About the Ward
York South-Weston is bordered by the Humber River to the west, the Canadian National Railway track to the east, Highway 401 to the north, and the Canadian Pacific Railway track to the south. The average household income is well below the city average, at $67,954, and 45.6 percent of renters spend more than 30 percent of their income on shelter costs. Current councillor, Frances Nunziata, has sat on council since 1988, prior to amalgamation.
Where the Candidates Stand
There are just three candidates in the race for the York South-Weston city council seat, including incumbent Frances Nunziata—the longest-serving member of council. Voter turnout in the ward was among the lowest in the city in 2018, at just 36 percent. Of those who voted, 32 percent were in favour of Nunziata while 20 percent voted for Chiara Padovani, setting up what should be an exciting rematch on October 24. The third candidate in the race is Gabriel Takang (see all of their fact-checked bios in the next section).
The matrix below provides a head-to-head comparison of where council candidates stand on key issues. The Local combed through city council records to review all the decisions made over the last four years and identified a dozen votes that are the most telling on different issues: homelessness, transportation, housing, policing, taxes, and the environment. We then sent the challengers a survey asking them how they would have voted on those same 12 motions, adding the results to what we already know about how Nunziata voted. And the results are illuminating.
Firstly, there was full participation in the survey—permitting a head-to-head comparison among all three candidates.
Here Are the Takeaways
- Incumbent Frances Nunziata consistently voted with Mayor Tory (and other right-leaning councillors).
- Challengers Chiara Padovani and Gabriel Takang took similar, progressive stances on issues.
- Padovani is the only candidate who voted “No” on the motion to raise the 2019 police budget by $4.5 million in response to the rising rates of gun violence in the city, and “Yes” on the motion to increase the residential property tax rate by an additional 2 percent.
Read Our Election Stories:
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City Council Candidates
Frances Nunziata - Incumbent
Frances Nunziata has a 37-year career in politics which began when she was elected school trustee in 1985, and then city councillor in 1988, in the former City of York. Nunziata served as the Mayor of the City of York from 1994 to its amalgamation in 1998, and has been a Toronto city councillor since. Nunziata sits on several boards and committees. She has been city council speaker since 2010. Nunziata’s brother, John Nunziata, is also a politician who has served four times as the MP for the York South-Weston ward between 1984 and 2000. John Nunziata’s son, Patrick Nunziata, is a TDSB trustee for Ward 3. Nunziata was a councillor during Rob Ford’s tenure as mayor and often voted with him. During John Tory’s tenure, Nunziata predominantly voted with him. During her most recent term, Nunziata put forward a motion to turn the Toronto Rent Bank into a permanent grant-based program, pushed for a no-fault grant to help residents living in the flood-prone area of Rockcliffe repair flood damage, and asked for support for the establishment of a Somali Community Cultural and Recreation Centre in Toronto. While discussing police’s eviction of park encampments in Toronto during a council meeting, Nunziata suggested that the people who refused to leave did so to make a political statement. Nunziata has been endorsed by Mayor John Tory.
Chiara Padovani is a social worker who was born and raised in Mount Dennis, on the west side of Ward 5. Padovani studied international development studies during her undergraduate career, which led her to advocate for human rights across Argentina and Ecuador for three years. She currently works in community engagement at the North York Harvest Food Bank. She helped found the York South Weston Tenants’ Union to help tenants fight for affordable rent and is an outspoken advocate for affordable housing as well as improving social assistance. Padovani ran for councillor during the 2018 elections and came in third with 5,358 votes. Padovani’s platform prioritizes better transit and safer roads, affordable childcare, green neighbourhoods, and affordable housing. As city councillor, she says she would make all new housing developments on public land not-for-profit. Padovani has been endorsed by the Toronto & York Region Labour Council, Progress Toronto, and the Toronto Star.
Gabriel Takang has an academic and professional background in public administration. Takang was born in Cameroon and immigrated to Canada in 2006 where he has become an advocate for the African-Caribbean community in Toronto. Takang has helped found several organizations fostering community, inclusion, and equity in Toronto, with a particular focus on Cameroonian-Canadians, such as the Camer Social Club, the Little Hands Global Foundation, and the Manyu Elements Cultural Association. He has also held positions at the Licensing Appeals Tribunal Ontario and the Ministry of the Attorney General’s Office of the Independent Police Review. His platform prioritizes affordable housing, accessible mental health and childcare services, ensuring transit and subway security, and tackling climate change. He also mentions improved services for seniors and the prevention of gun violence as priorities.
School Trustee Candidates
Relina D’Amico previously ran in the 2018 election for the Ward 5 trustee position. She placed third out of six candidates.
On his website, Lanny Ferreira says he is a constituent assistant for York South-Weston MPP Faisal Hassan, who has door-knocked with Ferreira during his campaign. Ferreira has worked as the president of the Ontario NDP’s York South-Weston riding association. He is also the co-founder of the Keelesdale Neighborhood Group, a community group hosted on Facebook that coordinates neighbourhood initiatives including local clean-ups. If elected, Ferreira wants to ensure equitable funding among schools, low class sizes and increased investments to upgrade what he describes as “crumbling infrastructure.” He has been endorsed by Progress Toronto.
