PART 1

HOW AND WHERE TO VOTE

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People sit on park benches facing the Toronto skyline.
????: Unsplash, SANDRO SCHUH.

 

Shaki Sutharsan

SHAKI SUTHARSAN

Toronto native and Tamil-Canadian who's currently studying journalism and public relations at Toronto Metropolitan University. Writer and avid consumer of fiction. Boyband loyalist.

October 1, 2022

Toronto's municipal election is less than a month away, but there's still enough time before election day on Oct. 24 to get caught up.

If you aren't sure how to vote or who to vote for, don't worry — we've got your back. Read on for a primer about voter eligibility and important election dates, as well as a rundown of emerging mayoral candidates and the issues they're campaigning on.

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Toronto city hall.
????: Unsplash, John McArthur.

You're eligible to vote in the municipal election if you are ALL of the following:

  • A Canadian citizen
  • 18 or older
  • A resident of Toronto OR you or your spouse rent/own property in Toronto
  • Aren't prohibited to vote by the law

To make sure that you're on the voter's list, head to MyVote to enter your name, birth date and address to check if your name is on the list.

MyVote (myvote.toronto.ca) is a web application by the City of Toronto that will let you know whether or not you're on the voters' list.

In addition to showing you a map of the ward in which you reside and will be voting in, MyVote provides you with a list of all candidates, including city councillors.

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People walk past the Toronto sign in front of City Hall.
????: Unsplash, Dan Newman.

If you're a student residing in Toronto but consider the place where you live when you aren't attending school to be your "home," you're eligible to vote in both locations.

If you need to make any changes to your voter's list information, you can call 311, email [email protected] or do that on election day at a poll.

Polls will be open on Oct. 24 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. If you can't vote on election day, you can vote during the advance voting period between Oct. 7 and 14 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Find your advance voting location on your Voter Information Card (VIC) or on the MyVote site.

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Daytime traffic at the Leaside Bridge.
????: Unsplash, Matthew Henry.

If you're on the voter's list, you should receive your VIC in the mail in the weeks leading up to election day.

Your VIC will have information about where you can vote. You can also find the polling location for your ward on MyVote.

Be sure to bring your VIC and a piece of acceptable ID, which includes:

  • Ontario issued driver's license
  • Canceled personalized cheque, bank statement or credit card bill
  • Utility bill (i.e. hydro, cable, etc.)
  • Cheque stub, T4 statement or pay receipt issued by an employer
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A construction site in Toronto.
????: Unsplash, Justin Ziadeh.

The mayoral race is heating up, with incumbent Mayor John Tory going up against 30 other registered candidates for mayor, including Chloe-Marie Brown, Gil Penalosa and Sarah Climenhaga, the latter of whom was a contender in the 2018 Toronto mayoral election.

For his part, Tory is focused on pandemic recovery and housing, among other issues. In August 2022, he announced a "five-point plan to build houses faster," on his campaign website, JohnTory2022.ca.

It includes streamlining the approval process for the construction of new homes, and asking Ontario to grant the City of Toronto rights to enforce a "use it or lose it" policy for "developers sitting on approved, but undeveloped, land."

On her website, CB4TO.com, Brown says that as mayor, she'll use her experience as a policy analyst who's "worked across all sectors" to create "solutions for public services" that will increase economic stability and accessibility to public services for Toronto's working class.

Penalosa is the founder of 8 80 Cities, a nonprofit organization dedicated to transforming cities. On his website, GilForMayor.ca, Penalosa says he wants to prioritize investing "in housing and neighborhoods, so everyone has a safe walkable community to call home."

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The CN Tower behind a high-rise building. 
????: Alexandre St-Louis.

After reading this explainer, head over to TheGreenLine.TO to check out our election coverage, which features interviews with Tory, Brown and Penalosa, as well as information about their track records.

Tell us: What's the most important issue at stake in this election?

Supporting our journalism means supporting our city. Donate to The Green Line today, so you can redefine Toronto as you see it.

