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Olivia Chow, Mayor-Elect for the city of Toronto, leaves the Office of the Mayor after a meeting with Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie, at city hall on June 27.Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Olivia Chow will have an accelerated transition into the mayor’s office in Toronto, spending the next two weeks meeting with senior city staff and councillors as she starts to lay the groundwork for her agenda.

The city clerk announced Tuesday that Ms. Chow, who was elected a day earlier, will take the declaration of office on July 12. That is one week before the next scheduled council meeting.

“One of my first tasks it to listen and to learn and then look for ways we can work together to achieve our common goals,” Ms. Chow told reporters outside City Hall on Tuesday afternoon. “I want to get started immediately to make life more affordable.”

Her timeline is compressed compared with the five weeks her predecessor, John Tory, had between victory and taking office in 2014. Mr. Tory was re-elected in 2018 and 2022 before resigning this year after admitting to an affair with someone on his staff, paving the way for the by-election won by Ms. Chow.

She will have roughly three years to govern before Torontonians go back to the polls and faces huge challenges in a city with a housing affordability crisis and precarious financial situation. The city has a nearly $1.5-billion shortfall for last year and this year, a gap that Ms. Chow took pains to note opened up under Mr. Tory’s watch.

“The former mayor left the city with 7 per cent [property] tax increase and still $1.5-billion of deficit,” she said. “How am I going to deal with it? I will have to talk to the senior staff, talk to other councillors and see if we could persuade the federal and the provincial government to partner with us. Because at the end of the day, a healthy and livable city of Toronto means a strong Canada.”

A map of how and where Toronto voted in the mayoral election

Premier Doug Ford on Tuesday resisted calls for more funding to Toronto, noting the province has already spent billions of dollars on social housing, child care, public health and social assistance, as well as a $30-billion transit expansion plan.

“We’re doing our fair share,” he said. The Premier added that there is “a lot of waste” at city hall, though he didn’t provide specific examples.

One of Ms. Chow’s most important relationships will be with Mr. Ford, whose late brother Rob Ford served as mayor before Mr. Tory. The Progressive Conservative Premier is a former city councillor who continues to take a keen interest in Toronto and has interfered in municipal politics since becoming premier, including slashing the size of council in half during the 2018 civic election campaign. He warned during the campaign that Ms. Chow would be a “unmitigated disaster” and recorded a robocall in support of former police chief Mark Saunders, who finished a distant third.

On Tuesday, Ms. Chow said she could work with Mr. Ford. And the Premier told reporters at his own event earlier in the day he’d done nothing more than “throw some mud.”

“People expect us to work together and that’s exactly what we’re going to do,” Mr. Ford said at an unrelated skills-training announcement near Cambridge, Ont. “We’re going to find common ground when we sit down, because she’s actually quite a nice person.”

One flashpoint is likely to be the future of Ontario Place, where provincial plans include a privately operated spa. Ms. Chow has committed to withholding the city-owned lands that the province has asked for as part of the development, which city staff warn could lead to expropriation. Mr. Ford insisted the province would move ahead. “This is a provincial site,” he said. “We’re going to do what’s right for the province.”

Ms. Chow won 37 per cent of the vote in a crowded field including at least a half-dozen high-profile candidates. In 2014, Mr. Tory won his first term with 40 per cent, in a race with three prominent candidates. She inherits the strong-mayor powers Mr. Ford’s government introduced last year and has the authority to write the budget and hire and fire senior staff. She also has the traditional power to name committee chairs, people who in return typically support the mayor’s agenda.

Nelson Wiseman, professor emeritus in the department of political science at the University of Toronto, urged Ms. Chow to avoid sticking to narrow ideological choices for committee chairs, casting the net more widely “so that it looks like she’s reaching out.” But he dismissed the idea that her mandate is diminished owing to a smaller winning percentage.

“Once you win an election, by whatever margin … once you win, you’ve got a lot of political capital there,” he said. “So, she’s going to have a fairly easy ride for the next while.”

Ms. Chow appears confident she can sway council to her policy priorities. She has disavowed the part of the strong-mayor powers that would allow her to veto the will of a majority on council or pass certain items with minority support. On Tuesday, asked whether she would respect that pledge even if her priorities were being stymied by council, she insisted she could work successfully with councillors.

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