Mississauga moves forward to request independence while Brampton hasn’t chosen a position. Provincially appointed facilitator is yet to be determined.
February 22, 2023 – In 2022, as Ontario introduced the Better Municipal Government Act, to build 1.5 million homes a housing crisis, it announced the government would “extend the tools provided for in the Strong Mayors, Building Homes Act to some of Ontario’s fastest-growing municipalities”, and would appoint facilitators to assess the regional governments in Durham, Halton, Niagara, Peel, Waterloo and York.
The facilitators would be tasked with determining the best mix of roles and responsibilities between the upper and lower-tier municipalities in Peel, and ensure the municipalities are able deliver on the government’s commitment to build 1.5 million homes over ten years.
On February 15, City of Mississauga Council passed a motion moved by Mayor Bonnie Crombie for the City to be independent of the Region of Peel and further demanding there be no amalgamation with the City of Brampton or any other municipalities.
The motion said that “Council reaffirms that it is Council’s position that the City of Mississauga should become a single tier municipality, independent of the Region of Peel, maintaining the current municipal borders of the City of Mississauga
The City of Mississauga continues to be opposed to the amalgamation of the City of Mississauga with any other municipality.”
Mississauga’s public position pre-empts the work of a yet-to-be appointed Provincial Facilitator who Premier Doug Ford suggests will sit down with mayors of Mississauga, Brampton, and Caledon to discuss options and decide on the region’s structure.
In the misplaced setting of the state funeral for former Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion on February 14, Crombie awkwardly made her case to the Premier, by recounting an unconfirmed final conversation with McCallion in which Crombie suggested she asked McCallion “what would be next”, with McCallion responding “independence, it’s time for Mississauga to stand on her own two feet, a single tier, independent City”.
Before sharing the story Crombie alluded that she was ‘looking at you Premier” to Premier Doug Ford, who also spoke at the ceremony along with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
During an announcement in Brampton on Wednesday announcing a $470M investment by Magna International, the City received a question about Brampton’s position on amalgamation with Mississauga from reporter Alan Hale of Queen’s Park Today.
Economic Development Chair Gurpartap Singh Toor responded saying “Brampton doesn’t have an official position on this”. Toor added that the City looks forward to working with the Minister, Premier and facilitator on the matter this year. It is unclear if Brampton City Council will be consider taking a position on amalgamation in advance of meeting with the Provincial facilitator.
Toor said that the City would be looking for “our fair share for Brampton” no matter what structure is decided, so that it would translate into the property taxes for residents.
At the Magna announcement, Hale also asked the Premier, “if he supports amalgamation in Peel, and if not, if he’d rule it out ‘right here and now’”?
Ford said he always supports cities the size of Mississauga and Brampton to be stand alone cities, but suggested that with the upcoming review of municipal government that the next steps would be a conversation with the mayors and Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Clark to determine a path forward.
Peel’s Regional Chair Nando Iannicca recently said in an interview that
“I think the news of (Peel Region’s) death is premature, let me just put it that way. I will say this: when I started (in municipal politics) in 1988, there were 880 municipalities in Ontario. Now there’s 440. I foresee a day where we may end up with 40. That’s the direction they’re moving in”.
“If I were to think anything would happen to the Region of Peel, that continuum would happen with us as well. I more likely see a City of Peel someday many, many years down the road as opposed to breaking us up,” he added.
Options for Municipal Governance in Peel
There are limited options available when it comes to the future of the Region of Peel and area municipalities. It is widely thought that the following options would be considered by the Provincial facilitator once appointed.
- Two Cities – The Province would dissolve the Region of Peel, and work out a plan to share the funds and resources of the Region between the City of Mississauga and the City of Brampton. In this scenario, it is believed that the Town of Caledon would be integrated into a different Regional government altogether. It remains unclear what would happen with the Peel Regional Police and how those services would be provided between the two separate cities.
- Mega-City – The Province would merge the City of Mississauga and Brampton resulting in one general government. In this scenario existing Mayors and elected officials would go head-to-head in the next Municipal election.
- Status Quo – The Province would leave the status quo in Peel, with the three lower tier municipalities and Peel Region continuing to deliver their services.