December 2, 2023 – The recent proposal to dissolve the Region of Peel and create three single-tier municipalities—Brampton, Caledon, and Mississauga—by the Province of Ontario has been met with growing concerns and skepticism. Updated independent data, provided by Deloitte and combined with inflation and high-interest rates, indicates that such a move would have catastrophic financial implications for taxpayers across all three lower-tier municipalities. The proposed dissolution not only threatens to burden citizens with an unprecedented 38% tax increase but also jeopardizes critical emergency services and the overall stewardship of assets.

Financial Impacts:

The updated data, building upon the 2019 analysis, predicts an additional $1.31 billion in operating costs and a one-time tax increase of 38% for Brampton, Mississauga, and Caledon. These figures reveal the magnitude of the financial strain that residents would face, especially in the context of already challenging economic conditions marked by high interest rates and inflation. The proposed dissolution could potentially result in the largest tax increase in Peel Region’s history, placing an unbearable burden on taxpayers.

Stewardship of Assets and Services:

One of the key concerns raised by the updated data is the potential risk to the stewardship of assets and services in all three municipalities. Dissolving the Region of Peel may disrupt the seamless delivery of essential services, including emergency services, which are crucial for the well-being and safety of residents. The uncertainty surrounding the future structure of governance could impede municipalities’ ability to provide adequate and timely services, ultimately impacting the quality of life for citizens.

The Peel Paramedic Union has been very vocal against the transition, making numerous posts on ‘X’ including “We lead the world. And we are closing Jan 1, 2025. There is no plan.”

Housing Options and Provincial Priorities:

The proposed dissolution also raises concerns about the ability of municipalities to support the provincial priority of providing more housing options for citizens. The disruption in governance structures may hinder the effective coordination needed to address housing challenges, potentially slowing down progress in meeting this critical provincial goal.

Mayor Patrick Brown’s Response:

Mere days after releasing his proposed 2024 Brampton budget with the lowest tax increase in the GTA, Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown voiced his concerns on the dissolution plan, stating, “We never asked for the Region of Peel to be dissolved. The independent financial analysis clearly shows the net result would be a financial disaster for Mississauga, Brampton, and Caledon.” The instability caused by the proposed changes has already resulted in challenges for emergency services, with reports of recruitment and retention issues in critical EMS staffing. Not mincing words, Mayor Brown continued: “The dissolution financial train wreck would be an albatross around the necks of taxpayers in Peel Region.” And that impending financial train wreck and uncertainty surrounding the restructuring process could erode the community’s confidence in its local government.

What’s Next:

The proposed dissolution of the Region of Peel into three single-tier municipalities appears to be a decision fraught with financial risks and potential negative consequences for the citizens of Brampton, Caledon, and Mississauga. The updated data, combined with the already challenging economic conditions, underscores the urgency for a thorough reconsideration of the decision. Municipalities, the Province of Ontario, and the Transition Board must collaborate closely to ensure an outcome that prioritizes the well-being of taxpayers, preserves essential services, and aligns with provincial priorities. The financial health and stability of the Peel Region community depend on it.