Toronto Council Renewal Project

TCRP Recommended Candidate: Mike Layton

Boundaries: CPR rail and Mount Pleasant Cemetery to the north, Don River and Bay St. to the east, Dundas St. W. to the south, and Ossington to the west. 
Demographics: There are 104,311 people with an average age of 41. The average household size is two people with a median household income of $69,276. The percentage of visible minorities in the ward is 31%. [ Info Toronto Star | Sept 24]

Ward 11 - University-Rosedale

Marc Cormier:
Cormier has worked as a teacher, principal and project manager in education and was awarded two knighthoods for his groundbreaking work in online education. Cormier says he has a strong penchant for evidence-based policy. He is passionate about science, technology, culture, music, education, history and world travel. His politics are very close to the general values of Canadian liberalism. Beyond municipal affairs, Marc is also a strong supporter of Canadian Republicanism: a Canada with no institutional ties to the British Monarchy. Cormier made the decision to run after he heard that Joe Cressy was running unopposed. “It’s not good for him or democracy. Now we can have a healthy debate.”

Cormier's priorities are supporting more laneway housing and reimagining Toronto laneways as part of a solution to the housing crunch, getting the Downtown Relief Line built and making cycling in Toronto safer with real bike lanes along secondary thoroughfares.  He also supports original design for Toronto and curbing noise pollution.

George Sawision:
Electrician Sawision is taking his third run at city council.  Sawision has been active in many local issues, including transit problems, bike safety, and environmental concerns. He is strongly anti-NDP, chipping away at them whenever possible. He writes: “Non politician keesmaat (sic) has the NDP team ‘on board’; developers love her! They also love the NDP, whose new motto is ‘more condos’.”

Michael Shaw:
Insurance broker Shaw has a strong record of volunteer work feeding the homeless with the Hunger Patrol.  He worked as a Cadet Civilian instructor before going into the insurance business.

Nicki Ward:
Writer and designer Nicki Ward, a board member of the 519 Community Centre who is active in numerous business and community organizations, is running for council because she believes that safety, infrastructure, housing and transportation have hit crisis levels.  She cites a rising violence and murder rate, an addiction crisis and a subway that “doubles as a storm water run-off and sewage system.”  Every crime statistic in her ward has increased significantly.  Ward says that murder, weapons assault, hate crimes and sexual assault are serious crimes that demand a serious and vigorous response. She has many ideas about addressing these problems, including a number of basic measures such as better street lighting and better management of abandoned buildings.

There was no information on:
Joyce Rowlands

Layton - A strong voice for social justice

Mike Layton stands unopposed in Ward 11 University-Rosedale. A political heavyweight with a proven progressive record, he is an obvious choice as a TCRP candidate.

As a two-term councillor, Layton continues the family tradition as a strong voice for social justice. A champion of affordable housing, improving public transit, fighting climate change and securing safe cycling infrastructure, his initiatives have expanded community services across neighbourhoods of Toronto.

Voted “best councillor” two consecutive times, aided by an outstanding attendance record at City Hall (92.5%), Layton is a veteran politician and one of the most recognizable names in city politics.

Two-term councillor Layton worked for environmental charities before his election to council in 2010. Voted Best Toronto City Councillor in 2012 and 2013, the son of the late Federal NDP leader Jack Layton continues the family tradition of being a strong voice for social justice.

During Mayor Rob Ford's administration, Layton worked to alleviate the effects of cutbacks on the community, saving a women's shelter and a community pool. Working with grassroots organizations he successfully lobbied against a casino in downtown Toronto.  His commitment to the environment manifests itself in his initiatives on cycling infrastructure and a new home energy retrofit plan passed unanimously by council in 2013.  He has secured affordable housing and family-sized units in new developments, fought illegal evictions to keep people in their homes, called for investment in emergency shelters and secured funding for new childcare centres. Layton is endorsed by the Toronto & York Region Labour Council. 

Boards and Committees: Toronto and East York Community Council, Affordable Housing Committee Planning and Growth Management Committee, Tenant Issues Committee, Toronto Atmospheric Fund Board of Directors, Golden Horseshoe Food and Farming Alliance, Alternate, and Greater Toronto Area Agricultural Action Committee.

Key votes for Layton:

  • in favour of keeping bike lanes on Bloor
  • against considering child care space reductions
  • in favour of a long-term financial plan for the city
  • against the Scarborough subway extension
  • against considering budget cuts that would impact quality of life for Toronto Community Housing Corporation residents
  • in favour of exploring the feasibility of a Toronto sales tax
  • in favour of adding 1,000 new beds in the 2018 Shelter Infrastructure plan
  • in favour of full funding for TransformTO, the city's long-term climate action plan
  • against naming a stadium after Rob Ford.

Layton has a very good attendance record and missed only 7.5% of recorded council votes.


Layton’s true worth as a TRCP candidate is his position as a strong liberal counterweight to the more conservative suburban members currently over represented in Council. With the likes of Joe Mihevc, Josh Matlow, Kristyn Wong-Tam, Joe Cressy, Paula Fletcher and Mary Fragedakis, Layton is an integral part of the progressive downtown bloc.

In a reduced City Council, thanks to Premier Ford’s Efficient Local Government Act, a few of the mentioned councillors will be facing off against one another leading to a diminishing voice in the downtown core. Layton’s presence therefore becomes even more vital in providing policy continuity and leadership to protect the interests of the wider constituency.

Mike Layton’s continuing incumbency, while important to formulating a political pedigree, should not be overlooked and simply accepted. TCRP has a mandate to elect a progressive council but does not endorse the persistence of political dynasties. Layton’s tenure should be to act as a beacon of liberal values with a focus on vetting the next generation of like-minded followers. Otherwise it becomes more about “him” and less about “us.”

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