Toronto city council appointments see newcomers on committee

A day after Toronto city council held its first ceremonial meeting of the term, the striking committee has settled on who will lead the committees that shepherd the bulk of city business before it becomes official, and new councillors have found themselves in notable positions.

In an email to city councillors Thursday morning, Mayor John Tory outlined his focus on placing people in city government positions where he felt they could best contribute to his agenda. The city’s executive committee, which Tory chairs himself, is often regarded as one of the most prestigious in the city governance hierarchy and Tory has recommended appointing two first-time councillors to fill roles there.

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Along with his deputy mayor, Jennifer McKelvie, longtime Scarborough councillor Paul Ainslie will be joined by newcomers Lily Cheng and Amber Morley on the executive.

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“I welcome their new voices and look forward to working with them on the important matters that come to the committee,” Tory wrote on the new faces.

During his first address to council on Wednesday, Tory noted the precarious position of the city’s finances with the ongoing burden of an $815-million hole in this year’s budget that legally needs to be filled before year’s-end. Tory also made a point of the difficult budget process the city will be facing down in the new year, so perhaps unsurprisingly, he is sticking with a familiar face to see the process through.

Coun. Gary Crawford will be appointed to the role of budget chief for another term and will be in charge of shaping the upcoming budget before it reaches the council stage.

On the other committees, Coun. Brad Bradford has been recommended to chair the planning and housing committee, McKelvie will chair the infrastructure and environment committee, Coun. Shelley Carroll will chair the economic and community development committee, Coun. James Pasternak will head up the general government committee and Stephen Holyday will chair the audit committee.

The board of health played an expanded role in the city’s pandemic response during the previous term and will continue to be an important part of its ongoing public health efforts. While the board decides who will chair it, Tory has recommended new downtown councillor Chris Moise to chair it.

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Also of note, Tory will no longer sit on the Toronto Police Services Board, instead handing off the city’s three positions to councillors Frances Nunziata, Cheng and Vince Crisanti.

Tory has also asked Coun. Jon Burnside to chair the Toronto Transit Commission Board.

“I believe he will continue the strong stewardship of the TTC we saw from Jaye Robinson that has led to record investments in service and state of good repair,” wrote Tory, “and we will all rely on him to work non-stop to welcome ridership back to the TTC that was so harshly impacted by the pandemic.”

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