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Municipal government of Toronto


Municipal government of Toronto

Logo of The City of Toronto

The municipal government of Toronto is a public corporation providing services to Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is administered by 44 elected councillors (representing around 55,000 people each), who along with the mayor, make up the Toronto City Council. Torontonians elect a new council every four years, in October. The City of Toronto represents the fifth largest municipal government in North America, and has an operating budget of $7.8 billion. The most recent operating budget was composed of $2.5 billion of funds from the Government of Ontario for purposes they mandate such as Toronto Public Health, $2.0 billion for special purpose bodies including the Toronto Public Library and Toronto Zoo, $1.7 billion of directly controlled money, and $900 million for capital financing and other programs.[1]


  • History 1
  • Administration 2
    • Senior staff 2.1
  • Service departments 3
    • Divisions 3.1
    • Corporations 3.2
    • Bodies 3.3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


The current municipal government is rooted in the creation of the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto (known more popularly as "Metro") in 1954. This new regional government, which encompassed the smaller communities of East York, Etobicoke, Forest Hill, Leaside, Long Branch, Mimico, New Toronto, North York, Scarborough, Swansea, Toronto, Weston, and York, was created in light of the need for more coordination of city services. The postwar boom resulted in suburbanization, and it was felt that a coordinated land use planning strategy, as well as shared services, would be more efficient.

These thirteen townships, villages, towns, and cities continued to exist independently of the regional government, and continued to provide some local services to their residents. Gradually, the Metro government began taking over management of services that crossed municipal boundaries, most notably highways, water, and public transit.

On January 1, 1967, several of the smaller municipalities were amalgamated with larger ones, reducing their number to six. Forest Hill and Swansea became part of Toronto; Long Branch, Mimico, and New Toronto joined Etobicoke; Weston merged with York; and Leaside amalgamated with East York.

This arrangement lasted until 1998, when the regional level of government was abolished and the six municipalities (Toronto, Etobicoke, North York, East York, York, and Scarborough) were amalgamated into a single municipality or "megacity". Many people criticised this change, which came on top of a massive "downloading" of provincial services to the municipal level, with little to no new revenue available. A plebiscite indicated that a majority of the citizens of Toronto opposed amalgamation, but criticisms were raised about the leading nature of the question asked. In Canada (and Ontario), plebiscites are not legally binding. The Province of Ontario under Premier Mike Harris had the power to ignore the result and did so. Mel Lastman, the long-time mayor of North York before the amalgamation, was the first mayor of the new "megacity" of Toronto.


The City of Toronto is legally bound by the City of Toronto Act, an Ontario law. It lays down the division of powers, responsibilities and required duties of the corporation. The City Council is the only power able to enact Toronto laws, known as "by-laws", which govern the actions of the corporation and/or matters within its jurisdiction, such as administration of the Canadian Criminal Code within its borders. The Council itself forms several committees after every election to divide the administration of the corporation. The Council also forms several "Community Councils" which hear matters relating to narrower, district issues, such as building permits and developments requiring changes to zoning by-laws. Community Council decisions, as well as those of the Mayor, must be approved by City Council at regular sessions.

Senior staff

The top civil servant in the corporation is the City Manager, who reports to the Mayor and City Council. The following senior staff report to the City Manager:

  • 5 Directors
    • 3 Deputy City Managers (including one as Chief Financial Officer)
      • 22 Directors (including Executive Directors, Acting ED, Project Directors)
      • 11 Managers (including General Managers, Acting General Managers)
      • 1 Treasurer
      • 3 Officers (Chief Information Officer, Chief Corporate Officer, Medical Officer of Health)

City official reporting directly to City Council:

  • Auditor General
  • Integrity Commissioner
  • Lobbists Registrar
  • Ombudsman
  • City Solicitor
  • City Clerk

Service departments

Prior to 2005, the city had various departments headed by Commissioners. These heads were simplified by replacing the departments with divisions headed by Deputy Manager. All department heads now report to a City Manager (currently Joseph Pennachetti[2]), who then reports to the Mayor and City Council.


  • Facilities & Real Estate
  • Finance & Administration
  • Special Events
  • Financial Planning
  • Special Projects
  • Strategic Communications
  • Fleet Services
  • Human Resources
  • Toronto Building
  • Human Rights Office
  • Toronto Environment Office
  • Information & Technology
  • Toronto Office of Partnerships
  • Legal Services
  • Licensing & Standards
  • Waterfront Secretariat




  1. ^ Corporate and Human Resources (7 March 2005). "Toronto Fact Sheet – 2005 Operating Budget – Where the Money Goes". Retrieved 2014-06-09. 
  2. ^ "Overview - City Manager's Office". Toronto. Retrieved 7 July 2014. 

External links

  • Government of Toronto website
  • Toronto municipal budget, 2006 website
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