Judge Strikes Down Bill To Reduce Toronto Council Size

An Ontario judge has struck down a provincial bill that would have seen the size of Toronto's city council slashed nearly in half.

Ontario Superior Court Justice Edward Belobaba handed down his decision Monday morning that effectively struck down Bill 5, known as the Local Better Government Act.

The council-cutting legislation passed late last month and aligned the city's ward map with federal ridings in time for the Oct. 22 municipal election.

Premier Doug Ford had argued the move would improve decision-making and save $25 million.

The Belobaba accepted arguments from city lawyers, who contended that reducing the number of councillors in the middle of an election is "discriminatory and arbitrary," and violates the charter.

Bill 5 also cancelled planned elections for the head of council position in the regional municipalities of Muskoka, Peel, York and Niagara, turning them into appointed roles.