A ruling on Toronto’s legal challenge of the province’s decision to cut the size of city council from 47 to 25 members is expected on Monday.
City of Toronto spokeswoman Beth Waldman says the city has been notified that Ontario Superior Court Justice Edward Belobaba will send his decision to legal counsel on Monday morning.
The legislation, which passed last month, aligns the city’s ward map with federal ridings in time for the Oct. 22 municipal election, a move Premier Doug Ford has argued will improve decision-making and save $25-million.
It also cancels planned elections for the head of council position in the regional municipalities of Muskoka, Peel, York and Niagara, turning them into appointed roles.
Lawyers for the City of Toronto argued that reducing the number of councillors in the middle of an election is “discriminatory and arbitrary,” and violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Belobaba had said he planned to rule on the case by the second week of September because of the looming municipal election, and acknowledged he expected the losing party would likely appeal.
“As one of the parties in this case, the City of Toronto has been notified that the judge will send his decision to legal counsel on Monday at 8 a.m.,” Waldman said Saturday in an e-mail.
The province argued that municipalities are “creatures of the Legislature” and have no recourse when it comes to the powers of the province over their affairs.
Lawyers for the Progressive Conservative government also said the legal challenges of the legislation have “no merit” and have asked for the cases to be dismissed and the province awarded costs.
A spokesman said Mayor John Tory was looking forward to the decision.
“The mayor fully supported this legal action because he believes the province’s process, which lacked any public input whatsoever, was wrong and unacceptable,” Don Peat said in an e-mail Saturday night.
The deadline for candidates to register in the municipal election is Sept. 14.