Non-Citizen Voting Rights and Urban Citizenship in Toronto

Abstract

This paper examines the current regime of municipal voting rights in Toronto as a problematic expression of urban citizenship. Many residents of Toronto and other Canadian cities are denied the municipal franchise because they are not Canadian citizens. The paper explores recent scholarship and campaigns in Toronto striving to re-define the relationship between migration, citizenship, cities and voting rights. In the process, Toronto has become the first Canadian city to formally endorse non-citizen municipal voting rights. Yet, Toronto lacks the authority to establish its own criteria for the municipal franchise, suggesting that greater municipal autonomy may be a precondition for more inclusive urban citizenship.

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Acknowledgments

I am grateful to Phil Triadafilopoulos for organizing the workshop for which this paper was originally prepared. Subsequent revisions benefited greatly from insightful feedback provided by two anonymous reviewers for this journal and from Alan Meisner’s assistance securing 2011 Canadian census data. Any shortcomings and errors are my own.

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Correspondence to Myer Siemiatycki.

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Siemiatycki, M. Non-Citizen Voting Rights and Urban Citizenship in Toronto. Int. Migration & Integration 16, 81–97 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12134-014-0333-9

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Keywords

  • Non-citizen voting rights
  • Immigrant political participation
  • Urban citizenship
  • Toronto