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Province Announces Findings from its Regional Government Review

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The Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the Honourable Steve Clark, and the Province announced today the results from its Regional Government Review and that it would not be overhauling the regional government bodies across Ontario. Below are some highlights from the announcement and the media release issued by the Province earlier today.

Highlights of the Regional Review:

  • Included: 8,500 submissions, 9 in-person sessions, 100 individuals and organizations — strong consultation response;
  • Provincial government had no preconceived outcomes; and
  • What they heard: local communities want to decide what is best for them related to governance, service delivery and decision-making.

Highlights of the Announcement:

  1. building from success of Municipal Modernization Fund – renewing fund, funding support up to $125 million over 4 years, application-based funding stream — small and medium municipalities;
  2. extend Audit and Accountability funding: for 39 large, 6 million over three years and aiming for efficiencies for 2021 budget;
  3.  consultation regarding aligning municipal fiscal years to the same as Province;
  4. combined voters list — proposed to be amended to be a provincial responsibility; and
  5. work with municipalities in partnership with municipalities / will not impose cuts in size or changes to municipal councils and will not be a top-down approach.

Province’s Media Release:

TORONTO ― October 25, 2019 — Ontario is providing up to $143 million to municipalities to help them lower costs and improve services for local residents over the long term. Funding will be available to all 444 municipalities so they can find smarter, more efficient ways to operate and focus spending on vital programs and services for Ontarians.

Municipalities deliver a wide range of services that people rely on every day, like transit, water and wastewater, and parks and recreation.

“Municipalities are the level of government closest to the people, but every community is different – one size doesn’t fit all. This investment in communities will support municipal transformation efforts to make sure they are delivering efficient, effective and modern services that best meet the unique needs of their residents. We are committed to helping and empowering municipalities to become more efficient and effective, so they can make every dollar count. This investment supports the province’s commitment to reduce the cost of government, while maintaining quality services the people of Ontario expect from all levels of government.” — Hon. Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing

The Province is working in partnership with municipalities to ensure that taxpayers’ dollars are respected. Earlier this year, the government conducted a review of Ontario’s eight regional governments and Simcoe County. Over 8,500 submissions were received and the Special Advisors, Michael Fenn and Ken Seiling, attended nine in-person sessions and listened to ideas from individuals and organizations on how to improve their local governments.

Throughout this extensive review, the government heard that local communities should decide what is best for them in terms of governance, decision-making and service delivery. After careful consideration of the feedback we heard through the course of the review, our government stands firm in its commitment to partnering with municipalities without pursuing a top-down approach. We will provide municipalities with the resources to support local decision-making.

” Thanks to Premier Ford and Minister Clark for recognizing that Halton Region is a safe community, with low taxes, the highest credit rating and where 97 per cent of residents are satisfied with the quality of Halton Region services. We appreciate the Minister’s recognition that municipalities are best positioned to determine what works for their communities and for not imposing a top down approach. I would also like to thank Halton residents for participating in this consultation process through their letters, delegations and submissions.” — Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr said in a Halton Region media release.

MAYOR MEED WARD’S TAKE:

After this extensive review, it is evident the provincial government heard loud and clear that both local communities and municipal leaders strongly believe they should decide what is best for themselves in terms of governance, decision-making and service delivery. The people spoke and the government listened. This outcome is not a surprise to us in Burlington where, as part of Halton Region, we have the highest credit rating and see 97 percent of residents indicate they are satisfied with the quality of services here.

I applaud the Honourable Minister Clark and Premier Ford for listening to the feedback they received from municipal and regional governments, local residents and community groups (including the We Love Burlington group and all community members who advocated on behalf of City Hall) and we appreciate the handshake approach now being taken by the Province compared to the hatchet approach we were seeing earlier this year.

We welcome the Ontario government working closely with municipalities to find savings through efficiencies and cut red tape to encourage business growth, as we have recently done in Burlington. Deciding not to overhaul the regional government system with a top-down approach and providing up to $143 million in funding over 4 years to all Ontario municipalities will allow us to continue to self-govern and find effective ways to lower costs and improve our services. I look forward to ongoing collaboration with our Provincial government and colleagues.

— Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

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*Posted by John Bkila, Mayor’s Media and Digital Communications Specialist.

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2 thoughts on “Province Announces Findings from its Regional Government Review”

  1. Congratulations Marianne for all your hard work towards this goal!! The municipalities have spoken loud and clear.

  2. Gary and Jill Parker

    This announcement is a pleasant surprise as many of us expected a different outcome. Maybe this government is starting to realize that alienating large swaths of the folks that voted for them isn’t in its long-term interest. Aside from our individual citizen feed back we need to recognize the contribution made by our ‘Stop Amalgamation’ team made in highlighting this issue and pressing the issue with Queen’s Park.

    Well done!

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