Toronto city councillor Jim Karygiannis loses court bid to keep seat

OTTAWA — Jim Karygiannis is no longer a member of Toronto City Council after the Supreme Court of Canada declined to hear his bid to hang on to the position.

Karygiannis, a former Liberal member of Parliament, won re-election to city council two years ago and filed the required financial statement outlining his campaign income and expenses.

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An audit was ordered after two complaints were received about his allocation of expenses.

Karygiannis then filed a supplementary financial statement that showed he exceeded the allowable spending limit for expressions of appreciation during the campaign.

Under Ontario's Municipal Elections Act, such a spending violation results in automatic forfeiture of office.

However, an Ontario Superior Court judge allowed Karygiannis to keep his seat upon deciding the error at issue was made inadvertently and that he had not tried to hide anything.

The Ontario Court of Appeal set aside the lower court decision, saying there was no jurisdiction to provide relief from forfeiture.

That prompted Karygiannis to take his case to the Supreme Court.

As usual, the top court gave no reason Thursday for refusing to hear the appeal.

"By virtue of today’s decision by the Court, Mr. Karygiannis is no longer a city councillor for Ward 22," the City of Toronto said in a statement. A report will go to city council next Wednesday for consideration of the next step in filling the vacancy, the statement added.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 24, 2020.

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