EdVo-Post: Term Limits – Turnover data on MPs, Ontario MPPs, Toronto Councillors, & Ontario Public Trustees

Lately there has been a great deal of talk about putting limits on the number of terms that a person could serve as School Board Trustee, but these discussions have been largely data-free.

To get a sense of the validity of the concerns expressed, I’ve collected some data on how many changes of representatives took place over the last two elections at Toronto City Council, the Ontario Legislature, Federal Parliament, and the Public School Boards in Ontario.  Here is a summary of data that I was able to gather:

  • Toronto Councillors           40% turnover (18 of 44)
  • Ontario MPPs                      47% turnover (50 of 107)
  • MPs                                      55% turnover (170 of 311)
  • Ontario Public Trustees     60% turnover (248 of 414)


If the Toronto Council is typical of other Municipal Councils, it is clear that this is the level that would benefit most from term limits.  It is also worthy to note that 10 of the 18 changes on Toronto Council were due to resignations of mostly long-serving Councillors (I am unable to get resignation statistics for other levels of elected representatives).  It is somewhat disappointing therefore that the 12 member Executive Committee of the Toronto Council voted 8 to 4 against even considering the possibility of having terms limits (Extrapolating from this data, 20% of Councillors would serve for 24 years or longer.)

It is interesting to note that the level that is the target of the greatest pressure to have term limits imposed is that of the Ontario Public School Trustee where 60% of those elected in 2006 were no longer in office after the 2014 elections.  It seems to be clear that contrary to popular opinion the position of Trustee is the one that is most responsive to voters.  In my opinion, a rate much higher than 60% over two terms would lead to a loss of critically important experience and organization memory of what happened in previous years.  (Extrapolating from this data, only 6% of Trustees would serve for 24 years or longer.)

The turnover rate in the party-based Ontario Legislature (at 47%) and Canadian Parliament (at 55%) is intermediate between Toronto Council and Ontario Public School Boards.  The difference between these two numbers reflects what happened politically.  In Ontario, the governing Liberals maintained majority (or near majority) mandates.  In Parliament, even with the dramatic “Orange Wave” of NDP MPs in Quebec during the 2011 election, the turnover didn’t manage to equal that of the School Trustees. (Extrapolating from this data, 15% of Ontario MPPs and 9% of MPs would serve for 24 years or longer.)