Candidate Tracker 2023
Just eight months after the last election, Toronto will head back to the polls on June 26. In a wide open race at a pivotal moment in the city’s history, voters are faced with a real choice among a range of candidates from across the political spectrum, each with a very different vision for Toronto.
From Ana Bailão to Josh Matlow, Olivia Chow to Mark Saunders, The Local’s Candidate Tracker is the only place to find reported, fact-checked biographies and platform summaries for all 102 candidates—reporting that cuts through talking points, analyzes policies, and compares the voting records of former councillors with one another and former mayor John Tory. Candidate Tracker is a living document, with regular updates right up to voting day. Bookmark it now and keep checking back.
You can also find a printed version of Candidate Tracker at your local public library.
More Election News
Biography: Ana Bailão served as the councillor for Davenport, in its various configurations, from 2010 to 2022. During her first term, Bailão became involved with the affordable housing file, and it became her focus from then on: she has chaired the affordable housing committee and planning and housing committee. A fixture of John Tory’s inner circle, she sat on the executive committee from 2014 to 2022, and was appointed deputy mayor in charge of housing in 2017. Bailão has championed affordable housing initiatives large and small, such as the ten-year HousingTO strategy, a modular supportive housing pilot, and (with less success) regulating rooming houses.
Bailão voted with former mayor John Tory 87.5 percent of the time: 79.9 percent of the time in the 2014-2018 term and 95.9 percent in the 2018-2022 term. She reliably helped vote down attempts to raise residential property taxes or reduce the police budget, and supported major items such as expanded gaming at Woodbine and Ford and Tory’s transit deal.
A few notable instances in which she broke with Tory include her votes for the Gardiner East at-grade “boulevard” option and against the mayor’s favoured “hybrid” option; her support for a 2018 attempt to exempt services like child care, shelter, and poverty reduction programs from budget cuts; and voting to adopt the 47-ward model (Tory preferred a 44-ward option).
In 2013, Bailão pled guilty to a charge of drunk driving which occurred after an after-party including casino lobbyists.
Her campaign team includes several veterans of Tory’s mayoral campaigns.
Platform: Bailão’s platform is focused on addressing the affordability crisis, creating more housing, and improving services. She proposes creating at-home neighbourhood health services for seniors and asking the provincial government to take over maintenance of the DVP and Gardiner, though they have previously refused to do so. Her transit and city safety plan includes re-hiring previously cut TTC staff, increasing surveillance and frequency of service, putting pressure on telecommunications companies to implement TTC cell service swiftly, and coordinating with police and expanding non-police community crisis services. She also says she’d like to relocate the Ontario Science Centre to Ontario place, and build housing at the Science Centre site, some of which will be affordable.
Bailão proposes designating a stream of funding for food security programs, investing $2 million in a Community Partnership and Investment Program (CPIP) that serves communities in need, and making vacant city spaces accessible for community gardens and food banks. She also called on the provincial government to keep 25 ridings in the city if the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission’s proposal to reduce ridings is finalized.
Bailão is also proposing a plan to change zoning laws to allow for medium-density (that is, mid-rise) buildings. This plan includes prioritizing developments that include rental units, zoning exclusively for rental housing, legalizing walk-up apartments on secondary transit routes, and reducing red tape that makes building development more costly.
Bailão’s platform also mentions a dedicated bus route where the Scarborough RT currently runs, support for the arts, harsher enforcement of traffic ticketing and unsafe driving, and parks and recreation.
Biography: Brad Bradford has been the Ward 19—Beaches-East York councillor since 2018. A former city planner, he successfully ran as the Tory-endorsed rival to former NDP MP Matthew Kellway. He is the chair of the planning and housing committee and sits on the executive committee and the CreateTO board of directors.
Bradford voted with former mayor John Tory 92.9 percent of the time: 93.7 percent of the time in the 2018-2022 term, and 86.4 percent this term. He has almost never differed from Tory in any major issues or key votes.
He has been slightly more open to additional revenue tools, at least in principle: he supported reports on reintroducing the vehicle registration tax and implementing a stormwater charge, though Tory did not. In the June 2020 policing debate, he supported an attempt to cut the police budget by 10 percent; however, this year, Bradford voted against redirecting $900,000 from the police budget to the Shelter, Support and Housing Administration budget, and was criticized by some for his line of questioning equating the redirection of $900,000 with “defunding the police.” Bradford has generally not supported councillors’ attempts to accelerate plans like Housing Now or the Poverty Reduction Strategy beyond staff-recommended levels. However, in 2022 he brought forth a motion to improve the city’s Vision Zero program by reviewing road safety criteria and assessing the feasibility of incorporating more road safety improvements into regular road repairs. An investigation by The Local found Bradford was the city’s most active councillor on the implementation of ward-specific road safety infrastructure.
Key members of Bradford’s campaign team previously worked with Conservatives such as Doug Ford, Stephen Lecce, and Pierre Poilievre.
In May, Bradford came under fire for using social media videos of women’s TTC horror stories in his campaign videos without their consent, which one creator said gave the false impression that she had endorsed him.
Platform: Bradford’s campaign priorities include affordability, safety, and improved mobility and public services. Bradford proposes dealing with traffic gridlock by moving 200 parking enforcement officers to 50 priority intersections and appointing a Congestion Relief Commissioner to coordinate this. His transit safety plan includes installing platform doors, increasing patrols by security officers, deploying crisis outreach workers, increasing mental health services, and calling on the TTC Board to ensure cell service for all riders regardless of their provider. Bradford says that if elected, he’d permit 24/7 construction on the Gardiner East to speed up the rebuild by two years.
Bradford says he would implement a Toronto Police bail compliance unit with 68 new officers to monitor and enforce bail restrictions. However, it is the Toronto Police that determines how resources are deployed, while city council can determine priorities. Bradford also says he will send mandate letters to heads of municipal departments to improve services like city maintenance and garbage collection. His housing plan includes simplifying building approval processes, constructing mid-rise buildings, and “unlocking government-owned lands.” He also tweeted that he would make it easier for empty office towers to be converted to residential by eliminating the rezoning process.
Biography: Chloe Brown currently works as a project coordinator at Future Skills Centre, an initiative providing underserved communities with essential skills for entering the workforce. She came third of 31 candidates in the 2022 mayoral election, and was praised for having a low ratio of dollars spent per vote compared to her competitors. Previously, she worked in former city councillor Pam McConnell’s office as part of a mentorship program, and according to her LinkedIn page, has also worked in project management at Toronto Metropolitan University and George Brown College, among other places.
Platform: Brown has introduced several policy proposals on her website and social media centred on what she calls her “3C Policy”—community, connectivity, and commerce. She plans to create a new municipal housing authority to improve low-income residents’ housing conditions, build affordable units, and improve reporting systems. Her housing plan also includes a proposal for a tenant and landlord database, where both parties can access up-to-date information about properties, prices, amenities and more. She wants to quickly implement housing options like modular housing units, micro-homes, and sleeping pods. Brown would tax property owners at a higher rate to de-incentivize unused land, and proposes differentiated tax rates based on the industry and size of a business.
She also proposes creating community land trusts to ensure long-term housing affordability. In an op-ed published in the Toronto Star, Brown says that community land trusts can also lead to more affordable commercial spaces for local businesses, increasing accessibility to transit hubs and health care, closing the digital divide and building a more resilient local economy.
To address public safety, Brown proposes assigning mobile crisis professionals and paramedics to TTC stations, improving compensation for mental health professionals, and working to improve shelters and supportive housing projects. She also proposes creating hubs to provide integrated and accessible health and mental health care. She wants police to “prioritize community and problem-oriented policing.”
Brown has plans for city departmental leadership improvement, and proposes rezoning the city to establish better mixed-use spaces (including turning the PATH into a daytime community hub and a night market). She also wants to address the rising cost of food by fostering urban farming and food entrepreneurship. Brown says she would transform the Ontario Science Centre and Ontario Place into hubs for climate-related research and education.
To improve commute times throughout the city, Brown proposes using anonymized data to make improvements to transit stations, increasing the number of dedicated bike lanes, adding smart sensors and snow-melting capabilities to make parking easier, and adding designated loading, delivery, emergency and artist zones to minimize traffic disruption.
Brown has shared a proposed budget broken down by priorities.
Biography: Olivia Chow is a long-time politician and activist who served as Toronto Board of Education school trustee from 1985 to 1991, Toronto city councillor from 1991 to 2005, and the NDP MP for Trinity-Spadina from 2006 to 2014. Chow is known by many to be a progressive voice, advocating for improved transit, the rights of immigrants and refugees, and for children. She was the city’s first Child and Youth Advocate in 1998, and worked to improve nutrition programs in schools.
As an NDP MP, Chow was the official opposition critic for transport and infrastructure, including for transport in the Toronto region from 2008 to 2011. In 2011, Chow put forward a bill for a National Public Transit Strategy that called for all levels of government to work on a national transit strategy, which was not voted in at its second reading. Chow was the leading voice in the successful 2007 campaign to get a national apology for Chinese immigrants who were historically made to pay a discriminatory head tax.
Chow is also a distinguished visiting professor at Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU), and in 2016 founded the Institute for Change Leaders (ICL) that delivers a curriculum at TMU providing organisers with the tools to foster social change in their communities.
Chow is the widow of former NDP federal leader Jack Layton. Most recently, she ran in the 2014 mayoral election where she placed third behind Doug Ford and winner John Tory.
Platform: During her official announcement on joining the mayoral race, Chow said she wants to make Toronto more affordable and safer, and criticized high grocery costs, lack of affordable housing, long 911 wait times, traffic congestion, and the province’s plans for Ontario Place. She said improvements would be made by pushing for more funding from the federal and provincial government, and pointed to her ability to balance budgets from her time on the city council budget committee.
Chow has spoken against the relocation of the Ontario Science Centre, saying it should remain where it is and instead be revitalized, including through the development of a new school and adjacent affordable housing.
She proposes a renter-focused housing affordability plan that includes an annual $100 million investment in buying rental apartment buildings and transferring their ownership to non-profit owners to preserve affordable units. She says she plans to build 25,000 city-developed rent-controlled homes in the city, with at least 7,500 affordable units. She wants to expand the scope of eviction prevention resources and tenant advocacy supports, and create a renter’s action committee to push for policy improvements, including renoviction bylaws and better rent control. Chow also wants to create 1,000 new rent supplements to help people secure housing, and ask the provincial and federal governments to match the city’s investments for a total of 3,000 supplements. Chow also wants to give RentSafeTO “real teeth” by investing in bylaw officers and staff to ensure safe living conditions.
To address homelessness in the city, she proposes building new 24/7 respite centres where people can access showers, meals, beds and other resources and services. She also wants to create a fund that will go towards expanding community services that will be led by community members, agencies, front-line workers and people with lived experiences.
Chow also proposes creating a dedicated off-street bus corridor between Kennedy Station and Ellesmere Avenue to replace the closing Scarborough RT line.
On May 19, Chow announced she would expand non-police community crisis teams to every part of the city and work to improve 911 wait times by identifying areas where call wait times can be reduced.
Biography: Anthony Furey is the vice president of editorial and content at True North, a right-wing media outlet, and a former columnist for the Toronto Sun. Furey repeatedly supported the Freedom Convoy in 2022 in his columns, claiming it was “more of a street party than an angry protest” despite media reports that health care workers and journalists faced harassment, violence, and hate crimes during the protest. His advisory committee includes right-wing journalist Sue-Ann Levy and Roman Baber, a former MPP who was removed from Conservative caucus in 2021 after opposing Ontario lockdowns. Furey reportedly spoke at an April 2023 far-right event where two of his fellow speakers were anti-trans and Christian nationalist activists, known for a disprutive rally targeting Ottawa schools that forced students to shelter in place.
