May 2, 2023

Toronto Mayoral Debate & Candidate Selection Process

On June 26, Toronto heads to the polls to elect its next mayor. How will our city’s new leader handle key issues like food insecurity, poverty and the affordable-housing crisis? To hear firsthand from the candidates, Daily Bread Food Bank is hosting a kickoff debate on site from 7:00-9:00pm on Monday, May 15 — the first official day of the campaign season.

Mayoral candidates debate on May 15

Moderated by TV and radio host Maggie John, the debate will focus on the theme “Surviving to Thriving: Tackling Toronto’s Affordability Crisis.” It’s hosted in partnership with Second Harvest, Feed Scarborough, Agincourt Community Services Association, LAMP Community Health Centre and the Women’s Habitat. 

Although in-person seating is sold out for now, we hope as many people as possible will be able to join us via livestream. You can even have your own watch party to hear about candidates’ platforms on affordable housing, transit and more.

Debate participant selection process

On May 1 we made our final confirmations regarding candidate participation for the upcoming mayoral debate. Our selection approach was based on the Federal Leaders Commission and utilized the latest polling data from Forum Research (results provided privately). We then cross-referenced that poll with the most recent Mainstreet Research and Liaison Strategies poll. The polls were released last week (April 24-May 1).  

We selected the top six candidates that were polling consistently across the last three polls, and who were polling above 4%, as per the Federal Leaders Commission. We chose six because that is the maximum number we felt could be accommodated to ensure that each candidate had time to speak and answer questions from the moderator and the audience. 

The six candidates that were invited to the debate are: 

  • Ana Bailão
  • Brad Bradford 
  • Olivia Chow 
  • Mitzie Hunter 
  • Josh Matlow 
  • Mark Saunders (Declined Invite)

Nonetheless, we recognize the limitation of polling and name recognition in politics, so we will be inviting all registered candidates to submit a 250-word written statement about themselves, why they’re running for office, and their priorities, so the public can be aware of all the candidates that are on the ballot come June 26.  

These statements are being posted on our website as we receive them and will be up until by-election day on June 26. Polls are open from 10am – 8pm on by-election day. Advance polls are open 10am – 7pm from June 8-13.

Find out more about the debate and how to livestream it here. Learn more about the by-election and how to cast your vote here.

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