Where the City Gets its Powers

The Canadian constitution sets the responsibilities of the federal and provincial governments. It does not recognize municipalities as a separate order of government, meaning cities like Toronto do not get their powers directly from the constitution. Instead, the province of Ontario is responsible for deciding the rules that govern the City of Toronto.

There are many provincial regulations, statues and Acts which define this relationship. The most significant is the City of Toronto Act, 2006 which establishes the City and its governance – meaning, how decisions are made and what powers the City has to do things like pass by-laws and manage its finances.

There are other Acts that define the powers of all municipalities in Ontario, including Toronto. These include:

Decision-Making learning guide brochure