How will the Toronto Ward Boundary Review affect the 2014 municipal election?
The Toronto Ward Boundary Review will have no impact on the October 2014 Municipal Election. The Toronto Ward Boundary Review is expected to be complete by spring 2016. Interviews with all City Councillors are being conducted in July and August 2014 in order to ensure their input is collected prior to any changes that might result from the 2014 municipal election.
What is "Draw the Lines"?
‘Draw the Lines’ is the name of the communications and engagement campaign that supports the Toronto Ward Boundary Review. It relates to of the objective of the review, which is to determine where the ward boundaries, e.g. where the lines should be.
What are some issues that the Toronto Ward Boundary Review considers?
There are several factors that must be considered when deciding where ward boundaries should be, including:
Communities of Interest and Neighborhoods: Ward boundaries should avoid dividing traditional neighborhoods or communities with common interests (e.g. school zones, areas of distinguishing socio-economic characteristics).
Population: As much as possible and keeping in mind communities of interest, wards should have similar population totals. Given the geography and varying population densities and characteristics in the City of Toronto, a certain amount of variation of population among wards is to be expected, No specific target limits have been set by the courts or the Ontario Municipal Board with respect to the possible variation. However, if the difference in population totals among wards becomes too great, effective representation is lost and ward boundary changes are needed.
Present and Future Population Trends: With different rates of population growth across the city, it is important to look at longer term growth patterns in order to decide on a ward structure which will be sustainable for a number of Council terms into the future.
Physical Features and Natural Boundaries: Toronto has a number of significant natural and man-made features that serve as physical boundaries. Features such as rivers, ravines, railway lines and major highways and arterials must be considered.
Ward History: Historic ward patterns are important to residents. These patterns need to be taken into account.
What is a community of interest?
The concept of a "community of interest" is important when thinking about creating wards that achieve effective representation. It is also very hard to define precisely. The idea is that a ward should be more than arbitrary, random groupings of individuals. They should be, as much as possible, cohesive units, areas with common interests related to representation. Examples of communities of interest are specific ethno-cultural communities that live in the same area or business communities, such as a Business Improvement Area.
How long have Toronto's current ward boundaries been in place?
With the amalgamation of the City of Toronto in 1997, Councils of the six former cities were eliminated. The new council for the "megacity" kept the ward map of Metro Toronto, but doubled the number of councillors by adopting the system of electing two councillors from each ward. An additional ward was added to give East York equal representation. This system was only used for the first megacity election in 1998. In 2000 a new ward map was devised based on the federal ridings (electoral districts) that covered Toronto. Each riding was split in half to create the current system of 44 wards. These are the wards that are in place today.
What will happen if my ward changes?
Depending on the results of the Toronto Ward Boundary Review, your ward and your City Councillor could change. This means you would vote in the new ward you will live in for the 2018 municipal election. Any change in wards would not affect your tax rate, or anything else related to your residency. An official announcement and communications about any ward boundary changes would be sent to you by the City of Toronto.
School board electoral areas are composed of one or more municipal wards. Therefore, any changes to the municipal ward boundaries could affect the school boards' electoral boundaries. Any new boundaries would be established by the school boards following the final approval of any new municipal ward structure.
When will any new ward boundaries come into effect?
The final Toronto Ward Boundary Review Report is expected to be complete by spring 2016. Once the report has been submitted, the recommendations will be reviewed by City Council. If approved, City Council will develop a by-law that will implement any ward boundary changes.
How can I participate in the Toronto Ward Boundary Review?
The Toronto Ward Boundary Review includes a significant public involvement process that allows Council members, stakeholders and the public to express their opinions on the current ward boundary structure as well as on the options that will be proposed. There are several ways that you can provide input to the Ward Boundary Review, including:
ATTEND A PUBLIC MEETING Several public meetings are being be held in each Community Council area (Toronto and East York, North York, Scarborough and Etobicoke) in both Round One and Round Two of the Toronto Ward Boundary Review's engagement and public consultation process. Information about public meetings can be found here.
COMPLETE A SURVEY In Round One, the Input Survey will gather general comments about the City’s current ward boundaries. In Round Two, the Feedback Survey will gather comments on various ward boundary options. The surveys can be found here.
DOWNLOAD & COMPLETE A DISCUSSION GUIDE The Background and Discussion Guide includes background information that give the public and stakeholders the ability to effectively participate in the first round of the Toronto Ward Boundary Review discussion. It also includes a set of questions, which correspond to the ones discussed at the public meeting. Any individual or stakeholder/community group can download the Background and Discussion Guide, use it as a conversation tool and send in their group’s responses by email (firstname.lastname@example.org), mail (555 Richmond St. W, Suite 402, M5V 3B1) or fax (416.365.0650).
STAY CONNECTED follow the Toronto Ward Boundary Review on Twitter @drawthelines_to or sign-up for the mailing list to get up-to-date information about project milestones and learn about additional opportunities to participate.
STAY INFORMED Refer back to the website www.drawthelines.ca often for up to date information about the Toronto Ward Boundary Review.
What are some examples of Ward Boundary Reviews that have taken place in other Canadian cities?
City of Ottawa
On October 7, 2005, the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) affirmed City of Ottawa by-law 2005-302. The new ward structure consists of 23 wards, which have been the basis for conducting the Ottawa municipal elections since 2006.
City of Markham
The City of Markham completed a review of its ward boundaries in 2013. This review was necessary to address significant population differences across the City's eight wards to ensure an effective and equitable system of representation that takes into account future growth within the city.
City of Brampton
The City of Brampton completed a review of its ward boundary structure in 2013. City Council passed a by-law in March 2013 to re-divide the existing 10 wards into 10 new wards, with adjustments made to the boundary lines.
The City of Oakville completed a review of its ward boundary structure in 2012. Council voted to keep the status quo on its current ward boundaries until Halton Region awards Oakville an additional seat on Regional Council. The final report was received and a seven-ward system was recommended for the city, when its regional council representation increases in the future.