Date published: Wednesday, June 10, 2015
The Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities (FONOM) is pleased with the recent introduction of election reform legislation that will see the number of ridings in the North remain at 11. Ontario is acting on the province’s Chief Electoral Officer’s recommended changes to riding boundaries, along with several other changes, to ensure fair representation.
The legislation would see 122 ridings in place for the 2018 provincial election. The alteration would reflect the recently changed federal boundaries in Southern Ontario. There would be an increase from 96 to 111 ridings in the South, mainly where there has been significant population growth. In 2004, the federal government reduced the number of ridings in Northern Ontario from 11 to 10.
“It is important that we continue to have effective representation in the Legislature. The large geographic area of ridings in the North is already a challenge for MPPs in comparison to their Southern colleagues,” says Mayor of Kapuskasing and President of FONOM. “Any reduction would only create more of a challenge. We are appreciative of the Province for recognizing that by maintaining the current number of ridings in the North,” continued Spacek.
Serving the needs of constituents in the North continues to be a challenge as demonstrated by the sheer geographic area that Members of Provincial Parliament (MPPs) are responsible for. To provide perspective, the riding of Timmins-James Bay is approximately 245, 275 square kilometres with approximately 0.33 people per square kilometer. In stark contrast, the riding of Toronto Centre consists of approximately 13 square kilometres with a population density of 9, 769 people residing per square kilometre.
Also included in the legislation are changes to the fixed election date that would see voting take place in the spring rather than the fall to avoid overlap with federal and municipal elections, provisional registration for 16- and 17- year-olds to encourage young people to be part of the voting process, and strengthening rules around third party election advertising.
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Mayor Alan Spacek
President of FONOM