Mississauga is the third largest city in Ontario and the seventh in Canada with a population of over 700,000 and the second highest GDP in the province at more than $52 billion.
Through the regional governance model, the cities of Mississauga and Brampton, and the Town of Caledon have been operating under the jurisdiction of the Region of Peel. Mississauga City Council strongly believes that our city has outgrown the regional governance model and is ready to become its own single tier municipality – separate from the Region of Peel.
Regional government was established in 1974 as a way to share resources between municipalities to enable growth and offset costs.
In the Region of Peel, police, ambulance, public health, garbage and recycling, social services and water services are shared between Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon. However, Mississauga residents have always provided more than 60% of the funding to the Region and at times, as high as 70%. Mississauga is now a mature city that is becoming more urban than Brampton and Caledon. With our cities at different stages of growth and development, it makes sense to move away from a single, regional governance model.
As part of Bill 39: Better Municipal Governance Act, 2022, the Province has committed to appointing facilitators to review regional governance in the regions across Ontario, including here in the Region of Peel. The Province’s stated goal is to cut red tape and increase efficiency in local government to help with their goal of building 1.5 million homes.
To date, the facilitators have not yet been appointed. The City of Mississauga will work cooperatively with the provincial facilitators throughout the process.
While the City of Mississauga works well with the Region of Peel, we have long held the position that Mississauga is mature and responsible enough to be a stand-alone, single tier city like so many others in the province. In fact, there are many cities with smaller populations than Mississauga that are stand-alone cities, including London, Guelph, Windsor, Elliott Lake and North Bay.
The City has consistently advocated to leave the Region and become an independent city.
In 2005, under the leadership of former Mayor Hazel McCallion, Mississauga undertook a campaign called “One City, One Voice” to ask the Province to allow the city to separate from the Region of Peel. At that time, studies showed Mississauga would save $32 million by leaving the Region. This campaign was overwhelmingly supported by residents and businesses, with 99% of the pledge cards returned in favour of separation. Unfortunately, the Province denied the City’s request.
In 2019, as part of the Province’s Regional Governance Review, Mississauga again asked to separate from the Region. Public opinion polling showed 73% of decided residents supported the City of Mississauga becoming an independent city. Studies at the time demonstrated that Mississauga would save $84 million annually by leaving the Region. The City produced a document outlining its case to the Province. Unfortunately, again the request was denied.
On February 15, 2023, Mississauga City Council unanimously passed another resolution re-affirming its desire to be a stand-alone, single tier municipality and to separate from the Region of Peel, in response to Bill 39 and the pending appointment of provincial facilitators.
Mississauga is a vibrant, diverse, and growing city that should have the ability to make its own decisions. We have a separate identity that’s worth protecting. Mississauga residents are proud of our city and all that we have accomplished.
In the 2019 Citizen Satisfaction Survey, findings showed that 84% of residents said they were proud to say they’re from Mississauga. The results also showed:
Mississauga turns 50 years old in 2024. Mississauga has long demonstrated its ability to provide quality services to residents and plan for the future. Now, more than ever, our city is ready for independence.
There has been talk in the media about amalgamating the Cities of Mississauga and Brampton and the Town of Caledon into a single mega-city. This would not be good for Mississauga residents and tax payers.
Amalgamation is not the right fit for the Region of Peel and will not result in better service delivery or greater efficiencies. Amalgamation in Ontario has not shown to be successful:
Suddenly combining our cities would be difficult, if not impossible. Mississauga and Brampton are the third and fourth largest cities in Ontario. Each city has a unique corporate culture and conducts its operations differently. Amalgamation would likely increase labour, debt, and operational costs.
With an amalgamation, Mississauga tax payers would still be on the hook for costs in Brampton and Caledon.
Our distinct Mississauga identity could be gradually lost if amalgamated with Brampton and/or Caledon. Mississauga residents are proud to be from Mississauga. Brampton and Caledon residents feel the same about their respective cities as well. It’s hard to quantify pride and identity, but all three cities share a pride in their community that cannot be erased.
Being independent means Mississauga has the authority to make its own decisions, focused on Mississauga priorities, not those of Brampton, Caledon or the Region of Peel. We would be able to deliver faster, better and more integrated decisions especially in areas such as land use, transportation planning, and financial services.
For example, there is no value in having roads within the city owned by both Mississauga and the Region of Peel. Eliminating an entire layer of government means Mississauga tax dollars stay in Mississauga and do not continue to subsidize Brampton and Caledon as much as $85 million per year.
The City of Mississauga shares a name with the Mississaugas, the Indigenous Peoples who treatied with the government to allow for settlement and the eventual evolution of the City. Our name is also a commitment, one that has been recognized time and again to be a friend, to work towards Reconciliation, and to uphold the values and work shared together. Our identity is included in this commitment which is unique to the land and heritage within the City. This could be lost through amalgamation.
Issues and considerations like the effective date of change, whether the Province would assist with one-time costs and whether any provincial constraints would be placed on how restructuring of services could be implemented, would all play a role. However, we believe that a full deconstruction of all regional services is neither necessary nor advisable.
The transition costs will depend on the Province’s decision for the Region of Peel. It is common that one-time costs would be incurred to complete this phase. It is also important to note that some phasing of financial impacts may be necessary in order to manage the transition and smooth the financial impacts for those negatively affected.
Mississauga needs its tax payer dollars to stay in our community and not subsidize Brampton and Caledon as much as $85 million a year according to the City’s most recent financial analysis. This is an estimate only, and more detailed analysis during the transition would need to be done to determine how taxes will be affected. As an independent city, Mississauga residents and businesses would no longer support two other municipalities. Decisions about where taxpayer dollars are spent would be at the sole discretion of Mississauga and not influenced by the competing priorities of the two other municipalities.
We do not anticipate service disruptions as a consequence of restructuring. We believe that a full deconstruction of all regional services is neither necessary nor advisable.
The City of Mississauga will not have to compensate Brampton and Caledon. Infrastructure built in Mississauga was paid for by developers in Mississauga.
The Region of Peel primarily builds water and wastewater infrastructure. Development Charges (DCs), previously known as lot levies, are used to pay for this infrastructure in each community. That means developers in Mississauga paid their DCs for the pipes in the ground in Mississauga, in the same way Brampton and Caledon developers did for theirs.
If Mississauga were to leave the Region of Peel, there is no reason why we would have to compensate Brampton or Caledon.
However, we understand that Mississauga’s independence may have cost implications to Brampton and Caledon. Working with the provincial government, the City of Mississauga would approach this in phases to ensure no financial harm to either municipality.
Mississauga has always paid for its own growth and more.
Development Charges (DCs) are the best example of a municipality paying for its own growth. The notion that Brampton paid for Mississauga’s growth is fundamentally false.
DCs have historically been collected for as long as the Region of Peel has existed, but even if they weren’t, Mississauga tax payers have always contributed the vast majority of funding. From 1974 to 1995, we consistently paid over 70 per cent of the regional tax levy. At present, Mississauga pays 60 per cent. Therefore, again the notion that Brampton paid for Mississauga’s growth is fundamentally false.
Mississauga is currently contributing $85 million additional tax dollars per year to subsidize Brampton, and to a lesser extent Caledon. In 2004, this number was $32 million. Over the last 15 years, this number has grown by $53 million. The bulk of this is for Regional roads at $20 million per year and Peel Regional Police at $33 million per year. This is an unbalanced system that burdens Mississauga tax payers.
Review these articles to learn more about the City of Mississauga’s position on regional governance.