TORONTO – Ontario introduced a bill Thursday to break up Peel Region as of Jan. 1, 2025, though the mechanics of removing the upper-tier level of government are set to be sorted out later.
Peel Region includes Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon and the dissolution of the regional government would create standalone cities, though a panel set to be established by the province could make other recommendations for Caledon.
Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clark plans to appoint a transition board with up to five members, who will make recommendations to government on finances, dividing up regional services, and staffing.
The goal of the board will be to ensure an “amicable and fair” dissolution process, government officials say, and one of its functions will be to oversee the municipalities’ financial decisions.
It includes “directing them to not proceed, or to take steps to modify or undo certain decisions, if they are not in the public interest of the future single-tier municipalities” during the transition process, government documents say.
Peel Region is responsible for services such as police, paramedics, health programs, roads, social services, water and recycling in the municipalities. How those services get split up will be examined by the transition board, which will then recommend courses of action to the province.
The mayors of both Mississauga and Brampton have said they believe their taxpayers have funded growth or infrastructure in the other municipality, and a battle over finances in the separation is likely.
Government officials say a second piece of legislation is set to be introduced in the fall of 2024 to address any outstanding restructuring matters for the region west of Toronto.
Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown has said he would welcome efforts to remove duplication but believes Mississauga would owe Brampton under any separation because of all the infrastructure residents have funded for Mississauga.
Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie has said independence would save her municipality $1 billion over 10 years and make it more efficient.
Officials say the principal objective of the legislation is to help the municipalities increase housing supply.
Clark announced in November that he would appoint facilitators to assess six regional governments, including Peel Region, and look at the best mix of roles between upper-tier and lower-tier municipalities with an eye to expanding “strong mayor” powers beyond Toronto and Ottawa.
The facilitator process now will not move forward for Peel, but Simcoe County has been added to the reviews that will also include Durham Region, Halton Region, Niagara Region, Waterloo Region and York Region.
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