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Learning About Charter City Model from Charter City Toronto Organizers

LOGO_Charter City Toronto

Earlier this week, I (along with some of my staff, the city manager and some City of Burlington staff) met with Charter City Toronto (CCT) founder John Sewell and CCT Steering Committee member Doug Earl.

They talked about Charter City Toronto, what Charter Cities are and their process so far in trying to get the City of Toronto to become a Charter City.

The proposal for a Charter City arrangement calls for an agreement between the province and the city that re-defines their relationship, including new powers, authority and financial resources for that city. That agreement would be secured by a `single-province amendment’ under Section 43 of the Constitution Act — requiring a simple majority vote of Parliament —  so that the Charter agreement could not be unilaterally changed by the province.

The draft charter proposal for the City of Toronto provides a good check list of the kinds of items a city might want to include in a charter, included governance (size of council, election dates, election financing and so forth), land use planning and development matters, revenue sharing and more.

According to Charter City Toronto organizers, “Charter City Toronto hopes the proposal will kick off a public discussion about what a new, more modern and more mature relationship between cities and the province could look like. Our proposal contains lots of detail in order to ensure that everyone is aware of the complex nature of the relationship of a city and a province. We are sure that public discussion will result in many good changes to the draft we have developed.  Any initiative such as this requires considerable public input before governments can be asked to sign on.”

Click the respective links to view the Charter City Toronto proposal and some endorsements they’ve received:


I was excited to have a conversation with Charter City Toronto founder John Sewell and CCT Steering Committee member Doug Earl and learn more about Charter Cities and the group’s efforts in trying to bring the model to the City of Toronto. It’s a very interesting model that would give municipalities powers to run some of its own affairs, such as planning.

*Posted by John Bkila, Mayor’s Media and Digital Communications Specialist.

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Media Specialist: John Bkila