For months now, there has been rumours that the Ontario PC government will be initiating a review of Regional Governments. Sure enough, the Ontario government announced a review on January 15, 2019. The objective is to examine and determine whether the governments in 8 Regional municipalities and 1 county are efficient and accountable to their residents and businesses.
在安省444个城市中，这些区政府覆盖了82个行政级别较低的城市。审核的区政府和县为：Halton，York，Durham，Waterloo，Niagara，Peel，Muskoka District，Oxford County和Simcoe County。
There are 82 lower-tier municipalities covered under these Regional Governments under review out of 444 Ontario municipalities. The identified Regional Governments are: Halton, York, Durham, Waterloo, Niagara, Peel, Muskoka District, Oxford County, and Simcoe County.
Most people can identify the 3 levels of governments in Canada – Federal, Provincial, and Municipal. In reality, there are two levels of municipal governments - the Regional Governments are conveniently forgotten. In Ontario, the Regional Governments have a history of about 50 years. They were established in highly populated areas to provide centralized services such as water, emergency services, and waste management (just to name a few) over an area encompassing more than one local municipality.
The initial concept of regional government is good since each of the small municipalities will not need to spend capital costs on infrastructures to provide basic services to its residents. Strategically located centres will look after many municipalities with costs shared by all. Visions and overall development planning can be controlled by the Region and it becomes the arbitrator when conflict of interests between municipalities surface.
Unfortunately, as some of the municipalities start to grow and expand, they create duplicated departments similar to their Regional government providing auxiliary services to meet immediate local needs. Therefor, addition of staff members and supervisors commanding high salaries. With more supervisors come more fiefdoms built to satisfy personal egos for bigger departmental budgets thus further increase the cost of Regional Governments.
拿约克区政府为例，它抽走了区内各个市的大部分地税。例如，万锦市50%多的地税被抽走。与此同时，约克区政府2017年的累计总债务已经达29亿元。另外，约克区还雇用了3500名全职公务员给 奥罗拉镇，东格威林伯里镇，乔治娜镇， 国王镇，万锦市，Newmarket镇，Richmond Hill市，Vaughan市和Whitchurch-Stouffville镇的110万居民提供服务。
For York Region, it collects a hefty percentage of all property taxes paid to its municipalities. For example, over 50% from the City of Markham. At the same time, it has accumulated a total debt of $2.9 billion as of 2017. It also employs 3500 full time employees to look after its 1.1 million residents under the following municipalities – Town of Aurora, Town of East Gwillimbury, Town of Georgina, Township of King, City of Markham, Town of Newmarket, Richmond Hill, City of Vaughan, and Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville.
The Ontario review of Regional Governments is headed by Michael Fenn and Ken Seiling as Special Advisors. These two advisors will consult broadly over the coming months and provide recommendations to improve governance, decision-making and service delivery. “The Ontario government is committed to improving the way regional government works and we will be looking at ways to make better use of taxpayers' dollars and make it easier for residents and businesses to access important municipal services,” said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
芬恩曾在三位省长下面担任过副厅长，塞林曾33年担任滑铁卢区的区主席。 芬恩曾是安省交通管理局Metrolinx和Mississauga Halton区医疗署的首位执行官。
Michael Fenn is a former deputy minister under three premiers, and Ken Seiling, a former chair of Waterloo Region for 33 years. Fenn is the founding CEO of the regional transportation authority Metrolinx as well as the regional health authority Mississauga Halton.
The Ontario Government expects the results of the review in early summer. However, many political observers are already questioning if such a sweeping and quick review will be effective, especially given the short time frame to work on such a huge task.
Next time, we will explore some of the possible outcomes based on various speculations and information coming out of the political circles.
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