Platform: In a video published on his YouTube channel, Furey said he will focus on the treatment of people struggling with addiction, and attributes violence on the TTC in large part to drug use. Furey says he would stop the city’s plans to create new safe drug injection sites and instead would push for more mandatory treatment at newly implemented drug treatment sites. He has misrepresented the City of Toronto’s supervised consumption support services and the tools they provide, claiming that there is a “drug culture being pushed by city hall.” In addition, he says he would remove encampments and increase police presence in all parks. Furey also proposes hiring 500 more police officers for city streets and the TTC. He would authorize and train TTC Special Constables to carry tasers. He also wants to reinstate the TDSB school resource officer program, which was ended in 2017 after years of protests and staff reports saying the presence of police in schools was harming marginalized students, particularly Black students who were made to feel singled out and unsafe.
In a Toronto Sun column, Furey said he will oppose new taxes, instead reviewing and cutting expenses for any unnecessary city services.
Furey opposes concrete-barrier bike lanes and new bike lane developments. He says he would remove existing bike lanes on University Avenue to provide better access to hospitals, temporarily close the Richmond and Adelaide bike lanes during Ontario Line construction, and open King Street to car traffic. Furey proposes halting any new construction projects in favour of finishing the Ontario line and Eglinton Crosstown LRT first, and says that if elected, Furey says he’ll sue Metrolinx for $1 billion over Eglinton Crosstown LRT construction delays.
He proposes an independent audit of City Hall’s books. (This is already being done by the provincial government.) He’d freeze hiring of city staff to reduce employment numbers, and review requirements for post-secondary education for certain jobs.
He says he will also remove the municipal land transfer tax for first-home buyers and, over the next several years, remove the tax for all home buyers. He also wants to speed up the process for approving building permits for restaurants and homes. He would eliminate the Rent Safe program, and create a “Trusted Landlord” registry. In his statement about the relocation of the Ontario Science Centre, Furey promised to halt the move pending public consultation.
Furey’s platform says he will ensure “divisive ideologies do not take root at City Hall.” On the same page, he makes an unsubstantiated claim that he’s met parents who say their children were polled on their gender identity. The platform section is paired with a photo of a child standing in front of a rainbow flag—the implication, from both the text and the photo, is that Furey would attempt to limit LGBTQ+ inclusive programs in the city.
Biography: Mitzie Hunter has been the Liberal MPP for Scarborough-Guildwood since 2013. She served as Ontario’s Minister of Education from 2016 to 2018 and Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development in 2018, among other committee appointments. Hunter ran in the 2020 Ontario Liberal Leadership race along with five other candidates, but lost to Steven Del Duca. She previously worked as the CEO of the Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance—a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing together leaders from different sectors to address municipal challenges like transit, economy and equity in the GTA—where former Toronto mayor John Tory was a founding board member and chair. Hunter was also the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) of the Toronto Community Housing Corporation.
In a March interview with CP24, Hunter said she wouldn’t use strong mayor powers if elected.
Platform: Hunter said the safety of Torontonians is her priority as mayor, releasing a TTC Safety Plan that includes pairing social workers with transit officers to support people in crisis, and improving subway safety through a community ambassadors program and platform screen doors. Hunter also released a climate plan that focuses on protecting Torontonians from residential floods and extreme weather conditions.
Hunter’s platform includes plans to reduce homelessness and boost mental wellness by adding 400 new shelters and 2,000 supportive housing units and expanding the capacity of outreach and eviction prevention services, which would be funded by a new Housing Stability Fund of around $100 million in the first year. In addition, Hunter plans to add 34 new childcare centres as part of her affordable housing plan.
Her platform calls for creating a new city-owned affordable housing corporation that will create thousands of below-market rate rental units on city-owned land. Her housing plan also calls for building more affordable housing on public lands, permitting multiplex housing (which was approved by city council on May 10), adding more rental units on major streets near campuses, speeding up building approvals, and protecting existing affordable units. She also wants to boost funding to older building repairs.
She wants to implement a tax increase of six percent across the city, reduced to three percent for families with household incomes under $80,000, with no increase for some seniors. She also wants to increase provincial and federal government funding to cities.
Hunter also plans to include below-market value retail spaces for small and medium-sized grocery stores in her proposed affordable housing developments to help alleviate food deserts in the city.
She would establish new youth mental health teams, open youth hubs in libraries, and expand city-funded mental health initiatives. Hunter proposes expanding transit service in North York and Scarborough through new and extended lines connecting subway and GO stations in the area, push for the Waterfront East LRT project, and eliminate fares for seniors and Wheel-Trans users. She also supports opening the TTC earlier to improve access for morning shift workers.
Hunter’s platform also includes a $54 million a year plan for safer and cleaner streets which include faster snow clearance, more budget for quick pothole repairs, adding more safety zones and pedestrian crossings, and stricter traffic rule enforcement to improve flow.
Hunter says the decision to relocate the Science Center to Ontario Place is rushed and needs community consultation.
She has released a full budget for her platform.
Biography: Josh Matlow has been the councillor for Ward 12—Toronto-St. Paul’s since 2010. He sits on the general government committee and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority board, and is the Mayor’s Designate on the Heritage Toronto board of directors. Previously, he was a TDSB trustee from 2003-2010, and before that was active in the environmental movement, and worked as a campaign organizer for the Canadian Peace Alliance, where he protested the Iraq war in 2003.
Initially a notable centrist on then-mayor Rob Ford’s Council, Matlow has evolved into something of a gadfly and has been a reliable Tory opponent: he voted with Tory 62.7 percent of the time—57.0 percent of the time in the 2014-2018 term, 73.1 percent in 2018-2022, and 22.7 percent this term.
Matlow persistently opposes expensive but politically advantageous projects like the Scarborough subway, Gardiner East, and SmartTrack. He is also among the councillors most critical of the City’s crackdown on unhoused people camping in parks. His outspokenness (including on Twitter, where he is very active) has led to multiple Integrity Commissioner investigations, leading to two official reprimands and ten days of docked pay.
Matlow has been a key contributor to the Toronto Seniors Strategy and the RentSafeTO apartment building standards program. He has proposed multiple substantive policing changes, including a 10 percent budget cut, and supported an attempt to direct $900,000 from the police budget to fund 24/7 drop-in shelter programs.
Platform: Matlow’s platform is centred around re-investment in city services and social causes. He proposes the creation of a city-run municipal housing builder to eliminate private contracts during development on municipal land. He also proposes the creation of a “City Works fund” to bolster public services through property tax increases that he says will cost the average homeowner $67 a year; he argues that the city’s taxes have been kept “artificially low” through cuts to services. Matlow says he will invest $407.6 million to reduce housing costs, support people who are homeless, and build infrastructure like childcare buildings, schools and parks, including $300 million in seed funding to build affordable housing.
He proposes de-tasking the police (reevaluating their mandate and scope), and addressing community safety by diverting $115 million from their budget to a fund to provide community intervention and violence mitigation initiatives, including mental health supports, expanded and improved shelters and safe spaces, and professional and recreational programs.
Matlow also proposes an integrated transportation network of transit, trails, and bike paths in Scarborough. He advocates for improved supports for tenants and introducing a commercial parking lot levy to fund Toronto’s climate policies, which include building infrastructure that relies on electricity (as opposed to fossil fuels), increasing TTC riders, and converting public transit into electric vehicles. He also wants to keep city libraries open Sundays, and open schools as community centres on evenings and weekends. His platform also mentions arts and culture funding, and seniors’ wellness. Additionally, he’s spoken out against the Gardiner rebuild, and would put the east end of it at ground level. He opposes the Therme Spa project at Ontario Place, saying that as mayor, he’d withhold the city-owned land needed for the spa development in favour of a public park. He also proposes improving and increasing the budget of the city’s road safety program.
Matlow also plans to invest $1.25 billion in a new transit project: the Waterfront East LRT. The new line would run along Queen’s Quay East to the Portlands. He’d reverse TTC cuts, and create several new Scarborough LRT lines as part of the Scarborough Moves network, and restore the frequency of buses in Scarborough. He’d also build a Scarborough High Line, modelled on the High Line in New York City. It would be part of a number of new trails throughout the borough.
Biography: Mark Saunders is a former Toronto Police Chief, serving from 2015 to 2020. He was Toronto’s first and only Black police chief. During his tenure, Saunders was seen by many as disregarding the concerns and needs of the city’s marginalized communities, particularly Black and LGTBQ+ people. In 2015, he defended “lawful” carding (which he defined as stopping people in response to particular information, rather than randomly), claiming the practice enhanced community safety. Carding was banned in 2017 after investigations and city audits found it disproportionately targeted Black Torontonians. Saunders was also criticized for his handling of the 2015 police killing of Andrew Loku—a Black man experiencing a mental health crisis, whose death was later ruled a homicide during a coroner’s inquest. Saunders was further criticized when he refused to meet with Black Lives Matter protestors or address their demands the following year.
Saunders was also criticized for the police’s failure to catch serial killer Bruce McArthur, who killed eight gay men between 2010 and 2017. In 2018, Saunders was accused of victim blaming in the case after he said that early police inaction was caused by victims and community members not coming to the police with information. Saunders later said that he wasn’t “pointing fingers” at the LGBTQ+ community.
After his resignation, he was appointed as one of the nine members of Ontario’s COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force in December 2020. Saunders was then appointed by the Ontario government in 2021 as a special adviser on the redevelopment of Ontario Place. During the 2022 Ontario provincial election, Saunders ran as a Progressive Conservative candidate for Don Valley West, but lost to Liberal candidate Stephanie Bowman.
In March, Premier Doug Ford showed support for Saunders’ mayoral campaign and his legacy as police chief. In June, Ford endorsed Saunders, making robocalls on his behalf in the week before the election.
Platform: In a March Op-Ed published in the Toronto Star, Saunders wrote that he will prioritize public safety as mayor. Saunders’ TTC Safety Plan states that he will increase the number of special constables to at least 200; the special constables will go through mental health training and be given equipment like body cameras. As part of his public safety campaign, he proposes meeting with the prime minister to advocate for a stricter bail system, which includes holding violent or repeat offenders unless there are good reasons to allow them release on bail.
Saunders says he would reorient underutilized cleaning resources and adopt a zero-tolerance policy for used needle disposal in areas surrounding supervised injection sites. He was criticized for sharing misinformation in a campaign video regarding naloxone kits and accidental needle spikes, which some critics described as fear mongering. He opposes city council’s request to the federal government to decriminalize the possession of drugs for personal use, and proposes instead focusing the city’s response on addiction treatment and revisiting the Toronto Overdose Action Plan to expand in-patient care in partnership with the province.
Saunders plans to provide transitional housing for homeless people. He also proposes providing “wrap-around” services that focus on the needs of the individual, including mental health supports, employment training, and stable housing. If elected, he would request Ontario waive tuition for three years for Toronto residents attending local colleges to pursue a social work-related field, and hire up to 100 of them to work with the city.
Saunders also wants to speed up the Line 4 Scarborough subway project with help from the provincial and federal government, and expand the Ontario line northward into North York.
In June, Saunders launched a “Stop Chow” campaign against leading mayoral candidate Olivia Chow. He falsely claims she plans to defund the police (her platform does not mention policing), and targets her support for drug decriminalization and potential tax increases.
