The Legislature

For the Assembly, a major challenge in designing the new system was balancing the objectives of retaining strong local representation (through local members) and achieving proportionality (by adding list members). We believe that our recommendation achieves the right balance for Ontario.

In the new system, there will be 90 local members (70% of the legislature) and 39 list members (30% of the legislature). We chose this ratio to ensure strong local representation. Other countries with Mixed Member Proportional systems have lower percentages of local members.3

The number of local members will be reduced from 107 to 90 to allow for the addition of list members. While each electoral district will have more constituents, citizens will gain representation overall through the combination of local and list members.

Local members and list members together will make up 129 seats in the legislature. By adding a total of 22 seats, the new system achieves proportionality and provides more representation for Ontario’s population. The province today has about 1.4 million more people than it did when the 1996 Census of Population was taken. At 129 seats, the legislature will be close to the size it was from 1987 to 1999, when it had 130 seats. Ontario will still have fewer representatives for its population than any other province or territory in Canada.

For the 1999 Ontario election, the number of seats in the legislature was reduced from 130 to 103 (or by 21%). The number of seats was decreased only one other time in Ontario’s history, in the 1934 election. In the future, if a government increases the size of the legislature to reflect population growth, it is important that list members continue to make up at least 30% of the total number of seats in order to ensure proportionality.

This table shows how many people, on average, each member represents in provincial and territorial legislatures in Canada.

Province/Territory
Number of Seats
Population per
Member
Ontario
107
(seats for 2007 election)
113,647
Ontario
127
(seats recommended by the Assembly)
94,266
Quebec
125
60,369
British Columbia
79
52,069
Alberta
83
39,643
Manitoba
57
20,147
Nova Scotia
52
17,567
Saskatchewan
58
16,692
New Brunswick
55
13,273
Newfoundland & Labrador
48
10,531
Prince Edward Island
27
5,032
Northwest Territories
14
2,962
Yukon
18
1,687
Nunavut
19
1,551

Sources: Population data from Statistics Canada, "Population and Dwelling Counts, for Canada provinces and territories, 2006." Seat totals from provincial and territorial elections offices.

3 In Germany, local members account for 50% of the legislature; in Scotland, 57%; in New Zealand, 58%; and in Wales, 67%.