City Council is composed of the Mayor and 44 Councillors who make decisions on behalf of their constituents – the people who vote for them in the 44 wards. Issues are identified by the public, through staff research, as follow-up to existing programs, services or policies or as part of the everyday work of running a city and achieving Council's priorities.
The decision-making process involves committees and City Council. Committees include some, but not all Councillors.
Committees make recommendations to City Council for a final decision, while community councils (a type of committee) have some powers to make decisions on specific issues. Every Councillor is a member of City Council.
You can learn more about decision-making at the City on the Civic Engagement website.
City Council and committee meetings are held on a four-week schedule.
There are several types of committees. Members of the public can provide their input during committee and community council meetings by speaking for up to five minutes and receiving questions from Councillors. Learn more about speaking to a committee.
Some City services are administered through separate City agencies, boards, commissions and corporations (ABCCs), each having its own relationship with City Council. Members of the public can be appointed to serve on these bodies. Learn more about ABCCs.
Types of committees
The four community councils are made up of Councillors who consider planning and neighbourhood matters for their part of the City. (For example, traffic plans, parking regulations and exemptions to certain City bylaws). Community councils report to City Council but they also have final decision-making power on certain items, such as sign and fence by-law exemptions and appointments to local boards. Members of the public may arrange to speak or send in comments to these committees.
Standing Policy Committees
Standing committees have distinct mandates in areas of public service delivery and corporate operations, including: monitoring current program delivery, service levels and emerging issues; recommending policy and program changes. Members of the public may arrange to speak or send in comments to these committees.
Executive Committee: monitors and makes recommendations on the priorities, plans, international and intergovernmental relations, and the financial integrity of the City, including:
- Council's strategic policy and priorities in setting the agenda;
- Governance policy and structure;
- Financial planning and budgeting;
- Fiscal policy including revenue and tax policies;
- Intergovernmental and international relations;
- Council and its operations;
- Human resources and labour relations; and
The Executive Committee makes recommendations or refers to another committee any matter not within the committee's mandate or that relates to more than one Standing Committee.
Several committees report mainly to Executive:
Affordable Housing Committee: makes recommendations on:
- Affordable housing policies, including land-use and social policy that will facilitate creating new affordable housing and maintaining the existing supply;
- Allocating funding and financing to proponents able to increase the supply of affordable housing;
- Acquiring land for affordable housing initiatives, selling and leasing of City property used for affordable housing development, and providing public notice, as the Act requires, when these City-owned lands are surplus;
- On the recommendation of the Deputy City Manager, taking appropriate action when affordable housing planning applications are experiencing unnecessary and exceptional delays in the development review process. To decide on actions, members compare the case with the conditions and target timelines of the City's development guide;
- Proposing provincial and federal legislation or programs dealing with affordable housing matters;
- Advocating to federal and provincial governments and to other agencies and groups to assist in meeting the affordable housing needs of the community;
- Strategically planning for The Toronto Community Housing, including its annual community Management Plan;
- Providing development fee and charge waivers, and property tax reductions or waivers for affordable housing projects; and
- Measuring the efficiency and effectiveness of projects and programs the Affordable Housing Office has taken on.
Budget Committee: responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
- Co-ordinating the preparation of the capital and operating estimates while the annual capital and operating budgets are being developed;
- Making recommendations on the capital and operating budgets;
- Reviewing other matters that may have a significant impact on a future budget, upon request from the Executive Committee.
Employee and Labour Relations Committee: is not an alternative to established employee and union dispute-resolution mechanisms. Responsibilities include:
- Reviewing corporate human-resource policy issues related to achieving and maintaining excellence in the public service in keeping with the City's people strategy and its key goals. These include leadership, a healthy and safe workplace, managing people, recruiting and retention, building a productive workforce, and a learning organization;
- Providing strategic policy direction and receiving routine updates on collective bargaining relating to the City;
- Considering and making recommendations on reports on corporate human-resource policy matters affecting the City's workforce including compensation, performance management, training and development, recruitment, retention, retirement issues, labour relations, human rights, equity goals, wellness, and health and safety;
- Providing strategic direction to staff in negotiating City collective agreements;
- Considering updates on the progress of collective bargaining;
- Reviewing matters related to the Employee and Labour Relations Committee's terms of reference that the Executive Committee refers to it.
Other Committees of Council
Members of Council also serve on these committees that report directly to Council: