On January 15th, Premier Ford announced that his government would be reviewing the municipalities in Ontario. This has led to uncertainty over what will happen to the Peel region, which includes Mississauga, Brampton, and Caledon. Peel, along with a total of 82 upper and lower-tier municipalities, can be rearranged, created, or dissolved if that is what the Ontario government desires.
Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs, stated, “our government is putting people first by seeking local input on how to improve governance, decision-making and service delivery for regional governments and their member municipalities.”
The Ministry of Municipal Affairs has had two special advisors reviewing the regional municipalities around Ontario, including Peel. The goal of the review is to increase efficiency and greater access to services in order to demonstrate that municipalities are “open for business.”
Residents can go to the Provincial government’s website to provide input through a survey on what they believe should be done. The website’s survey has been criticized for being too restrictive and only asking questions about service-provision.
Mississauga’s mayor, Bonnie Crombie, has made her ideal outcome from this provincial action clear, with what has been dubbed a “Mississ-exit.” She would like Mississauga to be a separate entity from the rest of the Peel region.
Crombie told the Vancouver Sun, “I made it no secret that I think there is inefficiency and duplication in two levels of government […] We have proven in the past that Mississauga could realize up to $30 million in savings should we control our own destiny and be a single tier
.” She cited former Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion, stating, “I will continue the work that Hazel McCallion started and […] advocate that we grow our own way and control our own destiny.”
Ultimately, however, we do not control our destiny. Ford can absolutely dissolve the Peel or any other region in the province. Or if he chooses, he can create a ‘Mega-Cities’ through combining them. Or even move cities under a different regional government.
The current City of Toronto that we know now used to be an amalgamation of the municipality of Metropolitan Toronto with six other municipalities (Etobicoke, Scarborough, North and East York, Etobicoke and the City of Toronto). This had major implications for the city not only domestically but internationally as it changed Toronto’s global profile in terms of measurements like size and revenue.
Many were opposed to this amalgamation, afraid that it would diminish accountability and local responsiveness by having such a large megacity. Currently, all municipalities in Ontario face this same possibility. The structure and realignment of the city of Mississauga, along with all other municipalities in Ontario, are ultimately up to the whims of the provincial government.