Earlier today, the Government of Ontario met with the Ontario's Big City Mayors prior to announcing the expansion of strong mayor powers to 26 large and fast-growing municipalities, including the City of Kitchener. These new strong mayor powers offer tools to help councils cut red tape and speed up the delivery of key shared municipal-provincial priorities such as housing, transit, and infrastructure. Strong mayor powers for Toronto and Ottawa took effect in the Fall of 2022, and today's announcement, including Kitchener and 26 other large and fast-growing municipalities, takes effect on July 1, 2023.

Kitchener Council is aligned with the province’s priority to get more housing built faster, including the prioritization of streamlined development processes, reduced timelines, and the implementation of provincial legislative changes.

"We welcome today's announcement by the provincial government as it offers clarity on how the new legislation applies to Kitchener. Kitchener Council historically has operated in a highly collaborative manner, which has already led to positive results and significant progress towards our housing pledge to build 35,000 additional homes in Kitchener by 2031," said Kitchener Mayor, Berry Vrbanovic.

In addition, today, Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic and members of the Ontario's Big City Mayors (OBCM) met with Premier Doug Ford and provincial ministers to discuss a collaborative approach between Ontario's big cities and the province on key issues, including mental health and homelessness, housing, and municipal financial capacity.

The Ontario's Big City Mayors (OBCM) endorsed three Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) resolutions to:

  • Establish an urgent intergovernmental platform on mental health, calling the federal government to acknowledge mental health as a national emergency and ask that mental health be integrated into the Canadian healthcare system.
  • Help address the crisis on homelessness by calling on the federal government to provide long-term funding and resources to support local government, provide wrap-around services and create a national strategy to support local efforts.
  • Develop a new growth framework for municipalities that links municipal financial capacity to factors such as national population growth and economic growth.

"Kitchener stands together with other Ontario and Canadian cities and communities in tackling some of the biggest issues impacting our communities, including homelessness, mental health and addictions,” said Mayor Vrbanovic. "Tackling all of these issues will require a new fiscal framework amongst all three orders of government in order to deliver on the issues important to the residents we serve."

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Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM)

FCM has been the national voice of municipal government since 1901. Members include more than 2,100 municipalities of all sizes, from Canada's cities and rural communities to northern communities and 20 provincial and territorial municipal associations. Together, they represent more than 92 percent of all Canadians from coast to coast to coast. Municipal leaders from across Canada assemble each year to set FCM policy on key issues. FCM advocates for municipalities to be sure citizens' needs are reflected in federal policies and programs. Year after year, the work benefits every municipal government and taxpayer in Canada, and the programming delivers tools that help municipalities tackle local challenges.

Ontario's Big City Mayors (OBCM)
Ontario's Big City Mayors (OBCM) is comprised of mayors of Ontario cities with populations of 100,000 or more. Collectively, Ontario's Big City Mayors represent nearly 70% of Ontario's population.

OBCM provides a voice for big city mayors in policy debates that impact Ontario cities. Through policy development, advocacy, discussion and partnerships, Ontario's Big City Mayors support strong and effective cities.

For more information, contact:
Shawn Falcao 
Manager, Corporate Communication 
City of Kitchener