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Double direct election

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Title: Double direct election  
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Subject: Elections in Canada, Durham Regional Council, Markham City Council, Peel Regional Council, Direct election
Collection: Elections by Type, Elections in Canada
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Double direct election

In Canada, a double direct election is an election in which an individual is elected to two political offices in one electoral event.[1] The elected individual serves on a regional council and a constituent municipal government within that region. It differs from indirect election in that in a double direct election an individual is automatically elected to two political positions, whereas in an indirect election, candidates in a municipal election must state the intention to also serve on regional council before that election.[2]


  • Ontario 1
  • British Columbia 2
  • Review 3
  • Notes 4
  • References 5


In Ontario, municipalities have legislative authority to define the number of councillors representing its council.[3] The council of a regional municipality, a geopolitical planning body consisting of multiple municipalities, determines the number of councillors that will represent the regional municipality, and the number of councillors from each of its constituent municipalities.[1] For many multi-tier Ontario municipalities, individuals are elected as representatives for two tiers of government in one election.[4] In other upper tier councils, a mixed system is used by which some representatives are directly elected, and others become councillors by virtue of having been elected to a lower-tier municipal council as a mayor, reeve, or other council position.[5]

In the past, this was the most common system used for electing representatives to upper-tier councils in Ontario.[6] It was in use for the election of councillors to the Metropolitan Toronto city council until 1985, when the city switched to using direct election of councillors.[6]

In the

  • Corbett, Margaret; Hagar, Doug (September 2011), Representation on Municipal Councils in Ontario (Policy Brief 10),  
  • Courtney, John; Smith, David, eds. (2010). The Oxford Handbook of Canadian Politics. Oxford Handbooks in Politics & International Relations.  
  • Mwanzia, Kithio (August 2013). "Modernizing governance in Niagara for the 21st century". Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved 6 January 2015. 
  • Rothblatt, Donald N.; Sancton, Andrew (1998). Metropolitan governance revisited: American/Canadian intergovernmental perspectives. Institute of Governmental Studies Press,  
  • Starodubrovskaya, Irina; Slavgorodskaya, Margarita; Letunova, Tatiana; Mironova, Nina (2007), Regional Peculiarities of the Municipal Reform in the Period of Transition, Consortium for Economic Policy Research and Advice, retrieved 20 January 2015 
  • White, Graham, ed. (1990). The Government and Politics of Ontario (4th ed.). Nelson Canada.  
  • "Island municipalities, restructure studies and referenda". Islands Trust. Retrieved 25 January 2015. 
  • Williams, Robert J. (November 2012). Interim Report: 2012 Ward Boundary Review (PDF) (Report). City of  
  • "Orders of the day". Ontario Hansard.  
  • "Council Business Plan".  
  • "Council".  
  • "Enhancing the Tools for Problem Solving in Regions" (PDF). Regional District Task Force. Union of British Columbia Municipalities. January 2010. Retrieved 25 January 2015. 


  1. ^ a b c Williams 2012, p. 5.
  2. ^ White 1990, p. 146.
  3. ^ Williams 2012, p. 6.
  4. ^ Courtney & Smith 2010, p. 142.
  5. ^ a b c Starodubrovskaya, Slavgorodskaya & Letunova Mironova, p. 239, 4.3.2 Two Tier Structure.
  6. ^ a b Rothblatt & Sancton 1998, p. 180.
  7. ^ a b Regional Municipality of York.
  8. ^ a b Legislative Assembly of Ontario, Regional Municipality of Waterloo Amendment Act, 1997.
  9. ^ a b Mwanzia 2013, p. 1.
  10. ^ Regional Municipality of Niagara.
  11. ^ Corbett Hagar, p. 4–5.
  12. ^ Union of British Columbia Municipalities, p. 15, Appointment of Municipal Director.
  13. ^ Islands Trust.
  14. ^ a b c Starodubrovskaya, Slavgorodskaya & Letunova Mironova, p. 256, 4.3.3 Large Single Tier Structure.
  15. ^ Corbett Hagar, p. 3.


The authors of Representation on Municipal Councils in Ontario from Brock University state that double direct election presents legal and ethical issues because members must act in the best interest of the regional council for regional matters, but must also address local matters relevant to the lower-tier municipal council.[15]

The authors also state that councils elected by direct election tend to be more progressive,[5] and that they provide for stronger communication between municipal councils and regional councils, as representatives of the latter are also members of the former.[14]

In the paper Regional Peculiarities of the Municipal Reform in the Period of Transition, the authors state that double direct election results in a parochial council less interested in regional matters, as most "try to extract as much as they can for their lower tier municipality",[5] and that the upper tier council is less accountable to the electorate.[14] If the electorate is discontented with a representative's performance at the local or municipal level, but happy with performance at other level, it cannot retain that councillor at one level but not the other.[14]


The municipality of Bowen Island elects two councillors to both municipal council and the Islands Trust council during municipal elections.[13]

In British Columbia, the electorate of Saanich and Victoria elect councillors who serve municipal council and a regional district council (both for the Capital Regional District).[12]

British Columbia

Among councils fully or partially elected by double direct election are Durham Regional Council, Peel Regional Council, York Regional Council, and the councils for the Regional Municipality of Halton and the District Municipality of Muskoka.[11]

In 2013, the city of St. Catharines considered a change in governance to a double-direct model, in which councillors elected to St. Catharines City Council would also automatically become councillors on Niagara Regional Council, the council for the Regional Municipality of Niagara.[9] It deferred the decision until 2015.[10] The Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce states that this will create a "more coordinated, efficient and representative public administration".[9]

In 1997, the Government of Ontario passed the "Regional Municipality of Waterloo Amendment Act, 1997", enabling the seven municipalities in the Regional Municipality of Waterloo to elect individuals to both municipal council and Waterloo Regional Council for the 1997 municipal elections.[8] (The city of Kitchener implemented the change for the 2000 municipal election.[8])


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