July 27, 2018

The Premier and Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark today announced plans to introduce legislation next week that would reduce the Toronto City Council in advance of the October municipal elections and cancel elections for Regional Chairs in Peel, York, Niagara and Muskoka. The province’s news release and backgrounder are found here.

Today’s announcement was anticipated by no one and followed media reports about the government’s plans which surfaced late yesterday. The government’s backgrounder also makes reference to a planned, “review of regional governance across Ontario”, and states it will begin with consultations at the upcoming AMO conference. AMO will press the government to learn more about what is intended by the review and keep members informed.

It is also clear that the government plans to implement an open and competitive retail market for cannabis. This approach is consistent with policy framework promoted by AMO during consultation with the previous government. The details and implementation planning will determine if this approach will be successful.

No matter how cannabis is sold in Ontario, municipal governments will have a critical role to play. Policing, by-law enforcement, public health, and economic development departments will all play a key role. AMO’s advice to the provincial government is that they need to give municipal governments the time and ability to adjust to an open retail market for recreational cannabis. We are confident the province understands the importance of this advice.

Municipal governments in Ontario are on the front line of delivering critically important services that people and business in our communities rely on. The Government of Ontario has a role in creating a statutory and regulatory environment that that allows municipal governments to get on with their responsibilities. There is much that can be accomplished if Ontario and municipal governments work together to serve the people of Ontario and to identify and reduce the regulatory and reporting burden currently placed on the municipal sector. Ontario’s people, businesses and communities want orders of government to work collaboratively to address their local, regional and provincial priorities.