February 15, 2023

The Mayor of Toronto may resign from City Council by submitting a resignation to the City Clerk. In this situation, the City of Toronto, guided by the City of Toronto Act, the Municipal Elections Act and Council Procedures (Chapter 27 of the Toronto Municipal Code), works with the office of the Deputy Mayor to continue the uninterrupted delivery of City programs and services while working to fill the role of Mayor of Toronto.

Vacancy in the Office of Mayor

The City of Toronto Act outlines the process for filling Council vacancies. In 2022, the Province of Ontario updated the Act to require Council fill a mayoral vacancy by by-election.

Following a mayoral resignation, the City Clerk will report to the next scheduled meeting of Council with recommendations that allow Council to:

  • Formally declare the Office of Mayor vacant
  • Pass a bylaw that authorizes the filling of the vacancy by by-election

By-election overview

Nominations for a by-election will open shortly after Council passes a bylaw authorizing the by-election.

Throughout the nomination period, eligible individuals can file a nomination at Toronto City Hall. Those pursuing nomination must be eligible electors and show identification demonstrating that they reside in Toronto.

Under the Municipal Elections Act, the City Clerk establishes the date for the close of nominations between 30 and 60 days after the passing of the by-election bylaw. Candidates may withdraw up to the close of nominations.

The by-election is held 45 days after the close of nominations.

Incoming Mayor

Following the by-election, the City Clerk will certify the official results and then arrange to administer the Declaration of Office to the successful candidate. The new Mayor will assume all rights, powers and authorities of the Mayor, including those under Part VI.1 of the City of Toronto Act, upon making the declaration.

Role of the Deputy Mayor

Under the Council Procedures (Chapter 27 of the Toronto Municipal Code), the Deputy Mayor automatically assumes certain rights, powers and authority given to the Mayor by Council following a Mayor’s resignation until the Declaration of Office for the successful by-election candidate is complete. The Deputy Mayor remains Deputy Mayor while the Office of Mayor is vacant. The Deputy Mayor does not become the “Acting Mayor” or “Interim Mayor.”

Deputy Mayor powers and duties under Council Procedures include:

  • Acting as the Chief Executive Officer of the City
  • When the Speaker or Deputy Speaker are not doing so, presiding over Council meetings so that City business can be carried out efficiently and effectively
  • Providing leadership to Council
  • Representing the City and Council at official functions
  • Speaking first or last on an item at City Council meetings
  • Adding new business to Council meeting agendas
  • Duty to answer questions at Council meetings when provided
  • Presiding over Committee of the Whole
  • Calling and cancelling Council meetings
  • Designating key matters during Council meetings
  • Being a member of all Council committees when present, except Community Councils, and being a member of other committees and local boards to which the Mayor was appointed by Council (i.e., Debenture Committee)
  • Exercising all other powers granted by Council to the Mayor

The Deputy Mayor also assumes administrative management of a vacant Mayor’s office, including, but not limited to, purchasing and staffing matters.

The Deputy Mayor does not assume the special powers and duties of the Mayor under Part VI.1 of the City of Toronto Act (“Strong Mayor powers” added by the Province of Ontario’s Bill 3 and Bill 39). The Deputy Mayor also does not automatically assume the Mayor’s seats on boards on which the Mayor was a member; those seats remain vacant until a new Mayor takes office.

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