Sign up to our free newsletter to get upcoming Finch West and other stories delivered to your inbox.
Biography: Bahira Abdulsalam is a certified professional engineer in Ontario. She has a PhD from the University of Sherbrooke in Quebec. Abdulsalam founded Composites Infrastructure Innovation Solutions Corporation in January 2018, an engineering company specializing in sustainable solutions for building infrastructure like roads and bridges, where her LinkedIn states she’s currently CEO. The page also says she volunteered for the Ontario Liberal Party in 2020.
Platform: If elected, Abdulsalam says she would use her engineering background to address Toronto’s budget, infrastructure, public transit, accessibility, sustainability, and the Gardiner Expressway. Abdulsalam also hopes to address the city’s rental crisis with stronger tenant protections, investing in and building more affordable housing, providing financial support like rent subsidies or housing allowances for low-income individuals and enforcing fair rental practices to combat discriminatory practices. She mentions investing in social programs and mental health services, supporting school boards to reduce classroom sizes, and empowering racial minorities. On Twitter, Abdulsalam says she would also focus on crime prevention through addressing poverty and investing in education. She opposes encampment evictions, describing them as “acts of violence” and an “unacceptable” use of taxpayer money. Abdulsalam wants to foster political and corporate accountability, and commits to increase workplace safety and workers’ rights. To benefit the economy, she says she will support innovation, small businesses, and startups. Abdulsalam wants to protect the Green Belt and will encourage using green infrastructure and sustainable land use practices. And to address the city’s deficit, Abdulsalam says on Twitter that she’ll raise property taxes for homeowners. In early June, she tweeted that “many parents and people of faith in Toronto feel threatened” because schools “impose the LGBTQ same sex marriages on children,” which she says discriminates against their religious beliefs.
Biography: According to a video Acquaye posted on Twitter, he is one of the youngest candidates for mayor.
Platform: In a video posted on YouTube, Acquaye says he plans to address homelessness in Toronto by “repossess[ing]” land “claimed” by private companies for condos in order to build free government-owned units as temporary homes for individuals (the legality and details of these repossessions are unclear). Acquaye says his plan to end homelessness would also lock up participants’ money as they work to move out of the temporary unit for “a better life”—proposing they would get their money back once they learn financial management and literacy.
Biography: Blake Acton is a retired police officer who served for over 30 years, some of which were as a police constable for the Toronto Police Service. Acton ran in the 2022 Toronto mayoral election and came fourth of 31 candidates. In an October 2022 tweet, Acton said the election was “corrupt” because he wasn’t chosen for a candidates’ debate, subsequently tweeting that he believed it was because he’s “not diverse enough,” and more recently blaming “left leaning media.”
Platform: Acton’s platform includes a safe, clean and free TTC, an in-depth review of the Toronto Police Service budget, and affordable housing. He says if he becomes mayor he will have a 90 day city budget audit done immediately. He also promises to ensure support for small businesses by reducing red tape, ending “unfair, draconian policies against small business owners.” Acton proposed the removal of bike lanes on Danforth, saying that bike lanes on Bloor Street and Yonge Street pose a danger to cyclists and pedestrians.
Acton has stated that he has no intention of defunding the Toronto Police Service Budget. In early April, he tweeted support for bringing back carding, a police practice of stopping, questioning, and documenting people on the street who haven’t been known to commit any offence, which disproportionately targeted Black people and was banned in 2017.
Acton has spent much of his campaign making disparaging comments about other candidates as well as constituents who support other candidates. He has shared misinformation online saying the mainstream media is connected with the “deep state” and is biased in this election, and says he will “teach some of the media a lesson they won’t forget.”
Biography: Sharif Ahmed is a taxi owner and operator with an engineering background. Ahmed was on a Community Police Liaison Committee from 2007 to 2010, and says he also worked as a campaign co-manager for an MPP in Scarborough Southwest. He previously ran for city councillor in 2006 and 2014, in the 2021 by-election, and in the 2022 municipal election as a council candidate for Scarborough Southwest, placing seventh of eight candidates.
Platform:Ahmed’s platform includes building more green spaces in Toronto, improving public transit and increasing TTC surveillance as a safety measure, and hiring a traffic czar to reduce congestion caused by construction projects in the city.
Biography: On his website, Asadul Alam claims he is a military veteran and educator who has taught at several different universities in Bangladesh. Alam’s website includes many legal allegations that have not been substantiated, as well as religious texts and guides. Alam says he is “here to teach people…around the earth about Lord.”
Platform: Alam has listed many issues he wants to address, including raising money for the city, free wifi, and having a green Toronto. However, the platform does not include details on how this will be accomplished.
Gru Jesse Allan
Biography: Gru Jesse Allan, who goes by Gru, is a housing activist. He has experienced homelessness and lived in both encampments and the city’s shelter hotel system; he has criticized the city’s surveillance of unhoused people through police and security services in both circumstances. In an April Twitter statement, he said he had been arrested for allegedly throwing eggs at the John Tory’s office window on February 17, his last day in office; Gru did not confirm the allegations, but did include a rationale for why someone would egg the mayor’s office, mentioning homelessness, poverty and affordability in the city. In the statement, he also mentioned having worked with community organizations like the Encampment Support Network, Shelter and Housing Justice Network, and TTCriders, among others.
Platform: His plan to end homelessness focuses on improving public housing stock and providing both rent geared to income and no-cost housing for people living in poverty, legalizing encampments on public property, and providing healthcare and safety services in encampment residents. If elected, Gru says he would reduce 10 percent of the Toronto police budget each year, and limit police access to firearms and riot gear. In order to cut costs and improve funding in the city, he wants to eliminate private contractors doing city work, tear down the Gardiner and rebuild it as a boulevard, raise commercial property taxes, and increase the vacancy tax rate to 50 percent the value of the property. His platform also addresses city building and transit improvement.
Information about this candidate could not be found at time of publication.
Information about this candidate could not be found at time of publication.
Biography: On his website, Darren Atkinson describes himself as “an independent entrepreneur, inventor and musician.” He previously worked as managing director at Hiwatt Amplifiers UK. Atkinson ran in the 2022 Toronto mayoral election and placed 14th of 31 candidates.
Platform: Atkinson proposes that corporate land developers who tear down affordable housing units must establish the same number of affordable units. He also proposes a partner program where the city gives homeowners a $30,000 loan to create an apartment on their property in return for leasing it at 20 percent less than market value for five years. He wants to tax foreign corporations in the city, eliminate streetcars in favour of hybrid or electric buses, eliminate private contractors in city waste collection, and penalize contractors for delays on city projects. Atkinson also proposes granting property tax breaks to senior homeowners, creating interest-free microloans for small businesses, and creating a term limit for mayors.
Biography: According to Atkinson’s LinkedIn, he’s a climate action designer at Flood Ready, an organization that helps homeowners prepare for extreme weather. Atkinson’s website says he has a background in architecture and political science. Atkinson has previously faced discipline from the city for failing to operate his stormwater management company in accordance with the law: he was found by city officials to not have adequate licensing and staffing, and to be distributing misrepresentative advertising.
Platform: Atkinson wants to create shelter spaces in decommissioned TTC vehicles, and use AI to improve accuracy and transparency at city hall and process 911 and 311 calls. He proposes having offsite construction when creating affordable housing, and creating elevated bike lanes. His platform also mentions TTC safety, scam prevention, traffic, and direct democracy.
Biography:. Jose (Joey) Baking is the publisher and editor of a Filipino monthly newsletter in Toronto, as well as a photographer. He sits on the board of directors for the Philippine Press Club of Ontario, and came ninth of ten candidates in the 2006 municipal election for then-Ward 41 in Scarborough.
Platform: In an interview with Philippine Canadian News, he said he will run a “reasonable campaign to articulate the voices and interests of Toronto residents.” In an Instagram account under his name, there are posts against tearing down the Gardiner Expressway, and against encampments in parks.
Biography: Ben Bankas is a stand-up comedian and entertainment personality running on an “anti-woke” platform (it would appear he is running as a joke candidate). He has used his candidacy in his comedy, including as a vehicle for offensive jokes about deceased Indigenous residential school victims and other marginalized groups, designed to appeal to right-wing audiences. His campaign has been profiled by InfoWars and Toronto Sun columnist Joe Warmington.
Platform: Bankas’ platform includes allowing smoking on patios and bars after midnight, allowing bars and restaurants to be open until 4:00 a.m., and revoking bylaws that ban dogs from stores and restaurants (no such bylaw exists), among other proposals. He has made racist and anti-trans comments on Twitter throughout his campaign.
Biography: Claudette Beals is the mother of the late Regis Korchinski-Paquet, an Afro-Indigenous woman who fell to hear death from her high rise balcony during a police wellness check in May 2020. Korchinski-Paquet’s death was investigated by the SIU, who cleared the responding officers of any wrongdoing. Korchinski-Paquet’s death came during the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020, with marches and protests taking place in her honour. Beals has been vocal in her criticism of the police since, protesting against this year’s nearly $50 million increase in the police budget, and has sued the SIU and police for their involvement.
Platform: If elected, Beals says she would reform the Toronto Police Service by increasing transparency and carrying out independent investigations on alleged police misconduct. Beals also proposes demilitarizing the police and banning discriminatory practices. She wants to provide a variety of affordable housing options for Torontonians, like co-op and social housing, and rental subsidies. In addition, she wants to improve access to mental health services by reducing wait times and travel distances, and proposes implementing traditional Indigenous and Black healing practices into mental health programs. She proposes reinstating city council’s pre-2018 structure, which had 47 wards and councillors, and creating new ward boundaries; however, these mandates are not within the purview of the mayor.
Biography: According to the Picton Gazette, Benway is a chartered accountant.
Platform: In an interview posted on YouTube, Benway said he believes Toronto can do much better for the homeless, and proposes 24/7 warming and cooling centres. In an interview with the Picton Gazette, he was critical of the city’s budget shortfall, and said he would cancel the Mandatory Vacant Home Tax Property Status Declaration. On his website, Benway says he wants to increase the supply of affordable housing. He also wants to remove bike lanes, repeating unsubstantiated claims that many bike lanes are “lightly used.” He also wants to fix potholes across the city, and increase ridership on the TTC by improving communication and customer service.
Information about this candidate could not be found at time of publication.
Biography: According to his LinkedIn, Brian Buffey is a shooting grip in the film industry. He ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2018, placing 22nd of 35 candidates. Buffey shares misinformation content online about the COVID-19 pandemic, masking, and vaccinations, as well as other far-right content.
Platform: If elected, Buffey says that he would donate his entire salary to shelters, homeless veterans with PTSD, and food banks. He also says he would address the lack of affordable housing, TTC safety, and reliability. During his 2018 campaign, Buffey said he’d add more trained police officers to reduce crime, limit roadwork to evenings and weekends to address traffic congestion, and create a “city lottery” that would fund infrastructure projects and affordable housing.
Biography: Celina Caesar-Chavannes is the former Liberal MP for Whitby, serving from 2015 to 2019. During her time in office, she was parliamentary secretary to the prime minister, then to the minister of international development. She left the Liberal party in 2019, citing a lack of support from her Liberal peers in the face of racism, and alleging tokenization, exclusion, and microaggressions from the party itself. She also points to conflict with the prime minister on the timing of her departure, which coincided with the resignation of MP Jody Wilson-Raybould, another woman of colour in Trudeau’s parliament. She went on to become an equity and inclusion advocate and consultant, a senior adviser on equity at the Queen’s University faculty of health, and authored a political memoir. She has a background in business and entrepreneurship.
