an independent candidate and has to file a nomination. The City clerk will go through the nomination form and has to certify or reject the nomination by a given date. If the person is certified, their names will appear on a ballot and they can start campaigning. After the campaigning period comes the voting day and the person with the most votes get elected as councillor.
Generally, the City Council holds meetings that are open to the public but they also require some meetings to be closed to the public for confidentiality reasons. The open meeting schedule and agenda is posted on the City website.
City of Toronto’s official website: http://www1.toronto.ca/
Follow the City of Toronto’s Twitter page for updates: https://twitter.com/TorontoComms
City Councillors by Ward: http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=c3a83293dc3ef310VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD
Toronto City Council Meetings, Agendas and Minutes- http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/meetingCalendarView.do?function=meetingCalendarView#currenthttp://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/meetingCalendarView.do?function=meetingCalendarView