Region’s municipalities seek clarity & speed for ‘transition board’ tasked with dissolving Peel
A week after the PC government announced the unprecedented decision to break up the Region of Peel, its member municipal governments in Brampton, Caledon and Mississauga have raised a number of questions and concerns during recent council meetings regarding how the transition board will guide the process.
On May 18, the PCs introduced the Hazel McCallion Act, which, if passed, would dissolve Peel Region into independent municipalities. The government promised the process would be fair for all three of them, “prioritize the preservation of frontline services and workers, respect for taxpayers and government efficiency” and would in general ensure the change from regional to single-tier governments would be “seamless and effective.” A transition board, consisting of five people, is expected to be appointed by the Province to facilitate this change.
Peel's three mayors alongside Steve Clark, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing during the announcement that the Region of Peel will be dissolved.
(Alexis Wright/The Pointer)
In Brampton’s Committee of Council meeting on May 24, Councillors Martin Medeiros and Rowena Santos asked Christopher Ethier, Manager of Government Relations, if there was any clarity about how the finances involved in the splitting of Peel would be managed, as well as the timeline for the many steps that will inevitably be involved in the transition. Ethier said there was no clarity about the timeline or who would pay for the financial implications involved in the transition. He is awaiting further clarification on the matter from the Province, he told councillors.
Santos expressed concern that Brampton could have to pay for the work of the transition board through reserves, property taxes or other means. However, historically, the Province has always carried the remuneration costs for short-term advisory bodies, which includes the transition board.
Residents of Brampton have also been particularly concerned about the $1 billion to $3 billion dollars that Mayor Patrick Brown claims Mississauga owes his city. The Pointer has traced this claim to a discredited financial analysis by Deloitte that was secretly predetermined by senior Region of Peel staff who tried to undermine Mississauga’s desired exit from the two-tiered system of municipal government in 2019. Peel residents are also upset about the sudden news of the dissolution coming about without much consultation with the public.
A member of a Brampton Facebook group responds to a post published by a reporter from The Pointer to hear what residents think about the dissolution of Peel Region.
Mississauga Councillor Carolyn Parrish introduced a Notice of Motion last week which will go before City Council on May 31, that states the looming separation of the three municipalities has “created serious uncertainty for the Region of Peel employees in difficult economic times.” The Region of Peel currently employs 5,063 full time staff, excluding Police Services.
“Many of the employees impacted by the Hazel McCallion Act are residents of Brampton, Caledon and Mississauga and their future is a huge concern for the three municipalities,” the Notice of Motion states. “‘The unknown’ is incredibly stressful for current staff employed by the Region of Peel as well as their families as they make every day decisions such as the renewal of mortgages, children going to university and other financially dependent life decisions.”
Councillor Parrish emphasized in the meeting that it’s important to have a “united front” and for all three municipalities to keep some jobs open for the first six months of the process, so that people could potentially be transferred from the Region of Peel when the time comes.
The Notice of Motion requests the Province “establish the transition board with all urgency and establish a work plan that makes obvious decisions quickly.”
Caledon officials have repeatedly said they welcome the decision to dissolve Peel, and held discussions on the transition board in the confidential, in camera session of the Council meeting on May 23.
“There are many different service delivery models Caledon could use to ensure the services we provide remain the same or even enhanced,” Caledon Mayor Annette Groves said. “When Caledon is an independent municipality, decision making will be made by Caledon representatives and we will be able to determine our own destiny. Staff will continue to move ahead with important work that determines the future of Caledon such as the official plan, the strategic plan and growth management and phasing plan as well as prepare for the 13,000 homes by 2031 committed to the province in the housing pledge.”
While Mayor Groves remains confident in a fair outcome for Caledon after the dissolution of the Region, some residents of the Town are worried about what could come of Caledon by Jan 1, 2025, the expected date of the dissolution if the legislation is passed.
According to a spokesperson from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the process for the transition board will only begin once the legislation is passed.
“We are looking to bring together a group of people with deep expertise and credibility in municipal operations, finance, service delivery, housing, labour relations, among others. The board can only be appointed if and after the legislation passes. If passed, we will want to make the appointments quickly to bring them online as quickly as possible,” the Ministry communicated in an email to The Pointer.
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