PART 2

NOTEWORTHY 2022 MAYORAL CANDIDATES

Photo of Mahdis Habibinia, Elections Fellow for The Green Line

MAHDIS HABIBINIA

Iranian-Canadian who immigrated to Toronto at age 4. Avid true crime binger who wholeheartedly supports the Oxford comma.

Alex Varoutas

ALEX VAROUTAS

Scarborough mans and former chef. Big advocate of pantry diversification. Using wasabi-flavoured peanuts to heal the world.

October 10, 2022

Dupe Badejo

DUPE BADEJO

Toronto by nature. Nigerian by design. Sharing the mic with the voiceless, and discovering different ways of life, one day at a time.

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A sign attached to a bench by Lake Ontario in Toronto encourages people to vote.
????: Creative Commons, Benson Kua.

We look at three mayoral candidates and their track records leading up to the 2022 Toronto municipal election on Oct. 24.

With Election Day fast-approaching, The Green Line team wanted to profile some of the mayoral candidates making a run for the highest seat in the land — well, not all the land, but the highest seat in Toronto. Wait...not literally the highest seat in Toronto — that would probably be in that restaurant at the top of CN Tower, and even then, there's probably a storage room or something filled with old chairs above it...whatever, you get the point.

John Tory, Gil Penalosa and Chloe-Marie Brown stood out to The Green Line team as the top mayoral candidates to look out for, given their political and governmental experience, as well as the strength and comprehensiveness of their election platforms.

For starters, here are profiles of each candidate that outline their work experience, community connections, educational background and the core focuses of their respective election campaigns.

3

????: Provided by John Tory's 2022 mayoral campaign.

4

????: Provided by Gil Penalosa's 2022 mayoral campaign.

5

????: Provided by Chloe-Marie Brown's 2022 mayoral campaign.

Now, let's see how this holds up against some of the candidates' policy proposals. Who are they? What have they done? What do they say they'll do? Let's find out.

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Mayor John Tory attending a Toronto Blue Jays game.
????: John Tory's 2022 Toronto municipal election Campaign

Pandemic Recovery

Some Torontonians are still wary of COVID-19, while the city is wrestling with how to recover economically from the pandemic. How will the candidates balance these two issues?

JOHN TORY:

  • Expand the Small Business Property Tax Subclass, which provides a 15 per cent reduction in municipal tax rates for eligible small business properties,  so more businesses are included.
  • Increase the aforementioned tax discount from 15 to 20 per cent, and work with the Ontario government to match that number on provincial property tax bills.
  • Identify ways to reduce wait times to approve licenses for new restaurants, cafes, bars, pubs and other establishments.
  • Appoint a “Champion for Red Tape Reduction” to make it easier for small businesses to open, renew and stay open.
  • Ensure people get vaccinated and stay up-to-date on their vaccines through public health and nonprofit community organizations.

 

CHLOE-MARIE BROWN:

  • Establish a "campus of care" of healthcare workers, city-wide, through new "LiveWell" policy.
  • Build housing accommodations for medical staff to provide health services directly to a given community.
  • Provide onsite healthcare services and programming for local residents (e.g. notify health care staff about those in the community who may require extra help)
  • Cross-train neighbourhood residents on how to handle medical crisis situations where they live
  • Empower healthcare experts to provide guidance on how to manage during a public health emergency

GIL PENALOSA:

  • Take leading role on the Board of Health during times of immense need (i.e. COVID-19 pandemic) rather than being "just a spokesperson"
  • Give the Board of Health more influence over issues that affect all aspects of city life, including parks, walkability, public transit and housing.
  • Prioritize keeping public services operating and profitable in the event of another severe wave or pandemic

“The biggest issue that came with COVID was that you had so many different levels of authority telling you what to do.”

CHLOE-MARIE BROWN
2022 TORONTO MAYORAL CANDIDATE

TRANSIT AND TRAFFIC

Transit and traffic issues are so top-of-mind for locals that they've now become fodder for memes. How will the candidates help make our commutes better?

