By Paul Lewkowicz
On August 14, the Ontario Legislature passed Bill 5, the Better Local Government Act, to reduce the size of Toronto City Council from 47 wards to 25 wards. These wards align with the federal and provincial riding boundaries. This change will take effect for the October 22 municipal election.
As a result of this change, Centennial Scarborough will now be located in Ward 25: Scarborough-Rouge Park, which also includes the communities of Highland Creek, West Rouge and Morningside Heights and portions of Malvern and West Hill.
Although the number of school board wards will not change, boundaries will be affected by this change. Centennial Scarborough will be located in:
- Toronto District School Board Ward 22, which will have identical boundaries to Scarborough-Rouge Park;
- Toronto Catholic District School Board Ward 8, which will include the ridings of Scarborough-Rouge Park and Scarborough North and will have nearly identical boundaries to the existing ward.
- The same French Public and French Catholic School Board ward.
As the change to reduce the number of wards was introduced on the last day of nominations, the election period has been restarted and the nomination deadline for candidates to register to run for city councillor or school board trustee will be extended to September 14. As all ward boundaries have changed, candidates must re-register should they wish to run in the election, otherwise they will be considered as having withdrawn their candidacy. New candidates can also register under the new ward boundaries. The nomination deadline to run for mayor remains unchanged and closed on July 27.
There are court challenges to prevent or delay the reduction in the size of City Council. Toronto City Council voted on August 20 to challenge the legality of Bill 5 and to ask for a postponement of the election day if it is needed in order to support the legal challenge. It is unclear if court challenges will be successful to prevent or delay the changes. Unless authorized by the courts, the municipal election will continue to take place on October 22. The City Clerk advised City Council that if the courts ordered the province to revert to the 47-ward model, the election date may have to be delayed.