You may have heard in the news today the Province may be contemplating stronger abilities for mayors in Ontario, beginning with a pilot in Toronto and Ottawa, then rolling it out across the province in 2023.
The Chair of the Ontario’s Big City Mayors (OBCM) caucus called a special meeting today for discussion amongst the mayors. The OBCM statement is included further down this post.
I’ve been contacted by several media outlets about my own views of the proposed changes to the role of the mayor. My most recent statement is below, and is being posted on my social channels with the OBCM press release.
I would welcome any questions, comments or feedback you may have on this, as it appears there will be many months of trial, consultation and evolution before changes are made.
STATEMENT FROM MAYOR MEED WARD:
We have yet to hear any specific details. I look forward to hearing more and providing input to the Province and collaborating on any solution that will deliver results, faster, for all our communities.
This is also an opportunity to launch the larger conversation we really need to have about more abilities for municipalities and their elected councils as a whole. It’s time we were our own order of government, with a stronger ability to deliver for residents, especially in the areas of planning, electoral reform and revenue tools.
All municipal agencies, including the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, FCM’s Big City Mayors Caucus, OBCM and Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO), have called for a new relationship for municipalities within the federation — something I am personally committed to. (Charter Cities is one avenue to achieve this).
Burlington Council is very cohesive and collaborative, with more than 90% of our votes being unanimous, and the balance of votes with strong consensus around options. We work well together and I know that will continue regardless of whatever changes are made to the role and function of the mayor.
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*Please see below a statement from the Ontario’s Big City Mayors caucus.
July 20, 2022
Statement on Province’s Proposed Changes to the Powers of Big City Mayors
Ontario’s Big City Mayors (OBCM) met today to discuss the proposed changes to the powers of Big City Mayors.
The OBCM Caucus has not had the ability to review the proposed legislation and how it would fit in the context of Ontario municipalities. We look forward to discussing this further with the province as many Caucus members are eager to see what such legislation would be like, for their own Cities outside of Toronto and Ottawa. Especially if these changes result in a more agile, efficient government for the citizens in each of our cities.
OBCM looks forward to further discussion on what additional changes can be made to deliver the mandate Mayors have been given through the electoral process. It is an opportunity for a larger conversation about a new relationship for municipalities, who are managing a growing list of responsibilities that include infrastructure, housing affordability, climate change, transit, and attracting business investment.
About Ontario’s Big City Mayors
Ontario’s Big City Mayors (OBCM) includes mayors of 29 single and lower-tier cities with a population of 100,000 or more, who collectively represent nearly 70 per cent of Ontario’s population. OBCM advocates for issues and policies important to Ontario’s largest cities.