Forum Paper | 2020

Charting A New Path: Does Toronto Need More Autonomy?

Across Canada, and particularly in Toronto, calls for increased municipal autonomy and the protection of municipal authority in the Canadian constitution have been getting louder. These issues have become no less significant following the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, which has revealed the limits of municipal powers and financial resources, while also demonstrating the importance of provincial and federal support for municipalities in difficult times.

On November 28, 2019, the Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance (IMFG) convened a public panel discussion in partnership with the Urban Land Institute–Toronto to explore these issues, and particularly the question of whether Toronto needs a constitutionally entrenched city charter.

Charting a New Path: Does Toronto Need More Autonomy? contextualizes and summarizes remarks from the event. It examines the pros and cons of a constitutional amendment to entrench municipal authority, as well as its feasibility. It also analyzes whether a city charter is a solution that can bridge Toronto’s growing racial and economic inequality, and what lessons can be learned from the American experience with municipal constitutional protection.

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