UPDATED – JUNE 2021
“Resident-Based Community Boards facilitate Community-based Decision-Making”
What they are, What they do, and How they Work
1. Effective December 1, 2018, the boundaries for the 25 City of Toronto Wards were set to coincide with the boundaries of the 25 Provincial Ridings for the City.
As a result, the average population for each City Ward is around 109,200 people. This can be compared with the average population of 146,147 for each of the 59 community districts of New York City.
2. New York City is the 2nd largest city in North America, while Toronto is the 4th largest. In the 1960’s, strongly influenced by the ideas of Jane Jacobs, New York City created legislated resident Community Boards to support community planning. After more than five decades, these Community Boards continue to operate satisfactorily today. The primary responsibility and role of Community Boards is to conduct all public consultation with residents, consequently relieving City Staff of this task.
3. The advantages of Community Boards to communities and the City are:
- CB’s provide and ensure democratic, inclusive, efficient and effective public consultation;
- CB’s provide a time-saving, cost-saving and efficient means for residents to communicate their ideas, needs, problems and solutions to the City and Province;
- CB’s provide an efficient and effective vehicle for the City, Province and their Agencies to communicate directly with the residents in the communities they serve.
4. In view of the large, growing population of Toronto, formalizing “public and community consultation practices” has become imperative. In fact, there is probably no better way to ensure “public consultation” is done well, is respectful towards residents, allowing detailed input, and has a positive impact on our neighbourhoods and greatly assists city management.
5. Community Boards provide an efficient structure for democratic, participatory governance for residents. New York City has successfully utilized Community Boards for more than 50 years.
6. Despite continuous verbal and written reassurance from City Hall that we have an open and transparent, participatory City Government, the reality is quite different. Many residents find their views are not heard, and they are routinely left out of the decision-making process at City Hall.
7. The Discussion Paper has three parts: Introduction, answers to anticipated questions FAQ’s, and Draft Legislation for City of Toronto Community Boards for inclusion the City’s Municipal Code.