Here are all the cities getting strong mayors powers in Ontario

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Published June 16, 2023 at 11:20 am

ontario strong mayor powers

The Ontario government just announced 26 more cities — including Mississauga, Brampton and Hamilton — are getting strong mayor powers.

The 26 cities will get the strong mayor powers on July 1 this year, Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, said today (June 16) at the meeting of the Ontario Big City Mayors.

Clark hinted more cities would be getting strong mayor powers in May.

The strong mayors will have the same powers as Toronto and Ottawa, which were the first cities to get the powers in the fall of 2022.

It means expanded authority over city budgets and the hiring and firing of senior city staff. And 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.

The 26 cities are among the “largest and fastest growing in our province,” said Clark.

The cities also have committed to a housing pledge as part of the province’s work to build 1.5 million homes by 2031.

The new powers are aimed at getting more homes built.

“By adopting ambitious and absolutely necessary housing pledges, these 26 municipalities have demonstrated they understand the importance of that target, and we are ensuring they have the tools they need to succeed,” said Clark.

When asked if this is democratic, as councillors will have less power, Clark said: “We need to set our communities up for success…we want to make sure they have tools to get the job done.”

Marianne Meed Ward, chair of Ontario Big City Mayors and Mayor of Burlington praised the initiative.

“Different communities require different tools and approaches to address local housing needs, and strong mayor powers are one such tool that can help mayors and municipalities meet their housing targets,” Ward said. “We’re committed to continue working with the province to build the homes our residents need.”

Here are the 26 municipalities getting strong mayor powers:

  1. Ajax
  2. Barrie
  3. Brampton
  4. Brantford
  5. Burlington
  6. Caledon
  7. Cambridge
  8. Clarington
  9. Guelph
  10. Hamilton
  11. Kingston
  12. Kitchener
  13. London
  14. Markham
  15. Milton
  16. Mississauga
  17. Niagara Falls
  18. Oakville
  19. Oshawa
  20. Pickering
  21. Richmond Hill
  22. St. Catharines
  23. Vaughan
  24. Waterloo
  25. Whitby
  26. Windsor

Strong mayor powers and duties 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

Watch the announcement here.

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