Academic Leadership: The Online Journal


This paper will examine the seminal events leading up to passage of the Fewer School Boards Act (Bill 104), and its impact on the newly created Toronto District School Board (TDSB). While the focus of this paper will be on Bill 104, it is important to note that significant structural changes needed to occur in Toronto and its neighbouring municipalities before Bill 104 could take effect. To facilitate these changes, the Ontario government introduced and passed Bill 148 An Act to Establish a New City of Toronto. Bill 148 amalgamated the City of Toronto with the surrounding cities of East York, Etobicoke, North York, Scarborough, and York to create the “New” City of Toronto with a combined population of 2.5 million citizens. Passage of Bill 148 cleared a path for the Ontario government to then pursue passage of Bill 104. Passage of the Fewer School Boards Act amalgamated Toronto’s Public School Board with its five neighbouring cities but it also terminated the Metropolitan Toronto Public School Board. Where 74 trustees had represented citizens in Metropolitan Toronto, the newly elected 22- member TDSB became responsible for over 300,000 students, 21,000 employees, and almost 600 schools. Each trustee represents a ward containing nearly 100,000 residents (Bedard and Lawton 2000). While this study will focus on Toronto, both Bills 148 and 104 were part of a larger agenda by the Ontario Progressive Conservative government to restructure a number of Ontario sectors, with education being the most predominant. As Leithwood, Fullan, and Watson note, the latter half of the 1990s in Ontario can be viewed as “the most tumultuous in the province’s history” (2003, 1).