In July 2022, Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced the intention to provide heads of Council in Toronto and Ottawa with “Strong Mayor” powers such as the ability to veto Council decisions, prepare the budget, enact legislation with less than majority of Council support, and appoint and remove high-ranking staff members including the CAO. This legislation provides new authorities to the Mayors of Toronto and Ottawa, and the Premier indicated it could be extended to other Cities. While the CAO position may be maintained under Strong Mayor Legislation, the staff organization now effectively reports to the Mayor, rather than to the CAO and Council.
Recognizing the importance of the role and significance of the Chief Administrative Officer position in Canadian Municipal Government, CAMA prepared a “White Paper” on Ontario’s Strong Mayor Legislation and the Pivotal Role of the CAO in Providing Good Governance.
We would like to thank those of you that had the opportunity to provide your feedback to our consultant, StrategyCorp, during the research phase of this paper. Your comments were taken into consideration by the Committee and the Board to ensure that we had a pan-Canadian approach on this subject.
This resource reinforces the benefits of an apolitical public service led by an effective CAO and communicates a major impact of Strong Mayor Power. If the Strong Mayor Legislation is applied to other municipalities across Canada, it erodes one of the tenets of municipal good governance: an objective, professional, non-political public service led by a Chief Administrative Officer or City Manager,
In addition to all of the Provincial/Territorial Administrator Associations, this paper has also been shared with the Deputy Ministers and Assistant Deputy Ministers of the Local Governance and Municipal Affairs Departments across Canada, relevant Think Tanks, and other interested parties. It is to be used as a reference point for researchers and writers who are addressing Strong Mayor Legislation in policies, journals, and opinion papers on municipal reform.
We would encourage you to take the time to review the White Paper to understand the potential impacts of Strong Mayor Power and to learn more about the measures to maintain good governance, administrative stability and sound-decision making processes. You are also welcome to share it with your membership as it is a public document. As noted above, we have shared it with the Municipal Affairs Departments across Canada, however we understand that you have some great working relationships with them as well so you may wish to follow up directly.
You can access the press release here.
You can access the full paper here (or attached).
CAMA hopes that this paper will become a valuable resource to support you and your Association along with your Provincial/Territorial networks.
If you have any questions or require additional information, please don’t hesitate to contact me at [email protected]