New council structure – explained in basketball terms

Nov. 30, 2018

One year ago in September, we published Media mop up: Doug Ford and the next election where we considered themes in the media about Doug Ford’s announcement of his intention to run for mayor – in baseball terms.

Now with basketball season underway, Ford as the premier, and council about half the size that it was a few months ago, we couldn’t resist the opportunity to, um, dribble a little.

So here it is. Our attempt to make the proposal for the new committee structure… bounce, a little.

This is our alley-oop for those who find council governance less riveting than a double overtime thriller.


City governments in Ontario have committees that councillors sit on to deal with various municipal issues. Each municipality has their own committee structure and way of administering the committees, and they don’t necessarily correspond to the number of councillors or size of the region.

For example, for the 2018 – 2022 term, city councillors are proposing the City of Hamilton have six committees that will report right to council for the 2018 – 2022 term. Those are the Audit, Finance and Administration Committee, Healthy and Safe Communities Committee, Planning Committee, Public Works Committee, General Issues Committee, and Board of Health.

In Toronto, recommendations for the council structure are coming from the city manager and city clerks office, with the reason being that the city council governance system needs a “recalibrating” for 26 members (when there were 45 members last term).

Run-and-gun offence

  • It’s been over two-months since council was cut from 45 members to 26.
  • Next week is the first council meeting of the 2018 – 2022 term.
  • The recommendations are for an interim committee structure, while a special committee on governance considers the impacts and establishes a work plan and engagement process.
  • Why run-and-gun offence? The proposed terms for the special committee have no regular meeting schedule and no end date – but will move council forward quickly.

Fast break

  • City staff are recommending an interim structure of four committees that report directly to council. Last term there were 12.
  • Why a fast break strategy? Why rush to get a committee structure into place at all if the intention isn’t to keep it that way?

Slam dunk

  • Staff are recommending more funds be available for local constituency offices.
  • Why slam dunk? This is a great play that could result in a win for councillors, residents, and the City. Local connection matters to people. We may even consider the possibilities for the emergences of these offices a triple threat.

Pick and roll

  • Appointments to committees and tribunals will be made differently.
  • There will be a new Mayor’s Corporations Nominating Panel to interview and recommend appointments to CreateTO, Metropolitan Toronto Convention Centre, Toronto Community Housing Corporation, Toronto Hydro, and Waterfront Toronto.
  • Why pick and roll? The mayor’s office, with Tory in his second term, is well placed to make these moves.

All star game

  • Fewer councillors on public committees, tribunals and agencies could give them more time to go deep into issues.
  • Why run and gun? Fewer committees reporting to council will give the chairs of those committees a real spotlight to shine.


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