Liban Hassan is a public policy professional with a Master of Public Policy and Administration from York University. According to his LinkedIn profile, he is a Senior Policy Analyst at the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, currently working in the area of Urban, Rural and Northern Indigenous Housing and previously worked as a Senior Policy Analyst for the National Housing Council. While in school and working as a Payment Service Officer for Employment and Social Development Canada, he wrote an article about diversity and inclusion in the federal government, which was published in Canadian Government Executive magazine. Hassan says on his campaign website that if elected, he plans to advocate for mental health awareness and wellbeing programs, an enhanced budget for upgrades and repairs of schools, and create inclusive and safe schools, among other priorities. He says he will also ensure community engagement in decision-making for Ward 6.
Information about this candidate could not be found at time of publication.
George Stevens previously ran in the 2014 municipal elections as a city councillor candidate for Davenport. He placed fourth out of four candidates. There was limited information online regarding Stevens’ current campaign at the time of publication. As part of his campaign in 2014, he said he wanted to see the city council become a more cohesive, effective team, and committed to protecting vulnerable workers, expanding transit, and creating more jobs.
Suleiman Sualim was part of the Centennial College’s cross country team. His platform includes reducing class sizes, increasing one-on-one time between students and instructors, and enhancing student mental health services.
Daniel Di Giorgio - Incumbent
Daniel Di Giorgio has been the TCDSB trustee for Ward 10 since 2018. He is an associate at Sherpa Venture Studio. Di Giorgio previously served on the board of directors of the Angel Foundation for Learning. In April 2022, he was investigated by an integrity commissioner for allegedly making disparaging statements about fellow trustees in an Italian-language newspaper, for which the commissioner produced a report and found him in breach of conduct (the integrity commissioner quit soon after due to what they called a violation by trustees who moved discussion to a private session, which is in contravention of the board’s complaints process and the Education Act). Di Giorgio maintained he did not breach the code of conduct. In August 2022, the Toronto Catholic School Board voted and cleared Di Giorgio of any breach in conduct. Di Giorgio has voted in favour of the motions to recognize Pride month and fly the Pride flag, and include terms like gender identity and expression in the code of conduct.
Elisabeth Garcia’s website describes her as director of Rosary Apostolate, an organization dedicated to teaching students to pray the rosary in schools. She also describes herself as an executive member of the Catholic Women’s League, though The Local was not able to find her name on the executive committees of the national, provincial or local branch websites. According to her campaign platform, Elisabeth states that if elected, she will promote the Catholic faith and gospel teachings, provide additional support to students and teachers and promote extracurricular activities.
Information about this candidate could not be found at time of publication.
Geneviève Oger - Incumbent
Geneviève Oger is the incumbent trustee for Conseil scolaire Viamonde Ward 4 – Ouest. She was elected in 2018 and has won the election by acclamation for the coming term, given she is running unopposed. Oger is the acting Senior Policy & Issues Advisor to the Deputy Minister’s Office at the Ontario Ministry of Francophone Affairs. She was the former media spokesperson for the Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, and was formerly a journalist. She is also vice chair of the Conseil Scolaire Viamonde – Ouest board and sits on the board of directors for Association des Conseils Scolaires des écoles publiques de l’Ontario. As part of her 2018 campaign, Oger said she prioritizes inclusivity in schools, providing support for multicultural, multilingual families to pass on their language and culture to the next generation, and ensuring the engagement and consultation of parents in decision-making.
Nathalie Dufour Séguin - Incumbent
Nathalie Dufour Séguin is the incumbent trustee for MonAvenir Ward 3 – Toronto Ouest and has been re-elected by acclamation for the 2022 term as she is running unopposed. She was first elected trustee by ballot vote in 2006 and received acclamation in 2010. In 2014, she decided to step down to pursue other projects and was re-elected by ballot vote in 2018. Outside of the TCDSB, Dufour Séguin is an Education Community Relationship Manager for Groupe Média TFO, a media company that generates educational and cultural content for the Ontario Francophone community. She is also a former board member and former president of Toronto Francophone Women’s Shelter La Maison d’hébergement francophone de Toronto.
Dufour Séguin is on the MonAvenir School Council, having originally joined in 2006 when she became trustee (when the school was named Conseil scolaire de district catholique Centre-Sud). After serving as vice president for two years, she was elected president in 2012, a role she held until 2014. In 2013, under Dufour Séguin’s leadership, the school council launched a discrimination action against the province as a means of forcing the Ministry of Education to replace one of their Hamilton-based schools with a new, larger building for the expanded student population. An issue Dufour Séguin said people have been advocating for since the 1990’s, the council invoked charter rights by arguing the Francophone school was not being resourced adequately and therefore access to education was not equal to those in Anglophone schools.
Information in Candidate Tracker was compiled and written by The Local’s team of journalists and fact checkers. City council candidates were emailed a questionnaire asking for information about their history, experience, and plans. They were also surveyed about their stances on twelve key votes that took place in the 2018-22 council term. Not all candidates were reachable or responded. The Local also conducted its own research to independently source and verify information about each city council and school trustee candidate. If you’re a candidate whose information is not here, please email us at email@example.com. Last updated: October 11, 2022.
Contributors: Inori Roy, Ann Marie Elpa, Nikky Manfredi, Danielle Orr, H.G. Watson, Emma Buchanan, Dhriti Gupta, Zeahaa Rehman, Neville Park, Nicholas Hune-Brown, Tai Huynh, Craig Madho, Steve Combes, and Lia Mattacchione.
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