Item - 2020.EX16.8

Tracking Status

  • City Council adopted this item on September 30, 2020 with amendments.
  • This item was considered by Executive Committee on September 23, 2020 and was adopted with amendments. It will be considered by City Council on September 30, 2020.

EX16.8 - The Impact of COVID-19 on 2022 Election Preparation Activities

Decision Type:
ACTION
Status:
Amended
Wards:
All

City Council Decision

City Council on September 30, October 1 and 2, 2020, adopted the following:

 

1. City Council direct the City Clerk to meet the pre-conditions required under Regulation 310/16 of the Municipal Elections Act, 1996, for Ranked Ballot Elections and to report back to City Council by the end of 2023 on the outcome of meeting these requirements well in advance of the 2026 General Election in order that City Council may consider adopting a By-law requiring a Ranked Ballot Election in 2026.

 

2. City Council request the City Clerk to report in detail in 2023 on the full measures proposed to ensure that second language speakers are not at any disadvantage in any way with the possible introduction of ranked ballot voting.

 

3. City Council request the City Clerk to evaluate alternative voting methods used in other jurisdictions that may provide electors with additional options during a pandemic and to report back to City Council by May 1, 2021 as required.

 

4. City Council request the City Clerk to include in the May 2021 report, measures that can be undertaken to increase municipal election spending limits in areas of the City with historically low elector numbers and low voter numbers.

 

5. City Council request the City Clerk to report to the Executive Committee in the first quarter of 2021 on the number of polls in each ward for municipal elections as compared to federal and provincial elections.

 

6. City Council direct the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards, in consultation with the City Clerk, to report to Economic and Community Development Committee by the end of the second quarter of 2021 on the outcome of a review of the City's current election sign rules, such review to include:

 

a. enforcement data from the 2018 election;

 

b. a stakeholder engagement process, including with Council Members, to identify any issues;

 

c. addressing election signs that are unlawfully displayed on public property; and

 

d. any recommended by-law amendments to address outstanding or newly-identified issues.

 

7.  City Council request the City Clerk to provide regular updates to the Executive Committee on the procurement process to acquire new equipment for future elections.

Background Information (Committee)

(September 9, 2020) Report from the City Clerk on The Impact of COVID-19 on 2022 Election Preparation Activities
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2020/ex/bgrd/backgroundfile-156443.pdf
Presentation from the City Clerk on 2022 Election Preparation Activities: The Impact of COVID-19 and The Ward Structure
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2020/ex/bgrd/backgroundfile-156961.pdf

Communications (Committee)

(September 20, 2020) E-mail from Karen Gomez (EX.Supp.EX16.8.1)
(September 23, 2020) Letter from Glen Foote, Senior Managing Director, Canadian Operations, Election Systems and Software Canada (EX.New.EX16.8.2)
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2020/ex/comm/communicationfile-118531.pdf

Communications (City Council)

(September 28, 2020) E-mail from Adam Growe (CC.Supp.EX16.8.3)
(September 28, 2020) E-mail from Michael Holloway (CC.Supp.EX16.8.4)
(September 28, 2020) E-mail from Christopher Hoyle (CC.Supp.EX16.8.5)
(September 29, 2020) E-mail from Jeffrey Sauer (CC.New.EX16.8.6)
(September 29, 2020) E-mail from Scott O'Hara (CC.New.EX16.8.7)
(October 1, 2020) E-mail from Eileen Denny (CC.New.EX16.8.8)
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2020/cc/comm/communicationfile-121404.pdf

Motions (City Council)

1 - Motion to Amend Item moved by Councillor Shelley Carroll (Carried)

That City Council delete Executive Committee Recommendation 1:

 

Recommendation to be deleted

 

1. City Council direct the City Clerk to cease any further work on Ranked Ballot Elections for the 2022 Municipal Election, as previously directed in Item GV5.1 on November 26 and 27, 2019.

 

and adopt the following new recommendation 1:

 

City Council direct the City Clerk to meet the pre-conditions required under Regulation 310/16 of the Municipal Elections Act, 1996, for Ranked Ballot Elections and to report back to City Council by the end of 2023 on the outcome of meeting these requirements well in advance of the 2026 General Election in order that City Council may consider adopting a By-law requiring a Ranked Ballot Election in 2026. 

Vote (Amend Item) Oct-02-2020

Result: Carried Majority Required - EX16.8 - Carroll - motion 1
Total members that voted Yes: 18 Members that voted Yes are Paul Ainslie, Ana Bail„o, Brad Bradford, Shelley Carroll, Mike Colle, Joe Cressy, John Filion, Paula Fletcher, Mike Layton, Josh Matlow, Jennifer McKelvie, Denzil Minnan-Wong, Frances Nunziata (Chair), James Pasternak, Gord Perks, Michael Thompson, John Tory, Kristyn Wong-Tam
Total members that voted No: 6 Members that voted No are Gary Crawford, Michael Ford, Mark Grimes, Stephen Holyday, Cynthia Lai, Anthony Perruzza
Total members that were Absent: 1 Members that were absent are Jaye Robinson

2 - Motion to Amend Item (Additional) moved by Deputy Mayor Denzil Minnan-Wong (Carried)

That City Council direct the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards, in consultation with the City Clerk, to report to Economic and Community Development Committee by the end of the second quarter of 2021 on the outcome of a review of the City's current election sign rules and for the review to include:

 

a. enforcement data from the 2018 election;

 

b. a stakeholder engagement process, including with Council Members, to identify any issues;

 

c. addressing election signs that are unlawfully displayed on public property; and

 

d. any recommended by-law amendments to address outstanding or newly-identified issues.


