Ontario’s highest court ruled that the provincial law under which the size of the city Council of Toronto was reduced almost two times last year, is constitutional.
A split decision of the Ontario court of Appeal sided with the premiere of Doug Ford in his confrontation with the city of Toronto, which filed a lawsuit on his unprecedented intervention.
However, the judge noted that the decision of Ford to reduce the size of the Board just a few weeks before the municipal elections “broke the campaign”.
One judge also wrote that it violates the freedom of expression of candidates.
Last year the government Ford adopted the law “On the improvement of local self-government” in a time when the municipal election campaign was already under way and many candidates had to pull out of the fight, as the number of seats in the Council according to the new law was reduced from 47 to 25.
The lower court ruled that the law violates candidates ‘ rights to freedom of expression, but the province won the right to delay the entry of the decision into force, by submitting an appeal, and the elections were held in 25 districts instead of 47.
The city appealed to the court of appeal with a request to recognize the law, better known as Bill No. 5, to be unconstitutional, but leave the results of the municipal elections unchanged until the next vote in 2022.
Three members of the appeal Board ruled that the law remains in force, while two judges expressed a dissenting opinion, stated that the appeal of the province should be rejected, which increases the likelihood that the case would have to intervene, the Supreme court of Canada.
Press Secretary of the Ministry of justice issued a statement which reads in part: “the Court accepted the position of Ontario that the law “On the improvement of local self-government” 2018 (Bill No. 5) does not violate the Charter section 2(b) on the right to freedom of expression or in respect of the municipal voters or candidates.”