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January 1, 2007
City of Toronto Act 2006 Proclaimed Ontario's Capital City Begins New Era
  
A new City of Toronto Act was proclaimed today providing Canada's largest city with broad powers and significant legislative freedoms.

"Today is historic not only for the City of Toronto, but for the whole province," said Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister John Gerretsen. "Through this legislation, the McGuinty government has launched a new era by giving Ontario's capital city new powers and more autonomy commensurate with Toronto's size, responsibilities and significance."

Said Toronto Mayor David Miller: "This legislation is the most important and significant change for the City of Toronto in the past century. It recognizes Toronto as a mature government and provides it with much-needed tools to meet its responsibilities to residents."

The City of Toronto Act, 2006 recognizes Toronto as a responsible, accountable government. The city is now better able to determine the appropriate mechanisms for delivering municipal services, determine the appropriate levels of municipal spending, and use new fiscal tools to support the city's activities.

Toronto now has broader powers to license and regulate businesses, broader authority to undertake economic development opportunities and more flexibility to raise revenue in addition to property tax.

The act ensures that the city is accountable to the public and that the processes for making decisions are transparent. Toronto will now have a more effective accountability regime with a legislative requirement for the establishment of an effective lobbyist registry, integrity commissioner, ombudsman and auditor general.

"Today's proclamation of a new City of Toronto Act allows the city to better respond to its citizens' needs," said Gerretsen. "The McGuinty government believes that by strengthening Toronto we are making Ontario stronger."

"The act will allow the people of this city, through their elected government, to undertake the programs and policies needed to ensure that Toronto takes its rightful place as world-leading city of the 21st century," Miller said.

Contacts:
Patti Munce
Minister's Office
416-585-6333

Ralph Walton
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
416-585-7260

Don Wanagas
Director of Communications
Office of Toronto Mayor David Miller
416-338-7134

Kevin Sack
Strategic Communications
City of Toronto
416-919-6500 (cell)

Backgrounder

City of Toronto Legislation Proclaimed

The City of Toronto Act, 2006 (Bill 53), which was proclaimed today, sets out a broad, permissive legislative framework for the city.

The city has new broad powers to pass by-laws regarding matters that range from public safety to the city’s economic, social and environmental well being. City by-laws now can better deal with the financial management of Toronto and the accountability and transparency of its operations.

The Planning and Conservation Land Statute Law Amendment Act, 2006 (Bill 51) also came into effect today, creating a more transparent and accessible land use planning process for the city and other Ontario municipalities. This legislation provides for earlier consultation and participation in the planning process, provides municipalities with more planning tools and flexibility to address their needs and facilitates a more effective appeal process.

In addition, some provisions that affect the city in the Municipal Statute Law Amendment Act, 2006 (Bill 130) came into effect today and some provincial regulations have been approved that impact the city.

Some of the changes in the City of Toronto Act, 2006 include:

General
  • Broad permissive powers to pass by-laws in respect to:
  • Governance structure of the city and its local boards
  • Accountability and transparency of the city and its operations
  • Financial management
  • Public assets of the city
  • Economic, social and environmental well-being of the city
  • Health, safety and well-being of persons
  • Services provided by the city
  • Protection of persons and property, including consumer protection
  • Animals
  • Structures including fences and signs
  • Business licensing
  • Greater flexibility regarding procurement and notice.

Integrity and Accountability

  • Requirement to establish an effective integrity and accountability regime including: a lobbyist registry, integrity commissioner, auditor general and ombudsman
  • Authority to prohibit trade union and corporate donations to campaigns for city council.

Governance and Delegation
  • Broader authority to delegate decision-making to committees of council, staff, and boards, including authority to delegate limited quasi-judicial and legislative functions
  • Broad permissive powers to change local boards (excluding boards of health, police services boards and library boards)
  • Electronic participation in meetings within defined limits
  • Authority to change council composition and ward boundaries.

Land-Use Planning
  • Authority to create a local appeals body for certain planning decisions (i.e. minor variance and consent)
  • Authority to regulate appearance and design features and exterior sustainable design of buildings, such as green roofs
  • Clarifies authority to regulate minimum and maximum density and height of development in zoning by-laws
  • Authority to pass zoning by-laws with conditions attached to the approval in order to address matters such as intensification and brownfields development goals
  • Allow interim controls under the Ontario Heritage Act to take effect as soon as they are imposed by council to provide stronger protection for heritage buildings.

Business Regulation
  • New enhanced business licensing authority including:
  • administrative suspension of a business license
  • imposing monetary penalty for contravention of a business license
  • Authority to establish holiday store closings.

Enforcement / Power of Entry
  • Authority to establish fines for contravening by-laws of up to a maximum of $100,000
  • Authority to establish a system of administrative penalties for non-compliance with parking by-laws (subject to enabling regulation)
  • Ability to establish offences for directors of corporations when corporations contravene by-laws
  • Harmonized power of entry to inspect for compliance with by-laws
  • Authority to search a premise for evidence of a by-law contravention pursuant to a warrant that may also authorize seizure of evidence.

Roads
  • Removal of requirement for environmental assessment for traffic calming measures
  • Greater flexibility to establish speed limits on local roads.

Housing
  • Authority to provide temporary housing accommodation to address housing emergencies without having to obtain provincial approval
  • Authority for loan agreements for housing projects without provincial approval provided that the city provides an indemnity
  • Authority to control the demolition and conversion of rental housing.

Intergovernmental Relations
  • Explicit recognition of authority to enter into agreements with the federal government
  • New relationship with province based on mutual respect, consultation and cooperation.

Fiscal Issues
  • Broad authority to manage its financial affairs
  • Increased flexibility to establish municipal corporations
  • Authority to undertake tax increment financing with respect to municipal taxation within prescribed areas
  • Broad permissive authority to raise new taxes except in areas specifically prohibited, such as an income tax, wealth tax, gas tax or a general sales tax.
  • Expanded authority to provide bonuses for private business in the City of Toronto within the context of a community improvement plan without provincial approval.


 

 

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