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Journal of Law and Social Policy

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municipal law, city governance, subsidiarity, political participation


This article examines Toronto’s community councils, a post-amalgamation creation meant to buffer the effects of a much larger city. Using a mixed methodology approach to understand their role and function, this paper finds that community councils largely focus on local planning and land use issues. However, under applicable law, Toronto’s community councils have the capacity to increase their delegated and decision-making power to serve a greater stewardship role in matters of concern to the city’s neighborhoods, such as the “local” effects of “city-wide” issues, and to include non-councilor members as decision-makers. This paper argues that the City of Toronto should reimagine the design of community councils so that they may serve a stronger role in the city’s governance model, bringing them in line with similar bodies in other North American cities and fostering a more accessible and participatory municipal government.

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