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* * City of Toronto Act summary *
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This is a summary of the Act - view the full document (PDF).

The City of Toronto Act, 2006 (Bill 53), proclaimed January 1, 2007, sets out a broad, permissive legislative framework for the city.

The city has new broad powers to pass by-laws regarding matters that range from public safety to the city's economic, social and environmental well being. City by-laws now can better deal with the financial management of Toronto and the accountability and transparency of its operations.

The Planning and Conservation Land Statute Law Amendment Act, 2006 (Bill 51) also came into effect today, creating a more transparent and accessible land use planning process for the city and other Ontario municipalities. This legislation provides for earlier consultation and participation in the planning process, provides municipalities with more planning tools and flexibility to address their needs and facilitates a more effective appeal process.

In addition, some provisions that affect the city in the Municipal Statute Law Amendment Act, 2006 (Bill 130) came into effect today and some provincial regulations have been approved that impact the city.

Some of the changes in the City of Toronto Act, 2006 include:

Broad permissive powers to pass by-laws in respect to:

  • Governance structure of the city and its local boards
  • Accountability and transparency of the city and its operations
  • Financial management
  • Public assets of the city
  • Economic, social and environmental well-being of the city
  • Health, safety and well-being of persons
  • Services provided by the city
  • Protection of persons and property, including consumer protection
  • Animals
  • Structures including fences and signs
  • Business licensing
  • Greater flexibility regarding procurement and notice.

Integrity and accountability

  • Requirement to establish an effective integrity and accountability regime including: a lobbyist registry, integrity commissioner, auditor general and ombudsman
  • Authority to prohibit trade union and corporate donations to campaigns for city council.

Governance and delegation

  • Broader authority to delegate decision-making to committees of council, staff, and boards, including authority to delegate limited quasi-judicial and legislative functions
  • Broad permissive powers to change local boards (excluding boards of health, police services boards and library boards)
  • Electronic participation in meetings within defined limits
  • Authority to change council composition and ward boundaries.

Land-use planning

  • Authority to create a local appeals body for certain planning decisions (i.e. minor variance and consent)
  • Authority to regulate appearance and design features and exterior sustainable design of buildings, such as green roofs
  • Clarifies authority to regulate minimum and maximum density and height of development in zoning by-laws
  • Authority to pass zoning by-laws with conditions attached to the approval in order to address matters such as intensification and brownfields development goals
  • Allow interim controls under the Ontario Heritage Act to take effect as soon as they are imposed by council to provide stronger protection for heritage buildings.

Business regulation

  • New enhanced business licensing authority including:
  • administrative suspension of a business license
  • imposing monetary penalty for contravention of a business license
  • Authority to establish holiday store closings.

Enforcement and power of entry

  • Authority to establish fines for contravening by-laws of up to a maximum of $100,000
  • Authority to establish a system of administrative penalties for non-compliance with parking by-laws (subject to enabling regulation)
  • Ability to establish offences for directors of corporations when corporations contravene by-laws
  • Harmonized power of entry to inspect for compliance with by-laws
  • Authority to search a premise for evidence of a by-law contravention pursuant to a warrant that may also authorize seizure of evidence.


  • Removal of requirement for environmental assessment for traffic calming measures
  • Greater flexibility to establish speed limits on local roads.


  • Authority to provide temporary housing accommodation to address housing emergencies without having to obtain provincial approval
  • Authority for loan agreements for housing projects without provincial approval provided that the city provides an indemnity
  • Authority to control the demolition and conversion of rental housing.

Intergovernmental relations

  • Explicit recognition of authority to enter into agreements with the federal government
  • New relationship with province based on mutual respect, consultation and cooperation.

Fiscal issues

  • Broad authority to manage its financial affairs
  • Increased flexibility to establish municipal corporations
  • Authority to undertake tax increment financing with respect to municipal taxation within prescribed areas
  • Broad permissive authority to raise new taxes except in areas specifically prohibited, such as an income tax, wealth tax, gas tax or a general sales tax
  • Expanded authority to provide bonuses for private business in the City of Toronto within the context of a community improvement plan without provincial approval.

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