Sep 10, 2018
By Jane Brown
The City of Toronto has won the court challenge against Premier Doug Ford’s Better Local Government Act.
An Ontario judge handed down a ruling against the province of Ontario, saying the Progressive Conservative government cannot cut Toronto city council from 47 to 25 wards.
Superior Court Justice Edward Belobaba begins his written 21-page ruling by saying, “the matter before me is unprecedented. The province has clearly crossed the line.”
Belobaba found the legislation’s cut to council substantially interfered with both the candidate’s and the voter’s right to freedom of expression guaranteed by the Charter. He also calls the legislation “unconstitutional” and goes on to say “as things now stand, and until a constitutionally valid provincial law says otherwise, the city has 47 wards.”
It’s unclear how the appeals process will affect the current municipal election which is coming up on October 22nd.
City of Toronto lawyers had argued that Premier Ford’s legislation was discriminatory and arbitrary and a violation of the charter.
“Torontonians and Canadians hold their charter rights pretty dear, and they think the Charter of Rights is pretty important,” said Mayor John Tory following the ruling. “Nowadays, I think, you have to expect surprises and things that are out of the ordinary when it comes to even areas that are as clear as the province’s jurisdiction to legislate in regard to cities because they have to be measured against the impact they have on people’s charter rights.”