Skip to main content
Open this photo in gallery:

Then-Toronto mayor John Tory speaks during a budget meeting at City Hall, on Feb. 15.Chris Young/The Canadian Press

Former Toronto mayor John Tory broke ethics rules in his affair with a subordinate and by voting on a council matter that related to her, the city’s Integrity Commissioner has found.

Jonathan Batty concluded that Mr. Tory was wrong to vote on Toronto pursuing a World Cup deal with MLSE since it employed the person with whom he was having an affair. He also did not follow proper procedures while she was employed in his office, a 122-page report released Thursday states.

Mr. Batty did not find that Mr. Tory had sexually harassed the woman, who said the then-mayor’s attentions were “not unwelcome,” nor did he improperly advance her career.

Mr. Tory announced his resignation in early February, admitting he had engaged in an inappropriate relationship with someone who had been on his staff. He has not spoken publicly about the affair since, but the report offers new details about when it began, how his wife demanded he stop and how he now regrets running for a third term.

Mr. Batty said he conducted the investigation despite Mr. Tory’s resignation because the former mayor had asked him to look into the situation and because “it was not publicly evident” that the relationship with the woman he dubbed Ms. A had been consensual.

Through his investigation, Mr. Batty concluded that Mr. Tory failed in his duty to disclose the relationship to the Integrity Commissioner and to manage his office so as to protect Ms. A’s confidentiality, respect reporting relationships and create a safe work environment, as required by city policy.

“Mr. Tory put his private interests first,” Mr. Batty found.

Opinion: We can’t normalize elected officials behaving badly. Goodbye John Tory

Mr. Tory could not be reached for an interview Thursday. In a statement forwarded by legal counsel, he said he accepted Mr. Batty’s findings.

“I could and should have handled this matter differently,” the statement reads. “I sincerely regret the impact my actions had on so many people in my life and on the people of the city of Toronto.”

The Integrity Commissioner also looked at allegations Mr. Tory had helped Ms. A find a job with MLSE, the largest sports entertainment company in Canada. At the time Mr. Tory was – and still is – a paid advisor to a trust that controls voting shares in Rogers Communications, which together with BCE owns 75 per cent of MLSE.

Mr. Tory has previously faced criticism for his role advising Rogers. Last December the Integrity Commissioner cleared him of voting improperly on road restrictions that could affect fans attending Toronto Blue Jays games. Rogers owns both the team and the stadium in which it plays.

In his report Thursday, Mr. Batty concluded that Mr. Tory did not intervene improperly to help Ms. A get a job.

Mr. Batty did find that Mr. Tory violated his ethical duties by voting at council to authorize the city manager to negotiate World Cup hosting services with MLSE. At that time, Ms. A reported to an MLSE executive who had lobbied municipal staff and politicians about the international tournament.

“It is reasonable to infer that Mr. Tory, as a special friend and mentor of Ms. A, had to have known that voting on these matters would be of direct benefit to Ms. A’s future at MLSE,” Mr. Batty wrote.

According to Mr. Batty’s findings, the relationship with Ms. A began in the summer of 2020. Mr. Tory’s wife soon learned of it and he promised to end it. However, he resumed the relationship and, within months, his wife found out again. Together they consulted a crisis communications professional they both knew and decided not to go public.

“This was not simply a personal matter,” Mr. Batty’s report emphasizes. “Relationships between a person in authority and someone who works for them need to be managed according to the City’s human resources policies which are incorporated into the Code of Conduct.”

The illicit relationship continued, on and off, until January of this year.

Toronto Mayor John Tory’s resignation speech

Mr. Batty appears sympathetic to the pressures facing Mr. Tory when the affair started, noting that he was managing an unprecedented situation early in the pandemic. The report describes a relationship that began as emotional support.

The couple went for walks, watched sports and exchanged gifts. She cooked for him and helped him with technology. But she kept a distance, calling him mayor even in private during the early stages of the relationship and using his first name only after she had left his employ. Mr. Tory met her family, both in Toronto and in her hometown after his re-election in October 2022.

Mr. Tory had long promised to run for mayor only twice. He broke that promise and was re-elected by a large margin. Asked by Mr. Batty why he would run again with the threat of being exposed, he expressed his regret.

“Everything you look at with the benefit of hindsight, you have a different look,” the report quotes him saying. “… if I had life to live over again, I wouldn’t have run again.”

Follow related authors and topics

Authors and topics you follow will be added to your personal news feed in Following.

Interact with The Globe