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Mayor John Tory speaks during a press conference at Toronto City Hall on Feb. 10.Arlyn McAdorey/The Canadian Press

Toronto Mayor John Tory announced Friday night that he will resign after admitting he had a months-long affair with a former employee. Mr. Tory, who was re-elected to a third term in October, said he would be working with city staff toward “an orderly transition.”

What happens next?

For the mayor’s resignation to be effective, he will have to give notice in writing to the city clerk. A spokesperson for the mayor’s office on Saturday couldn’t say when Mr. Tory would give the notice.

“Details and timelines are still being finalized,” Blue Knox said in an e-mail.

John Tory’s resignation as Toronto mayor prompts debate over city’s future

Once the notice has been given, the city council has to declare the mayor’s office to be vacant. That must be done at the next meeting that follows the notice, which could be as early as Wednesday. Once the office is declared vacant, Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie will act as mayor until a by-election is held.

“Because we’re dealing with a permanent vacancy, the safest thing would be for council to declare the office vacant and, in the same breath essentially, to confirm the appointment for deputy mayor until a by-election,” said Stéphane Émard-Chabot, a University of Ottawa professor with expertise in municipal and administrative law.

Who are Mr. Tory’s potential successors?

Gil Penalosa, who was the runner-up in last October’s municipal election, announced Saturday that he will run in the upcoming by-election. The urban planner told The Globe and Mail he believes the city’s “moving in the wrong direction,” and that he wants to improve transit access across the city and focus on building a more inclusive Toronto. Fourth-place finisher Blake Acton also said he would enter the race.

Councillors Brad Bradford and Josh Matlow both haven’t ruled out joining the race for the mayor’s chair. Other names rumoured as potential candidates include former deputy mayor Ana Bailão, Ontario provincial legislator and Associate Minister of Transportation Stan Cho, federal Housing and Diversity Minister Ahmed Hussen, former city councillor Michael Layton, and Parkdale—High Park MPP Bhutila Karpoche.

When will a by-election be held?

After the vacancy declaration, the city will have 60 days to pass a bylaw requiring a by-election for mayor be held, but these steps could take place on the same day.

“Typically, these would all be done in the same sitting, there is no reason to prolong the process,” said Prof. Émard-Chabot.

The clerk then fixes the deadline for candidates to file nominations within 30 to 60 days from the passage of the bylaw. Torontonians will vote 45 days after nomination day.

What happens if a city councillor decides to run?

Sitting city councillors can be candidates for the mayor’s office, but cannot be elected to two offices at the same time. If a councillor were to be elected mayor, they would have to vacate their seat.

The council, to replace them, could hold another by-election or appoint someone for the remainder of the term under the City of Toronto Act.

“Because we’re so early on in the term, one would expect a by-election, but council has that discretion to appoint,” Prof. Émard-Chabot said.

What happens to the 2023 budget?

The new “strong mayor” powers given to Toronto and Ottawa by the province allow the office holders to design and present budgets to the city council. In Toronto, the 2023 operating and capital budgets are set to be voted on by council next week.

However, Mr. Tory’s resignation should not affect the process “in any way,” according to Prof. Émard-Chabot.

“Under the municipal structures in Ontario, there are no political parties, so the dynamic around the council table remains the same. Each person has one vote, it just so happens that there is one vote less in this case.”

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