Platform: Caesar-Chavannes proposes tackling the housing crisis through greater funding from the provincial and federal governments, expanding eviction prevention, leveraging empty city-owned properties, and implementing mixed-use and mixed-income neighbourhoods, alongside supporting existing recommendations from HousingTO and the city ombudsperson. Caesar-Chavannes says that she will not be increasing property taxes above the rate of inflation for two years, and will explore revenue tools like parking fees. She says she will lobby the federal government to direct 1 percent of the GST to Toronto and other Ontario municipalities.
Her transit plan includes improved community-driven mental health supports, investment in TTC staffing, cell service on the subway (including for non-Rogers customers), and fare equity for transit-poor communities. She supports non-police crisis intervention, community-based supports for youth with mental health needs or who are at risk of committing gun violence, increasing the accessibility of mental health services and establishing safe day shelters throughout the city, and revamping funding from the province to take a public health approach to the drug crisis. She says she will work to foster equity in the city, and will implement $10 day care across Toronto by 2025.
Biography: There is no biographical information available online about this candidate at time of publication.
Platform: Carrie has a limited online presence. He claims on social media that his goal is to build a giant Gundam statue—a fighting robot from the popular Japanese manga and anime—in front of city hall. On Instagram, he also stated he wants Japan Rail to consult on future TTC projects. He supports abolishing the land transfer tax, and has made unsubstantiated claims that people earning more than $100,000 live at Toronto Community Housing units in Rosedale.
Biography: According to his website, Roland Chan is an engineer. On his website, he mentions having volunteered for the Mon Sheong Foundation, a Chinese community organization, and for UrbanPromise Toronto, a Christian organization supporting youth living in Toronto Community Housing.
Platform: Chan’s focus is improving safety and managing traffic in Toronto. His platform includes adding barriers to TTC platforms, increasing police presence in areas with high crime rates, and investing in programs that support at-risk youth. Chan also proposes city-provided snow dam removal across Toronto, re-evaluating the roles of bike lanes during winter as a traffic mitigation measure, and lane filtering, which allows motorcyclists to move between lanes of stopped traffic. In 2019, the City of Toronto turned down a motorcyclist lane filter pilot program, citing that the city has no authority to do so since this issue falls under provincial jurisdiction.
Biography: Matti Charlton is a transgender and autistic musician and writer and the creator of an online apparel and graphic design brand. They have self-released 13 albums of electronic pop music and self-published several books, some commenting on the intersection of social issues and technology. According to their website, Charlton also studied engineering at the University of Toronto, but did not complete their degree.
Platform: Charlton says they recognize they will not win, but are running to shed light on several social issues including mental health, homelessness, decriminalization, safe access to drugs, and housing. They also say they would address the city’s deficit by implementing “Smart City” and “Green City” programs by which the city uses technology and data analytics to limit waste, save energy and adopt sustainable practices. They propose identifying other revenue streams including having municipal cryptocurrency, creating a tourism tax, and hosting more events and festivals that leverage independent music. They want to approach the housing crisis with a focus on providing stable, permanent housing to unhoused people in conjunction with social services, and establish partnerships between landlords, governments, and developers. They support harm-reductive approaches to drug use, including safe injection sites. To reduce costs, Charlton also proposes implementing blockchain technology to improve transparency, using AI to aid city staff, and foster partnerships with private companies to improve city infrastructure. They would also launch a City Peace Corps that would focus on community engagement, resolution and social support, and aim to complement and replace failed components of the Toronto police.
Danny Chevalier Romero
Biography: Little information about Logan Choy is available online. He ran in the 2018 Toronto mayoral election and placed 9th of 35 candidates. In 2022, Toronto Police put out an Amber alert saying that Choy had abducted his 2-year-old daughter (she was found safe, and Choy posted a February 2023 court proceeding that appeared to be related to the case). In a June interview with Rebels News (an alt-right publication that has been criticized for propaganda and conspiracy theories) Choy said he struggles to support himself and his child on an annual income of $10,000.
Platform: Choy’s platform is not available at time of publication, but he has posted a series first-person videos where he appears to film and speak to different people in the city about himself. According to a Rebel News interview, he is campaigning on the promise “people power.”
Biography: Kevin Clarke is the founder and former leader of the Peoples Political Party, a minor political party with a mandate to support “the needs of humanity” (not to be confused with the People’s Party of Canada, which later had a request to register as a provincial party denied due to the similarity in name). Clarke has repeatedly tried to run for mayor for over two decades, with his most recent attempt being the 2022 Toronto mayoral election, placing him ninth of 31 candidates. He previously ran in 2018, 2014, 2010, 2006, and 2003. Clarke ran in the Toronto Centre federal by-election in 2020 as an independent candidate, and placed seventh of nine candidates.
According to his Facebook page, Clarke has previously experienced homelessness, and organizes a monthly event where he and a group of volunteers provide food to homeless people in the city. During a May 15 mayoral debate to which Clarke was not invited, he took to the stage in apparent protest that only six of the 102 candidates were asked to take part in the debate. Clarke only spoke for moments before security and police removed him using force, and he has since called for the resignation of the leader of the host organization.
Platform: In an Instagram post, he said he would end food insecurity and address homelessness. He wants to improve shelter spaces and capacity, build affordable housing, and cut unnecessary spending. He has also tweeted about creating a “Children’s Garden of Hope” and centering children’s rights in city services. Clarke wants to provide mental health and harm reduction services, including sleeping facilities, showers, food and counselling services, to those experiencing addiction.
Biography: Sarah Climenhaga is an environment and safe streets advocate who previously ran for mayor in the 2022 municipal election, placing fifth of 31 candidates. She also ran for mayor in 2018, and in the 2019 federal election as a Green Party candidate for Toronto—St Paul’s. According to her LinkedIn page, Climenhaga has previously worked for organizations like the World Wildlife Fund and Cycle Toronto. In 2018, she cited safe streets as her biggest passion and said her decision to get involved in municipal politics was based in part on her advocacy work with groups like TTCriders and the St. Clair Right of Way Initiative for Public Transport.
Platform: Climenhaga’s 2023 platform mentions increasing housing stock, improving street infrastructure for transit users, pedestrians, and cyclists, and improving the environment. She wants to eliminate TTC fares by instituting a new funding model, like one in which people can donate to the TTC and claim it as a charitable tax credit, or through increasing or reallocating taxes to cover the cost. If elected, she would integrate public opinion into the budget decision process, address crime through investment in communities, and reduce red tape. She opposes vaccine mandates.
Biography: Little is available online about Cohen. According to Realtor.ca, Cohen is a real estate salesperson who specializes in investments.
Platform: Cohen says his platform focuses on addressing the housing crisis and improving safety in Toronto, but as of publishing, he doesn’t specify any details. In a May 5 Instagram post, Cohen shared that he would generally help the city by recognizing the demand for community-oriented programs and resources, focusing on city priorities, and making “positive change.”
Platform: Collins proposes making Toronto a province of Canada. He also wants to have TTC service run 24 hours a day,and expand service to Mississauga, Richmond Hill and further. Collins says he would bring subway fares down to $1, adding that people who live or work in Toronto would get a discount. He proposes creating more community-driven policing initiatives and expanding Neighbourhood Watch programs. He wants to build a water park at Ontario Place.
Biography: Frank D’Amico currently serves as the vice-chair of the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) and trustee for Ward 6. He has been a TCDSB Trustee for 12 years. D’Amico voted in favour of recognizing pride month across the TCDSB and adding family status, marital status, gender identity, and gender expression as protected categories in the TCDSB Code of Conduct. He has been part of the board’s special education and safe schools committees, among others, and works with the Angel Foundation for Learning, a board-run organization offering meals and programs to students in need. On his website, D’Amico says he is a soldier in the Canadian Armed Forces.
In 2011, D’Amico apologized for his remarks about an undocumented immigrant whose enrollment was denied at three Catholic high schools. The Toronto Star reported at the time that D’Amico wrote that the student’s family was “lucky” he didn’t answer the phone or else his “first call would be to Immigration Canada.”
Platform: D’Amico’s platform includes rebuilding the Gardiner Expressway, creating a new rapid transit line “below or above” the Gardiner and Lakeshore Boulevard. He also proposes expanding the Line 1 subway to Vaughan Mills Mall and Canada’s Wonderland, and Line 2 into Mississauga (projects he would not have the authority to enact as mayor without agreement from the other municipal authorities involved). He says these projects would be funded and executed in collaboration with the private sector. D’Amico says he would improve TTC safety by installing barriers on subway platforms and increasing surveillance. He also proposed a plan to extend TTC subway service hours by two hours to 4:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. If elected, D’Amico says he would cap the tax increase at 2 percent, with a goal of achieving zero tax increase in the future.
Biography: Frank D’Angelo is a Toronto businessman, musician, producer, writer, and actor. He was owner of the now-defunct Steelback Brewery, which Canadian Business magazine described as a “mistake from start to finish,” has written, produced, directed, starred in, and frequently distributed ten films, and has owned restaurants in Toronto and Mississauga, as well as a beverage company. In 2007, D’Angelo was accused of sexually assaulting a former business associate’s daughter, who was 19 at the time; when he was found not guilty in 2009, the judge said that while the charges were not proven beyond a reasonable doubt, D’Angelo “probably” did it.
Platform: D’Angelo’s platform includes repairing Toronto’s road infrastructure by establishing tolls for drivers coming from outside the city through major arteries, providing police with additional resources and training on domestic violence and mental health calls, improving affordability and transit conditions, addressing homelessness and making Toronto an environmental leader. If elected, D’Angelo says he would open 10 additional youth empowerment centres in the city, and suggested a lottery that funds shelters, health support and food for the homeless. He wants to defer property taxes for five years for first-time homebuyers, and create policy protecting tenants from displacement during renoviction and promising them the right to return to the property after renovations have been completed. He wants to use public-private partnerships to address the city’s budget deficit. He also proposes a forensic audit of Metrolinx and says he would immediately fire the organization’s executives (however, Metrolinx is a provincial organization and therefore cannot be controlled by municipal politicians). On Twitter, he also said he doesn’t “believe in lockdowns” regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, though he does believe in science.
Biography: Although Rob Davis’ name will still appear on the ballot, he dropped out of the race on June 20. Davis is the owner of a campaign consultancy and lobbying firm and a former city councillor. He is a self-described “fiscal conservative” with a “tough-on-crime” approach. He served as the first Black councillor in the city of York’s history in 1991, and then as councillor for Toronto City Council post-amalgamation in 1998. That year, he voted against the provision of medical benefits to same-sex partners. During his city council tenure, Davis was Vice Chair of the TTC committee and co-chaired Toronto’s Crime Prevention Task Force. In 2001, Davis launched a gun buy-back program that ultimately took 1,700 guns off the streets.
In 2008, Davis was appointed Toronto Catholic District School Board Trustee for Ward 6 after the board found itself under provincial supervision for failing to balance its budget, limiting trustee decision-making power. In light of this, Davis ran a free “trustee boot camp” in 2009 to teach those interested in running for trustee in the next election. While trustee, he also pushed for staff to partner with Toronto Employment and Social Services to identify families in need to access the new full-day kindergarten program in schools, noting a lack of childcare hinders employment.
Davis previously ran unsuccessfully for council in 2010 and 2003, for TCDSB Ward 2 trustee in 2018, and for provincial parliament in 1996; he was barred from a 2006 election due to outstanding 2003 campaign debt.
