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July 6, 2000
Council recommends City pursue Charter status
  
Toronto City Council today recommended that the province enact a City Charter
for Toronto. The decision came with adoption of a staff report Council
requested at its May session. The report outlined options for establishing a
better relationship between the City, Queen's Park and Ottawa.

The report recommended pursuing Charter status as the most feasible option and
said, "The Province can position Toronto to compete successfully in the
twenty-first century by enacting a custom-built Charter to meet the City's
unique responsibilities and needs."

"Charter City status could provide some key benefits to the City," said Mayor
Mel Lastman. "It could broaden our revenues beyond the property tax and
increase our ability to implement new policies and programs."

Charter cities have a long tradition in Canada, dating back to 1785. Saint
John, Montreal, Vancouver, and Winnipeg are all Charter Cities. A City Charter
for Toronto is achievable within the existing legal framework for municipal
government.

The report concludes that a city charter for Toronto would:

· give Toronto powers and responsibilities that match the City's stature as the
largest Canadian city and the economic centre of Canada;
· spell out clearly the City's spheres of power with respect to local matters
and give the City the ability to act independently within these spheres;
· recognize that the City needs a new toolkit to ensure that financial
resources match the City's responsibilities;
· provide the authority to conduct and attract business in innovative and more
effective and efficient ways through, for example: incorporation of non-profit
and business enterprises; easing of municipal "bonusing" restrictions; granting
the ability to raise money on specific assets and to enter into modern
financing agreements; and allowing the City to communicate directly with the
federal government

To build support for the issue, the Mayor will be forming a "LUV Toronto
Committee", composed of prominent Torontonians and a "Team Toronto", composed
of councillors supportive of Charter City status.


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