Toronto City Council is the governing body for the City and comprises 26 members: the Mayor who is elected City-wide, and 25 Councillors who are elected in each ward across the City. As part of the City’s legislative process, Councillors make decisions at Council, Standing Committee and Community Council meetings. Councillors also serve in City agencies and corporations.

Download the Budget Analyst Notes for City Council for detailed information on service levels, key initiatives, challenges and performance measures. You can also review budget highlights below.

Under the City of Toronto Act (COTA), c. 131, the statutory role of City Council includes the following:

  • Represents the public and considers the well-being and interests of the City;
  • Develops and evaluates the policies and programs of the City;
  • Determines the services the City provides;
  • Ensures that administrative and controllership policies, practices and procedures are in place to implement the decisions of Council;
  • Ensures the accountability and transparency of the operations of the City, including the activities of the senior management of the City;
  • Maintains the financial integrity of the City; and
  • Carries out the duties of Council under appropriate Acts.

As the governing body of the City, City Council:

  • Executes its legislative and administrative responsibilities and all powers are exercised through by-laws, except where otherwise permitted by legislation.
  • Creates and approves policies and programs, determines service mix, service levels and methods of service delivery, and oversees the work of implementing its decisions.
  • Approves the City’s Operating Budget and 10-Year Capital Plan allotting resources to Council priorities.
  • Awards contracts and approves the hiring and dismissal of statutory officers and executive staff.
  • Council may, with some limitations, delegate its decision-making authority to committees, City agencies or the Toronto Public Service.
  • City Council uses a committee system to manage its legislative process and make decisions.
  • Each City Councillor serves on the Community Council that incorporates their ward.
  • The Mayor is a voting member of all community councils.

Operating Budget

Toronto City Council’s budget is $22.2 million gross and $21.6 million net.


  • 4.6 per cent Budget increase over the 2018 Approved Net Operating Budget to meet City Council’s requirements.
  • 2020/2021 Increases primarily for known inflationary adjustments for Councillors’ salaries and benefits and Constituency Services and Office Budget.

Key Challenges

  • The adequacy of the Council Transition Reserve is a key challenge. Council Transition Reserve, which funds end of Council term costs, are funded from City Council’s annual budget surplus. With budget reductions over the years and increasing expenses in the General Council Budget, the annual budget surplus has been declining in recent years.

Priority Actions

  • A sustainable funding source is required for the Council Transition Reserve.
  • Establish a 2019 operating budget that responds to the Bill 5, reflects Council direction on December 4, 2018 on item CC1.1, and adequately funds the needs of Council.

Find more information on specific City issues, opportunities and challenges in the briefing notes and reports prepared by City staff. Documents will be posted as they become available.

Presentations made to committee and City Council provide an overview of the 2019 City budget. Documents will be posted as they become available.