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Canada’s top court to rule on Ontario’s move to slash Toronto city council

Click to play video: 'Ontario wins stay on ruling that struck down Toronto council-cutting plan' Ontario wins stay on ruling that struck down Toronto council-cutting plan
The Court of Appeal for Ontario sided with Ford's government, by staying a ruling by a lower court judge that set aside a law cutting the size of Toronto city council by almost half. The decision returns Toronto's election to a 25-ward race instead of 47. Jamie Mauracher and Matthew Bingley gathered reactions from Queen's Park and city hall – Sep 19, 2018

The country’s top court is set to rule today on whether Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s decision to slash the size of Toronto’s city council during the last municipal election was constitutional.

The Supreme Court of Canada decision is coming roughly a year before Ontario’s next municipal vote.

In 2018, the municipal campaign was well underway when the Ontario legislature passed a law that reduced the number of council seats in Toronto to 25 from 47, aligning them with federal ridings.

READ MORE: Charter section to be key in Toronto court battle over council cut

Ford — a former Toronto city councillor and failed mayoral candidate — argued at the time that the change would streamline council operations and save $25 million.

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Critics, however, denounced it as undemocratic and arbitrary.

Toronto successfully challenged the legislation in Superior Court, with the judge deeming it unconstitutional.

READ MORE: With Toronto city council slashed to 25 wards, attention turns to governing

Ford threatened to use the Constitution’s notwithstanding clause to push through the change but didn’t have to invoke it because the province won a stay of the decision pending appeal.

Ontario’s top court then delivered a split decision on the matter, with three judges ruling to overturn the Superior Court decision and two to uphold it.

READ MORE: Ontario Appeal Court rules 3-2 in favour of law that slashed Toronto city council

The Supreme Court of Canada agreed to hear the city’s challenge of the Appeal Court ruling, with a hearing held in March.

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