Toronto City Council has direct responsibility for the City's services. Council also indirectly oversees other major services delivered through its agencies and corporations, such as the Toronto Police Service, the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), and the Toronto Public Library.
Toronto's City Council is made up of the Mayor and 44 Councillors. The Mayor is the only member of Council who is elected by voters from across the City. Each Councillor is elected by voters in one of 44 wards (a geographic area of the city). The term of office for the Mayor and Council is four years.
The role of Council as set out in the City of Toronto Act, 2006 is:
The role of the Mayor as the head of council is to:
The role of the Mayor as chief executive officer is to:
The duties and powers of the Mayor include:
The Mayor is a member of all committees and is entitled to one vote. The Mayor also chairs the:
The Mayor is a member of the Toronto Police Services Board and the Exhibition Place Board of Governors, although City Council, with the consent of the Mayor, may appoint another member to take the Mayor's place.
Council can designate another Member of Council to preside at Council meetings, subject to the consent of the Mayor. Council has decided to do this by establishing the positions of Speaker and Deputy Speaker. The Speaker and Deputy Speaker serve for the term of Council. Council has delegated to the Mayor the power to appoint and remove the Deputy Mayor and Standing Committee chairs.
The Deputy Mayor assists the Mayor, is Vice Chair of Executive Committee and can act as Mayor when the Mayor is absent from the City or absent because of illness, or when the office of the Mayor is vacant. The Deputy Mayor has, and may exercise, all the rights, power and authority of the Mayor, save and except the by-right-of-office powers of the Mayor as a member of a community council.
If the Mayor or head of Council is absent, refuses to act or vacates their elected office, City Council may appoint another Member of Council to act in their place. In such cases, the acting head of Council has all the powers and duties of the Mayor.
Councillors, also known as Members of Council, play both a legislative role and a constituency role. In their legislative role they are responsible for considering and establishing policies and by-laws to implement Council's decisions. In their constituency role Councillors are responsible for consulting with the constituents of their ward and for ensuring that all sides of an issue are considered in the decision making process.
Councillors work on city-wide, ward based and local neighbourhood issues. To carry out this diverse role effectively Councillors play several roles within the City's governance system. A typical Councillor's workload includes:
Shared roles - when powers or duties are delegated to others
The City of Toronto Act, 2006 gives the City the ability to delegate powers and duties to a person or body subject to certain restrictions. For example, Council may delegate certain powers to:
For example, City Council has delegated final decision-making authority on local transportation regulations such as speed bumps and traffic lights to the Community Councils, and it also delegates powers to the City Manager and other senior officials for the day to day running of the City.
When considering delegating powers or duties to others, Council must consider several rules and policy choices. They include:
The City of Toronto Act, 2006 requires that some of Council's powers cannot be delegated, including:
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