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Wednesday 19 June, 2024
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Scarborough city councillor Cynthia Lai Dead, Cause of Death

BY Anas Shah Oct 22, 2022. 04:22 pm

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Cynthia Lai, a member of the Toronto city council, passed away, her re-election campaign revealed on Friday.

Her passing occurs just a few days before the October 24 municipal election, in which she was seeking to keep her position.

“It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Councillor Cynthia Lai, Ward 23, Scarborough North this afternoon. She was surrounded by family at the hospital,” the statement said.

In the municipal election on Monday, Lai, who emigrated to Canada from Hong Kong in the 1970s and was initially elected in 2018, faced competition from three other candidates for reelection.

The reason of death was not disclosed in the statement, and her family has requested discretion.

‘A community leader’

Lai was hospitalised for the most recent council meeting in September, but when CBC Toronto called to ask how she was doing two weeks later, a spokesperson from her office said the councillor was doing fine.

Before entering local politics, she worked in real estate. According to her biography on the municipal website, she served on the Real Estate Council of Ontario and was the first Chinese Canadian president of the Toronto Real Estate Board (TRREB).

Lai was “a community leader” who “championed the interests of her constituents and delivered services to citizens that reflected the demographic make-up of her ward,” according to a statement released by TRREB president Kevin Crigger on Friday evening.

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Lai, according to Crigger, will be remembered as a successful real estate agent, a staunch protector of her neighbourhood, and an advocate for boosting women’s representation in local government.

If a certified candidate for an office passes away and another candidate would not win by acclamation as a result, the election will proceed as if the candidate had not been nominated, according to subsection 39(a) of the Municipal Elections Act, 1996 (MEA).

The election for the council seat in Ward 23, Scarborough North, will proceed as scheduled on Monday, October 24, according to the city, given the presence of three additional candidates.

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