Mississauga city council asks to be separated from the rest of Peel Region
Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie is calling on the province to remove the city of more than 721,000 residents from Peel Region and allow it to govern its own affairs as a standalone municipality.
In January, the Ford government launched a review of eight regional governments across Ontario, which included Peel, Halton, Durham and York in the GTA.
Though that review is still ongoing, Mississauga city council voted in principal on Wednesday to formally express its desire to be separated from Peel Region.
Speaking with CP24 following the vote, Crombie said that Mississauga taxpayers send $85 million to Peel Region every year “to pay for the growth of Brampton and Caledon.”
She said that money would be better spent going directly towards Mississauga’s priorities.
“I know fairly confidently that this is very popular notion,” she said. “We very much want to be an independent city, a single tier city, much the way that Windsor, London, Guelph, Sault Ste. Marie, Thunder Bay and Hamilton are. Why shouldn’t Mississauga be too? We are the third largest city in Ontario. We should control our own destiny.”
Peel Region is made up of three municipal governments – Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon.
While those governments have exclusive domain over some local issues, the region handles policing, garbage collection, water and wastewater, roads and some other services.
The motion passed by Mississauga city council on Wednesday notes that while the city provides 59 per cent of the funding to the Region of Peel, it only holds 50 per cent of the votes on Peel Region council.
The motion also points out that the city has a “distinct identity” apart from the region.
Speaking with CP24 on Wednesday, Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown conceded that Mississauga is “large enough to sustain on its own” but he said that there are real efficiencies to be found in the regional government, perhaps none bigger than policing.
He also brushed aside the suggestion that Mississauga taxpayers are funding the growth of Brampton and Caledon.
“The reality is that for years Brampton has subsidized infrastructure in Mississauga,” he said. “If you look at the water treatment plant, that was built with Brampton taxpayer dollars so obviously if there was a separation there would be a large bill for Mississauga to pay.”
Caledon Mayor Allan Thompson told CP24 he is not sure how this would all pan out.
“If Mississauga is pushing this way I really believe that it will be really complicated to break up the region of Peel,” he said. “I do not think that with what Mayor Crombie is saying is fiscally responsible.”
It should be noted that former Mayor Hazel Hazel McCallion did push for Mississauga to be separated form Peel Region in the early 2000s but was never able to gain support from the province.
Crombie said that with the province looking into regional governments, members of Mississauga city council wanted to show a “united front” in their desire to see the city separated from Peel Region.
She said that Mississauga plans to hold public consultations about its existence within Peel Region before “finalizing” its position.
Ford has previously indicated that the review of regional governments will be completed by this spring.