A timeline of events in the Toronto council-cutting saga
The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, September 19, 2018 2:20PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, September 19, 2018 2:21PM EDT
TORONTO -- A timeline of events in the battle between the Ontario government and Toronto over the size of the city's council.
July 27, 2018: Premier Doug Ford announces plans to slash the number of Toronto councillors from 47 to 25 in the middle of the city's election campaign. He says the move will make council more efficient and save $25 million over four years.
July 30: Ford's Progressive Conservatives introduce Bill 5, also known as the Better Local Government Act. Toronto councillors voice opposition to the bill.
Aug. 10: Toronto Mayor John Tory sends a letter to Ford formally requesting he pause plans to enact Bill 5 and asks for a referendum on the council-cutting plan.
Aug. 14: Bill 5 officially becomes law
Aug. 20: Toronto council votes to mount a legal challenge against Bill 5. Meanwhile, Ford says he does not plan to cut other local governments.
Aug. 31: The city's legal challenge against Bill 5 is heard in a Toronto court and Ontario Superior Court Justice Edward Belobaba promises a speedy ruling.
Sept. 10: Belobaba strikes down Bill 5 on the grounds that it violates freedom of expression for candidates and voters. Ford announces he will invoke a constitutional provision known as the notwithstanding clause in reintroduced council-cutting legislation to override the ruling. The premier also says the province will appeal.
Sept. 12: The province introduces Bill 31, which is largely the same as Bill 5 but with the notwithstanding clause. It's the first time in Ontario history the provision is being used.
Sept. 13: Toronto City Council holds a meeting on how it can respond to Bill 31. City Clerk Ulli Watkiss says it's becoming virtually impossible to ensure a fair election on Oct. 22.
Sept. 15: Ford holds a rare Saturday sitting of the legislature to continue discussion of Bill 31.
Sept. 17: The government holds an overnight session to debate Bill 31. Ford says the unusual sittings are necessary to expedite passage of the bill.
Sept. 18: Lawyers for the province appear before the Ontario Court of Appeal seeking a stay of Belobaba's decision. If granted, the stay would put his ruling on hold and allow Bill 5 to stand.
Sept. 19: The Appeal Court rules in the province's favour, meaning city staff can immediately focus on planning a 25-ward election and abandon the 47-ward model revived by Belobaba's decision. The government says it won't hold a planned vote on Bill 31 in light of the ruling.