Ontario’s Big City Mayors Meet to Discuss Important Issues Facing Ontario’s Largest Cities
October 24, 2023
WHITBY, ON – Ontario’s Big City Mayors (OBCM) met Friday to discuss key issues facing Ontario’s largest cities.
At the meeting the Mayors passed two motions on current issues impacting all member municipalities These motions (included below) address the issue of eligibility in the Building Faster Fund, as well as the auto theft crisis in Ontario.
Eligibility for the Building Faster Fund
Mayor Shaun Collier of Ajax moved a motion asking the province to work with municipalities on the eligibility requirements for the Building Faster Fund (BFF) which promises $1.2 billion over three years to support housing-enabling infrastructure and other related costs. OBCM has sent a letter to Premier Ford and Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister, Paul Calandra asking for them to reconsider and consult further on the funding requirements which look at housing starts as a determining factor. This measure of eligibility to receive funding from the BFF unfairly penalizes municipalities who do not have control over housing starts.
Auto Theft Crisis
Mayor Patrick Brown of Brampton brought forward a motion asking both the province and federal government to do more to address auto theft in Ontario. This is an issue impacting residents across the province – a car is stolen every six minutes in Ontario with thefts rising 49% in 2022. This motion asks the federal government to provide a more robust anti auto theft program that supports more funding to the Canadian Border Service Agency at all major Canadian ports and enacting legislation requiring the inclusion of theft-deterrent technologies from auto manufacturers. It also asks the provincial government to make changes to the vehicle transfer process to minimize improper transfer of vehicles and falsification of documents.
OBCM Key Priorities
At the meeting the Mayors also discussed OBCM’s key priorities and how to move forward together with all levels of government to reach our goals. These priorities include:
- Addressing the mental health, addictions and homelessness crisis municipalities are facing
- Supporting the build of 1.5M new homes in the province
- Municipal finance reform
“Ontario’s Big City Mayors passed two motions on important issues that are impacting the lives of our residents, building more homes and the alarming increase in auto theft in our communities.” said Mayor Marianne Meed Ward, Mayor of Burlington and Chair of OBCM. “OBCM will continue to push both the provincial and federal governments to listen to municipalities and our residents, and work to solve these issues together.”
About Ontario’s Big City Mayors
Ontario’s Big City Mayors (OBCM), formerly known as the Large Urban Mayors’ Caucus of Ontario, includes mayors of 29 single and lower-tier cities with a population of 100,000 or more, who collectively represent nearly 70 percent of Ontario’s population. OBCM advocates for issues and policies important to Ontario’s largest cities.
Mayor Marianne Meed Ward, Chair Michelle Baker, Executive Director
Motion – Consideration for Building Faster Fund Eligibility Requirements
Moved by Mayor Shaun Collier – Ajax
WHEREAS the Building Faster Fund (BFF) was announced on August 21, 2023, to commit $1.2 billion over three years to support housing-enabling infrastructure and other related costs that support community growth to municipalities that reach at least 80 per cent of their annual housing targets;
AND WHEREAS OBCM sees the Building Faster Fund as a housing accelerator incentive program and not a resolution to the discussion of being made whole for any municipal costs or shortfalls associated with other provincial government legislation/regulations;
AND WHEREAS the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) has indicated that they will not count a housing start toward the target until a developer pulls the permit;
AND WHEREAS municipalities can fast track approvals, but do not build homes;
AND WHEREAS due to issues beyond the control of municipalities (high interest rates, mounting material costs, labour shortages, utilities etc.), the pulling of permits by developers may be stalled;
AND WHEREAS the ministry’s method of counting housing starts will directly impact municipalities’ ability to reach the housing targets required to access much needed funding;
AND WHEREAS Ontario’s Big City Mayors (OBCM) have advocated for a collaborative approach to building homes;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT
OBCM send the attached letter (ATT-1) to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the Honourable Paul Calandra, outlining concerns about the BFF eligibility criteria and requests municipal participation in the creation of new the eligibility criteria; and that
A copy of this motion be sent to the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and all OBCM members.
Motion on Anti Auto Theft Program
Moved by Councillor Paul Vicente on behalf of Mayor Patrick Brown – Brampton
Whereas in Ontario, there has been a 112% increase in auto thefts over the past five years. with thefts rising 49% in 2022 alone according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC); and
Whereas thieves and criminal networks have specifically targeted Ontario’s biggest cities. In a 5 year span from 2014 – 2021 auto theft increased in Toronto 171%, Ottawa 208%, Vaughan 274%, Peel Region 159% and Halton Region 200%*; and
Whereas several Ontario municipalities have addressed this issue with programs to assist their residents including the City of Brampton and the City of Vaughan who have implemented Faraday bags/pouches pilot programs to their hardest hit neighbourhoods to deter “relay attacks” using vulnerabilities in keyless FOBs to steal vehicles swiftly; and
Whereas the provincial government has committed $51 million to fighting auto theft in May 2023 which includes the creation of an Organized Crime Towing and Auto Theft Team led by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), a new community safety grant that targets auto theft and the creation of a new Major Auto Theft Prosecution Response Team; and
Whereas all levels of government as well as police departments, community safety groups and auto manufacturers need to work together to tackle this auto theft crisis in Ontario and across Canada.
Therefore, be it resolved that Ontario’s Big City Mayors (OBCM) call on the federal government to provide a more robust anti auto theft program that supports law enforcement agencies and municipalities in the form of funding, resources, and legislation to combat auto theft; and
That this program include more funding to the Canadian Border Service Agency to increase inspections of shipping containers at all major Canadian ports; and
That the federal government enact legislation requiring the inclusion of theft-deterrent technologies for all car manufacturers in new vehicle models in Canada; and
Be it further resolved that Ontario Big City Mayors (OBCM) call on the Ontario government to make changes to the vehicle transfer process, as recommended by the Insurance Bureau of Canada in order to take steps to minimize improper transfer of vehicles;
And that these provincial changes should introduce a physical public VIN inspection conducted by a certified mechanic as part of the safety inspection that precedes every vehicle transfer, ensuring that info/images are captured and transmitted digitally through an update to the DriveON program to prevent the falsification of paper-based documents.
*all data provided by Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC)