Attacking democracy is no way to improve municipal governance | The Ontario Federation of Labour

Attacking democracy is no way to improve municipal governance

Statement on Bill 39

The Ontario Federation of Labour condemns Ford’s latest attempt to undermine democracy. Bill 39, the so-called Better Municipal Governance Act, tabled on November 16, attacks the most basic democratic principle – majority rule. If passed, the bill will enable the mayors of Toronto and Ottawa to adopt or amend bylaws with the support of only a third of city council.

Last month, Ontarians took to the polls to elect municipal representatives. Now, Ford is blatantly undermining those democratic choices. By giving unprecedented power to mayors, this bill erodes city councillors’ ability to represent the constituents who elected them. Equally as concerning as this power-grab by Ford is the fact that Toronto Mayor John Tory requested the change in the first place. In Toronto, newly elected progressive councillors are rightly urging Mayor Tory to rescind his request.

Ford’s Conservative government has a history of attacking Ontarians’ democratic rights: from shrinking the size of Toronto’s city-council mid-election, to silencing critics through changes to the Elections Act, to his government’s attempt to erode basic labour freedoms – which was successfully defeated by Ontario workers. These attacks are unacceptable and must end – starting with the repeal of Bill 39. We will not let Ontarians’ democratic rights be undermined.

The defeat of Bill 28 – just four days after it passed – is an example of what happens when a government goes too far. It’s a lesson Ford would be wise to heed. Ontario’s labour movement takes democratic rights just as seriously as labour rights, as do a clear majority of Ontarians. We urge the government to repeal Bill 39 immediately and cease any further attacks on our basic rights and freedoms.

The Ontario Federation of Labour represents 54 unions and one million workers in Ontario. For information, visit and follow @OFLabour on Facebook and Twitter.

For more information, please contact:

Melissa Palermo
Director of Communications
Ontario Federation of Labour l 416-894-3456