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City Council Scorecard

What is the City Council Scorecard?

The City Council Scorecard provides a quick reference for the results of major votes at Toronto City Council. Updated after every council meeting, votes are added together to give each councillor a quantitate measure of how they vote with or against the mayor on major items. Between 2010 and 2014, I called this the "Ford Nation Percentage." After Mayor John Tory's election in 2014, the scorecard now measures "Team Tory Percentage."

Current Version

How do you define a major item?

I use my judgement, which admittedly makes for subjective decisions. Generally, I'll include votes if they are either (a) items relating to high profile news stories; (b) part of the mayor's electoral mandate and/or (c) especially close or contentious.

It's worth pointing out that council considers hundreds of agenda items every time they meet -- 99% of which won't appear on the scorecard. While these items don't get the attention others do, they do represent the fundamentals of running a city like Toronto.

What do the colours on the left side mean?

You often hear council broken down into three groups: the left, the middle and the right. Some people find this practice really annoying, but it's a short-hand nomenclature that's unlikely to go away anytime soon. In an attempt to quantify those three groups, I've broken down the councillors on the scorecard based on their overall percentages:

  • Councillors who vote with the mayor less than 30% of the time on major item are classified as "left" or "opposition" councillors
  • Councillors who vote with the mayor more than 70% of the time are classified as mayoral allies - you could call this the right
  • Everyone else between 30% and 70% falls into the middle

Aren't you encouraging a kind of divisive politics that hurts Toronto?

Yes. No. I don't know. All I've got are these numbers. Any conclusions you want to make are your own.

How many votes does it to take to win?

On items where every councillor and the mayor are in attendance, it takes 23 votes to win. However, quorum is kept as long as half of council is in attendance, which means sometimes items can pass with far fewer votes.

What do the names attached to recent votes mean? And how come some items have funny double negative phrasing?

The names attached to recent votes indicate the councillor who moved the motion. Sometimes motions will be staff recommendations, in which case it will just read 'Staff.'

The funny double negative phrasing is done to keep the results consistent. Because of the way the percentages are calculated, items need to be consistent -- the mayor has to always represent the 'Yes' vote whereas his opposition has to be on the 'No' side. This means I have to invert a lot of items.

Where can I get more information about a given vote?

Above each result, there will be a code like 2012.CC1.1. If you go to the search page at toronto.ca/council and search for the last part of that code (e.g. CC1.1) you'll be able to bring up the entire agenda item.

I rely on the data provided by the City Clerk at toronto.ca/council to build the scorecard. If you ever notice a discrepancy between their information and my own, please let me know.

How is the total percentage calculated?

It's a pretty simple formula that takes the number of 'Yes' votes and divides by the total number of votes that councillor has cast. 'Absent' votes do not count.

I've noticed a mistake or I think you've missed a vote that should be included or I demand you remove this immediately.

If you have any feedback, please email me.