February 9, 2024
Ontario’s Big City Mayors (OBCM) met today to discuss issues facing Ontario’s largest cities and were joined by Minister of Finance, the Honourable Peter Bethlenfalvy.
The Mayors discussed OBCM’s key priorities for the 2024 Budget with the Minister:
Housing and Housing Enabling Infrastructure, A New Fiscal Deal for Cities, and the Mental Health, Addictions and Homelessness Crisis.
On Housing and Housing Enabling Infrastructure, the Mayors focused on:
- When the province will deliver on their commitment to keep municipalities whole from the impacts of Bill 23
- The creation of a sustainable funding program so municipalities can deliver the housing enabling infrastructure needed to meet the province’s housing targets
- Concerns were also raised with the criteria for qualifying for the Building Faster Fund. Measuring housing starts using foundations poured is outside the purview of municipalities.
- There is also the issue that the CMHC data used to count foundations is often inaccurate and undercounts the construction activities in many of our member municipalities.
On a New Fiscal Deal for Municipalities, the Mayors focused on:
- Support for the Association of Municipalities of Ontario’s (AMO) call for a Social and Economic Prosperity Review and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) call for a new Municipal Growth Framework. The province and the federal government must come to the table to begin these important discussions on the fiscal health of our cities.
On Mental Health, Addictions and Homelessness, the Mayors focused on:
- A new, innovative, and coordinated approach to addressing the crisis our cities are facing. This system response would put in place many of the physical, mental health, addictions and housing supports people need to survive and begin to recover.
- A review of the province’s current funding programs – how they can be streamlined and red tape cut, allowing municipalities to deliver programs and services in the most effective ways possible.
OBCM’s full pre-budget submission can be found on our website here – https://www.ontariobigcitymayors.ca/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/OBCM-2024-Ontario-Pre-Budget-Submission.pdf
At the meeting the Mayors also passed several motions on current issues impacting member municipalities. These motions included: Support for Municipal Infrastructure Bonds, Support for Small Business Enterprise Centres, Support for AMO’s Social and Economic Prosperity Review and Support for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Call for a New Municipal Growth Framework.
The full motions can be found on our website here – https://www.ontariobigcitymayors.ca/reports-submissions/
“We always welcome the opportunity to connect with our partners at the province, and thank Minister Bethlenfalvy for joining us to hear our 2024 budget priorities,” said Marianne Meed Ward, Mayor of Burlington and Chair of OBCM. “We know we have to work together at all levels of government to serve our residents, face the issues ahead, and enhance quality of life for the people we all serve. Thank you to the province for your partnership.”
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