A new motion heading to a City committee calls on Council to close a loophole in its pregnancy and parental leave laws for councillors.
The motion, written by Councillor Virginia Ridley and supported by Councillor Maureen Cassidy, will be tabled at the Corporate Services Committee Tuesday.
It calls for Council to support Bill 46, Municipal Statute Law Amendment Act, which amends the Municipal Act, 2001 and the City of Toronto Act, 2006 to provide that the office of Council members will not be vacated due to absences related to pregnancy, or the birth or adoption of the member’s child.
“We know that there’s a barrier to young women entering politics, there are many barriers,” said Cassidy.
“Raising children is just one of them, giving birth is just one of those barriers. Now, we’re seeing, I think more and more, women at different levels of government having children while they’re sitting in office, and I think that’s wonderful.”
Currently, if a member is gone for more than 3 months, the council seat must be vacated. There is only an exception if Council grants one, as they did for Councillor Jared Zaifman who is recovering from a concussion sustained over five months ago.
Cassidy says this isn’t just about the loophole, but making sure women feel they can enter the political realm.
The Corporate Services Committee meeting starts at 12 p.m. Tuesday.