Elections and the City of Toronto

Voting is a fundamental part of our democracy. When you vote, you are selecting representatives who will make the laws and policies that determine how our City functions and how we live together. In Toronto’s municipal election you vote for Mayor, Councillor and School Board Trustee.

Toronto City Council is the main governing and legislative body of the City of Toronto. City Council is made up of the Mayor and 44 Councillors. The Mayor is the only member of Council who is elected by voters from across the city. Each councillor represents one of Toronto’s 44 municipal wards (a geographic area of the city). Elected trustees make up a school board. The number of trustees on a board is based on the population in the board’s area of jurisdiction.

Unlike other orders of government, there are no political parties at the municipal level. Elections happen once every four years. The next municipal election will take place on Monday, October 22, 2018.

Read this guide as a brochure

You can vote in Toronto’s municipal election if you are:

  • a Canadian citizen; and
  • at least 18 years old; and
  • a resident in the City of Toronto; or
  • a non-resident of the City of Toronto, but you or your spouse own or rent property in the City; and
  • not prohibited from voting under any law.

You may only vote once in the City of Toronto municipal election regardless of how many properties you own or rent within the City. You must vote in the ward where you live.

An owner or tenant of non-residential property, or their spouse, is not eligible to vote for School Board Trustee.

Get on the List! 

Being on the City of Toronto voters’ list ensures that you will receive the Voter Information Card (VIC) that tells you when and where to vote. Having your VIC will speed up your time spent at the voting place.

What is the voters’ list and how does it get made?

The voters’ list is a list of eligible electors in the City of Toronto.

The Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) is responsible for preparing the preliminary list of electors for each municipality and school board during an election year. It is MPAC’s ‘Municipal Property Assessment database’ of both property owners and tenants that is used to prepare this preliminary list. The preliminary list of electors aids Election Services in the preparation of the final voters’ list for election day. This preliminary list of electors is sent to Election Services and on September 2, the Revision Period begins.

From September 2 to October 22, Revisions to the voters’ list are done by the City Clerk’s Office. During this time period eligible electors can check that they are on the list by using the online election tool MyVote or by calling 416-338-1111.

To update their information eligible electors can download and complete a Voters’ List Amendment Application (available September 2) from our website www.toronto.ca/elections/voterslist.

You may also add your name to the voters’ list at the voting place when you go to vote. You will be asked for identification showing your name and qualifying Toronto address.

When you go to your voting place, take your voter information card and remember that you are required to show acceptable identification (ID).

If you need to be added to the voters’ list you will also need to show acceptable ID.

  • If you do not have acceptable ID but your name is on the voters’ list, you will be required to sign a Declaration of Identity.
  • If you do not have acceptable ID, and are not on the voters’ list, you will be asked to return with your ID in order to receive a ballot.

What is acceptable identification (ID)?

  • One piece of identification showing your name and qualifying (Toronto) address

A complete list of acceptable identification is below. You can open a printable PDF version of this list of acceptable identification.

Acceptable identification to vote in the municipal election:

  • An Ontario driver’s licence
  • An Ontario Health Card (photo card)
  • An Ontario Photo Card
  • An Ontario motor vehicle permit (vehicle portion)
  • A cancelled personalized cheque
  • A mortgage statement, lease or rental agreement relating to property in Ontario
  • An insurance policy or insurance statement
  • A loan agreement or other financial agreement with a financial institution
  • A document issued or certified by a court in Ontario
  • Any other document from the government of Canada, Ontario or a municipality in Ontario or from an agency or such a government
  • Any document from a Band Council in Ontario established under the Indian Act (Canada)
  • An income tax assessment notice
  • A Child Tax Benefit Statement
  • A Statement of Employment Insurance Benefits Paid T4E
  • A Statement of Old Age Security T4A (OAS)
  • A Statement of Canada Pension Plan Benefits T4A (P)
  • A Canada Pension Plan Statement of Contributions
  • A Statement of Direct Deposit for Ontario Works
  • A Statement of Direct Deposit for Ontario Disability Support Program
  • A Workplace Safety and Insurance Board Statement of Benefits T5007
  • A property tax assessment
  • A credit card statement, bank account statement, or RRSP, RRIF, RHOSP or T5 statement A CNIB Bard or a card from another registered charitable organization that provides services to persons with disabilities
  • A hospital card or record
  • A document showing campus residence, issued by the office or officials responsible for student residence at a post-secondary institution
  • A document showing residence at a long-term care home under the Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2007, issued by the Administrator for the home
  • A utility bill for hydro, water, gas, telephone or cable TV or a bill from a public utilities commission
  • A cheque stub, T4 statement or pay receipt issued by an employer
  • A transcript or report card from a post-secondary school

To vote:

There are three parts to the Toronto election ballot. Each ballot will list all of the candidates running for Mayor and the candidates running for Councillor and School Board Trustee in your ward.

