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E-BLAST: So, What Happens Now?

"So, what happens now?" That is a question I've been asked everywhere I've gone since the Mayor formally resigned last week. It's understandable that so many should ask that question—it's quite unprecedented to be without an elected Mayor, and so early into a Council term. Well, today we got some answers. Our City Clerk has set the Mayoral by-election for Monday, June 26, 2023 (more details on that below the column). As we move towards Election Day, I want to set your mind at ease and assure you that the City will keep moving forward until a new mayor is chosen.

As I shared below my E-Blast column last week, Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie has assumed many of the rights, powers, and authority of the Mayor. She is more than capable of stepping into the roles that the Mayor has played for many years and representing our city in the months ahead. Notably, Deputy Mayor McKelvie has not assumed the special "strong mayor" powers that were introduce under Bill 39. Until a new mayor is elected by you, the voters, it is no longer the case that the Mayor's Office can veto a decision of Council.

This means that we are back to the old days of working by building consensus. My Council colleagues and I can support Deputy Mayor McKelvie's efforts democratically and procedurally during her tenure in the Mayor's Office. Our first order of business: making sure that all of the work triggered by the budget adopted last week continues. We will work together to hold the public service accountable and make sure these important programs move forward, just like we did before Bill 39 came into play.

While this year's budget sets out new projects and programs for City staff to work on, there were already thousands of projects underway across our city. These long-term projects will keep pushing forward. Here in Don Valley North, our brand new Ethennonnhawahstihnen' Community Centre is close to completion and you'll soon hear an announcement for opening ceremonies. We have major sewer enhancements and Basement Flooding Protection projects ongoing in the ward. These are part of a 20-year strategy that continues with full funding from your water rates and development charge reserves. The repair and reconstruction of Sheppard Avenue from Bayview to Leslie is still in the cards, with another consultation meeting coming later this year and construction slated for 2024.

A video showing construction progress at our new Ethennonnhawahstihnen' Community Centre & Library. Broader, city-wide projects are also moving along. We're making great progress re-naturalizing the mouth of the Don River. City crews continue the restoration and hybrid redesign of the Gardiner Expressway East, and are reconstructing streetcar tracks across the city. On the transit front, staff are also hard at work coordinating large orders of new TTC vehicles as per the funding schedule. It will be important for Torontonians to elect a Mayor that keeps future funding for these projects rolling by demonstrating a gift for intergovernmental affairs. As I've written about at length, Toronto's current financial model is very reliant on our other orders of government to realize these larger projects.

On the community and social services side of things, no one is going to forget that we're tackling crises of housing supply, affordability, and homelessness. Work will continue to repair and revitalize Toronto Community Housing homes, to negotiate more affordable housing, and to secure locations for new shelter facilities, modular supportive housing, and respite/warming centres. Staff are currently hard at work transitioning our warming centre at Metro Hall to 24-hour operations. All of these solutions are designed to be ongoing, now and beyond the political term.

It's understandable to feel uncertain about the future of our city in the wake of our former mayor resigning. While the mayor serves a key role in our local government, the work of carrying out the priorities the mayor sets is carried out by thousands of staff who are very much still hard at work. You will get a chance to elect a new mayor on June 26. Until then, you can rest assured that Deputy Mayor McKelvie, City Council, and the public service will keep rolling along to deliver the services and programs Torontonians rely on. That is our job and privilege, and we will keep doing all we can to make this city work for you. MAYORAL BY-ELECTION: KEY DATES Today, the City Clerk announced that the Mayoral by-election will be held on Monday, June 26, 2023. City Council will declare the Office of the Mayor vacant at our next Council session on March 29 to 31. Once the position is officially declared vacant and Council adopts a bylaw requiring a by-election to be held, the City Clerk can proceed with opening nominations. The City Clerk has set the following Mayoral by-election dates:

  • Nominations will open Monday, April 3 at 8:30 AM

  • Nominations will close Friday, May 12 at 2 PM

  • Advance voting will take place Thursday, June 8 to Tuesday, June 13

  • By-election will be held Monday, June 26

Electors will also be provided with the option to vote by mail.

Although the City Clerk would not usually announce election dates in advance of Council passing a bylaw, in this circumstance the Clerk considers it to be in the best interests of the City, candidates, and voters to announce the by-election dates as early as possible. Making the dates public now also allows the City Clerk to start making preparations including hiring election staff and booking voting locations.

I will be sure to keep our community updated on the by-election in the coming months. For full details, please read the City's official news release.


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