Rob Ford: What powers does he still have as mayor?

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford returns to office on Monday after a nearly two-month stint in rehab to seek help for his alcohol abuse problem. Here's a look at what powers he'll return to and what's been stripped away.

A look at the powers still held by Toronto's chief magistrate

Little is likely to change for city business when Toronto Mayor Rob Ford returns. He'll still be stripped of his key powers. (Mark Blinch/Reuters)

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford returns to office on Monday after a nearly two-month stint in rehab to seek help for his alcohol abuse problem.

His sudden departure came in late April as news broke about an alleged second video appearing to show him smoking crack cocaine as well as audio recordings of him making sexist and homophobic comments. 

Here's a reminder of what powers Ford lost before his absence, what responsibilities he returns to and what's next for the mayor.

What powers were taken away from Ford?

Last November, a series of motions stripped Ford of numerous powers, leaving him largely mayor in name only. 

Toronto city council voted to take away his ability to hire and fire the deputy mayor and appoint members of his executive committee. The motion put a freeze on the standing committee and deputy mayor positions in an effort to provide stability, but allowed Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly to appoint replacements if vacancies occurred.

A lot of the mayor's authority comes from the ability to appoint committee chairs.

Another motion reduced his staff and office budget to that of a regular city councillor. At the time, 11 of Ford's 20 staff members transferred to Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly's office, including the mayor's chief of staff and policy director.

Councillors also put the deputy mayor in control of responding to emergencies, though Ford retained the ability to declare a state of emergency.

Also, Ford was stripped of the ability to designate key items or choose to speak first or last on agenda items at council.

What powers does Ford have when he returns?

Ford has retained largely ceremonial functions, such as representing the city at official functions and heading council. In December, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne chose to meet with the deputy mayor instead of Ford. Kelly was also invited to represent the city at many events.

Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly assumed full control of city affairs during Ford's absence. (CBC)

When Ford took a leave of absence in early May to enter into rehab, his departure left the deputy mayor fully in charge of city affairs.

"I have agreed to assume the responsibilities of mayor," Kelly said at the time. "This transfer is effective immediately."

For the duration of Ford's rehab, Kelly assumed the last few remaining powers in Ford's hands. Members of Ford's staff also reported to him.

But Kelly stated that the temporary transfer of remaining powers wouldn't drastically affect city business, since he'd already assumed so many of the typical mayoral responsibilities.

How did the city fare during Ford's absence?

Beyond a quieter news cycle, city councillors heralded Kelly's temporary reign for restoring civility and some semblance of normalcy, the Toronto Star reported.

"Ever since his departure from City Hall, things have been very calm," Coun. Kristyn Wong-Tam said to the Globe and Mail during Ford's absence. "There's a lot of business being conducted."

Media outlets pointed out the numerous appearances that Kelly made with Wong-Tam, who is openly gay, in relation to Pride celebrations, including a historic mass wedding on June 26 of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two-spirited couples. The appearances stood out in stark contrast to Ford, who has admitted that he chooses to avoid the city's annual Pride parade.

Now what?

Ford's return to office will also mark his return to campaigning for re-election this fall. Torontonians go to the polls on Oct. 27.

Ford signalled his intention to run for re-election early on, filing his papers on the first possible date in early January. So far, more than 50 people have entered the race. Among the high-profile candidates are Olivia Chow, former NDP MP for Toronto's Trinity-Spadina riding; John Tory, former Progressive Conservative leader; David Soknacki, a former city councillor and city budget chief; and Coun. Karen Stintz.