Oakville Mayor granted ‘strong mayor’ powers by province

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Published June 16, 2023 at 12:10 pm

Oakville Mayor Rob Burton, along with mayor's from 25 other towns and cities, was granted strong mayor powers by the province. TOWN OF OAKVILLE PHOTO

The provincial government announced Friday morning (June 17) that Oakville Mayor Rob Burton has been granted “strong mayor” powers.

Minister Steve Clark made the announcement that 26 more cities in Ontario, including Oakville, Burlington, Hamilton, London, Windsor, Milton and Niagara Falls, would be granted the new powers as of July 1.

The legislation gives the mayor veto powers over bylaws that conflict with provincial priorities such as building housing.

Oakville council can still override a decision by the mayor with a two-thirds vote.

“Municipalities are critical partners for our government as we help communities get shovels in the ground faster and work to build more homes,” said Clark. “By adopting ambitious and absolutely necessary housing pledges, these 26 municipalities have demonstrated they understand the importance of that target, and we are ensuring they have the tools they need to succeed.

“We welcome housing pledges from other municipalities to help reach our goal of 1.5 million homes by 2031.”

Toronto and Ottawa were given strong mayor powers as part of Bill 39 (Better Municipal Governance Act) late last year.

Strong mayor powers offer tools to help heads of council cut red tape and speed up the delivery of key shared municipal-provincial priorities such as housing, transit and infrastructure in their municipalities.

Strong mayor powers and duties include:

  • Choosing to appoint the municipality’s chief administrative officer
  • Hiring certain municipal department heads, and establishing and re-organizing departments
  • Creating committees of council, assigning their functions and appointing the chairs and vice-chairs of committees of council
  • Proposing the municipal budget, which would be subject to council amendments and a separate head of council veto and council override process
  • Vetoing certain by-laws if the head of council is of the opinion that all or part of the by-law could potentially interfere with a provincial priority
  • Bringing forward matters for council consideration if the head of council is of the opinion that considering the matter could potentially advance a provincial priority

Other cities that were granted strong mayor powers on Friday were Ajax, Barrie, Brampton, Brantford, Caledon, Cambridge, Clarington, Guelph, Kingston, Kitchener, Markham, Mississauga, Oshawa, Pickering, Richmond Hill, St. Catharines, Vaughan, Waterloo and Whitby.

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