Policy

Chance to Comment on Reviews of Municipal Legislation

Ontario's Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing is undertaking reviews of two important statutes: Municipal legislation and Municipal Elections legislation.

By Ryan McGreal
Published June 05, 2015

This article has been updated.

Ontario's Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing is undertaking reviews of two important statutes: Municipal legislation and Municipal Elections legislation.

Municipal Act

This integrated review covers the Municipal Act, the City of Toronto Act and the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act.

You can submit comments online via the Municipal Legislation Review website, via email at municipalreview@ontario.ca, or by mail at:

Municipal Legislation Review
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Local Government Policy Branch
777 Bay Street, 13th Floor
Toronto, ON
M5G 2E

The deadline for submissions to the Municipal Act Review is Friday, August 7, 2015.

One important issue is Section 364 of the Municipal Act, which requires municipalities to give a 30 percent property tax rebate to vacant commercial properties and a 35 percent rebate to vacant industrial properties. As we have argued, this is a perverse incentive that forces municipalities to reward vacancy and disinvestment.

Municipal Elections Act

The Ministry is also reviewing the Municipal Elections Act, which governs municipal elections for Mayor and Councillors as well as School Board Trustees.

One important change under consideration is the proposal to allow municipalities to use ranked ballots in upcoming municipal elections, starting in 2018.

A ranked ballot allows the voter to rank the candidates in order of preference. During vote tabulation, all the first choices are counted. If no candidate has a majority of votes, the candidate with the fewest votes is removed and the votes are tabulated again using the second choice of the voters whose primary vote was removed. This process continues until a candidate emerges with a majority of votes.

You can submit comments online via the Municipal Elections Act Review website, via email at mea.info@ontario.ca or by mail at:

Municipal Elections Act Review
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Local Government Policy Branch
777 Bay Street, 13th Floor
Toronto, ON
M5G 2E

The deadline for submissions to the Municipal Elections Act Review is Monday, July 27, 2015.


Update July 23, 2015: The Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing has extended the deadline for the Municipal Act, City of Toronto Act, and Municipal Conflict of Interest Act to October 32, 2015.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

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By KevinLove (registered) | Posted June 05, 2015 at 19:31:23

As a professional Accountant, I favour giving municipalities expanded taxing powers. Right now, municipalities have very heavy demands placed upon them with inadequate means of meeting these demands. Powers I advocate for municipalities include:

  1. Authority to place user fees upon the use of municipally owned roads.
  2. Congestion charges such as that used in London (England), Stockholm and other cities.
  3. Giving all Ontario cities the taxing powers of Toronto given by the City of Toronto Act.
  4. A car parking space levy, as currently used in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia.

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