How Does the 25-Ward Council Affect Voters?
PRINCIPLES FOR DRAWING WARD
The Supreme Court of Canada and the Ontario Municipal Board have set standards for drawing electoral boundaries.
Any review of ward boundaries must achieve effective representation, such that wards:
The Toronto Ward Boundary Review (TWBR) began in June 2013 with a mandate to come up with a design for ward boundaries and council representation that would create “effective representation,” balancing:
The Toronto Ward Boundary Review rejected the 25-ward option because it did not satisfy many of these criteria.
THE CAPACITY TO REPRESENT
Under the 25-ward model, all wards in Toronto have immediately increased in population size from an average of 62,068 to 109,264--an increase of 76% (based on 2016 population numbers). Councillor workloads will increase proportionately.
By 2026, the average ward population size with 25 wards would be 123,000 (total projected city population divided by 25), an increase of 98%. Under the 47-ward system, it would be about 61,000.
Doubling the number of voters a councillor must represent obviously diminishes the capacity of an individual councillor to respond to resident needs.
Active Toronto City Councillors attend Community Councils, public meetings on Development Proposals, and community issues of all kinds. Ongoing consultations with the public are almost overwhelming for City Councillors as it is.
Doubling their territory, and the number of voters they represent, will make it nearly impossible without additional staff, which will eat up any cost savings the 25-seat proposal may have created.
2018 Average Pop/Ward: 61,867
2026 Average Pop/Ward: 65,582
2018 Average Pop/Ward: 109,264
2026 Average Pop/Ward: 123,000
One resident’s vote should be close to equal to another’s.
If you live in a ward of 45,000 people, and your neighbour lives in a ward of 90,000 people, and each ward has a single councillor's vote on an issue, your vote counts for double your neighbour's. That is not fair representation.
In a 1991 reference concerning Saskatchewan's provincial electoral boundaries (aka the Carter case), the Supreme Court ruled:
“A system which dilutes one citizen’s vote unduly as compared to another citizen’s vote runs the risk of providing inadequate representation to the citizen whose vote is diluted. The legislative power of the citizen whose vote is diluted will be reduced, as may be access to and assistance from his or her representative. The result will be uneven and unfair representation.”
-- Pages 183-184 Reference re: Sask. Provincial Electoral Boundaries 1991
In 2014, Toronto's ward populations varied from 45,000 to 90,000.
That disparity is why City Council created the Ward Boundary Review in the first place.
Given that city population grows unevenly in different parts of the city, with the greatest growth occurring in downtown wards. that disparity would be aggravated over time.