Mapleton backs call to reverse strong mayor powers

MAPLETON – Township council has voted to support a resolution asking the provincial government to reverse its recent implementation of “strong mayor” powers in some Ontario municipalities. 

Strong mayor powers were first introduced in Toronto and Ottawa in 2022 and were expanded to an additional 47 municipalities during 2023. 

They give the head of council the ability to propose and amend bylaws related to provincial priorities. If council wants to override a decision, they require a vote of more than two-thirds of its members.  

The government defined provincial priorities as anything related to building of housing, including construction and maintenance of related infrastructure. 

Powers also include the hiring and firing of a municipality’s chief administrative officer and creation of committees of council, including appointing the chairs and vice-chairs.

The powers were initially granted mostly to city-sized municipalities, but the most recent expansion in August of 2021 included a number of smaller municipalities projected to have a population of 50,000 or more by 2031.  

No Wellington County municipalities are included in the current list of those with strong mayor powers.

The City of Guelph was granted the powers along with 24 other municipalities in June. However, Mayor Cam Guthrie delegated most of the additional authority to either council or the municipality’s CAO. 

On Dec. 12, Mapleton councillor Amanda Reid moved that council support a resolution from the Western Ontario Warden’s Caucus (WOWC) calling on the province to reverse legislation establishing strong mayor powers. 

Council supported the resolution and directed a letter be sent to provincial officials advising them of the township’s position.

North Wellington Community News