Mayor given stronger power to rule in Burlington


Published June 16, 2023 at 11:09 am

The mayor of Burlington has been given more power to rule at City Hall.

Today the Ontario government increased the powers of several mayors across the province, including Burlington, which now gives Marianne Meed Ward more authority to make decisions and generally assist in helping to deliver on Provincial government priorities.

Especially, the Province wants help from mayors to make good on such initiatives as housing, transit and infrastructure.

“Today’s announcement is about empowering muncipal leaders to give them the tools to get the job done,” said Steve Clark, Ontario’s Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

Mayors in surrounding municipalities in Hamilton, Oakville and Milton have also been granted more authority.

Queen’s Park had previously announced that stronger mayors would take place in Toronto, Mississauga and Ottawa and have now expanded it to 26 other municipalities.

Under the new rules, it makes it easier for the mayor to push through bylaws and do so without majority support of council. She will also be able to veto decisions that are not in line with Provincial priorities. Significantly, the mayor will have more control over the City budget. However, council will also have some veto power over the mayor on certain issues.

As well, the mayor will be able to personally hire senior administrative staff and create committees.

“These bold actions are necessary if our government is to keep its commitment to Ontarians and remove the obstacles standing in the way of much-needed housing,” said Clark last fall when announcing the goal of giving mayors more power. “That’s why we are again taking decisive action to provide municipal leaders the tools they need to plan for future population growth and get more homes built faster.”

Answering questions this morning at a Queen’s Park press conference Meed Ward, current chair of the Ontario Big City Mayors caucus, said municipalities across Ontario recognize pressing issues such as housing, homelessness, mental health and addictions but that multi-jurisdictional co-operation is needed to tackle these issues.

“We can’t do it alone,” said Meed Ward “We are continuing to build our relationship with the Province and the Federal government to make sure that every level of government is at the table to address those issues.”

The “strong mayor” concept evolved in the U.S. to centralize power for those in the top elected position in cities and towns as a means of speeding up the decision-making process and cutting through red tape.



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