Provincial laws describe the rules for municipalities in Ontario. Three of those laws are:

  1. Municipal Act
  2. City of Toronto Act
  3. Municipal Conflict of Interest Act

Municipal Act

The Municipal Act, 2001 sets out rules for 443 of 444 Ontario municipalities (the City of Toronto Act applies to the City of Toronto) and recognizes them as a responsible and accountable level of government. The act gives municipalities broad powers to pass bylaws and govern within their jurisdiction. The act also outlines requirements for municipalities including:

  • practices and procedures
  • accountability and transparency
  • finance

City of Toronto Act

The City of Toronto Act, 2006 sets out the rules for the City of Toronto and reflects the city’s status as Ontario’s largest municipality. For example, in addition to broad powers to pass bylaws and govern within its jurisdiction, the act gives Toronto expanded taxation powers.

Read the Toronto-Ontario cooperation and consultation agreement.

Municipal Conflict of Interest Act

The Municipal Conflict of Interest Act sets out ethical rules for municipal council and local board members if they have certain financial interests in a matter presented before their council or local board meeting.

For example, under this act, a member of council with a financial interest is generally required to:

  • disclose the interest and its general nature before the matter is considered at the meeting
  • not take part in the discussion or voting on any question in respect of the matter
  • not attempt to influence the voting before, during, or after the meeting
  • immediately leave the meeting, if the meeting is closed to the public

Association of Municipalities of Ontario

The Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) is a non-profit organization that represents most of Ontario’s 444 municipalities. The Province engages with the municipalities according to the terms set in the AMO memorandum of understanding (MOU).

The MOU states that the Province must consult with municipalities when proposing a change in legislation or regulations that will, in the provincial government’s opinion, have a significant financial impact on the current municipal budget year or budget planning cycle.

AMO provides a variety of services including:

  • gathering and circulating information
  • policy development
  • inter-governmental relations

AMO meets monthly with the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and other provincial ministers to discuss issues of interest to municipalities.

Read the 2022 Joint annual memorandum of understanding statement