When Brampton voters take to the polls on October 22, they will be voting for four different people whose positions will represent Brampton in various capacities. It can all seem a bit daunting. Who do you vote for? What’s that person responsible for? What’s the difference between a regional and a city councillor? We’re here to demystify it all for you.
City Councillors Vs. Regional Councillors
You might be wondering why you have to vote for a city councillor and a regional councillor who seem like they serve basically the same purpose. However, the responsibilities of the two positions aren’t quite the same.
Aside from the federal and provincial governments, Brampton is governed by two other government bodies — the City of Brampton and the Region of Peel (Brampton, Mississauga, and Caledon).
The city and region have different responsibilities. The city handles local services like regular transit service, local planning and development, local roads, recreation, libraries, the fire department, etc. City councillors only sit at city council at Brampton City Hall.
The region handles community health (EMS, long-term care, public health), regional roads, accessible para-transit, waste collection, drinking water, sewage, social housing, etc. Regional councillors and the mayor sit at both Brampton city council, and at Peel Region council on Peel Centre Drive.
Brampton has seven seats at the Region of Peel council. The mayor and the designated regional councillors for each pair of wards make up six of the seven seats. The last seat is decided at the first meeting of each term of city council, as one city councillor is elevated to the regional seat by their newly elected peers.
Everyone in Brampton votes for the mayor. The mayor leads council, though is only actually required to attend Council, Regional Council, and Police Service Board meetings. As such, when the mayor attends a planning or citizen advisory meeting, they don’t sit in the chair position. The mayor is seen as a representative of the entire city.
Ontario cities and towns also employ what’s known as a “weak mayor” system, unlike the “strong mayor” system in the United States. As such, the mayor of Brampton has the same voting power as all the other councillors; they don’t have any sort of special privileges such as vetoes.
School Board Trustees
Everyone votes in the school trustee elections. In Brampton, depending on where you or your attended school, you will be registered on the voting list for the Peel District School Board (public schools), Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board (Catholic schools), or the Conseil scolaire catholique MonAvenir (French Catholic schools).
Be wary of school trustee candidate platforms. Trustees can’t change the curriculum as set out by the provincial government. What they can do is change school policies (cellphones, uniforms, etc), the school board budget, and how school catchment boundaries are set. When schools are considered for closure, the school board trustees are the ones that make that decision.
DPCDSB has larger boundaries than PDSB. PDSB has 5 different candidates, while DPCDSB only has 3.
Of note for the school trustee election is the Catholic school — voters in Ward 7, 8, 9 & 10 won’t have the option to vote for their trustee. Only one candidate, Shawn Xavior, registered for election, and has since been acclaimed to the position.