On August 10, 2022,Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced his plan to expand “strong mayor” powers to other municipalities in addition to the cities of Toronto and Ottawa. This would give Mayors, instead of Council, the ability to prepare and table City budgets, appoint a Chief Administrative Officer and hire and fire Department Heads (except for statutory appointments such as an Auditor General, Police Chief or Fire Chief). The Mayor can use their veto power when its consistent with a provincial priority. The Council could override the Mayor's veto with a two-thirds majority vote.
On September 8, 2022, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario held the third-reading vote on Bill 3, Strong Mayors, Building Homes Act. The Bill passed with 74 ayes and 31 nays. The Bill will come into effect on November 15, 2022, the first day of office for new Councils.
The CAMA Board is concerned about this legislation being extended to municipalities beyond the City of Toronto and the City of Ottawa, and how it might put at risk the fundamental tenet of good governance, the neutral role of the CAO, and other key senior administrative staff across Canada.
A Taskforce has been struck to review the Strong Mayor's legislation from a national perspective and deliver a White Paper to support the CAO profession. It is expected that this document will be rolled out in the first quarter of the new year. We anticipate there will be an opportunity to comment, however if you have any thoughts or perspectives on this topic that you would like to share at this time, please contact Jennifer Goodine, CAMA Executive Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.