“We ask for a simple right, No taxation without representation. We believe that women who have the same qualifications as men have the same right to vote for all municipal or parliamentary elections.”
[ Excerpt from The Globe, March 7th 1883 “Meeting of the Toronto Women’s Literacy and Social Progress Club”]
Over the years voting regulations have changed to allow more and more people to cast ballots in Toronto. Other changes have reduced the ability of citizens to directly vote for By-Laws and other citywide decisions. As municipal ballots began to include fewer and fewer issues for referendum, other forms of civic engagement emerged. Today, citizen input is limited to participation at public community meetings, deputations at City Hall, calling a local Councilor, and public protest.
The last citywide referendum (issue directly voted on by ballot) was held in 1997 on the issue of Toronto’s amalgamation. In 1997, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario enacted a law to amalgamate the Metro Toronto government and the six municipalities within the Metro Toronto boundaries into an enlarged City of Toronto. A referendum in the six constituent municipalities showed residents opposed the merger by more than 3:1. However, municipal governments in Canada are creatures of the provincial governments. The governing Progressive Conservatives could thus move forward with the merger notwithstanding the referendum. The act took effect on 1998 January 1. (Source: Wikipedia)
Recent civic engagement concerning the fate of the Toronto Public Library system came in the form of 24 hours of deputations to Mayor Rob Ford in July of 2011.