Ontario gives more ‘strong mayor’ powers to Toronto, Ottawa

TORONTO – Ontario is extending further “strong mayor” powers to the leaders of Toronto and Ottawa and is reviewing the role of regional governments as part of the government’s push to build 1.5 million homes in 10 years.

Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clark introduced legislation today that would appoint “facilitators” to assess the regional governments in Durham, Halton, Niagara, Peel, Waterloo and York and the best mix of roles between upper-tier and lower-tier municipalities.

It would also reappoint the existing regional chairs in Niagara, Peel and York.

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The bill would also let the mayors of Toronto and Ottawa propose bylaws on provincial priorities – such as building more homes – and enable council to pass them if more than one-third of council members vote in favour.

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Clark already has another housing bill before the legislature, which would in part freeze, reduce and exempt fees developers pay in order to spur building, but municipalities have expressed concerns that would leave them without enough funding to construct supporting infrastructure.

Ontario’s fall economic update from earlier this week showed that the province has revised projections for new home construction downward, but Clark says he still believes the province can hit the 1.5 million target.

&© 2022 The Canadian Press

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