Community Council vs City Council
Community council is the place where citizens can insert their voice in a public arena. We cannot speak or make presentations at City Council – this is one vehicle for your participation.
Items that concern citizens are discussed and debated at this level, first – the Community Council. Your councillor will introduce the issue and item in these meetings to begin the discussion – one can then get a sense of the support from other councillors by listening to their arguments and speeches at these meetings. Items may be pushed back for more ‘study’ and reports by different departments such as Legal, Urban Planning, etc. Sometimes this can happen during the meeting, sometimes it has to be tabled and brought back to the next meeting – depending on how complex the report and study is.
The issue/item at some point will move to the Full City Council for voting on, by all city councillors – or at least the ones that are in the council chambers at the moment of voting.
The City of Toronto has 4 Community Council profiles – or areas.
- Etobicoke-York (Wards 1-7, 11-13 and 17) and they meet at the Etobicoke Civic Centre.
- North York (Wards 8-10, 15-16, 23-26, 33-34) and they meet at the North York Civic Centre.
- Toronto and East York – TEY (Wards 14, 18-22, 27-32) and they meet at Toronto City Hall.
- Scarborough (Wards 35-44) and they meet at the Scarborough Civic Centre.
How you can participate
You can participate in these meetings in a few ways. You can attend and listen in, you can comment on an item in writing or you can make a presentation or deputation.
If you want to attend you can just show up and sit in the audience and simply witness the beauty of democracy at work. Commenting usually means you must send a letter to the City by a particular date – depending on when the Committee meets.
If you or your community group want to make a presentation, you must send an email, phone or a letter saying that you will be speaking about a particular item. These letters become part of the file and are public. People coming to the meetings will be able to read your letter.
Active 18 started preparing Power Point presentations as part of our presentations at Community Council. Our first was the “Buildings We Like” ppt to show the councillors, the developers (who are also in attendance), the public – what good urban design and planning looks like in other cities. We found using images along with a narrative made for quite a powerful presentation.
Finding Meeting times
Here is the city of toronto site for Council Meetings, Agendas and Minutes:
You can also follow the meetings online through the city of toronto website.
What to expect
When you arrive at the meeting room – there are boxes of documents which are the items to be reviewed and debated by the councillors – listed by number such as TEY X.XX. The approximate time that the item will be debated is listed on the LCD panel on the wall. Timing is usually off though, so plan on being in the committee room longer – especially if it is a contentious issue.
Comments for TEY are to be sent to:
Toronto and East York Community council
2nd Floor, West, City Hall
100 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON M5H 2N2
P: 416.392.7033 and