The Government of Ontario announced on Thursday its intention to dissolve the Region of Peel -- a move that could render the municipalities of Mississauga, Brampton, and Caledon independent by 2025, giving them more autonomy in addressing their individual housing needs.
“The Region of Peel includes some of the largest and fastest-growing municipalities in Canada and is poised for significant growth over the next decade,” Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, said in a statement. “Our government is supporting this growth by cutting red tape and improving efficiency while maintaining and improving the high level of local services Mississauga, Brampton, and Caledon residents rightly expect.”
The legislation -- coined the Hazel McCallion Act -- pays homage to Peel Region’s longest-serving mayor, the late Hazel McCallion, who was staunch in her belief that Mississauga deserves greater autonomy.
Current mayor, Bonnie Crombie, has voiced her support of the Act, saying that Mississauga is “ready to stand on our own two feet and make our own decisions about the future of our city.”
“An independent Mississauga will allow us to be more nimble when it comes to responding to the housing crisis, increase efficiencies, reduce duplication, and save residents time and money,” continued Crombie.
If the legislation is passed, the Province will establish a transition board of up to five people to facilitate the change and provide recommendations to the Province to help Mississauga, Brampton, and Caledon prepare to become single-tier municipalities. If needed, the board will also oversee the financial affairs of Peel and its lower-tier municipalities to ensure “prudent financial stewardship” until dissolution.
In a statement to the media on Thursday afternoon, Minister Clark called the proposed legislation a “historic initiative” that will ensure that Mississauga, Brampton, and Caledon “have the tools that they need to support future population and housing growth" while respecting the individual priorities and characteristics of each municipality.
The legislation also stands to have a ripple effect. In the coming weeks, the Province will assign regional facilitators to assess the upper-tier municipalities of Durham, Halton, Niagara, Simcoe, Waterloo, and York, and ascertain whether the upper-tier governments are relevant to the needs of the lower-tier municipalities and if dissolution is a viable option.