The country’s top court is set to rule today on whether Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s decision to slash the size of Toronto’s city council during the last municipal election was constitutional.
The Supreme Court of Canada decision is coming roughly a year before Ontario’s next municipal vote.
In 2018, the municipal campaign was well underway when the Ontario legislature passed a law that reduced the number of council seats in Toronto to 25 from 47, aligning them with federal ridings.
Ford – a former Toronto city councillor and failed mayoral candidate – argued at the time that the change would streamline council operations and save $25 million.
Critics, however, denounced it as undemocratic and arbitrary.
Toronto successfully challenged the legislation in Superior Court, with the judge deeming it unconstitutional.
Ford threatened to use the Constitution’s notwithstanding clause to push through the change but didn’t have to invoke it because the province won a stay of the decision pending appeal.
Ontario’s top court then delivered a split decision on the matter, with three judges ruling to overturn the Superior Court decision and two to uphold it.
The Supreme Court of Canada agreed to hear the city’s challenge of the Appeal Court ruling, with a hearing held in March.