JOHN TORY:

  • Build the Scarborough subway extension, Ontario Line, Eglinton Crosstown West extension towards Pearson Airport and the Yonge North extension
  • Open the Crosstown LRT and Finch LRT
  • Expand Bloor-Yonge station
  • Plan for the Eglinton East and Waterfront transit lines
  • Introduce a bus-only lane on Eglinton East
  • Invest in 60 new TTC streetcars
  • Create the King Street Transit Priority Corridor
  • Execute the SmartTrack program
  • Increase subway service on Lines 1 and 2 during high-traffic hours
  • Introduce a TTC discount for low-income residents and free two-hour transfers

For a full overview of Tory's transit and traffic plans, click here.

CHLOE-MARIE BROWN:

  • Modify the qualifications for TTC board members, ensuring that the working class is represented to increase ridership
  • Shift the focus away from TTC expansion, and instead towards enhancing transit service and quality
  • Offer accessibility for seniors, families and people with disabilities at every station
  • Expand bike-sharing map and increase parking availability to help relieve traffic volumes

For a full overview of Brown's transit and traffic plans, click here.

 

GIL PENALOSA:

  • Build over 300 kilometres of protected bike lanes over the next four years, largely within the suburbs, without removing any car lanes
  • Redesign Toronto's 100 most dangerous intersections by introducing narrower lanes and safer crosswalks
  • Implement a "FastLane" transit plan, which will add high-speed bus lanes along Eglinton East, Finch, Jane, Sheppard West, Sheppard East, Bathurst and Dufferin to further connect the subway system, and provide a form of rapid transit to neighbourhoods outside the system's reach
  • Give streetcars and LRTs right of way through intersections by synchronizing traffic lights to reduce the amount of time they spend waiting in traffic
  • To reduce gridlock, restrict parking during peak hours so that cars get priority access to outer lanes, and streetcars get exclusive access to centre lanes in certain areas of Toronto
  • Work with large businesses to implement "Workers Committee Time" where everyone would be at work between 11 am and 3 pm, but outside of this time frame, they can start and finish at different times to help break up peak commute volumes and relieve pressure on drivers

For a full overview of Penalosa's transit and traffic plans, click here.

Chloe Brown speaks at the mayoral town hall hosted by the University of Toronto Students' Union and the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union on October 13, 2022.

Mayoral candidate Chloe-Marie Brown speaks at a mayoral town hall hosted by the University of Toronto Students' Union and the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union on Oct. 13, 2022.
????: Aloysius Wong/The Green Line

POLICE REFORM

Policing has come under scrutiny over the last few years, while a return to pre-pandemic levels of crime have left some voters wanting more police presence. How do the candidates plan to address this tension?

JOHN TORY:

  • Continue supplementing neighbourhoods with a policing program where officers “are assigned to the same neighborhood for a minimum of four years...to get to know people and people get to know them”
  • Build on investments already made in last year’s budget, which included spending on mental health professional responses to civilians in distress, where emergency calls go to mental health professionals and not police officers

 

CHLOE-MARIE BROWN:

  • "De-task" the police in order to improve the Toronto Police Service because not every emergency call requires an officer onsite
  • Equip law enforcement and task forces to distinguish between non-violent emergency calls and how they're handled when response personnel arrive on-site
  • Introduce Crime Analysis personnel to analyze crime data and to create safety planning within communities so they can better manage non-emergency situations and employ effective strategies
  • Establish a non-emergency mobile crisis intervention team made up of nurses and mental health professionals to give the police more time to concentrate on violent crimes

GIL PENALOSA:

  • Disband "outdated" and "expensive" mounted police units, saving $6 million from the budget each year
  • Increase accountability of police officers for their performance since they receive the largest portion of the City budget
  • Redefine what the Toronto Police Service is responsible for, so they're handling crimes but kept away from social issues (e.g. homelessness)
  • Introduce a more humane policing approach (e.g. dispatching social workers instead of armed officers to address situations like the Trinity Bellwoods Park encampment evictions)

“Well, I'll tell you one thing: It does not start with defunding the police.”