3 - Motion to Amend Item (Additional) moved by Councillor Anthony Perruzza (Carried)

That City Council request the City Clerk to include in the May 2021 report, measures that can be undertaken to increase municipal election spending limits in areas of the City with historically low elector numbers and low voter numbers.


4a - Motion to Amend Item (Additional) moved by Councillor Paula Fletcher (Carried)

That City Council request the City Clerk to report in detail in 2023 on the full measures they propose to ensure that second language speakers are not at any disadvantage in any way with the possible introduction of ranked ballot voting.


4b - Motion to Amend Item (Additional) moved by Councillor Paula Fletcher (Carried)

That City Council request the City Clerk to report to the Executive Committee in the first quarter of 2021 on the number of polls in each ward for municipal elections as compared to federal and provincial elections.


Motion to Adopt Item as Amended (Carried)

Vote (Adopt Item as Amended) Oct-02-2020

Result: Carried Majority Required - EX16.8 - Adopt the Item as amended
Total members that voted Yes: 20 Members that voted Yes are Paul Ainslie, Ana Bail„o, Brad Bradford, Shelley Carroll, Mike Colle, Gary Crawford, Joe Cressy, John Filion, Paula Fletcher, Michael Ford, Mike Layton, Josh Matlow, Jennifer McKelvie, Denzil Minnan-Wong, Frances Nunziata (Chair), James Pasternak, Gord Perks, Michael Thompson, John Tory, Kristyn Wong-Tam
Total members that voted No: 4 Members that voted No are Mark Grimes, Stephen Holyday, Cynthia Lai, Anthony Perruzza
Total members that were Absent: 1 Members that were absent are Jaye Robinson

Point of Privilege by Councillor Shelley Carroll

Councillor Carroll, rising on a Point of Privilege, stated that Deputy Mayor Minnan-Wong had misheard her and that her comment was that staff did not want to proceed with ranked ballots until they properly know what the community wants and not that she already knew what the community wanted.


Point of Privilege by Deputy Mayor Denzil Minnan-Wong

Deputy Mayor Minnan-Wong, rising on a Point of Privilege, stated that his comments were not that Councillor Carroll knew what the community wanted, his comments were about ranked ballots generally and if Councillor Carroll misinterpreted his comments, he apologized.


Point of Privilege by Councillor Paula Fletcher

Councillor Fletcher, rising on a Point of Privilege, stated that she had not seen the email and asked the Speaker to advise why Part 2 of her proposed motion was out of order.

Ruling by Councillor Frances Nunziata
Speaker Nunziata accepted the Point of Order and ruled that the Municipal Elections Act does not allow City Council to give the City Clerk direction on polling stations.


Point of Order by Councillor Paula Fletcher

Councillor Fletcher, rising on a Point of Order, stated that she was not directing the City Clerk but requesting the City Clerk to look at the different number of polling stations.

Ruling by Councillor Frances Nunziata
Speaker Nunziata accepted the Point of Order and asked the Interim City Clerk to respond.

The Interim City Clerk advised Council that the Municipal Elections Act does not permit City Council to give the City Clerk direction on voting places and as a result, in the Interim City Clerk's view, the proposed motion is not in order as written.


Point of Privilege by Councillor Paula Fletcher

Councillor Fletcher, rising on a Point of Privilege, requested the City Clerk to help rewrite her motion so that it is in order.

Ruling by Speaker Frances Nunziata
Speaker Nunziata accepted the Point of Order and asked the City Solicitor to respond.

The City Solicitor advised Council that under the legislation the City Clerk is responsible for choosing the voting places. The City Solicitor further advised that the legislation does make the City Clerk independent in that respect and in all respects related to the administration of the election and prohibits City Council from directing the City Clerk regarding selection of the voting places.

Rulings (City Council)

Ruling by Speaker Frances Nunziata
Speaker Nunziata advised Councillor Fletcher that Part 2 of her proposed motion was not in order and that Clerk's staff had sent her an email regarding her proposed motion.

EX16.8 - The Impact of COVID-19 on 2022 Election Preparation Activities

Decision Type:
ACTION
Status:
Amended
Wards:
All

Committee Recommendations

The Executive Committee recommends that:

 

1. City Council direct the City Clerk to cease any further work on Ranked Ballot Elections for the 2022 Municipal Election, as previously directed in Item GV5.1 on November 26 and 27, 2019.

