2020 Toronto Centre federal by-election

A by-election was held in the federal riding of Toronto Centre in Ontario on October 26, 2020, following the resignation of incumbent Liberal MP and Minister of Finance Bill Morneau. After 5 years in Parliament, and as many years as finance minister, Morneau resigned both positions on August 17, 2020, to seek the position of secretary-general of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), in the wake of the WE Charity scandal.[1][2]

2020 Toronto Centre federal by-election

October 26, 2020 (2020-10-26) Next →

Riding of Toronto Centre
Turnout30.96% (Decrease 35.12pp)
  First party Second party
Annamie Paul in Toronto Regent Park (cropped, 3x4).jpg
Candidate Marci Ien Annamie Paul
Party Liberal Green
Popular vote 10,581 8,250
Percentage 41.98% 32.73%
Swing Decrease 15.39pp Increase 25.66pp

  Third party Fourth party
Candidate Brian Chang Benjamin Gauri Sharma
Party New Democratic Conservative
Popular vote 4,280 1,435
Percentage 16.98% 5.69%
Swing Decrease 5.29pp Decrease 6.44pp

Results by Advance Polling Divisions

MP before election

Bill Morneau

Elected MP

Marci Ien

The seat was held for the Liberals by journalist Marci Ien on a much reduced majority, as a result of the scandal and a strong campaign fought by Annamie Paul, the new Leader of the Green Party. The Greens finished with a historic high share of the vote in the riding.[3]

It was held on the same day as the by-election in nearby York Centre.



Toronto Centre is an urban constituency at the centre of Toronto. The constituency covers the heart of Downtown Toronto and contains diverse areas such as Regent Park, St. James Town, Cabbagetown, and Church and Wellesley.

The riding also contains Ryerson University, The Toronto Eaton Centre and part of the city's financial district (the east side of Bay Street). Toronto Centre is the geographically smallest and has the highest population density of any riding in Canada.[4]


Toronto Centre has been a safe seat for the Liberal Party of Canada since 1993. Former MPs include Bill Graham and Bob Rae, both former interim leaders of the Liberal Party.

Bill Morneau became the MP for Toronto Centre at the 2015 election, and immediately joined the 29th Canadian Ministry as Minister of Finance under Justin Trudeau. He was re-elected with a marginally increased majority in 2019.

Morneau resigned due to the WE Charity scandal, standing down as both finance minister and a Member of Parliament.[1][2]


It was announced on September 17 that broadcast journalist Marci Ien, co-host of The Social and former co-anchor of Canada AM, was appointed as the Liberal candidate.[5]

New Democrat Brian Chang, who had been the party's candidate in 2019, won the party's nomination over Caleb Chapman, Walied Khogali Ali, and Sebastian Mendoza-Price.[citation needed]

The Conservatives initially nominated Ryan Lester, who later withdrew and was replaced by Benjamin Sharma,[6] who previously ran for the party in the 2014 Trinity—Spadina by-election.

The Greens nominated newly elected leader Annamie Paul, who previously ran in the riding for the Greens in the 2019 election. At the time of her nomination, Paul was a candidate in the party's leadership election, and received the party's permission to run in the byelection.[7][8]

Baljit Bawa announced himself as the People's Party of Canada candidate[9] after Maxime Bernier chose to run in York Centre.[10]

The leader of the provincial Ontario Libertarian Party, Keith Komar, canvassed to get enough signatures to be on the federal Toronto Centre ballot.[11]

Perennial candidate Kevin Clarke registered as an Independent candidate.[12]

Perennial candidate Dwayne Cappelletti registered as a candidate for Free Party Canada,[12] the final requirement for becoming a registered political party.

Perennial candidate Above Znoneofthe, a member of None of the Above Direct Democracy Party, registered as No Affiliation[12] by leaving the party affiliation box on his registration papers blank.

Rhinoceros Party leader Sébastien CoRhino announced via Twitter that the party had a candidate in Toronto Centre and was looking for one in York Centre.[13] The declared candidate for Toronto Centre, Sean Carson, did not appear on the list of confirmed candidates after the registration deadline.[12]

The Speaker's warrant regarding the vacancy was received on August 24, 2020; under the Parliament of Canada Act the writ for a by-election had to be dropped no later than February 20, 2021, 180 days after the Chief Electoral Officer was officially notified of the vacancy via a warrant issued by the Speaker.[14] Under the Canada Elections Act, the minimum length of a campaign is 36 days between dropping the writ and election day.[14]


