Government Services

Anna Kinastowski

Message from the City Solicitor

I encourage you to apply to the City of Toronto for your articling program. The City of Toronto is the sixth largest government in the country. This is an exciting time for the City with the enactment of the City of Toronto Act, 2006 that provides the City with a new legislative framework. The Act gives the City broad powers recognizing the City's importance. The information in this guide provides you with a summary of the legal work performed by the different practice groups in the City of Toronto Legal Division.

We have over 125 lawyers in the Legal Services Division, who provide a broad range of legal services to the City's divisions, agencies, boards and commissions. The work is challenging, interesting and often novel.

On the advocacy side, City lawyers are often involved in precedent setting cases before the Courts and Tribunals. Similarly, on the solicitor side, City lawyers are involved with new and complex transactions or legislation involving the City. The articling experience offered at the City provides you with an opportunity to work with leading municipal lawyers on important issues affecting the City.

I hope you consider the City of Toronto for your articling experience.

Anna Kinastowski

Legal Practice Groups

Labour and Employment Section

Lawyers in the Employment & Labour group support the City in its role as an employer, dealing with both unionized and non-unionized employees. Students take an active role in all aspects of case preparation, working on issues arising from collective agreements, labour arbitrations, human rights and equity, workers' compensation and wrongful dismissal.

Real Estate Law Section

Lawyers in the real estate work on both simple and complex real estate transactions and also provide advice to City Council and other City divisions. Students' work will range from negotiating and preparing legal documents for purchase, sale or expropriations to preparing by-laws for presentation to Council.

Municipal Law Section

Municipal law covers areas including garbage collection, public libraries, and fire & ambulance services. Students in the municipal group are given much responsibility, and may be asked to draft reports, by-laws and legal opinions, on topics such as the City of Toronto Act, 2006, Municipal Freedom of Information & Protection of Privacy, public procurement and contract interpretation.

Land Use Planning Section

Articling with this group allows students to become familiar with an area of law they may not have been introduced to before.  Planning and Administrative Tribunal lawyers' work involves such important aspects of city business as the Official Plan, drafting zoning by-laws, negotiating agreements with developers and representing the City of Toronto before the Ontario Municipal Board.

Prosecutions Section

The City's Prosecutions team handles a broad range of regulatory offences, from marijuana grow-ops and body rub parlours to dirty restaurants and dog attacks. The group also handles a large volume of traffic and parking offences, Fire Code and Building Code violations, and Charter challenges against the City.

Litigation Section

The litigation group is responsible for a broad range of legal practice areas such as Constitutional and Charter law, human rights, environmental law, police and construction law. Students will handle files on their own, with supervision, and will be exposed to every stage of the litigation process.

Transit Expansion Section

The Transit Expansion Unit was created to acquire the properties required for Toronto's current and planned transit projects. Funded by Metrolinx, lawyers in the Transit Expansion Unit have the opportunity to work with another level of government on a daily basis. Students in this group may assist with property purchase transactions, expropriations and compensation arbitrations.