Ontario may not move forward with facilitators for regional governments


Ontario’s new minister of municipal affairs and housing suggests the province may not move forward with a review of six regions with both upper- and lower-tier municipal governments.

Paul Calandra wrote in a statement today that he will be reviewing the move announced by his predecessor to appoint facilitators to assess regional governments in Durham, Halton, Waterloo, York and Niagara regions and Simcoe County.

Calandra says he wants to ensure the province’s approach supports the goal of getting homes built quickly in those fast-growing areas.

The government enacted a law in the spring to break up the upper-tier municipality of Peel Region, which includes the municipalities of Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon.

The previous minister, Steve Clark, said last month that the facilitators in the six regions would be appointed by today, but the change in plans comes a week after Clark resigned amid the fallout of two scathing reports on Greenbelt land swaps.

The integrity commissioner found Clark violated ethics rules when the province opened up parts of the protected Greenbelt for housing development, and both the integrity watchdog and the auditor general found that the process to select the lands was hasty and flawed.

What County Council does:

The Corporation of the County of Simcoe is comprised of the 16 towns and townships located within Simcoe County.  

As an “upper tier” municipality, the County of Simcoe is responsible for a range of municipal services which include social housing, land ambulance and emergency planning, environmental services (solid waste management), a County road system, Ontario Works, children’s services, long term care, museum, archives, forests, tourism, and land use policy planning.

The local, or “lower tier” municipalities are responsible for water and sewer services, local roads, public libraries, recreation services, fire and police services, land use development control, licensing, and permitting services.

The cities of Barrie and Orillia, although separate politically and administratively from the County, are geographically and economically part of the County.  The County of Simcoe provides services such as long term care, social services, and social housing to residents of the cities and the cities participate in funding for the archives and museum. City representatives serve on the County committees that oversee matters that relate to these departments.

Banner image: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Spencer Colby

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 11, 2023.