Doug Ford’s government eyes strong mayor powers, revamp for Brampton and Mississauga


Published November 16, 2022 at 2:07 pm

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Doug Ford’s progressive conservatives want to revamp Peel Region’s two-tier government with a goal to remove “red tape” and extend strong mayor powers.

Legislation tabled today aims to extend strong mayor powers and reduce “municipal duplication” in several two-tier municipalities including the Region of Peel, the Ontario government said in a press release.

The changes could be significant for Peel Region but were praised by Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie who has been advocating for the city to leave the region.

“Today’s announcement by the provincial government is a positive step toward reforming local government in a manner that addresses the concerns of Mississaugans,” said Crombie.

The reasoning behind the move is fast-track housing starts across the province. Ontario wants Mississauga to build 120,000 housing units in 10 years as part of their More Homes Built Faster legislation introduced last month.

Crombie indicated the two-tier government is holding the city back to reach that goal.

“I’m confident this assessment will create a path for Mississauga’s independence and lead to greater fairness and less red tape for residents and businesses, so both the city and province can plan for future growth and support the province’s goal of building 120,000 new homes in Mississauga over the next decade,” she said.

Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown also supports the plan.

“Redundancy is the enemy of productivity,” said Brown. “I am glad the provincial government is looking at ways to make municipalities in Peel more efficient by removing duplication. This will help address the challenges of growth and support the construction of the homes Brampton residents so desperately need.”

Although the Region of Peel’s first council meeting on Thursday (Nov. 16) had the appointment of a new chair on the agenda, the new legislation, if passed, would re-appoint the existing chair, Nando Iannicca in Peel.

The reappointment of existing chairs “will provide continuity and stability at the regional level as facilitators consider how best to extend strong mayor powers to existing two-tier municipalities that are shovel-ready and committed to growth and cutting red tape.”

The provincially-appointed facilitators will assess regional governments in Durham, Halton, Niagara, Peel, Waterloo and York.

“These facilitators will work with local governments to assess the best mix of roles and responsibilities between upper and lower-tier municipalities and ensure they are equipped to deliver on the government’s commitment to tackle the housing supply crisis,” the press release noted.

Strong mayors, now in Toronto and Ottawa have expanded authority over city budgets and the hiring and firing of senior city staff.

Only a two-thirds vote of city council can overrule strong mayors on decisions regarding affordable housing projects, public transit, highways and other infrastructure projects.

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