What I Learned from Traveling Ontario for Regional Governance Reviews

  • Legislative Review

For the past two weeks, I zipped from city to city in Ontario as a member of the Standing Committee on Heritage, Infrastructure, and Cultural Policy as we are tasked with Regional Governance Reviews. So, what does that mean exactly?

In September, the Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister, Paul Calandra, wrote to my Committee asking us to review six two-tier municipalities in the province: Durham, Halton, Niagara, County of Simcoe, Waterloo, and York. We invited municipalities, stakeholders, and interested parties to come and voice their opinion on how their area is functioning, whether there is room for improvement, and what that would look like. So essentially, considering single-tiered areas vs two-tiered vs in some cases, an independent 4 city option.

From municipalities like Wellesley, Woolwich, and Wilmot to Kitchener and Waterloo – from Wainfleet, Pelham, Lincoln to St. Catharines and Welland and so many more incredible neighbourhoods in our beautiful province came out proudly and passionately to share their stories and suggestions. What a DELIGHT it was to meet such amazing Ontarians! 

Our Committee will visit all the areas again for Round #2 in the spring and then work together on a Report to submit to the Minister. What I have learned thus far is that there is no one size fits all solution and that we need to genuinely take the time to consider all of the information we are receiving before making any rash decisions as has been the case with this Government to date! The lack of vital water and wastewater infrastructure has come up time and time again as a clear obstacle in getting housing built. I will be pushing for more funding in this area as we move forward! Taps and toilets absolutely need to be part of the plan with any Housing targets.

What are your thoughts? I would love to hear what you think!