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Email this pageMunicipal Councillor's Guide

This guide is prepared for information purposes only.  Reference should always be made to the relevant legislation and regulations.  Questions with respect to the guide can be directed to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing Municipal Services Offices.


This guide has been carefully prepared. However, it summarizes and deals with complex matters. It does not include all details and does not take into account local facts and circumstances. As well, the guide refers to or reflects laws and practices which are subject to change. Municipalities and councillors are responsible for making local decisions, including for compliance with law such as applicable statutes and regulations. For these reasons, the guide, as well as any links or information from other sources referred to in it, should not be relied upon as a substitute for specialized legal or professional advice in connection with any particular matter. The user is solely responsible for any use or application of the guide.


Your role as a councillor today is becoming more intricate and involved. You will find yourself dealing with a variety of complex and sometimes contentious issues. Even the most seasoned councillor will encounter questions that are new.

Knowing where to go for information on the roles, regulations, requirements and relationships of local government will help you to fulfil your role. This understanding and information can help you meet your responsibilities and the municipality’s goals and objectives, satisfy provincial and federal requirements, and provide continued high-quality service to the residents of your community.

This guide will cover topics that are important to know as a municipal councillor throughout your term of office. It examines the role of council and the councillor, governance and law-making in the municipal setting, the fiscal context, and land-use planning.

The guide also includes references on where you can access more information about municipal governance, and a checklist you can use to ensure you have the documents and items that will help you fulfil your role as a councillor.

The Municipal Act, 2001 does not generally apply to the City of Toronto; the City of Toronto is subject to the City of Toronto Act, 2006. All references in this Guide are to the Municipal Act, 2001; this Guide does not reference the City of Toronto Act, 2006. As many of the issues are similar in both pieces of legislation, the guide should help provide City of Toronto councillors with an understanding of many of their duties and responsibilities. However, please be aware that the legislative sections are numbered differently and, in some cases, there are differences in legal powers or duties.

For more information about your particular municipality and your role, talk to municipal staff.