Platform: On June 20, Davis announced he was dropping out of the race, and endorsed right-wing candidate Anthony Furey. His name will still appear on the ballot.
Davis told CP24 in February that one of his top priorities is ensuring taxpayers get the highest value for their money, describing the renaming of Dundas Street and the vacant home tax as decisions that are too costly.
For what he calls his “law-and-order platform,” Davis says he would implement an offender-focused policing strategy to dedicate resources to crime prevention and detection, as well as known offenders and areas with high crime rates. He wants to reinstate the school resource officer program as a means of preventing violence in schools—the program was ended in 2017 after years of protests from racial equity advocates and staff reports saying the program made marginalized youth, particularly Black students, feel intimidated, unsafe, and singled-out. Regarding TTC safety, Davis proposes greater policing, more support for social services like warming centres, and a “social contract” system in which first responders would ride the TTC for free if they agree to respond whenever they see a person in distress (despite not being on duty). He also wants to see a competitive billing process for cell service across the TTC in order to get the best value for taxpayers.
Davis started a petition calling on city council to stop construction of any new bike lanes. He also says he would ban short-term rentals like Airbnb. He has called for community consultation on the relocation of the Ontario Science Centre to Ontario Place, blaming plans for its relocation on “downtown elites.”
On June 1, Davis announced that he would mandate landlords supply air conditioning to tenants.
Biography: Phillip D’Cruze’s website describes him as a longtime Toronto resident and retired member of the Canadian Armed Forces. He ran in the 2022 Toronto mayoral election, finishing 18th of 31 candidates.
Platform: D’Cruze’s platform includes a proposal for rent control and a three-year 20 percent rent reduction, though he doesn’t specify how he’d institute the policy. He also proposes increased fines for landlords who fail to conduct repairs, and the rezoning of 65-70 percent of the city in an effort to make housing affordable. He proposes community-based solutions for crime, and redistributing executives’ salaries at the TTC. He plans to reduce food waste, improve community safety, and increase youth involvement at City Hall by creating a mentorship program.
Platform: Deb’s platform includes expanding parking capacity, implementing a 2-lane minimum on major roads, providing free TTC services, and setting up a new transit police division. Deb also says he would raise police salaries, as he believes this will motivate them to protect the people in Toronto. He also proposes a “John Tory tribute campaign” that would “aggressively” work to hire Tory as a private consultant with the city. If elected, he would build a “free underground sleeping chamber with hundreds of beds” under the Queen Subway Station. In addition, he promises to improve access to mental health services. Lastly, Samson says he would build a tech business hub at the current Ontario Science Centre location, among other business ventures.
Biography: Habiba Desai ran for Scarborough-Guildwood councillor in the 2022 Toronto municipal election, placing third of four candidates. Desai also ran as an independent candidate for Toronto-Danforth in the 2021 federal election, where she placed last. The Local can confirm that Desai is the daughter of former French school trustee candidate Amina Bibi Bhaiyat, who was one of two “mystery” candidates who didn’t speak French in a subsequently voided trustee election last fall. Desai appeared to have helped Bhaiyat run her campaign, and listed her email address as Bhaiyat’s contact information on her nomination papers.
Platform: Desai’s platform includes providing free transit for all and setting up a women-only police station. If elected, Desai says she would sentence those convicted of gun crimes to life in prison (a mandate outside the purview of any municipal politician). On her social media, she repeatedly advocates for the death penalty, specifically for those who “kill a cop, woman or child, run people over, mass shoot or use a gun inside any school.” The death penalty was abolished in Canada by the federal government in 1998. She also tweeted that her vision for Toronto is to “keep everyone alive as we enter into nuclear war.” Desai also says she wants to clean up the city, have the city host its own World Cup and replicate the Hagia Sophia mosque if elected.
Biography: Cory Deville has a background in business, marketing and sales and is the founder of a “disruptive consultation” and venture growth organization. He is also a graduate of philosophy from the University of Toronto. Deville founded The Deville Party of Canada, which is awaiting full registration but has reserved party name status as of January 2023. Deville ran unsuccessfully in the 2022 mayoral election, placing 26th of 31 candidates.
Platform: According to an email to The Local, Deville’s platform focuses on “Personhood, Policy, Possibility.” He proposes a single “Universal Life Bill,” estimated at $554 million to $1.5 billion, and funded through re-allocated police budget dollars, increased property taxes and higher commercial parking lot fees. Under the bill, Deville proposes a monthly payment to renters in the city and similar food rebate, as well as a rental cap, free TTC, boosts to the city’s creative industries, and deescalation units made of mental health professionals.
Biography: Simryn Fenby is an actor and media professional. She runs a hand-made chocolate and ice cream business called Avoca with her mother, and has also worked in screenwriting, music and as a child model. According to her LinkedIn, Fenby also has university degrees in political science and writing.
Platform: Fenby’s platform is not available at time of publication. In an Instagram post, she said her priorities are transit, crime reduction, and improving social services, particularly for those experiencing homelessness.
Biography: Monica Forrester is the founder and executive director of Trans Pride Toronto, a local organization that aims to improve the lives and well being of trans, 2-spirit, Black, and nonbinary people experiencing homelessness, marginalization, poverty, and transphobia. The organization works to provide low-barrier access to housing, employment and harm reduction services. Forrester is also the program and outreach co-ordinator for Maggie’s Toronto Sex Workers Action Project, which works to create spaces for sex workers to connect, provide harm reduction resources, conduct street outreach, and educate community organizations, political leaders, and allies. She was also part of the city’s Two-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (2SLGBTQ+) Advisory Committee from 2020 to 2022.
Platform: On her website, Forrester says her top priorities as mayor are creating more affordable housing and expanding shelter and detox spaces, improving community services particularly related to mental and physical health, and increasing transit services. She also mentions traffic gridlock and parking enforcement in bike lanes.
Information about this candidate could not be found at time of publication.
Biography: Isabella Gamk is a housing advocate and the founder of Protecting ODSP OW Funding, an organization advocating for increased funding for disability benefits and assistance for those in financial need. At the start of the pandemic, she launched a petition to raise Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) and Ontario Works (OW) benefits to align with CERB payments. Gamk previously ran unsuccessfully in the mayoral election in 2022, placing 25th of 31 candidates.
Platform: If elected, Gamk says she would advocate that the provincial government double the ODSP Basic Needs Allowance, as well as increase the Ontario Works Shelter Allowance from $390 per person per month to $975. She says she would also advocate for the ODSP Shelter Allowance to be calculated based on average market rent by postal code. Gamk also wants to increase the supply of public housing, maintain Ontario Place as a public park with modernised buildings, improve rent control, and address carbon pollution. As a trans woman, Gamk is also committed to addressing hate and racism in the city, and advocates for strengthening anti-hate laws.
Biography: Little information is available online about Feng Gao. He says he has experienced homelessness.
Platform: While Gao does have a platform available online, it does not appear to be substantiated or based in facts.
Edward (Xiao Hua) Gong
Biography: Edward Gong is a Toronto businessman. Gong first appeared in the news in 2016 when he and others were photographed with Justin Trudeau at a controversial cash-for-access fundraiser. In 2017, he was hit with multiple charges, including fraud and possession of property obtained by crime. According to 2023 tribunal documents, Gong’s company pled guilty to pyramid scheme and forged document offences. Charges against Gong were withdrawn, but the Ontario Securities Commission is pursuing further action in matters related to the charges. In 2021, the New Zealand Police announced a settlement that would see Gong forfeit roughly $68 million to their government after a money laundering investigation. Police said the funds were profits from a pyramid scheme in China and Canada that were transferred to New Zealand to conceal its source.
Platform: Gong’s platform is focused on safe streets, the economy and seniors and youth. He proposes adding 1000 new police officers in the next 3 years to create a TTC transit enforcement department and school police department. Gong’s platform also includes a $1000 per household property tax abatement and hopes that Torontonians will “come back to town to settle and spend.” His platform also calls for an “immigration allocation from the Feds and the Province,” though no such “allocations” exist for any municipality and it’s unclear what this would achieve. Gong also advocates for free TTC rides for those aged 55 and older and aged 18 and younger, the acceleration of new and affordable senior’s housing and a $6/school day lunch subsidy for elementary and secondary school students.
Biography: According to his LinkedIn profile, Goraya has been a lawyer since 2007. In an email to The Local, Goraya said he is a lifelong resident of Toronto who has worked with the Daily Bread Food Bank, among other organizations.
Platform: As of publishing, Goraya’s platform includes building affordable housing on city land in partnership with private and non-profit developers, city-wide inclusionary zoning (already in motion by the city) and mixed-income communities, investment in supportive housing, and taxing “ultra-luxury homes” in the city. He wants to increase the city’s police budget, train police in de-escalation and bias accountability, and create stronger relationships between police and local communities, among other measures.
Biography: Brian Graff has previously worked in real estate. In 2014, he ran for councillor in Ward 32—Beaches-East York, where he came third of twelve candidates. He intended to run for leadership of the NDP in 2017, but was blocked from doing so because of previous charges of watching and besetting, a form of criminal harassment, with the NDP additionally stating that Graff’s beliefs ran “counter to the party’s principles,” including on immigration. Graff was ultimately rejected from the NDP twice, and took them to court, with the judge ultimately ruling in the NDP’s favour. Graff describes himself as an “economic nationalist.”
Platform: On his website, Graff says he intends finish the Gardiner Expressway rebuild, move the Ontario line to Richmond St. to avoid disruption of the Queen St. streetcar, end the King Street transit pilot project, and place a moratorium on bike lanes. He has previously said he wants to “slow down population growth by changing federal and provincial policies” (a mandate that falls outside the Mayor’s powers), and now says he wants to lobby higher levels of government to reduce population growth. He also mentions improving infrastructure and housing affordability, and restructuring city government to have separate planning boards for different regions of the city. He wants to relocate the proposed waterfront Therme Spa to the north parking lot of the Ontario Science Centre, and opposes privatization of the waterfront.
Biography: Little information is available online about Ari Grosman. He appears to be a TDSB high school student.
Platform: Grosman proposes the implementation of a 2.5 percent vacant home tax, the creation of an employment program for people experiencing homelessness, and the decriminalization of all drugs, although he does not provide specifics for these proposals. He plans to address issues on the TTC by hiring mental health workers to be present at subway stations, expanding cell services on the TTC, restoring TTC service to pre-pandemic levels and assigning designated bus lanes during rush hours. Grosman also says he would lower housing costs through an Airbnb ban and freeze rent increase for 18 months.
Biography: Little information is available online about James Guglielmin. According to his website, Gugliemlmin says that he is the first deaf person to run for mayor in Toronto.
Platform: Guglielmin proposes tax cuts for businesses, reduced property taxes for elderly or terminally ill people, and tax cuts for first-time homebuyers and luxury home owners. He wants to establish a tolled lane that would allow drivers to cross the city faster, and proposes that cyclists age 16 and up must apply for a cycling licence and be fully insured. He wants to increase police hiring, make officers a mandatory presence in schools, and increase policing on transit. His platform includes other proposals that are outside the purview of a municipal leader.
Platform: Gulyas’ website lists a number of issues, including corporate power, the value of diversity and community, and housing, infrastructure, and access to care. His priority is his desire to get people out to vote.
Biography: There is little information available online about Peter Handjis. On his Twitter profile, Handjis writes he has 20 years of experience as a business owner and manager. He ran in the 2022 Toronto mayoral election and came in last place of 31 candidates.
