New ‘strong mayor’ legislation could split Mississauga and Brampton from Region of Peel

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Published November 17, 2022 at 11:38 am

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They say that breaking up is hard to do, but that’s what might be in store for the Region of Peel as the province plans to remove “red tape” at the municipal level and give some mayors more power.

Legislation tabled by the Ontario PC party on Wednesday (Nov. 16) aims to reduce “municipal duplication” in several two-tier municipalities, including the Region of Peel, and extend so-called “strong mayor” powers beyond Toronto and Ottawa.

Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown says the end result of these changes could mean the dissolution of the region of Peel.

Brown said he’s in favour of the legislation, which he believes will “help address the challenges of growth and support the construction of the homes Brampton residents so desperately need.”

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie, who has been outspoken about her desire for that city to split with the Region, also applauded the legislation saying it’s time for Mississauga “to gain its independence.”

“I’m confident this process will create a path for Mississauga’s independence and lead to greater fairness for taxpayers,” she said.

If passed, the new rules could also allow the province to appoint regional chairs. The legislation included plans to reappoint previous term Peel Regional Chair Nando Iannicca, who was officially nominated and unanimously voted in at the Region’s first council meeting on Thursday.

Ontario NDP housing critic Jessica Bell has called the proposed changes an “affront to democracy,” but Brown said he’s not concerned with the province having the power to appoint chairs at the municipal level due to “the likelihood that there will be no Peel Region in the very near future.”

“This is not a permanent position,” Brown told CP24 on Wednesday. “So I think (the province) were selecting caretakers to help us through this temporary period, and you want someone with experience,” Brown said of Iannicca.

“I think it’s fair and practical given what’s coming down the pipe.”

The province said 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.”

Steve Clark, minister of municipal affairs and housing, said provincially-appointed facilitators will assess regional governments in Peel, Halton, Durham, Niagara and other jurisdictions on whether they can deliver on the government’s plans to tackle Ontario’s housing supply.

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