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John Tory resigning as Toronto mayor after admitting to affair with staffer

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John Tory will step down as mayor of Toronto after having a relationship with a member of his office staff during the pandemic.

Tory announced on Friday evening that he will resign after The Toronto Star broke the news of the affair.

He disclosed the relationship to reporters, and said it "did not meet the standards to which I hold myself as mayor and as a family man."

"I recognize that permitting this relationship to develop was a serious error in judgment on my part," Tory said.

"I am deeply sorry and I apologize unreservedly to the people of Toronto and to all of those hurt by my actions, including my staff, my colleagues on City Council and the public service for whom I have such respect."

He also apologized to his wife Barbara Hackett and his family. They have been married since 1978. The couple met when the former Rogers cable executive was in law school. They have four children and six grandchildren.

Tory admitted that he became engaged in the affair when he and his wife “were enduring many lengthy periods apart while I carried out my responsibilities during the pandemic.”

The affair ended by mutual consent earlier this year, Tory said, and the employee had left city hall and secured another job elsewhere.

"While I deeply regret having to step away from a job that I love, in a city that I love even more, I believe in my heart, it is best to fully commit myself to the work that is required to repair these most important relationships," Tory said.

Toronto Mayor John Tory arrives for a press conference at City Hall in Toronto on Friday, February 10, 2023. (THE CANADIAN PRESS Arlyn McAdorey)

He did not take any questions from reporters after reading his prepared statement.

On Saturday morning, the city confirmed that Tory had not yet submitted a resignation letter.

The 68-year-old was first elected mayor in 2014, replacing the late Rob Ford, whose time in office was plagued with scandals. Tory would be re-elected in 2018 and 2022 and was set to become the city's longest-serving mayor had he finished the current term.

"I think it is important, as I always have, for the office of the mayor not to be in any way tarnished and not to see the city government itself put through a period of prolonged controversy arising out of this error in judgment on my part, especially in light of some of the challenges that we face as a city," he said.

The announcement comes days before his first budget under the new strong mayor power was to be debated at a special council meeting on Feb. 15. The city is facing a nearly $1 billion shortfall as a result of financial impacts from the pandemic.

Toronto Mayor John Tory speaks during a press conference at City Hall in Toronto on Friday, February 10, 2023. (THE CANADIAN PRESS Arlyn McAdorey)

Tory said he will work with the city manager, city clerk and Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie in the coming days to ensure an orderly transition.

He added that he had asked the integrity commissioner to review the relationship.

"I want to thank the people of Toronto for trusting me as mayor," Tory said. "It has been the job of a lifetime. And while I've let them down and my family down in this instance, I've nonetheless been deeply honoured by the opportunity to serve the people of this wonderful city."

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