ontario amalgamation

Ontario government could amalgamate some of Toronto's suburbs

Doug Ford's provincial government has announced plans to conduct a broad, all-encompassing review of 82 different municipalities in Ontario to ensure they're all "working efficiently and effectively."

Uh oh, say the people of Toronto, who recently experienced first-hand what can happen to a regional government deemed inefficient by Team DoFo.

Those who lived through the amalgamation of Metropolitan Toronto back in 1998, when Progressive Conservative Mike Harris was in charge, are similarly leery about the same thing happening in other regions across the province—and the PCs aren't denying today that this could very well happen.

"Our government committed to improving the way regional government works and we will be looking at ways to make better use of taxpayers' dollars and make it easier for residents and businesses to access important municipal services," said Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark in a news release on Tuesday.

The release outlines how newly-appointed special advisors Michael Fenn and Ken Seiling will "consult broadly over the coming months and provide recommendations to improve governance, decision-making and service delivery" in Ontario.

When asked about whether or not more amalgamation could be in Ontario's future, Clark told reporters at Queen's Park on Tuesday that "there's always opportunity for two municipalities to come together to talk about that aspect."

Clark also said, however, that the province isn't "talking about that in this regional government review," which will cover Ontario's eight regional municipalities of Halton, York, Durham, Waterloo, Niagara, Peel, Muskoka District, and Oxford County, as well as their lower-tier municipalities and the County of Simcoe.

Some Ontarians remain nervous nevertheless, and a more thorough outline of the review on the province's website suggests that they may have reason to be, with such questions being floated as "are two-tier structures appropriate for all of these municipalities?" and "is there duplication of activities?"

Only time will tell what happens. Local residents and businesses will be consulted as part of the review this spring, according to the province, with a final report expected sometime over the summer.

Lead photo by

Jeff Hitchcock


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