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An Update on the Province’s Regional Government Review


Earlier this year, the Province announced it would be conducting a review of the effectiveness and efficiency of regional governments across Ontario.

At the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) Annual Conference held in August in Ottawa, the Hon. Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, provided the following update on the process:

  • The current regional government system has been in place for almost 50 years – and the Province wanted local input on how to improve governance, decision-making and service delivery;
  • Special advisers Ken Seiling and Michael Fenn are finalizing their recommendations (UPDATE – Oct. 2, 2019: Min. Clark has received the findings from his advisers and is reviewing them);
  • More than 8,500 submissions and almost 100 in-person presentations were received; and
  • A further update would be provided in this fall.

We had been hoping for more information, but it appears the recommendations from the review may not be shared until some time after the Oct. 21 Federal election.

Since the review was launched, the City of Burlington, together with the other municipalities in Halton, has shared the following messages with the Province and Special Advisers:

  • We are not interested in a City of Halton;
  • We are not interested in eliminating Halton Region; and
  • We support and are willing to look at where changes can occur in municipal service delivery and to make government more efficient and affordable – something we already do on an ongoing and regular bases, typically around budget time for our City.

The City of Burlington, Halton Region and the area municipal councils also approved resolutions that supported these messages that were forwarded to Minister Clark and the Special Advisers.

We believe Halton Region is an effective two-tier government where the Region and the four area municipalities work together to ensure services are delivered as efficiently as possible. A change to our current governance structure is not necessary and would be disruptive and wasteful.

We don’t know for certain when and how the Province will make any future announcements on this matter, however, I will commit to sharing that information with residents as soon as it becomes available — including the City’s assessment of what it might mean for the future of the City of Burlington.

I encourage you to visit the Facebook page for the We Love Burlington group that formed in response to the Regional Government Review to learn about its work to date and to share your feedback with your local MPP and Provincial Government.


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1 thought on “An Update on the Province’s Regional Government Review”

  1. The regional government review is long overdue. However, the resolutions passed by City and regional councils do not reflect the full consensus of the citizens of Burlington, as they were never asked to contribute their opinions prior to the passing of those resolutions. Regional government was forced upon us in 1973, despite significant resistance by local citizens. Regional government has never provided a more economical or efficient system of government, than a single tier municipal system. Prior to regional government, Burlington was responsible for nearly all municipal services (other than those downloaded later by the province), and did it at a lower cost than any neighbouring municipality (police, water, sewers, planning, garbage, landfill, etc.). In the years that followed, the regional government grew in cost and duplication (planning, roads, heritage, business development, politicians, bureaucrats, etc.), and the lack of efficiency was paid for in increased property tax bills. Burlington has grown as a community for over 150 years, Halton has been nothing but a bureaucratic invention and never a community. So, you should have considered the option of eliminating the unnecessary regional level of government, for the sake of taxpayers.

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