Both St. Catharines and Niagara Falls granted ‘strong mayor’ powers by Province

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Published June 16, 2023 at 11:26 am

Both Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati, left, and St. Catharines Mayor Mat Siscoe were granted 'strong mayor' powers by the Province this morning. (Photo: Twitter)

Both Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati and St. Catharines Mayor Mat Siscoe were given ‘strong mayor’ powers by Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, this morning (June 16) along with 24 other Ontario cities.

That means after Toronto and Ottawa were granted similar powers last year, there are now 28 Ontario cities with strong mayor powers, although none north of Barrie.

Ontario’s new strong mayors can use their new powers only to veto and pass bills for the purpose of advancing “provincial priorities.” For Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives, these priorities are to build as much housing as possible, as fast as possible.

However, there are far more job tweaks with the ‘strong mayor’ designation. They include:

  • Choosing to appoint the municipality’s chief administrative officer
  • Hiring certain municipal department heads, and establishing and re-organizing departments
  • Creating committees of council, assigning their functions and appointing the chairs and vice-chairs of committees of council
  • Proposing the municipal budget, which would be subject to council amendments and a separate head of council veto and council override process
  • Vetoing certain by-laws if the head of council is of the opinion that all or part of the by-law could potentially interfere with a provincial priority
  • Bringing forward matters for council consideration if the head of council is of the opinion that considering the matter could potentially advance a provincial priority
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