US & Canada

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford to return to office after rehab

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford appeared in Toronto, Ontario, on 17 April 2014 Image copyright AP
Image caption Toronto Mayor Rob Ford had undergone treatment at a rehabilitation centre since early May

Embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford intends to return to work on 30 June after a two-month stay in rehab for treatment of substance abuse.

Mr Ford notified the city clerk of his plans in a letter released on Tuesday, Canadian media report.

The Toronto politician has been stripped of many of his powers after admitting using and purchasing illegal drugs while mayor.

He is currently seeking re-election to the office on 27 October.

"Kindly be advised that I will be returning to work at City Hall on Monday, June 30th, 2014, in the later portion of the afternoon," Mr Ford wrote in a letter to Ulli Watkiss, according to Canadian media.

"Please make the necessary arrangements for my locks to be restored to their state prior to my departure."

'Drunken stupor'

He had undergone treatment for substance abuse at a rehabilitation centre in Bala, Ontario, since early May.

Mr Ford was first elected to lead Canada's largest city in 2010 on a pledge to tackle wasteful spending at city hall, drawing much of his support from the suburban areas of Toronto.

He soon privatised rubbish collection across much of the city and did away with a vehicle tax. But he soon became bogged down in disputes with the council, and developed a reputation for public drunkenness.

Following months of denials, Rob Ford admitted last year to smoking crack cocaine in a "drunken stupor" after police said they had obtained a video that appeared to show him taking the illegal drug.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Mr Ford's challengers for the mayoral seat include candidate Olivia Chow

Since the rumours of the crack cocaine video emerged last year, other videos have surfaced showing him ranting obscenely in an apparently intoxicated state.

Allegations have also surfaced in police documents that Mr Ford used racially abusive language, threatened staff, sexually propositioned a female colleague, and snorted cocaine in a restaurant. He has denied these allegations.

In the fallout from the drugs scandal, the city council stripped Mr Ford of most of his mayoral powers and his budget, rendering him effectively mayor in name only.

But Mr Ford has brushed aside pressure to quit, saying voters will decide whether to keep him in office in the October election.

Two main challengers, Conservative businessman and broadcaster John Tory and former New Democratic Party member of parliament Olivia Chow, are vying to replace him as mayor in the 27 October election.

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