Platform: Handjis’ platform includes creating a housing subsidy for low-income families, educating emergency services to be more community-minded, upgrade ageing infrastructure while minimising “disruptions this can cause to neighbourhoods, ” and generating revenue for the city by building “snack shacks” and cafes in parks that can be rented out.
Biography: Heather He is a real estate agent. She is also the director at the Hunan Fellow Association of Canada and the chairwoman of the Canada Care Alliance, an organization that advocates for helping vulnerable groups.
Platform: He’s platform includes providing free lunches for elementary and high school students, day care services for the elderly, improving road maintenance, and housing the homeless.
Biography: Toby Heaps is the CEO and co-founder of Corporate Knights Inc., a media and research company focused on climate and the economy, which publishes a quarterly magazine of the same name. Heaps is also the son of former Scarborough councillor Adrian Heaps and great grandson of A.A. Heaps, an MP in Winnipeg and one of the founders of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, a political party founded in the 1930s which went on to become part of the NDP in 1961. Heaps has also worked on the presidential campaign of American activist and author Ralph Nader. Initially, Heaps said that he was running as a stand-in candidate for his rescue dog, Molly, thanks to the city’s “anthropocentric” election rules. He later clarified that his running mate “symbolizes the care and compassion we should all have with each other.”
Platform: Heaps says that he wants to prioritize city-controlled land for co-op homes in order to address the housing crisis, apply a 0.5% mansion tax on homes valued at $3 million or more, increase taxes for billion-dollar businesses and defer property taxes for deeply affordable homes. Heaps’ environmental policy includes improving rates of retrofitting on city homes through public-private partnerships, and eliminating fossil fuel use in the city. Heaps wants to build a more dog-friendly city, and lessen the amount of salt used on Toronto streets in the winter. He says not only is it toxic to pets, but also corrodes streets and cars, and costs too much.
Biography: Little information is available about Sheila Igodan. On her website, she says she is an entrepreneur.
Platform: Igodan’s platform focuses on improving health care for the elderly and people with disabilities by providing personalized services for patients. She also wants to make auto insurance affordable. In addition, Igodan proposes building more parking spaces and implementing a system that provides real-time parking availability. If elected, she says she would introduce fitness programs in parks and support wellness initiatives.
Information about this candidate could not be found at time of publication.
Biography: Syed Jaffery’s website says he has worked in real estate, done two years of medical school, and participated in political campaigning and volunteering. He previously ran for the 2021 federal election as a PPC candidate for Toronto Centre, coming fifth of seven candidates. He told TMU’s On the Record News at the time that he supports diversity in education, Indigenous studies being taught in schools, and greater mental health resources.
Platform: Jaffery has mentioned in an interview that he would prioritize “a strong police” for “safety and security,” as well as prioritizing housing. He also says he would eliminate or reduce development charges. Believes strong mayoral powers could “create conflict.”
Information about this candidate could not be found at time of publication.
Biography: Patricia Johnston is a housing advocate. In November 2022, Johnston spoke at a press conference held by NDP housing critic Jessica Bell against the province’s Bill 23, which she said would curb tenant protections from “demovictions” (evictions due to building demolition). At the conference, Johnston said this can leave seniors on fixed incomes without a home and does not help affordable housing. Johnston also spoke out against rental housing demolition at 25 St Mary Street in April. That same month, she attended the Stop Demovictions Action at 25 St Mary and 145 St George event, according to her website.
Platform: While her website does not have specific platform points, Patricia Johnston’s campaign centres on advocating for affordable housing and against demovictions.
Information about this candidate could not be found at time of publication.
Biography: Serge Korovitsyn describes himself as a capitalist and an anti-socialist, which he attributes to his experiences from his time in the Soviet Union, where he was born. He is self-employed as the founder of a tech startup, and is chairperson and registered president for the Ontario Libertarian Party. In 2021, Korovitsyn was re-elected as chairperson for the Ontario Libertarian Party for a three-year term. He previously ran as an Ontario Libertarian Party candidate unsuccessfully in Aurora-Oak Ridges-Richmond Hill in the 2018 provincial election, and in the 2019 and 2021 federal election as Libertarian Party of Canada candidate. He also ran unsuccessfully in the 2022 provincial election for Scarborough Centre.
Korovitsyn frequently shares misinformation online about topics including the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccinations, and masking. In an April 30 Facebook post, Korovitsyn equated supporters of the Liberal, Green, and NDP parties to “slaves.”
Platform: In Korovitsyn’s platform, he proposes an “Emergency Solution center” for unhoused people, and appears to oppose financial support through welfare funding. He wants private rideshare companies to help solve transit concerns, particularly in the inner suburbs, and wants to purchase an “advanced traffic control system” to eliminate gridlock. He wants to reduce property taxes. His platform also mentions union transparency, development, children’s services and cryptocurrency as a means to pay for city services.
Biography: On his LinkedIn, Michael Lamoureux says he is a self-employed management consultant.
Platform: Lamoureux’s platform focuses on lowering housing prices and halting sprawl and population growth in Toronto, providing free and expanded TTC services, and implementing more social services for people experiencing homelessness. Lamoureux proposes the city sell its community housing and vacant land and use the money to fund rent vouchers for those experiencing housing precarity to access market housing. He wants to build more subways and fund transit infrastructure through increasing parking levies and implementing a $500 —$1000 a year TTC fee per household. Lamoureux proposes trailer parks and cruise ships as emergency shelters, among other housing proposals. He says although he supports safe injection sites and safer drug supply, he would not advocate for drug decriminalization. His platform also mentions climate change, city finances, crime, and addiction.
Biography: Kris Langenfeld ran in the 2022 Toronto mayoral election and came 23rd out of 31 candidates. He also ran in the mayoral election in 2018 where he placed 28th out of 35 candidates. In 2018, Langenfeld won a constitutional challenge, with the judge ruling that security searches at police board meetings were a violation of Charter rights.
Platform: Langenfeld’s platform includes greater affordable housing development alongside condos, increased shelter development, and temporary shelters in vacant commercial properties. He opposes the city’s recent multiplex approval, calling it “excessive” in the number of units it permits. He proposes changes to policing on transit, including transit enforcement officers being dressed in plainclothes rather than in uniform. He wants to institute bylaws to regulate construction in the city, increase property taxes at the rate of inflation, and fight the privatization of Ontario Place.
Biography: Little information is available online about this candidate. Rick Lee is a program manager at Corus Entertainment.
Platform: Lee has no platform available as of publishing.
Biography: Little information is available online about this candidate. On his website, Mark LeLiever says he was born and raised in Leslieville and works in the communications and transportation sectors.
Platform: LeLiever’s platform focuses on improving Toronto’s transit system and economy. He plans to reduce traffic congestion by removing bike lanes on major downtown streets like Richmond and Adelaide Streets and University Avenue; he also wants to scrap the King Street Transit Priority Corridor. He wants to establish free Wi-Fi in the subway. LeLiever also proposes removing what he describes as “unnecessary” traffic lights. In addition, he wants to raise the Toronto police budget by $16 million to hire 225 more police officers and place them at all TTC stations, and adds he wants to increase police presence to fine drivers who block intersections from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on weekdays. He proposes introducing an “incentive-based system” for GTA commuters to reduce highway traffic, but did not specify the details.
Biography: John Letonja ran for mayor unsuccessfully in 2010 and 2022, placing 29th of 31 candidates during the latter election. He also ran for city councillor unsuccessfully in 2014 and 2018 for Ward 6 and 20 respectively. In 2014, Letonja told the media he worked for a postal carrier service and previously as a TTC bus driver, among other jobs. The Local could not verify claims on Letonja’s campaign website that he “did something” for former United States president George H.W. Bush during his last days in office.
Platform: Letonja’s platform is highly focused on saving taxpayers’ money and generating income for the city of Toronto, and he proposes unusual methods for doing so, including selling garbage for recycling, and converting parks and vacant land to farmland. He proposes a new city by-law through which anyone who uses a weapon automatically receives a sentence of life in prison (the Criminal Code cannot be changed by a mayor or through a by-law).
Information about this candidate could not be found at time of publication.
Biography: Giorgio Mammoliti served as councillor of Ward 6—North York Humber and former Ward 7—York West from 1998-2018, and was previously a North York city councillor pre-amalgamation. He also briefly ran for mayor in 2010, not without incident. Known for his outrageous behaviour, some of his more notorious episodes included proposing a red-light district on the Toronto Islands, taking his shirt off in Council as a protest against the Hanlan’s Point nude beach, and claiming he could “smell” communists on his Facebook page.
Mammoliti began his political career as an NDP MPP, but has never been one to toe the line; he was one of the members of Bob Rae’s provincial government who broke ranks to tank a historic bill that would have given same-sex couples equal rights to heterosexual ones.
Mammoliti has consistently called for 0 percent residential property tax rate increases and the elimination of the Municipal Land Transfer Tax, making up the lost revenue by slashing child care services, shelters, affordable housing, and public transit. (Or, in one instance, creating a casino boat.) He has frequently proposed that the Province should take over these services entirely. His more benign pet causes included preserving a very old oak tree and establishing the world’s tallest flagpole in North York—although that involved a shady land deal that landed him in hot water.
After the Bill 5 cuts to Council, Mammoliti lost the race for the new Ward 7—Humber River-Black Creek to neighbouring incumbent Anthony Perruzza. Last year, Mammoliti unsuccessfully ran for mayor of Wasaga Beach.
Like Rob Ford, whom he fervently supported, Mammoliti was frequently a lone “no” vote on issues such as taxes and social services. From 2014-2018, he voted with John Tory 58.4 percent of the time on votes we tracked. He was also, notably, absent for 20 percent of all the key votes we considered, and had one of the worst attendance records on council multiple years in a row.
After his departure from politics, Mammoliti worked as a consultant on government relations and business.
Platform: Mammoliti’s priorities include crime, transit, mental health, affordable housing, and homelessness. His campaign centres on “traditional families as the bedrock of society,” and “ending the war on families, children, and cars.”
Mammoliti opposes the city’s push to decriminalize possession of drugs for personal use. If elected, he says the first thing he’ll do is fire Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa, who he feels has overlooked the consequences of decriminalization.
Mammoliti says housing should be prioritized over bike lanes and promises he would “revisit every bike lane” in the city and order a third-party investigation into those built during the pandemic. He opposes the city’s plans to build safe injection sites and supportive housing buildings, including at Willowdale Manor at 175 Cummer Avenue. He says he would consult community members on the use of the space, and implement transitional housing to address homelessness.
When he registered as a candidate, Mammoliti proposed a police division to focus on the TTC, and suggested that part of the reason for a rise of violence on the TTC is a lack of carding, which was a practice that resulted in racial profiling by police prior to being banned in 2017.
As of publishing, he has not released any new recent platform updates, but has accused fellow candidates for having “woke agendas” and referred to Toronto as “woke Gotham.” His Twitter account was suspended in June.
Biography: Steve Mann is a scientist, inventor, and professor at the University of Toronto, known to some as the “father of wearable computing.” Mann is also an entrepreneur: he was an early inventor of wearable augmented reality technology, and the cofounder of InteraXon, which makes a meditation and sleep headband, among other endeavours.
Platform: According to his website, Mann hopes to revolutionize the education system by proposing free university education (a mandate outside the purview of municipal leadership) and transforming Ontario Place into a research hub. He also proposes implementing fare-free public transit and integrating AI into government operations. Mann also says that he is “dedicated to preserving the West Island of Ontario Place” and hopes to strike a balance between economic growth and the conservation of public spaces. He supports cost cutting through mitigating tech fees, and wants to embrace tax cuts and cryptocurrency as a method to pay taxes.