JOHN TORY
2022 TORONTO MAYORAL CANDIDATE

Housing Crisis

Unaffordable housing has been displacing many Torontonians and dashing their dreams of home ownership. Despite the increase in housing units and construction, other economic factors have forced Toronto to reckon with its worst deterioration of housing affordability in over 40 years, according to the National Bank of Canada. So, what are the candidates going to do about it?

JOHN TORY:

  • Permit “Missing Middle” housing, allowing greater mid-range density on major roads and in transit areas
  • Speed up the creation of housing by creating a streamlined Development and Growth Division to bring all stakeholders together “around one table so you don't have the water department holding up the transportation department who's holding up the buildings department”
  • Persuade the Ontario government to enact a “use it or lose it” policy for developers idling on approved, undeveloped land
  • Allocate the development of a portion of City-owned land to nonprofits
  • Reduce fees and charges involved with the construction of purpose-built rentals while prioritizing those applications

For a full overview of Tory's housing plans, click here.

 

CHLOE-MARIE BROWN:

  • Initiate a new tax structure that would replace property taxes with land-value taxes, which would put more money in the pockets of Torontonians for both personal and professional investments
  • Invest in the working class by  addressing transitional gaps and emergencies, such as by permitting "Missing Middle" housing to prevent low-income renters from "being displaced as they experience less financial stress, crowding and reduced homelessness risk"
  • Reform Toronto's Urban Design Guidelines to ensure local infrastructure developments are compatible with accessible, green, inclusive and/or universal design principles
  • Replace RentSafeTO with "RentSmart" to modernize the management system by centralizing all rental units and tenants into one platform, and allowing users to give feedback that informs policy development
  • Reform zoning, and transform more single-family homes into a mix of homes and mixed-income communities

For a full overview of Brown's housing plans, click here.

“Once the people of Toronto realize the level of housing crisis that we are going through, they’ll get on board.”

GIL PENALOSA
2022 TORONTO MAYORAL CANDIDATE

GIL PENALOSA:

  • Build 100 per cent affordable and deep affordable housing on public lands, including on top of existing public structures (e.g. LCBO, Canada Post buildings)
  • Set off a "renovation revolution" by ending exclusionary zoning and switching to an as-of-right model, which allows property owners to build as tall as the road is wide and to sub-divide their property into two to six units; this, according to Penalosa, will fuel small- and medium-sized contractors, putting thousands of units of housing on the market within months after the municipal election
  • Increase density along transit corridors by allowing as-of-right development, and promoting mixed-use streets and more livable communities
  • Convert over 30 malls and shopping centres into master-planned communities with dense housing and walkable amenities
  • Increase land transfer tax on non-primary residence home sales, and double the vacant-unit tax to help curb the housing market
  • Establish a higher standard for design and architecture to promote a more beautiful city

For a full overview of Penalosa's housing plans, click here.

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Mayoral candidate Gil Penalosa campaigning with his election team.
????: Gil Penalosa's 2022 Toronto municipal election Campaign

STRONG MAYOR ACT

In September, the Government of Ontario passed a bill that gives the Toronto mayor veto powers over bylaws that conflict with provincial priorities." While some Torontonians support these powers, others criticize them as being undemocratic. Here's where the candidates stand.

JOHN TORY:

  • Supports the legislation as it allows to “get more homes built as quickly as possible"
  • Plans to use the veto powers to establish the Development and Growth Division 
  • “I've done the job for eight years without having to use them. But I certainly won't hesitate if, for example, somebody starts messing around with the transit plan"

 

CHLOE-MARIE BROWN:

  • Reluctant to use veto powers as mayor, but will use them only for the benefit of Toronto residents
  • Supports the legislation as she says it brings "true democracy" back into politics by ensuring better representation of the working class and marginalized groups
  • “[I will use the powers] if it means getting people off the streets and students out of shelters because there are just some conversations where it's like beating a dead horse right now. Like when we talk about the legalization and licensing of rooming houses"
  • “I absolutely expect people to critically analyze me when I use this. But this is what democracy is about"

 

GIL PENALOSA:

  • Opposes the legislation and believes it is anti-democratic
  • Says there's a myth that mayors don't have enough power when most mayors have never lost a vote on something they've wanted
  • Believes the real problem that needs to be addressed is the disorganized City Council structure, with the role of city councillors overlapping too much with that of city officials.
  • Thinks a better use of time would be redefining the role of city councillors: City workers would handle daily operations and maintenance of amenities so councillors can focus on policy

Here's your chance to support the only independent, hyperlocal news outlet dedicated to serving gen Zs, millennials and other underserved communities in Toronto. Donate now to become a founding member of The Green Line.

