The province has introduced changes to help make sure there are fewer barriers to those who want to serve in government, but who also have children.
The Liberals announced on Wednesday that changes are being made to allow for designated pregnancy and parental leaves.
That’s something local politicians have recently called for with Councillors Virginia Ridley and Maureen Cassidy signing a motion that asks the City to close a loophole that could force Councillors to leave their seats after 3 months away.
The motion called 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 said this isn’t just about the loophole, but making sure women feel they can enter the political realm.
It’s unclear at this point on how the provincial changes will impact the motion from Ridley and Cassidy.