Integrity commissioner investigates after complaint over Toronto mayor's ties to Rogers

·2 min read
The complaint — filed by Activist Adam Chaleff — stems from Tory's connections with Rogers Communications Inc., the telecommunications giant that also owns the Toronto Blue Jays. (Evan Mitsui/CBC - image credit)
The complaint — filed by Activist Adam Chaleff — stems from Tory's connections with Rogers Communications Inc., the telecommunications giant that also owns the Toronto Blue Jays. (Evan Mitsui/CBC - image credit)

Toronto Mayor John Tory is being investigated after a complaint filed with the city's integrity commissioner alleging that Tory had a conflict of interest when he voted to scale back the popular ActiveTO program, CBC Toronto has confirmed.

"An investigation is underway," integrity commissioner Jonathan Batty wrote in an email.

The complaint — filed by Activist Adam Chaleff — stems from Tory's connections with Rogers Communications Inc., the telecommunications giant that also owns the Toronto Blue Jays.

Tory is a Rogers shareholder and an adviser to the Rogers Control Trust (RCT) — a paid role. The RCT is run by family and friends with voting rights; it was set up after Ted Rogers died.

This summer, Blue Jays CEO Mark Shapiro wrote to the city urging it to stop the ActiveTO traffic closures on Lake Shore Boulevard so that fans could drive to the games at Rogers Centre.

Tory chose to vote in favour of the motion, which scaled back the program.

Batty added he has reached "no conclusion" that the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act has been breached at this point.

The act prohibits councillors from participating in matters where they have either a direct or indirect financial interest. Councillors are barred from using their influence on decisions where there is a direct or indirect conflict.

'We deserve a mayor who has one master'

Chaleff submitted the application for an MCIA Inquiry on July 22 through his lawyer Gregory Ko. The document, dated July 15, alleges Tory breached the act when he publicly commented during a debate on a staff proposal to revisit weekend road closures along Lake Shore Boulevard.

"I just don't think it's appropriate," said Chaleff, who works in communications and has a history of activism at city hall with previous complaints against former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.

"And I think we deserve a mayor who has one master — the public interest — and not two masters."

Tory's office denies allegations

Tory's office has denied the allegations.

"This vote was about a city program that the mayor introduced and championed throughout the pandemic and this was a very broad public issue involving all road users in the city," spokesperson Don Peat said when asked to comment on the complaint.

"The city staff report made no mention of that organization," Peat continued, referring to Rogers Inc.

Robert Krbavac/CBC
Robert Krbavac/CBC

Launched in 2020 during the pandemic, ActiveTO gives pedestrians and cyclists access to various roadways on summer weekends. Shapiro's letter to council asking for an end to the ActiveTO closures was dated June 6.

Transportation Services staff recommended in a report debated June 15 that the road closures be dialled back because of traffic delays and the impact on the bevy of events happening in the city this summer.

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