In an “unprecedented” decision, a judge at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice said on Monday that the province’s bill to cut the size of city council “clearly crossed the line.”
The decision, City of Toronto et al v. Ontario (Attorney General), 2018 ONSC 5151, focused on a challenge to the constitutional validity of a provision of Bill 5, presented by the provincial government to change the number of wards and councillors to 25 from 47, according to Justice Edward Belobaba, who wrote the decision. Belobaba said the provisions of the bill were unconstitutional and should be set aside immediately to allow for planned elections on Oct. 22, adding that he was playing the role of “judicial umpire.”
However, the province countered by publicly saying it will recall the legislature and intends to “introduce legislation that, if passed, will invoke section 33 of the Constitution” and ensure the act is in place for the Oct. 22 municipal election. The province also plans to appeal the ruling, said Ontario Premier Doug Ford.