Ontario’s new Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Paul Calandra, has unveiled a different approach to evaluate the future of six regional governments in the province. In contrast to his predecessor’s plan to hire facilitators for the task, Calandra is advocating for a legislative committee to conduct the review.
Acknowledging the importance of transparency and public involvement, Calandra emphasizes that a legislative committee would ensure that the assessment occurs in a “public, open, and accountable” manner. By involving key stakeholders and the community, this approach aims to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the issues at hand.
The primary focus of the review, according to Calandra’s statement, would be to examine the impact of the current two-tier governance system in Durham, Halton, Waterloo, York and Niagara regions, as well as Simcoe County. Specifically, the study would analyze whether these governments facilitate or impede the construction of new homes. Additionally, the committee would explore the potential for combining services or transferring them between different levels of government.
Calandra’s proposal comes in the wake of the resignation of former Minister Steve Clark, who stepped down last month following the release of two critical reports on Greenbelt land swaps. These reports highlighted concerns over developer favoritism in the selection of lands for housing. In response to ongoing issues, the government recently passed a law to dissolve the upper-tier municipality of Peel Region, which includes Mississauga, Brampton, and Caledon.
By opting for a legislative committee to conduct the review, Minister Calandra aims to ensure a comprehensive and impartial assessment of regional governments. With the involvement of various stakeholders and a focus on transparency, this approach seeks to foster a more inclusive and effective decision-making process that considers the needs and aspirations of all Ontarians.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1. Why is the Minister opting for a legislative committee instead of facilitators?
The Minister believes that involving a legislative committee will ensure a transparent and accountable assessment process that actively engages the public and key stakeholders.
2. What will the review focus on?
The review will primarily examine the impact of two-tier governance in the regions of Durham, Halton, Waterloo, York, Niagara, and Simcoe County and assess whether it supports or hinders the construction of new homes. It will also explore opportunities for service consolidation or transfer between different levels of government.
3. What led to the need for the review?
The recent resignation of former Minister Steve Clark and the subsequent critical reports on Greenbelt land swaps highlighted concerns over the fairness of the land selection process for housing. Additionally, the government passed a law to dissolve the upper-tier municipality of Peel Region amidst ongoing issues.
4. How will this approach benefit the decision-making process?
By involving a legislative committee and promoting transparency and inclusivity, the aim is to foster a comprehensive and impartial assessment of regional governments. This approach seeks to consider the needs and aspirations of Ontarians and result in more effective decision-making.