Canadian federal by-election, October 26, 2020: Toronto Centre
Resignation of Bill Morneau
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Liberal Marci Ien 10,581 42.0 -15.4 $116,839
Green Annamie Paul 8,250 32.7 +25.6 $100,008
New Democratic Brian Chang 4,280 17.0 -5.3 $71,222
Conservative Benjamin Gauri Sharma 1,435 5.7 -6.4 $0
People's Baljit Bawa 269 1.1 $22,752
Libertarian Keith Komar 135 0.5
Independent Kevin Clarke 123 0.5
Free Party Canada Dwayne Cappelletti 76 0.3 $1,570
No affiliation Above Znoneofthe 56 0.2 $0
Total valid votes 25,205 100.0
Total rejected ballots 118 0.5 -0.2
Turnout 25,323 30.9 -35.2
Electors on lists 81,861
Liberal hold Swing -20.5
Elections Canada[15][16]

Note: Candidates' names are as registered with Elections Canada.[12]

2019 resultEdit

2019 Canadian federal election: Toronto Centre
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Liberal Bill Morneau 31,271 57.37 -0.53 $95,538.84
New Democratic Brian Chang 12,142 22.27 -4.34 $58,656.81
Conservative Ryan Lester 6,613 12.13 -0.06 $39,309.94
Green Annamie Paul 3,852 7.07 +4.47 $34,903.20
Animal Protection Rob Lewin 182 0.33 $2,171.71
Rhinoceros Sean Carson 147 0.27
Independent Jason Tavares 126 0.23
Communist Bronwyn Cragg 125 0.23 -0.03 $626.58
Marxist–Leninist Philip Fernandez 54 0.10 -0.05
Total valid votes/Expense limit 54,512 99.30 $107,308.65
Total rejected ballots 384 0.70 +0.18
Turnout 54,896 66.08 -3.27
Eligible voters 83,076
Source: Elections Canada[17][18]
Liberal hold Swing +1.90


  1. ^ a b "Bill Morneau resigns as finance minister and MP, will seek to head up OECD". Archived from the original on August 18, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Bill Morneau resigns as finance minister and MP to seek top job at OECD". Archived from the original on September 3, 2020.
  3. ^ "Federal Liberals projected to hold onto Toronto Centre in byelection". CBC News. October 26, 2020. Archived from the original on October 27, 2020. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  4. ^ Population and Dwelling Count Highlight Tables, 2016 Census. Statistics Canada (Report). June 15, 2020. Retrieved December 30, 2020.
  5. ^ Gilmore, Rachel (September 17, 2020). "Broadcast journalist Marci Ien will be Liberal nomination in Morneau's former riding". CTV News. Retrieved September 17, 2020.
  6. ^ Ryan Lester [@RyanLesterTO] (October 5, 2020). "I'll be sitting out the upcoming by-election while we resolve some technical requirements with Elections Canada" (Tweet). Retrieved October 5, 2020 – via Twitter.
  7. ^ "Byelections called for Toronto Centre, York Centre on Oct. 26". CBC News. September 18, 2020. Retrieved September 19, 2020.
  8. ^ Zimonjic, Peter (September 24, 2020). "Green Party leadership candidate Annamie Paul to run in Toronto Centre by-election". CBC News. Retrieved September 25, 2020.
  9. ^ Baljit S. Bawa [@Bbawa] (October 1, 2020). "My name is @Bbawa, and I'm the candidate running for the @peoplespca in the upcoming byelection for Toronto Centre on October 26th" (Tweet). Retrieved October 1, 2020 – via Twitter.
  10. ^ Benzie, Robert (September 18, 2020). "Maxime Bernier, Marci Ien running in two Toronto byelections called for Oct. 26". Welland Tribune. Retrieved September 19, 2020.
  11. ^ Ontario.Libertarian.Party [@LPOntario] (September 26, 2020). "**VOLUNTEERS NEEDED TO ASSIST IN BALLOT ACCESS**" (Tweet). Retrieved October 4, 2020 – via Twitter.
  12. ^ a b c d e Final list will be available on October 7. "List of candidates – Toronto Centre (Ontario)". Elections Canada. Retrieved October 7, 2020.
  13. ^ Sébastien CoRhino [@CorRhino] (September 21, 2020). "October 2020 by-election in #Toronto!" (Tweet). Retrieved September 21, 2020 – via Twitter.
  14. ^ a b "Vacant Seats in the House of Commons Since the 2019 General Election". Elections Canada. Retrieved September 1, 2020.
  15. ^ "Toronto Centre: October 26, 2020, by-elections — Poll-by-poll results". Elections Canada. Retrieved September 16, 2021.
  16. ^ "October 26, 2020, By-elections: Official Voting Results". Elections Canada. Retrieved September 16, 2021.
  17. ^ "List of confirmed candidates". Elections Canada. Retrieved October 4, 2019.
  18. ^ "forty-third general election 2019 — Poll-by-poll results". Elections Canada. Retrieved August 20, 2020.