Peel Region waits for the Province to decide its future

Decision coming 'very, very soon' on future of Peel Region: Ford

Allison Jones and Liam Casey, The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, May 11, 2023 4:30PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, May 11, 2023 7:18PM EDT

A decision on the possible future independence of cities within Peel Region will hopefully be made “very, very soon,” Ontario Premier Doug Ford said Thursday.

Peel encompasses Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon, and the region is responsible for services such as paramedics, health programs and recycling.

Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clark announced in November that he would appoint facilitators to assess six regional governments, including Peel Region, and look at the best mix of roles between upper-tier and lower-tier municipalities with an eye to expanding “strong mayor” powers beyond Toronto and Ottawa.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford attends a news conference in Brampton, on Thursday May 11, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Ford said after an unrelated announcement Thursday in Brampton that a final decision on Peel hasn't yet been made, though he hopes it will come “very, very soon,” but he believes Mississauga and Brampton are large cities that can stand alone.

“It's (so) you don't have to worry about constantly going to the region,” Ford said.

“I'll give you one example, with Mississauga. Mississauga dictates right now what Caledon can build, even though it's miles away, nowhere close to Mississauga.”

Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown said he would welcome efforts to remove duplication, but believes Mississauga would owe Brampton under any separation because of all of the infrastructure residents have funded for Mississauga.

“If there (are) two cities, Brampton needs to be made whole in the sense that the water treatment facilities, the police headquarters, we have built in Mississauga,” Brown said at the news conference Thursday with Ford.

“If the mayor of Mississauga thinks she can leave and not pay her bill, the residents of Brampton would be outraged.”

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie has been pushing for her city to become independent, saying it will save her municipality $1 billion over 10 years and make it more efficient.

“For 50 years, Mississauga has been the cash cow for the Region of Peel as we pay for more than 60 per cent of the costs yet only have 50 per cent of the vote,” she said Thursday in a statement.

“Any assertion that Brampton has paid for our growth and infrastructure is fundamentally untrue ... because Mississauga has been paying for Brampton's growth, Mayor Brown has been afforded the luxury of freezing taxes locally for four of his five years of passing a budget.”

Ford said the goal of any changes would be to ensure the municipalities have equal or better service.

“If one region is taking more money than the other, we're going to have to make sure that's split equally,” he said.

“Mississauga, for the most part, almost, is built out. There's still room for additional building there, but Brampton still has an opportunity to continue to grow. But they are not going to be shafted by Mississauga, or any anyone else, I'm going to make sure they're always whole and they're always protected, all three regions.”

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