If you are a non-resident owner or tenant of land assessed as commercial or industrial you cannot vote for a school board trustee.

Voting is quick and easy when you are prepared. 

When you go to vote: 

Bring your voter information card along with your identification (ID).

When you arrive at the voting place the election official will:

  • Greet and direct you to where you need to go.
  • Ask for your identification showing name and qualifying address.
  • Check your identification against the voters’ list, then cross your name off the list.
  • Put your ballot into a secrecy folder and show you how to mark your ballot.
  • Direct you to the voting screen.

 You will:

  • Mark your ballot by connecting the head and tail of the arrow pointing to the candidate of your choice with the pen provided.
  • Vote once for mayor, once for councillor and if eligible, once for school board trustee.
    • If you make a mistake, or change your mind about who you want to vote for, simply take the ballot to the election official who will cancel your ballot and issue another one to you.
  • Place your marked ballot in the secrecy folder and take it to the election official who will feed your ballot into the tabulator.
    • If there is a problem with your ballot, the tabulator will return it. The election official will give you the option of obtaining a new ballot or having the tabulator accept the ballot as marked. If you have any questions on how to properly mark the ballot, any of the election officials will be happy to explain it to you.
  • Have successfully voted once your ballot is accepted by the tabulator. 

If you require assistance in another language:

  • Written instructions on how to vote  is available on our website, and in all voting places in Braille, English and additional languages.
  • Key Election information is also available in English and additional languages on our website in October of an election year.
  • If you require assistance in a language that is not listed here, please call 311 for greater access to over-the-phone interpretation in more than 180 languages.
  • Although we do try to place voting place staff with second language skills in areas where they will be most helpful, we do not provide specific translation services on advance vote or election day. You may ask anyone who is not a candidate or a scrutineer to act as an interpreter for you. They must complete an oral declaration that they will faithfully translate any communication between you and the election officials. Interpreters may not go behind the voting screen with you or assist you in voting.

 If you are unable to vote on Election Day:

If you know that you won’t be able to vote on Election Day, you can either go to one of the City’s advance vote locations or you can appoint another eligible elector to act as your proxy.

To appoint a proxy, you and the person who will be voting on your behalf need to provide acceptable ID complete a form and have it certified by the City Clerk’s Office.

To run for an office on Council or a School Board, a candidate must be qualified on the day he or she files the nomination paper.

To run for mayor or councillor, on the day the Nomination Paper is filed a person must be:

  • a Canadian citizen
  • at least 18 years of age
  • a resident of the City of Toronto
  • an owner or tenant of land in the City of Toronto, or the spouse of the owner or tenant
  • not legally prohibited from voting
  • not disqualified by any legislation from holding municipal office

To run for any of the four school boards, on the day the Nomination Paper is filed a person must be:

  • a Canadian citizen
  • at least 18 years of age
  • a resident in the area of jurisdiction of the board
  • eligible to vote for the school board
  • not disqualified by any legislation from holding municipal office

An elected member of Council or a School Board Trustee must maintain their qualifications throughout the entire term of office or their seat will become vacant.

If you’re interested in being a candidate, please contact candidateinfo@toronto.ca for more information.

Once a candidate has filed their nomination papers with the City, they are able to start fundraising and spending money on their election campaign. Contribution limits for City Councillor and School Board candidates are a maximum of $750 per contributor; Mayoralty candidates can accept a maximum of $2,500 per contributor. Corporations or trade unions are prohibited from contributing to candidates seeking office to Toronto City Council; they may still contribute to School Board Trustee candidates. If a contributor wishes to contribute to multiple candidates, they cannot contribute more than $5,000 to all candidates within a single Council or School Board jurisdiction.

There are limits on the amounts a candidate can spend on expenses during the campaign period. These limits are based on the number of electors entitled to vote for the office. The City Clerk informs candidates about their spending limits.