Biography: Faizul Mohee is an engineer and professor. He is the chair of the Civil & Industrial Engineering Scholarships & Fellowships Committee at the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), as well as for the Professional Affairs Committee of the Canadian Society for Mechanical Engineering (CSME). According to his Twitter, Mohee has worked on mines, power transmission lines, high-rise buildings, and houses.
Mohee obtained his Masters in Engineering from the University of Toronto and his PhD in Civil Engineering from the University of Waterloo. Mohee was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal in Saskatchewan in 2023, which is given to recipients for their contributions to society. He also received the Ontario Young Engineer Award from the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers in 2014.
Platform: On his Twitter, Mohee says he is anti-racist, pro-development, and pro-environment. Some of his priorities include reducing property tax by 10 per cent, reducing the adult fare for the TTC to three dollars, and creating 300,000 units of affordable housing. Mohee says he plans on creating 5,000 city jobs, including within Toronto Hydro, the TTC and Toronto Police Services. To improve travel times, Mohee says he wants to improve infrastructure and roads. He proposes hiring 500 officers, installing CCTV cameras and establishing mental health supports to address car theft and TTC safety. Mohee wants to buy 400 new electric buses and police cars.
Biography: Information about this candidate could not be found at time of publication. A candidate by the same name ran in 2018 and 2022 for councillor in Ward 12, coming third of four in 2022.
Platform: In a note delivered to The Local’s office, Murphy says he wants to stop the demolition of 25 St. Mary Street, a building housing many long-term tenants, renters, seniors, and the largest residential demolition and redevelopment in Toronto history. He wants to fight similar demolition projects, and opposes “densification and speculation.” He also mentions government handling of the opioid epidemic and Metrolinx projects.
Nicula was the leader of the now deregistered federal party, Party for Accountability, Competency and Transparency. He previously ran in the 2012 Durham federal by-election under the Online Party of Canda.
Platform: Nicula working with the provincial and federal governments to “drastically” increase penalties for criminal offences, and improve access to mental health services in an effort to reduce crime. He plans to fare reductions and cheap parking at transit hubs in the suburbs (parking in commuter parking lots is currently free on weekends and statutory holidays). Nicula taxing people driving downtown and using the funds to provide free transit for local commuters. He also says he would build more two-way bike lanes “whenever possible.” He does not support government intervention in the housing market, saying people who can’t afford to live in Toronto should move, and believes that people with “severe mental issues must be kept off the streets.”
Biography: Little information is available online about Nowwarah. His website says he’s an independent businessman.
Platform: While he doesn’t specify how, Nowwarah says he will stop tax increases, implement rent control in the city, prevent evictions, and support affordable housing efforts. He wants to “make the TTC safe again.” He also supports parents exempting their children from Ontario’s sex education curriculum.
Biography: Anthony Perruzza has been on Toronto City Council since 2006, representing Ward 8—York West until 2018 and beating Giorgio Mammoliti to win the new Ward 7—Humber River-Black Creek in the 2018 election. He was previously a school board trustee, North York councillor, and NDP MPP. He currently sits on the infrastructure and environment committee, the TRCA, and the boards of Exhibition Place and the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Along with Mammoliti, he was one of several dissident NDP MPPs who voted down a bill extending rights to same-sex couples. In 2013, then-mayor Rob Ford appointed him to the executive committee after removing Jaye Robinson, who had called for Ford to take a leave of absence after drug use allegations surfaced.
Perruzza has been part of council’s centrist bloc, voting with former mayor John Tory 70.3 percent of the time: 55.6 percent of the time in 2014-2018, 89.0 percent in 2018-2022, and 47.6 percent in the current term. He has voted against Tory-supported Scarborough subway and SmartTrack projects and did not support Tory’s introduction of rooming house regulations.
Perruzza has consistently voted against raising taxes and looking into new revenue tools (except, perhaps, a stormwater charge). However, he has also voted against using reserve funds to reduce youth and student TTC fares. Likewise, he broke with the mayor by voting against Tory’s preferred Gardiner East “hybrid” option, but also against the boulevard option. He has supported some attempts to cut the police budget to fund other initiatives (but not others).
A longtime motorcyclist, Perruzza reliably introduces motorcycle-related motions. (He bikes as well, and generally votes in favour of cycling infrastructure.) In council meetings, he is known for amusingly dramatic speeches about anything from sign permits to threats to democracy.
Platform: Prioritizing affordability in his campaign, Perruzza promises to freeze property tax, city fees, and TTC fare increases for three years if elected. He wants to build 5,000 deeply affordable homes on city land, costing $1,000 a month, in the next two years. To increase city revenues, he says that the $2.2 billion “education levy” that Toronto collects and delivers to the province annually should be kept by the city; he also proposes not giving the city’s property tax collections to the province.
Perruzza wants to build a busway to replace the Scarborough RT, and wants to reopen High Park to cars on weekends. He also proposes implementing eight ”rapid work crews” to repair and maintain Toronto streets, which he says would cost under $4 million per year. Through the 311 app, residents would be able to report issues and upload images and GPS coordinates so crews could be dispatched to do things like repair potholes and remove large garbage items. He also proposes making afterschool programs at public schools and recreation centres free from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m. Peruzza would put in place a “Give Back Fund”: $100 million for community councils to make their own decisions. He wants Doug Ford to move all trucks on to highway 407 to ease traffic on the 401.
Perruza says he wants to keep the Ontario Science Centre in its current location and keep Ontario Place in public hands.
Information about this candidate could not be found at time of publication.
Biography: During previous campaigns, D!ONNE Renée described herself as an entrepreneur and said she previously worked as an actor, model, dancer, and fitness trainer. Renée unsuccessfully ran for mayor in the 2022 municipal election, placing 21st of 31 candidates, as well as in the 2018 and 2014 elections. She has been an advocate for defunding the police, greater inclusivity, and more accountability from all public servants. During her 2014 campaign, Renée crashed a mayoral debate in North York, saying that the candidates invited to the debate were not reflective of minority groups in the community.
Platform: If elected, Renée says she would practice community-centred leadership. She envisions a city that will develop its own affordable housing, more green spaces, and universal wifi. In the 2022 election, Renée’s platform also included increasing accessibility, equity and inclusion, creating anti-oppression training, making the TTC free, improving city infrastructure and transit reliability, adding vertical organic farming, and implementing a plan to allow families and not-for-profit organisations to co-own property with the city.
Biography: According to Remax.ca, Reodica is a real estate sales representative in the Stouffville area. Reodica unsuccessfully ran for Ward 38 councillor in the 2006 municipal election, having placed third of eight candidates, as well as in the 2003 election for the same ward. Reodica also ran unsuccessfully for mayor in Whitchurch-Stouffville in 2014, having placed last.
Reodica’s son Jeffrey was killed by Toronto police in 2004 after the police allege he resisted arrest and pulled a knife. In the aftermath of the shooting, Reodica spoke out against racism and excess use of force by police.
Platform:Reodica says he wants to create a Toronto Savings Union “to fund affordable housing programs.” He also says he wants to allocate 50 per cent of the affordable housing from these programs to first-time home buyers and 50 per cent to people who are economically challenged.
Biography: Information about Walter Rubino could not be found at time of publication. While Rubino has a campaign website, it does not contain details of his professional or personal background.
Platform: Rubino says his priority is “people over profit.” He proposes increased TTC service and the elimination of fares, increased arts and culture funding, safe drug consumption sites and supplies, public use of Ontario Place, permitting alcohol in parks, and “toll charges for non-Toronto residents,” though he does not expand on any of these ideas. He wants to “fight Doug Ford at every turn.”
Biography: Chris Saccoccia, more commonly known as Chris Sky, is one of the most prominent faces of the Canadian anti-vaxxer and anti-lockdown movement. Saccoccia is a vocal anti-Semite, who has quoted Hitler and denied the Holocaust on multiple occasions. His denial of the COVID-19 pandemic and misinformation about the vaccine led to him being banned from Instagram in 2021, and he was arrested multiple times for participating in anti-mask and anti-lockdown protests. Saccoccia was also arrested for allegedly making death threats against Doug Ford and other Canadian premiers and attempting to run over a police officer. In June, he was once again arrested in Toronto for allegedly making death threats.
Platform: In an interview posted to YouTube, Saccoccia said he wants his administration to be the most fiscally conservative of his generation. He wants to give money back to the most “needy citizens” including veterans, unhoused people, and seniors, clamp down on overspending and corruption, and fix the relationship between the public and the police. He says he would streamline high-density residential construction projects and create a rent-to-own program for low-income, first-time homeowners. He also wants to add more subway lines through financing from the private sector. He says he would reduce food prices municipally, though he does not explain how, and opposes bike lanes. He vocally solicits donations and, early in his campaign, sold $500-2000 tickets to a “private nomination banquet.”
Biography: On his website, Lyall Sanders says he is Métis and currently works for a company that serves international students in Canada. Information about his company could not be found.
Platform: Sanders’ platform includes making housing and transportation affordable, reducing property tax, and improving safety in schools. Sanders doesn’t elaborate on how he hopes to enact these priorities.
Biography: Rocco Schipano is self-employed as president of a commercial, residential and industrial design company. According to his LinkedIn, Schipano studied civil engineering as part of his secondary education in Italy, and as an architecture technician at George Brown College.
Platform: Schipano proposes free TTC for children up to 15 years old (it is currently free for children up to 12 years old), overnight road repairs, establishing floating bridges to Toronto Island, and eliminating red tape and wait times for building developments at city hall. Schipano prioritizes addressing the housing crisis and homelessness, and suggests improving building permit turnaround times and workflow as solutions. He also wants to extend last call for selling alcohol to 4:00 a.m. (the current 2:00 a.m. standard is regulated by the province).
Biography: Knia Singh is a criminal defense lawyer and advocate whose work focuses on issues affecting marginalized communities, particularly Black and other racialized people. He has been an outspoken advocate against police carding, and launched a constitutional challenge against the practice in 2015. In 2022, he said the Toronto police’s apology for their treatment and profiling of Black people was a start, but that action and accountability needed to follow (Singh alleges he has been stopped by Toronto police without arrest or charge approximately 30 times). He appears to be currently representing a group of Toronto police officers threatening legal action for former vaccine mandates. Singh previously ran for mayor of Toronto in 2022, where he came in 12th of 31 candidates. He also ran in the 2017 by-election for Ward 42, and for mayor in 2018.
Platform: As of publishing, Singh has not posted a complete official platform . His website has three plans listed, including a “TTC safety plan,” a 91-page document, which appears to be a compilation of TTC transit reports, prefaced with a letter from him. The letter outlines guidelines for how to increase safety on public transit, like the use of special constables to promote safety, the implementation of housing outreach, and the construction of platform barriers to prevent track injuries and deaths. He also has a 10-point plan to reduce violence, which includes a proposal to freeze school suspensions and expulsions, community means to address disputes and gang conflict, and better mental health, education and employment provisions for at-risk people, including those with criminal records. He also advocates for “jail reform over bail reform,” saying that prisons fail to address the root causes of crime.
Partap Dua Singh
Biography: Partap Dua Singh is the leader of the Direct Democracy Party of Canada, a minor political party registered in 2019 and set to deregister this year due to not meeting minimum membership requirements. He previously ran to be mayor of Markham three times, in 2006, 2010, and 2014, coming fourth of five candidates most recently. He also came last in the 2019 federal election, when he ran for Brampton east under another minor political party, Canada’s Fourth Front, of which he is also the leader. Singh says he has a background in business.