 

2. City Council request the City Clerk to evaluate alternative voting methods used in other jurisdictions that may provide electors with additional options during a pandemic and to report back to City Council by May 1, 2021 as required.

 

3.  City Council request the City Clerk to provide regular updates to the Executive Committee on the procurement process to acquire new equipment for future elections.

Decision Advice and Other Information

The City Clerk gave a presentation on 2022 Election Preparation Activities: The Impact of COVID-19 and The Ward Structure.

Origin

(September 9, 2020) Report from the City Clerk

Summary

The purpose of this report is to update City Council on the planning and preparation underway in advance of the October 2022 municipal election, particularly as it relates to the unexpected challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on a number of election initiatives.

 

COVID-19 remains an ongoing concern, and health experts believe there may be additional waves of the virus for months or years to come. All aspects of 2022 election planning must shift to accommodate the reality of this global pandemic, which will have significant effects on programs, procedures, and technology. This report focuses on the pandemic's impact on election initiatives that may require Council consideration, including the acquisition of new voting equipment, preparation for Ranked Ballot Elections, and the exploration of alternative methods of voting.

 

The City's current vote counting equipment has reached the end of its life and a competitive procurement process is underway to acquire new equipment for use in the 2022 election. The City Clerk will further report to Council with recommendations resulting from this process. However, the pandemic has introduced new risks that may impact the acquisition of new equipment in time for its use in the 2022 general election and short-term options are therefore also being explored to mitigate these risks, if required.

 

This report also describes how the delays and risks introduced by the pandemic now mean that the pre-conditions required for Council to authorize Ranked Ballot Elections can no longer be fulfilled in accordance with the legislative and regulatory requirements for implementation in the 2022 election. The report therefore recommends that Council request the City Clerk to cease work on fulfilling the pre-conditions required to allow for possible Ranked Ballot Elections in 2022. If Council wishes to implement Ranked Ballots in the 2026 general election, Council can direct the City Clerk to begin fulfilling the legislative pre-conditions immediately following the 2022 election for possible implementation in 2026.

 

The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to have long-term impacts on the ways in which electors feel comfortable voting, and the report describes how the City Clerk is undertaking research into leading practices on safe voting during a pandemic. This includes rethinking the function and operation of voting places during an election and exploring alternative methods of voting that allow electors to cast ballots without having to attend at a voting place. Should alternative methods of voting be pursued, the City Clerk will report back to Council to ensure that any necessary by-laws are passed in time for their implementation in the 2022 general election.

 

Finally, the report notes that there is still uncertainty about the City's future ward structure. The Supreme Court of Canada has agreed to hear the City's legal challenge to Bill 5, Better Local Government Act, 2018—which reduced the number of Toronto wards from 47 to 25—but a decision is not expected until mid- to late 2021. Election planning for 2022 must therefore account for both 25 and 47 ward scenarios, adding further complexity to COVID-19 contingency planning.

Background Information

(September 9, 2020) Report from the City Clerk on The Impact of COVID-19 on 2022 Election Preparation Activities
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2020/ex/bgrd/backgroundfile-156443.pdf
Presentation from the City Clerk on 2022 Election Preparation Activities: The Impact of COVID-19 and The Ward Structure
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2020/ex/bgrd/backgroundfile-156961.pdf

Communications

(September 20, 2020) E-mail from Karen Gomez (EX.Supp.EX16.8.1)
(September 23, 2020) Letter from Glen Foote, Senior Managing Director, Canadian Operations, Election Systems and Software Canada (EX.New.EX16.8.2)
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2020/ex/comm/communicationfile-118531.pdf

Speakers

Miriam Fine
Jesse Barke
Councillor Shelley Carroll

Motions

1 - Motion to Amend Item (Additional) moved by Councillor James Pasternak (Carried)

That City Council request the City Clerk to provide regular updates to the Executive Committee on the procurement process to acquire new equipment for future elections.


Motion to Adopt Item as Amended moved by Mayor John Tory (Carried)

Vote (Adopt Item as Amended) Sep-23-2020

Result: Carried Majority Required - Adopt the item as amended
Total members that voted Yes: 6 Members that voted Yes are Ana Bail„o, Gary Crawford, Frances Nunziata, James Pasternak, Michael Thompson, John Tory (Chair)
Total members that voted No: 1 Members that voted No are Paul Ainslie
Total members that were Absent: 1 Members that were absent are Denzil Minnan-Wong

Vote (Adopt Item as Amended) Sep-23-2020

Result: Carried Majority Required - Adopt the item as amended - REVOTE
Total members that voted Yes: 7 Members that voted Yes are Ana Bail„o, Gary Crawford, Denzil Minnan-Wong, Frances Nunziata, James Pasternak, Michael Thompson, John Tory (Chair)
Total members that voted No: 1 Members that voted No are Paul Ainslie
Total members that were Absent: 0 Members that were absent are

Motion to Reconsider Vote moved by Mayor John Tory (Carried)

That in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 27, Council Procedures, the Executive Committee reconsider the vote to adopt the item as amended.

Source: Toronto City Clerk at www.toronto.ca/council