Issue

 

Background

On January 15, 2019, the Province announced a Regional Government Review of 8 regional municipalities (including Halton Region), Simcoe County, and their lower-tier municipalities “to ensure that they are working effectively and efficiently.”

Why is the Regional Government Review a flawed process?

Two advisors have been engaged to review 82 municipalities and make credible recommendations by early July to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. Read The provincial government’s review of Ontario municipalities - a seriously flawed process: A “We Love Oakville” Point of View executive summary and full report.

 

What is the issue?

With the absolute power to do so, the Province may impose arbitrary changes without transparency, evidence, or meaningful public consultation on amalgamation, governance, and service delivery. 

 

Possible outcomes of this review include:

  • amalgamation of Oakville with Burlington, Milton, and Halton Hills into a large bureaucracy

  • a radical reduction in the number of councillors at the Town and/or Regional level decreasing residents‘ access to their two municipal representatives of our voice

  • election of a Halton regional councillor who does not also sit on the Oakville Town Council, creating an “us versus them“ environment 

  • increased level of authority of Halton Region over its municipalities resulting in a loss of voice of Oakville residents in the future of our community

  • regionalization of additional services that may result in higher costs and/or less services (fire protection)

 

Bottom line, what will be the consequences for Oakville residents?

  • Higher taxes

  • Service reductions

  • Loss of our local voice

 

Local Government and Local Services

 

What is the government structure in Halton Region?

We have a two-tier government structure in the Halton Region that was created in 1974.  The four municipalities of Oakville, Milton, Burlington and Halton Hills together make up Halton Region. Each has its own needs, vision, character, culture, and priorities.

 

How is the Town of Oakville organized? 

In Oakville, we have seven wards. Each ward has a Regional Councillor and a Town Councillor, both of whom sit on Town Council. The Regional Councillor also sits on the Regional Council.

 

What are the key services provided by the Town?

Public transit; Fire department; Building, planning, development, and zoning; Parks, gardens and trails; Community centres; Snow removal; Libraries; Harbours; and Oakville Hydro.

 

What are the key services provided by Halton Region to all municipalities?

  • Police and paramedic services

  • Water, wastewater, roads, and waste management

  • Public health

 

What are the key responsibilities of the Province that affect us locally?

Education and Healthcare

 

What Can I Do?

 

How can I get involved? 

The most important action that you can take now is to SEND A LETTER to Queen's Park. It will take less than a minute. 

 

What else?

 

Government Publications, Documents

We Love Oakville

May 17, 2019 - We Love Oakville public consultation presentations and the follow-up letter to the special advisors

Town of Oakville

February 25, 2019 – Response to the Provincial Government’s Regional Government Review (includes resolution, governance review submission, Letter from Halton Region and its four municipalities, Fraser Institute Report, Municipal Amalgamation in Ontario)

 

Halton Region

February 13, 2019 – Letter from Halton Region, Oakville, Burlington, Milton, and Halton Hills to the Honourable Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Re: Regional Review

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing News Release

January 15, 2019 - Special Advisors Appointed to Begin Regional Government Review,

 

 

Reports and Articles

 

Christofferson, S.A., McNish, R.S., and Sias, D.L. (May 2004). Where mergers go wrong (McKinsey Quarterly).

While this article discusses corporate mergers, it provides good insights into how difficult it is to achieve the synergies that the proponents of deals tend to project. Furthermore, one-time costs are frequently seriously underestimated as planning teams tend to focus on operating costs because they have this data available to them. These one-time costs are the big unknown until it is too late. This article also addresses problems experienced by professional merger and acquisition experts. READ MORE.

 

Milijan, L. and Spicer, Z. (May 2015). Municipal amalgamation in Ontario (Fraser Institute Report).

This report compares three smaller amalgamated municipalities with comparable municipalities that did not undergo amalgamation. The authors find that in both cases there are significant property tax increases, compensation for municipal employees, and long-term debt; therefore, there were no tangible financial benefits from amalgamation. READ MORE.

 

Slack, E. and Bird, R. (2013). Merging municipalities: Is bigger better? (Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto paper)

This paper examines the amalgamation in Toronto of six municipalities and the upper tier municipality of which they had been previously a part. The authors conclude that the merger did not solve any problems and may have resulted in some benefits; however, overall a two-tier structure may be more effective in affording smaller municipalities the benefits associated with economies of scale, while providing them with a greater degree of autonomy and ability to respond to its local residents. READ MORE.

Spicer, Z. and Found, A. (October 2016). Thinking regionally: How to improve service delivery in Canada’s cities. (C.D. Howe Institute Commentary). 

This study examines the current state of intermunicipal cooperation in Canada and how regional servicing challenges can be effectively resolved across municipalities in light of urban growth. The authors argue that forced amalgamations, centralized regional authority, and service consolidation imposed by Provinces do not produce the promised economies of scale and negatively impact local autonomy. Efficiencies can be realized, however, through a greater degree of cooperation between municipalities. READ MORE

 

We Love Oakville. (March 2019). The provincial government’s review of Ontario municipalities - a seriously flawed process.

We believe that there are four fundamental and serious flaws with the Regional Government Review announced by the Province on January 15, 2019. READ MORE. 

 

 

 

 

 

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