Platform: On his campaign Facebook page, Singh says the city faces issues like social inequality and affordability, and he plans to address the root causes. He also says that he is prioritising investments in renewable energy and green infrastructure, though he doesn’t name specifics. Singh wants to fast-track affordable housing projects and create public-private partnerships. To avoid inconvenience and congestion, he proposes scrapping any long-term transit projects and all daytime transit construction. He also mentions creating “community friendly policy,” and focusing on youth and seniors, though further details were not available at time of publication. On his webpage, he says that he will enhance direct democracy by strengthening transparency and promoting local autonomy.
Information about this candidate could not be found at time of publication.
Biography: Erwin Sniedzins is the founder and president of Mount Knowledge, a company that purports to sell AI-driven educational software costing up to $36,000, though the educational and technological foundations of the company’s products are unclear. He is also the chief executive editor at the Waterfront Magazine, which only published one online article in 2022. Sniedzins ran in the 2014 Toronto mayoral election and finished in 57th place out of 65 candidates.
In 2017, CBC reported that Sniedzins bought a fake master’s degree from a Pakistan-based degree mill for $8,100—he says he thought it was a real degree despite not taking any classes. Sniedzins told CBC he had not used the degree to gain employment.
Platform: Sniedzins’ platform includes building 90,000 affordable housing units within three to five years, and revamping the TTC by installing security cameras, implementing an anonymous hotline with an award system, and using Tesla brand electric vehicles. He’s also looking to reduce property tax and improve accountability for mismanaged municipal projects. In an email to The Local, Sniedzins proposed working with the province on affordable housing and space for refugees outside the city, as well as increased policing, though many of his proposals were outside the purview of a municipal leader.
Biography: Sandeep Srivastava’s website describes him as an IT and computer science professional. He previously ran for council in Scarborough wards in 2018 and 2014, and for a 2017 by-election, consistently coming last or close to last. In 2014, he was accused of plagiarism after his campaign website appeared to have copied content from three or four other council candidates’ pages, though he denied the allegations. This year, Srivastava’s affordable housing page is directly copied from the city’s existing HousingTO policy.
Platform: Srivastava’s 2023 campaign is focused on tax and red tape reduction, and public service improvement. He proposes the implementation of a four-year tax freeze. He opposes defunding the police, and says he would support the expansion of police services in conjunction with diversity training and alternative response models such as mental health and addiction services funding. Srivastava also says he plans on making biking accessible by expanding the BikeTO program and creating more biking trails in Scarborough, North York and East York.
Biography: Meir Straus is a high school student from North York, and is running as a joke candidate. While he does have a platform on his website, none of his policy proposals are serious.
Platform : In the spirit of his satirical campaign, Straus says he will put racoons in charge of emergency services, replace public benches with beanbag chairs and create “new subways that go aboveground, are small, compact, and personal, and can go in any direction. We will turn the old subway tunnels into a giant lazy river.”
Biography: Weizhen Tang was convicted of fraud in 2012, and sentenced to six years in prison after a trial determined he lost investors $24 million in a $50 million Ponzi scheme. Tang, who claimed to be the “Chinese Warren Buffett,” reportedly served about two years of the sentence and was released in July 2015. In April 2016, the Ontario Securities Commission permanently banned Tang from participating in Ontario capital markets, including trading, acquiring securities, and serving as a director or officer of any company, investment firm, or as a registrant in the financial industry. Tang stated his intent to continue investment activities, and in May 2019, the Ontario Securities Commission released a statement explicitly warning investors not to work with him after reports that Tang was still active. Tang ran unsuccessfully for mayor in the 2010 election, placing 20th out of 40 candidates.
Platform: In a Tweet, he says his platform “firmly upholds the values of Canadian democracy and multiculturalism” and challenges government corruption. In a LinkedIn newsletter, Tang says he would “reduce and eliminate personal income tax” (this doesn’t fall under municipal jurisdiction). He also says that he would expand business and trade, mental health, and logistics and sustainability for food banks, though he does not specify how. Tang also wants to create transitional jobs for people who are unhoused, to lower demand for shelters. Tang adds that he admires Mao Zedong’s idea of “serving the people.”
Biography: Little information about Mitchell “Mickey” Toye is available online. They told The Local they are 27 years old, “just above the poverty line,” and a graduate of both York University and George Brown College. They say they helped build the Toronto Tool Library on the Danforth.
Platform: Toye’s platform, which is not yet publicly available, focuses on “Economic, Social, and Ecological Redevelopment and Reconceptualization” according to an email they sent The Local. They want to eradicate poverty, illiteracy, and houselessness. Toye is interested in Indigenous sovereignty and rights for local First Nations, and calls for the dissolution of the Crown.
Biography: Reginald Tull is an advocate for at-risk youth. He ran in the 2022 Toronto mayoral election and came in 10th place of 31 candidates. During a mayoral debate ahead of the election, Tull interrupted incumbent John Tory and took to the stage to criticize him, before being led out by security. Tull is the author of the independently published Memoirs of a Bad Boy, which details his life growing up on the streets of Toronto; he also volunteers for the Ontario Prison Ministry, which provides spiritual guidance and support for incarcerated individuals. In March, Tull retweeted a conspiracy theory video alleging that the U.S. and China jointly created COVID-19, and last year tweeted that, as mayor, he’d reinstate all unvaccinated employees. In April, he tweeted, “I am NOT vaccinated Fake news COVID-19.” He has also tweeted praise of former mayor Rob Ford and criticism of Premier Doug Ford.
Platform: Tull proposes building mid-rise multi-unit housing on suburban city land for low- and middle-income families, slowing downtown condo development, and enforcing better living standards for tenants. He wants to create youth resources and training programs to prevent crime, and address gun crime through harsher bail conditions and a buy-back program. In a Tweet, Tull proposes reallocating police funds to youth programs, mental health initiatives and services for unhoused people. He wants to institute a one-year property tax exemption for new homeowners. He proposes a ferry service from Toronto to Burlington to mitigate commuter traffic, and the implementatation of a commuter toll for those driving in from outside the city, proceeds of which would fund the TTC. He wants to deploy plainclothes TTC constables, among other safety measures. His platform also mentions improving city worker wages, expanded access for tow truck companies, arts programming, and parks.
Biography: The Local was unable to verify or find any independent record of Jeffrey Tunney’s claims about his professional history on his campaign website, including that he “has done a lot of covert operations with the government and international governments,” helped Health Canada, the Health Minister of Ontario, and Toronto Public Health during the COVID and SARS crises, and “got private teachings by professors in some of the top universities in the world.” (Toronto Public Health and Ontario Ministry of Health, and other relevant organizations did not respond in time for publication. Health Canada declined to comment, citing privacy concerns).
Platform: If elected, Tunney says he will stop property tax increases, support supervised injection sites, and increase warming centres in the city. He also wants to “reduce carbon use on combustion engines”, make city buildings and public areas cleaner, and reduce violent crime by improving the healthcare system, social assistance programs, and school capacity.
Biography: Kiri Vadivelu is the founder of the Scarborough Tenants Union, a grassroots organization advocating for tenants’ rights, providing information about eviction recourse, and connecting community members with legal clinics. He also works as a web developer, according to his LinkedIn page, and previously worked as a security guard. Vadivelu ran for councillor in Ward 21—Scarborough Centre in the 2022 Toronto municipal election, citing his own fight for housing stability as his motivation to run after he successfully challenged his landlord’s eviction notice during the city-wide pandemic-induced moratorium on evictions. He came in fourth place out of six candidates.
Vadivelu is a member of the Municipal Socialist Alliance, an alliance of socialist candidates with a shared platform of anti-oppression. He is endorsed by the group in this year’s mayoral election.
Platform: Vadivelu espouses the Municipal Socialist Alliance’s 2023 program as his platform. This includes defunding the police, creating municipal school breakfast programs, improving transit and eliminating fares, investing in mental health supports, and creating better infrastructure and supports for cyclists and pedestrians. He supports taxing and regulating the wealthy, including corporate landlords, and addressing corruption and their impacts on the environment. He also mentions regulating postal code discrimination by banks. In an article published by the Municipal Socialist Alliance, Vadivelu said he and the alliance aim to build mass social housing, provide free public transit, and cut the city’s police budget by at least 50 percent, alongside improving climate policy and school repairs, and regulating corporate wealth.
Biography: Jack Weenen is a former mechanic and deckhand, having worked on tug boats and tall ships. He ran unsuccessfully in the Toronto mayoral election in 2014 when he was 19 years old, and again in 2018, placing 31st out of 35 candidates. Running in 2018, and set to attend York University for history in the fall, he told the Toronto Star his motivation for running was that he “wasn’t quite sure” what to do and that “maybe politics was a good calling.” Further, he said that if he was running for councillor he would have “probably put in a lot more effort” in his campaign because it would be for his local community. In both 2014 and 2018, he told the media he planned to run every election year until he won, though he did not run in 2022.
Platform: While Weenen doesn’t currently have a website or campaign published, he said in 2018 that he wanted to expand the transit system with added stations, have social housing and “multi-unit family units” in condo buildings.
Information about this candidate could not be found at time of publication.
Biography: There is little information available online about Jody Williams. Her website says she has eight years of experience working with the ACTRA Union and Plan International.
Platform: William’s platform appears to cover issues like free transportation, better access to washroom facilities and affordable housing, but has no details about how those goals would be achieved.
Biography: Little information could be found online about John Winter. He says on his website that he attended Harvard University, and has experience in business administration. On his LinkedIn, he says he has a background in arts and film.
Platform: Winter says he will establish “the lowest tax rates possible,” make transit free, and clean up Lake Ontario and city streets. He also says he would do the job of mayor for free.
Nathalie Xian Yi Yan
Biography: Nathalie Xian Yi Yan is a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner based in Hamilton. In 2018, she was found guilty of medical misconduct, and was sentenced to a 10-month suspension and a $65,000 fine, neither of which has she fully served out, according to reporting by the Hamilton Spectator. Yan subsequently filed 19 separate claims of appeal, complaint, and defamation against various parties involved in the disciplinary measures, all of which she lost.
Yan has run in municipal, provincial, and federal elections. In 2006, she finished second of two candidates in the Hamilton municipal election for Ward 6. She ran in the 2007 provincial election, the 2010 Hamilton municipal election, and the 2018 Hamilton mayoral race, where she placed 5th out of 15. She also ran in the 2019 and 2021 federal elections, and most recently in this year’s Hamilton provincial by-election, in which she came ninth of ten.
Platform: Yan has a YouTube page where she has released several videos—almost all over an hour long—in which she discusses plans to improve governance and change the justice system. How she would accomplish these goals was not clear, and many of her ideas are outside of the jurisdiction of municipal government.
Information in Candidate Tracker was compiled and written by The Local‘s team of journalists and fact checkers through independent research and verification. The Tracker will be regularly updated as candidates register and expand their platforms. If you’re a candidate whose information is not listed or up to date, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Last updated: June 19, 2023.
Contributors: Inori Roy, Emma Buchanan, Rebecca Gao, Heidi Lee, Ramona Leitao, Nikky Manfredi, Danielle Orr, Neville Park, Ashleigh-Rae Thomas, H.G. Watson.
Local Journalism Matters.
We're able to produce impactful, award-winning journalism thanks to the generous support of readers. By supporting The Local, you're contributing to a new kind of journalism—in-depth, non-profit, from corners of Toronto too often overlooked.Support