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Ontario government passes bill to dissolve Peel Region

The Ontario government has passed a bill that will dissolve the Region of Peel by 2025.

The legislation—dubbed Bill 112 or the Hazel McCallion Act—passed its third reading at Queen’s Park on Tuesday early afternoon.

It will become law once it receives Royal Assent, which will likely occur later this week.

The Hazel McCallion Act was first proposed on May 18 and was fast-tracked through the legislature, skipping a public consultation stage that would have seen a third reading vote likely deferred to the fall session.

The bill effectively carves the way for Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon to become single-tier cities, independent of regional governance.

A transition board of up to five members will be formed to help deal with issues such as finance, governance and shared core services. No timeline has been provided by the government so far as to when this board will be formed.

The board will also oversee financial decisions of all three municipalities, although it is currently unclear how much power they will have to interfere in city decision-making.

The board’s recommendations will be presented next summer or fall, with the dissolution of Peel expected on Jan. 1, 2025.

The three municipalities have shared core services as well as a regional government since 1974, and as such contribute a large portion of their tax revenue to the region.

Brampton provides nearly 40 per cent of its tax revenue to the region while Mississauga contributes 45 per cent. This money is used to help pay for joint core services such as police, water treatment, roads, garbage collection and housing supports.

While Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie has long supported the idea of independence, Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown is hesitant to deal with the financial ramifications and Caledon Mayor Annette Groves said she didn’t want it in the first place.

It is possible that some services, such as EMS and water treatment for example, could remain shared between the three municipalities.

At the moment, no other regional government has been dissolved, although the Doug Ford government hasn’t ruled it out. The premier said that his phone has been “ringing off the hook” from mayors wanting their independence from regional governments; however he wouldn’t say which ones were interested.

The province previously said it would be naming regional facilitators to the regions of Durham, Halton, York, Niagara, Simcoe and Waterloo to determine if the government is “relevant to the needs of its communities.”

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