TORONTO – Today, OBCM met with several provincial ministers including Deputy Premier Sylvia Jones, Minister Steve Clark, Minister Doug Downey, Minister Jill Dunlop, Minister Caroline Mulroney, Minister Michael Parsa, Minister David Piccini and Minister Kinga Surma at Queen’s Park. OBCM was there to discuss a collaborative approach between Ontario’s biggest cities and the province on key shared issues, including health and homelessness, housing and municipal finance reform.
Health and Homelessness
The health and homelessness crisis affecting Ontario’s biggest cities is unprecedented, and OBCM is focused on working with the province to ensure that the right funding and programs are being used to tackle this crisis head on. OBCM has developed a Health and Homelessness Strategy through consultation with local health partners. It includes five key recommendations including a centralized and integrated intake and dispatch process, more provincial investment in low barrier hubs, more stabilization and treatment beds with experienced staff to support those in their treatment journey, more flexible and predictable funding for supportive housing and more provincial ministry and agency collaboration to reduce red tape and duplication.
OBCM supports the province’s ambitious housing goal of 1.5 million homes in ten years. OBCM’s members have pledged to meet their targets in their role as facilitators for approvals and building the infrastructure needed for new homes and communities. As new housing legislation is enabled over the next year, OBCM wants to partner with the province so municipalities can be a voice at the table working alongside all stakeholders in the building process to ensure everyone is held accountable and working towards the same goals.
Proper funding for municipalities is key to tackling these important issues. Ontario’s cities are dealing with new housing being built in record numbers and aging infrastructure. OBCM wants to work with the provincial and federal governments to develop a long term municipal funding and service delivery model that will help municipalities build and maintain welcoming, vibrant and complete cities for years to come.
“Our mayors are grateful for the time the Ministers spent with us to hear from them and discuss our municipal priorities. This shows our mutual commitment to partner together to tackle the challenges of our constituents,” said Mayor Marianne Meed Ward, Chair of OBCM and Mayor of Burlington. “We had some very productive discussions with the Ministers on our key priorities, and we look forward to continuing these discussions over the coming months.
“I’m always happy to have the chance to meet with OBCM and discuss how we can work together to advance our shared priorities,” said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “I’m encouraged by the enthusiasm with which OBCM’s member mayors took up their housing pledges and I’m looking forward to working together to help make those pledges a reality by 2031.”
At the meeting, OBCM officially named their new Chair, Mayor Marianne Meed Ward of Burlington, and elected a new Vice-Chair Mayor Josh Morgan of London.
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 Mayor Josh Morgan, Vice-Chair
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Michelle Baker, Executive Director