PART 3

SIX Degrees: Toronto Talks Election 2022

A political speed-dating event hosted by
The Green Line, the Centre for Social Innovation (CSI) Toronto and the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) Canada.

About the Event

Tuesday
Oct. 18, 2022

5 p.m. to 8 p.m. ET

CSI ANNEX
720 Bathurst St.

COMPLETE THIS QUESTIONNAIRE TO RSVP AND FIND A MATCH

In the lead-up to the 2022 Toronto municipal election, we're hosting a political speed-dating event that will match up young Torontonians with opposing political views who are willing to have constructive conversations. Our goal? To provide a model for healthy conversation about political issues, and to generate community-driven solutions for increasing youth voter turnout. RSVP now for our in-person event. 

Events are an essential part of our Action Journey. We want to empower Torontonians to take action on the issues they learn about in The Green Line — so what better way to do that than by bringing people together? From community members to industry leaders, anyone in Toronto who’s invested in discussing and solving the problems explored in our features is invited to attend. All ages are welcome unless otherwise indicated. Our only guidelines? Be present. Listen. Be kind and courteous. Respect everyone’s privacy. Hate speech and bullying are absolutely not tolerated. At the end of the day, if you had fun and feel inspired after our events, then The Green Line team will have accomplished what we set out to do. Any questions? Contact Us.

PART 4

COMBATING DECLINING YOUTH VOTER TURNOUT IN TORONTO

Event Overview

See what you missed
from our latest event.

Our community members brainstormed solutions for increasing youth voter turnout in Toronto.
Compiled by Shaki Sutharsan.

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Event attendee Maike Althaus shares her solution to address declining youth voter turnout in Toronto with The Green Line editor-in-Chief Anita Li.
📸: Oleksandr Zolotarov/CENTRE FOR SOCIAL INNOVATION TORONTO.

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Attendees listen to community-driven solutions to address declining youth voter turnout in Toronto.
📸: CENTRE FOR SOCIAL INNOVATION TORONTO.

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Event attendees participate in the evening's political speed dating programming when political opposites paired up to discuss hot-button issues impacting Toronto.
📸: CENTRE FOR SOCIAL INNOVATION TORONTO.

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An event attendee shares her solution to address declining youth voter turnout in Toronto.
📸: Matthew Burpee/CENTRE FOR SOCIAL INNOVATION TORONTO.

SOLUTIONS

ACTIONS

Do something about the problems that
impact you and your communities.

Visit Know
Your Vote T.O.

Visit KnowYourVote.TO, launched by the Toronto Public Library, to find out about the candidates running for election in your ward, as well as their stances on major policy issues.

Register Your
School for Student Vote

If you're an educator, register your school to participate in the Student Vote program by CIVIX Canada to educate students from grades four to 12 about the electoral process. They can also participate in Student Vote Day, where students can mock-vote for candidates in their respective municipality on Election Day.

Attend a
Celebrate Democracy event

The Toronto Public Library is hosting a series of events and offering resources in the leadup to the municipal election. For example, Vote Pop-Ups enables children to vote for fictional mayoral candidates so they can become familiar with the election process.

Join Our
Community

Continue the conversation with other Green Line community members.

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City Council candidate for University-Rosedale (Ward 11), Axel Arvisu (right), answers a question from audience members as Toronto mayoral candidate Darren Atkinson (left) listens.
📸: Oleksandr Zolotarov/CENTRE FOR SOCIAL INNOVATION TORONTO.

Supporting The Green Line means supporting Toronto. Join our membership program today, so you can redefine our city as you see it.