In the Spring of 2016, the Ontario government adopted Bill 68 in an effort to lessen the development industry’s influence in municipal politics. This legislation banned corporate donations to municipal candidates.
However, the following data shows that this policy has had limited effect in stemming the tide of donations still connected to corporate interests. Senior executives along with their spouses and relatives continue to donate thousands of dollars through individual donations to municipal candidates.
Over 250 individuals connected to real-estate development companies donated over $500,000 to municipal candidates since 2018. Of note, 29 people connected to Taggart Group contributed $71,950 to various municipal candidates. five of nine Planning Committee members received contributions from people connected to Taggart Group, and so did four of five Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee members.
Planning Committee and the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee (ARAC) come into focus as one considers the influence of development industry contributions in elections. Planning Committee and ARAC make decisions on the merits of development applications and policy with an urban and rural focus, respectively. The city councillors who sit on Planning Committee and ARAC receive a disproportionate amount of money from developer-connected donors.
See the City Council Overview for details on councillors and the committees they sit on.