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Charting a New Path: Does Toronto Need a City Charter?

November 28, 2019 @ 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Over the last year, a series of controversial provincial decisions affecting Toronto’s Council size, budget, and transit system have offered a reminder of the power that provinces have over municipalities in this country.

As a result, an old debate has emerged about whether the City of Toronto should have more power and autonomy over its own affairs. As part of this debate, some have proposed that Toronto should pursue a city charter that gives it specific powers, roles, and responsibilities that cannot be changed by higher orders of government.

On November 28, four experts on local governance and constitutional law examined arguments and evidence in this debate: Does Toronto need more powers? Would giving the city more powers solve the current inter-governmental challenges? Are charters the most effective and feasible way to give Toronto more permanent powers?


Kristin R. Good is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Dalhousie University. She is best known for her research on local immigration and diversity policies, particularly her book Municipalities and Multiculturalism: The Politics of Immigration in Toronto and Vancouver. She is the co-editor of the McGill-Queen’s Studies in Urban Governance book series.

Bruce Ryder is an Associate Professor at Osgoode Hall Law School at York University. He has appeared as counsel in constitutional cases at all levels of courts, including at the Supreme Court of Canada. He has published dozens of articles on constitutional law topics, including “Municipalities and the Right to Vote”, forthcoming in the Journal of Law and Social Policy.

Zack Taylor is Assistant Professor of Political Science and Director of the Centre for Urban Policy and Local Governance at the University of Western Ontario. He is a Fellow at the Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance and a non-practicing Registered Professional Planner. He is the author of Shaping the Metropolis: Institutions and Urbanization in the United States and Canada.

Patricia Burke Wood is Professor of Geography at York University and a co-founder of its City Institute. With Alexandra Flynn (Allard School of Law, UBC), she is conducting international comparative research into urban governance, and public consultation about the future of Toronto’s governance structures. She is the author of Citizenship, Activism and the City: the Invisible and the Impossible.


Enid Slack is the Director of the Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance. She has written extensively on a range of topics including property taxes, intergovernmental transfers, development charges, financing municipal infrastructure, municipal governance, and municipal boundary restructuring. Recent publications include Financing Infrastructure: Who Should Pay? and Is Your City Healthy? Measuring Urban Fiscal Health (both co-edited with Richard Bird).


November 28, 2019
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm


Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance


John H Daniels Faculty of Architecture Auditorium
1 Spadina Crescent
Toronto, ON M5S 2J5 Canada
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