Parrish sits down with Housing Minister, signals forward-looking relationship between Mississauga’s new mayor & PCs 
(Alexis Wright/The Pointer) 

Parrish sits down with Housing Minister, signals forward-looking relationship between Mississauga’s new mayor & PCs 

The new leader inside Mississauga City Hall is making good on one of the vows she repeated throughout the recent mayoral by-election. 

Carolyn Parrish pledged to establish a strong relationship with Ottawa and Queen’s Park to secure necessary funding for her city. A week after being sworn in, she has already sat down with the man who oversees critical funding to help move Mississauga into the future. 

Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Paul Calandra met with Parrish a day after the Canada Day holiday, and the new mayor told The Pointer the two politicians—joined by ministerial staff and Mississauga Councillor Matt Mahoney (recently appointed Deputy Mayor by Parrish)—had a “productive” discussion on key issues facing the city and Peel Region. Housing and funding for social services were top of mind.

A report presented to regional councillors in May showed an $868 million annual shortfall in community service funding in Peel as Queen’s Park continues to underfund the high-growth region. The Metamorphosis Network reported an annual gap of $578 for every person in Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon, compared to the rest of the province.

Parrish said the “money is added onto the property tax bills” of Peel residents. 

After winning the mayoral race, Parrish committed during her victory speech that her first order of business would be to meet with the Province to finally secure fair share funding for her city and the rest of Peel. On Tuesday she took the first step, alongside the man who runs housing and municipal affairs in Ontario. 

Parrish pointed out that the 100 non-profit organizations that fall under the Metamorphosis Network are experiencing a shortfall of $258 per capita when compared to grant allocations for other cities with more than 500,000 residents. A recent motion to Mississauga City Council requesting additional support from the Province also highlighted that of the $868 million shortfall for Peel, Mississauga’s gap is almost half a billion dollars.


Mississauga Mayor Carolyn Parrish sat down with Housing Minister Paul Calandra Tuesday to discuss several matters top of mind for the city’s new leader.

(Government of Ontario)


Parrish said the meeting focused on several asks, including funding for social programs, carrying out a complete transfer of the Region’s planning functions to its lower-tier municipalities, incentives to encourage rental units and stronger provincial support for the Region’s requests to the federal government to fund capital and operational costs for an Asylum Seekers Centre.

It was “extremely cordial and productive,” she said. Calandra was “well-informed and eager to help Mississauga reach solutions to regional concerns” and expressed interest in supporting the City of Mississauga in achieving its housing goals.

Parrish said she “look[s] forward to working closely with the Minister and his staff.”

These types of meetings have not been very common over the past year. Premier Doug Ford and members of his cabinet were in a widely publicized feud with Bonnie Crombie after she announced her bid for the Liberal leadership, pitting herself against the PC government. Her political ambitions left Mississauga in a state of flux while seeking funding from Queen’s Park for housing, infrastructure, social services and other major projects essential to city building. 

Parrish herself previously said the political dynamic in the city would “by its nature be a source of friction with the current provincial government.” 

When Crombie’s name was first tossed around as a potential Liberal opponent, Ford publicly lashed out at her in December 2022 for not wanting “to play in the sandbox”, responding to her criticism of Bill 23 as nothing more than a developer-driven giveaway to powerful residential home builders which stripped away local control over community planning. He lashed back, telling her to “get on board” and “stop being disingenuous.” 

After Crombie announced she would seek the Ontario Liberal Party leadership Ford called the move “a real slap in the face to residents” of Mississauga, with her “running around the province” instead of leading her city. 

Tuesday’s meeting was a shift back to the days when Crombie and Hazel McCallion had close relationships with Liberal leaders inside Queen’s Park.

Parrish said strategies to “step up” Mississauga’s number of housing approvals were discussed, “ensuring the Minister we are accelerating the pace and looking at ways to increase our output (of new homes) through rezoning” in various ways including converting ‘office’ or ‘commercial’ properties to ‘mixed-use’ with a range of housing features. The need to jumpstart housing in Mississauga comes after Ford and Calandra accused Mississauga of having the lowest rate of housing starts in the province. As a result, the PCs subsequently denied the City of desperately needed funding earlier this year citing its lack of housing starts — a requirement municipalities across Ontario, including Mississauga, have argued should be measured based on application approvals rather than the number of new homes that are actually constructed, as municipalities can not control what developers do once they obtain approvals. Getting shovels into the ground is often delayed by factors out of the hands of local government such as high financing costs for builders, a lack of labour and rising prices for construction material. 


New Mississauga Mayor Carolyn Parrish said securing “fair share” funding for Peel is a top priority.

(Alexis Wright/The Pointer)


Parrish also asked for provincial support to back the Region’s request to the federal government to fund “capital and operational” costs for an Asylum Seekers Centre, “so that the refugees can be received, interviewed and housed in areas all over the province where they can be  employed and made to feel welcome.” The Pointer recently reported that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada already reimbursed the Region $12.4 million, on top of the $10 million provided in December, bringing Peel’s total reimbursement under the Interim Housing Assistance Program to $22.4 million for 2023 which, according to Peel staff, covered 95 percent of the $26.9 million spent by the Region last year to house asylum seekers and refugees in hotels and motels. Those costs are predicted to increase to $68 million this year.

The latest request from Mississauga’s new Mayor builds on a recommendation approved by Regional council in March to allow staff to negotiate with all levels of government for the adoption of the Region’s latest asylum claimant response — built around the reception centre and the creation of dedicated shelter facilities — which should be 100 percent funded between the provincial and federal government. 

Parrish told The Pointer asylum seekers and others coming to the country need to be supported in their journey, while existing shelter spaces should continue to be a safe harbour for those in the community facing domestic challenges such as the ongoing housing affordability crisis.

She also said the complete transfer of planning functions from the Region to its lower-tier municipalities needs to be a priority for the ministry to help achieve “efficiency and cost savings,” adding “the Minister was very positive and definitive” that the move to make Mississauga more independent and in control over local planning is “the clear intention of the Province.”

The push follows the announcement made by Calandra in February when he said the PC government would be reviewing the downloading of certain departments to the lower tiers after scrapping the previously approved full dissolution of Peel Region.

Earlier this year, the PCs saddled the Region of Peel with a $1.5 million bill for the costs associated with its Transition Board’s work (after it was initially formed to oversee the breakup of Peel) but the Province recently indicated it may cover a large portion of the costs. Calandra wrote in a recent letter “the government remains open to offsetting the relevant costs and helping ensure fairness for the Region of Peel.” 

It all bodes well for taxpayers in Mississauga, and their aspirations to live in a city with all the features of a desirable destination.



Email: [email protected] 

Twitter: @mcpaigepeacock

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