Why Toronto Needs 47 Councillors

City Hall

It has been reported that the Provincial Government wishes to cut the number of councillors in Toronto from 47 to 25, and be made effective for the 2018 municipal election.  Not only is this a last minute decision right before the nomination period is set to close, but also creates input for the residents of Toronto.

However, Toronto needs to have 47 councillors in my opinion if Toronto is to be run democratically.  As of the 2016 Census, Toronto has a population of 2,731,571.  The population of Toronto is larger than six provinces as it is (Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, News Brunswick, Newfoundland, and Prince Edward Island), and more than the four Atlantic provinces combined.

If we take a look at the provincial legislatures and compare the number of legislatures elected to each legislature vs. the number of residents per city councillor, Toronto has an average of one councillor for every 58,119 residents, while only Ontario (at an average of 108,456 residents per MPP) and Quebec (at 65,315 per member of the National Assembly.)

In other words, each councillor has a lot of residents to represent.  Reducing the number of councillors will only mean that each councillor will have to represent more residents.  I personally do not see this as a good thing for the City of Toronto.  A council with 47 councillors will be more representative of the residents of the city – even increasing the number of councillors will be better, as the national average is one member of the provincial legislature to every 36,602 residents.  However, reducing city council to 25 councillors means that each councillor will represent an average of 109,262 residents.

While this decision would reduce costs for the City of Toronto, it does not make City Hall more accountable to the people that it represents.  As such, I hope that this not occur.

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