John Tory resigns: What’s the process for having a new mayor in Toronto?

In a shocking announcement, John Tory stepped down as the city's mayor after admitting to a relationship with a former staff employee during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the sudden resignation of Toronto Mayor John Tory, questions have been raised about who will govern the city in the coming weeks and months.

During a news conference at Toronto city hall Friday evening, Tory said he “developed a relationship” with a former staff member in his office during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. The details of the affair were first published in The Toronto Star.

“I recognize that permitting this relationship to develop was a serious error in judgment on my part,” he said in part.

RELATED: John Tory resigns as Toronto’s mayor after relationship with former staffer

“I’ve decided I will step down as Mayor so I can take the time to reflect on my mistakes and to do the work of rebuilding the trust of my family.

Tory said he would be working with Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie, Toronto’s city manager and the city clerk to “ensure there’s an orderly transition in the coming days.” He didn’t take questions and it’s not clear when that transition might take place.

As of Friday evening, Tory was still the mayor of Toronto.

If Tory’s resignation takes effect in the coming days, anticipated McKelvie, who has served as Ward 25 Scarborough–Rouge Park since 2018 and was appointed deputy mayor in mid-November, will become the acting mayor at that time.

City of Toronto Act, Municipal Elections Act spells out rules on vacancies

The City of Toronto Act, the provincial law governing how the municipality operates, contains procedures for vacancies on Toronto city council.

According to Section 226.10, the law requires a byelection to be held to fill the role of the head of council.

The law said Toronto city council needs to pass a bylaw requiring a byelection to be held to fill a vacancy within 60 days of it occurring, so in this instance that must happen within 60 days of Tory’s resignation taking effect.

RELATED: Here’s Toronto Mayor John Tory’s full resignation statement

Under Ontario’s Municipal Elections Act, it will be up to Toronto’s city clerk to administer the byelection. The byelection must be carried out, as much as possible, like a scheduled municipal election day.

The act said the clerk will be required to set a nomination day for candidates not less than 30 days and not more than 60 days after council passes the bylaw calling for a byelection. The act requires voting day to be held 45 days after the nomination day.

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