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Electoral Review

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In 2016, the Town of East Gwillimbury retained a consultant team to conduct an independent review of the Town’s electoral system. 

The Review was both timely and necessary for the Town as the present electoral system has been in place since 1971, and has not yet undergone a formal, independent review.

The consultants conducted a full review of East Gwillimbury’s current electoral system and the types of changes that could be made to it. Based on their recommendations staff have presented the following options for consideration by the public and Council:

  • Status quo - Keep the current system which has 4 Councillors elected to represent the Town as a whole
  • Introduce a ward system - wards are are identifiable geographic boundaries within the Town and are represented by a single elected member of Council from that area. The proposed ward boundaries map is on page 13 of the Consultants Prelimary Report.
  • Add 2 new Councillors - This option would keep the current at-large system but add 2 new Councillors for a total of 6 Councillors and 1 Mayor
  • Deputy Mayor - This option is in addition to the above mentioned options. It would include electing a Deputy Mayor at Large


What is a Ward System? 
A Ward System divides East Gwillimbury into a number of districts or “Wards” – each having approximately the same population, and represented in Council by one Councillor elected by the residents of that Ward.
The Ward boundaries, would take into consideration existing communities, natural features, and current and future populations. Each proposed Ward will have roughly the same amount of people in it and the Wards will maintain a similar ratio as the population grows over the next several years. 
If EG moves to a Ward System the number of Councillors and Ward Boundaries would have to be established by Council.

How does the current At-Large System work?
An At-Large System means that all Council seats are filled by Councillors who are voted in by voters throughout the town.  In the current system, every Council member is responsible to represent the needs and wishes of all residents in the Town, not just the people living in one area. We currently have a Mayor and four Councillors, all elected At-Large. 

Should 2 more Councillors be added to the current At-Large System? 
In order to keep pace with East Gwillimbury’s growth, it has been proposed that adding two additional Councillors to the current At-Large System would bring more perspective to Town issues and allow Council to better represent the Town. These Councillors would remain elected At-Large and would be responsible to represent the needs and wishes of the entire Town. 

What is the role of a Deputy Mayor? 
The Deputy Mayor is a title given to a member of Council who acts as Mayor when the current Mayor cannot. East Gwillimbury may choose to elect a Deputy Mayor whether the electoral system changes to a Ward system or remains an At-Large system.
Currently in East Gwillimbury, if the Mayor is unable to attend a Council meeting, the Deputy Mayor, also known as the “Acting-Chair”, chairs the meeting. This role is currently rotated every quarter amongst the current Councillors. If a Deputy Mayor were elected then that Councillor would hold this role for the four-year term. 
There is a possibility that in the future, York Regional Council might allow a second regional representative from East Gwillimbury. If and when this happens, the Deputy Mayor role would become the new Regional Councillor. 


How you can help 

Get involved. Share your thoughts on how your Town Council should be elected. Your opinion matters and your feedback will help shape the future of your Town Council. Please complete a brief online survey to provide your feedback.

Please note the survey will be closed Friday, May 26 in order to prepare for the June 6 Committee of the Whole Council meeting. Staff will be providing Committee with a report recapping all the information gathered as part of the Electoral Review process, including survey results.