Un-Democratizing the City? Unwritten Constitutional Principles and Ontario's Strong Mayor Powers

Research output: Articlepeer-review


Municipalities are a legal puzzle. Under the Constitution, they are subject to provincial jurisdiction as administrative bodies, like thousands of other tribunals, commissions, and government entities that make decisions on individuals’ daily lives. Local councils must heed the statutory constraints set by provincial governments, with their decisions subject to review by the courts. Yet Canadian cities create and deliver policies and services, with their leaders accountable to the public through regular elections, making them governments, too. They are essentially non-constitutionally protected governments that represent their citizens and are on the front lines of serious issues in their communities like homelessness and immigration settlement. This dual role of cities – as administrative bodies and governments – serves as the backdrop of this paper in examining what it means for provinces to determine the democratic decision-making of municipalities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-110
JournalSupreme Court Law Review (2nd)
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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