Toronto council could shrink to 25 members – here’s how cities around the world compare
The premier said the reduction in council seats would save the City of Toronto $25.5 million over four years. A Ford spokesperson said the number takes into account how much the city spends on each councillor annually, which is around $290,000 per ward.
When announcing the change – which hasn’t yet come into effect – Ford compared Toronto’s city council to the city of Los Angeles, which boasts a bigger population but only has a council of 15 seats.
Here’s how Toronto compares to other cities of a similar size:
Toronto, population of 2.73 million
The city of Toronto currently has a mayor and a council of 47 seats, that serve 47 wards. That gives an average population per ward of about 62,082 people.
Each district directly elects their chosen councillor who sits on council.
The new configuration would have a mayor and a council of 25 seats. That would give an average population per ward of 109,262 people.
Los Angeles, population of 4.0 million
L.A. has a larger population than Toronto, but fewer councillors. Its council is made up of 15 seats plus the mayor, giving an average population per councillor of 266,651.
But, there are districts in L.A. that have their own municipalities, for example Santa Monica has its own city council with 12 seats, and Beverly Hills has another with five seats.
Chicago, population of 2.72 million
ChicagoA very comparable size to Toronto, Chicago has a city council that is made up of 50 aldermen plus the mayor, giving an average ward population of 54,329 people.
According to state law, ward borders shift after every federal census to be in line with the population.
Brisbane, Australia, population of 2.35 million
There are 26 wards in Brisbane, and 26 councillors plus the mayor sit on council.
According to the city website, there is an average of 28,446 electors per ward, but that doesn’t include non-voting members of the ward.
Rome, Italy, population of 2.87 million
Rome’s city council is made up of 48 members plus the mayor. Voting is party-based and proportional, meaning the percentage of votes for a certain party dictates the number of councillors.
There is no average ward population because there are no wards.
Madrid, Spain, population of 3.14 million
Along with their mayor, 57 council members sit on city council. Like Rome, the council is elected by proportional representation.
Osaka, Japan, population of 2.67 million people
Osaka, Japan is another city that is close in population size to Toronto. According to the city of Osaka website, there are 24 wards and the number of councillors per ward is based on the population of the ward.
Here’s how other Canadian cities compare:
Ottawa, population of 934,243
In Ottawa, there are 23 city councillors and a mayor. The population per councillor is 40,619.
Ford has said there are no plans to change the council in Ottawa.
WATCH: Ottawa mayor Jim Watson reacts to Ford’s move to cut Toronto council seats
Winnipeg, population of 705,245
There are currently 14 wards with one councillor each in Winnipeg, plus a mayor, with an average population per ward of 50,374, based on 2016 numbers.
But there are plans for the next municipal election to up that number to 15 wards.
Calgary, population of 1.27 million
There are 14 councillors and a mayor on city council in Calgary. The average population of the wards weren’t available online, but the population per councillor was calculated at 82,615.
On Friday, after Ford made the announcement, Calgary’s mayor Naheed Nenshi attacked the plan calling it “unconscionable.”
Naheed Nenshi said Ford made no mention of his intentions during Ontario’s recent election campaign and calls the premier’s move “tinpot dictator stuff.”
He said it’s not fair to change the rules in the middle of the game.
Vancouver, population of 647,540
Vancouver doesn’t have wards, it elects 10 councillors at large along with a mayor. That means voters pick their 10 people on their ballots, and the candidates with the most votes are elected.
The population per councillor is 64,754.
Montreal, population of 1.7 million
There are 65 elected officials in Montreal consisting of one mayor, 18 borough mayors and 46 city councillors. Since there are borough mayors in the same region as council wards, the average population per councillor is lower than other major cities at 26,635. The average population per ward is 37,059.
There are also borough councils, on which city councilors of that borough sit. Montrealers also elect extra borough councilors if there aren’t five city councillors in the district.
Edmonton, population of 899,447
The city of Edmonton has 12 wards plus one mayor. Average population per councillor was calculated at 64,246, but ward populations ranged from 63,048 to 92,332.
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