TORONTO — If passed, the Strong Mayors, Building Homes Act, which is new legislation introduced by the Ontario government, would give the mayors of Toronto and Ottawa the ability to move priority projects forward such as building 1.5 million new homes over the next 10 years.
Proposed changes include:
- hiring the chief administrative officer and municipal department heads, and create and reorganize departments;
- appointing chairs/vice-chairs for identified committees and local boards and establish new identified committees;
- bringing matters for council consideration related to provincial priorities;
- vetoing bylaws approved by council if they relate to matters of provincial priority; and
- proposing the municipal budget.
These measures would allow council to have the ability to propose amendments to the municipal budget, states a release, adding council would also be able to override the mayor’s veto of any budget amendments and bylaws related to provincial priorities with a two-thirds majority vote.
The changes, if approved, are intended to take effect on Nov. 15, coinciding with the start of the new municipal council term.
Ontario is also launching the Housing Supply Action Plan Implementation Team, which will provide advice on market housing initiatives, including building on the vision from the Housing Affordability Task Force, More Homes for Everyone and other government consultations. According to a release, the government plans to appoint Drew Dilkens, mayor of the City of Windsor, as chair and Cheryl Fort, mayor of the Township of Hornepayne, as vice chair. Other team members will be selected in the coming weeks. The first meeting is scheduled for early fall.
“The reality is over one third of Ontario’s growth over the next decade is expected to happen in Toronto and Ottawa, and too many families are already struggling with housing and the rising cost of living. We need to support efficient local decision-making to help cut through red tape and speed up development timelines,” said Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark, in a statement. “While there is no silver bullet to addressing the housing crisis, the Strong Mayors, Building Homes Act is another step in the right direction to provide more tools to municipal leaders to deliver on their platform commitments to constituents. The province is actively deepening our cooperation on all fronts across all municipalities to get 1.5 million homes built over the next 10 years.”