City of Toronto Act

The City of Toronto Act is the name of a series of different acts of parliament that have governed the organization and political powers of the city since Toronto's original incorporation as a city in 1834.

Incorporation of the City of Toronto, 1834

The Incorporation of the City of Toronto on March 6, 1834, was a legislative act creating the City of Toronto from the unincorporated town of York. This allowed for the creation of the local government or city council. The act was transferred onto the succeeding governments of Ontario in 1840 and 1867. The incorporation remained in effect throughout Toronto's mergers with other cities and towns within southern York County until the creation of Metropolitan Toronto in 1954.

Metropolitan Toronto Act, 1953

The Metropolitan Toronto Act was a provincial act passed on April 2, 1953 to co-ordinate the services in the various municipalities of southern York County. The southern municipalities, being East York, Etobicoke, Forest Hill, Leaside, Long Branch, Mimico, New Toronto, North York, Scarborough, Swansea, Toronto, Weston, and York, were separated from York County and organized under a new regional federation, titled the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto.

The Act went into effect on April 15, 1953, and Metro's taxation and legislative powers took effect on January 1, 1954. The federation was governed by a council made up of representatives of the member municipalities and a chairman to oversee the council. The first chairman was Fred Gardiner, appointed by the Province of Ontario. Subsequent chairmen were selected by Council itself, and later directly elected.

On January 1, 1967, seven of the thirteen municipalities were absorbed into the six remaining federation members, being Toronto, Etobicoke, North York, East York, York, and Scarborough. The Metropolitan Toronto Act was revised in 1990 and finally repealed in 1997 with the amalgamation of the Metro Toronto government and the governments of the municipalities within.

City of Toronto Act, 1997 (Bill 103)

In 1997, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario enacted a law to amalgamate the Metro Toronto government and the six municipalities within the Metro Toronto boundaries into an enlarged City of Toronto. A referendum in the six constituent municipalities showed residents opposed the merger by more than 3:1. However, municipal governments in Canada are creatures of the provincial governments. The governing Progressive Conservatives could thus move forward with the merger notwithstanding the referendum. The Act took effect on January 1, 1998.

Stronger City of Toronto for a Stronger Ontario Act, 2005

On December 14, 2005, the first reading of Bill 53 was given in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Also known as the Stronger City of Toronto for a Stronger Ontario Act, 2005, it enacts the new City of Toronto Act, 2005, as well as amends and repeals various public acts related to Toronto, and repeals various private acts also related to the city. The bill received its second reading on April 10, 2006, and was referred to the Standing Committee on General Government, which returned it to the Legislature on May 30, 2006. On June 12, 2006, the bill received its third reading and royal assent after a 58–20 vote.[1]

This law permitted the Toronto government to enter into agreements with other governments, and increased the scope for the city government to raise revenue.[2] Tax powers in Canada are defined by the constitution and restrict certain powers of direct taxation only to the federal government.

See also


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