The Ontario government has announced a plan to dissolve Peel Region and make Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon independent municipalities.
On Thursday, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark introduced the Hazel McCallion Act in the legislature, which begins the process of breaking up the region.
“The proposed legislation honours the legacy of Peel Region’s longest-serving mayor, the late Hazel McCallion, who was central to the region’s remarkable growth during her 36 years as Mayor of Mississauga and a long-time advocate for greater autonomy for her city,” reads a release from the government on Thursday.
The region is slated to be dissolved by Jan. 1 2025.
READ MORE: Should Peel Region dissolve so Mississauga and Brampton can be stand-alone cities?
The government says its plan would help ensure the continuation of high-quality services for taxpayers while improving the efficiency of local governments as they prepare for future growth.
“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. 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,” Clark said in a statement.
The government says a transition board of up to five people would help process this change in local government and oversee the financial affairs of Peel “and its lower-tier municipalities to help ensure prudent financial stewardship until dissolution.” The government says names of the members of the board will be released in the coming weeks.
“The dissolution process, with the support of the transition board, would help ensure a fair outcome for the three municipalities that prioritizes the preservation of frontline services and workers, respect for taxpayers and government efficiency,” reads the release.
“Where there are shared assets and services, the dissolution process would help ensure an equitable outcome for all residents that preserves their access to municipal services regardless of location,” it continues.
Brampton mayor Patrick Brown says there’s a lot of advantages to the dissolution, however he expects a cost contribution from Mississauga to replace aging infrastructure after Brampton helped Mississauga financially in the past with building its facilities.
“It will be significantly north of a billion. Just in the last month, we’ve had projects stop because of a lack of servicing. Economic development will grind to a halt, housing will grind to a halt if we’re not made whole. I’m grateful the premier said very unequivocally that we’ll be made whole and I appreciate his reassurance to us because it would be catastrophic for property taxes if that wasn’t the case,” he said in a press conference Thursday.
Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie says this is a historic day that she has been waiting for for many years.
“I’ve only asked for fairness and equity in this process. I ask that our tax dollars continue to be invested in our city for our growth and infrastructure, our programs and services,” she said.
Caledon Mayor Annette Groves was also at the press conference and joked that the town is “the children” in the divorce.
“We are confident that this decision by the government did not come lightly. We are confident that we will be taken care of throughout this process,” she said.
In addition, in the coming weeks, the government says it will also name regional facilitators to assess the upper-tier municipalities of Durham, Halton, Niagara, Simcoe, Waterloo and York.
“These facilitators will be tasked with reviewing whether the upper-tier government continues to be relevant to the needs of its communities or whether the lower-tier municipalities are mature enough to pursue dissolution,” the release says.
The municipalities that make up the Peel currently have roughly 1.5 million residents and are expected to grow to over two million by 2041. These municipalities have collectively agreed to housing pledges totalling 246,000 new homes by 2031 – 120,000 in Mississauga, 113,000 in Brampton, and 13,000 in Caledon, according to the government.