Saying Goodbye to Peel Region: Hazel McCallion Act Introduced
On May 18th, 2023 the Ontario government introduced Bill 112, the Hazel McCallion Act (Peel Dissolution), 2023. If proclaimed into law, the Act would dissolve Peel Region on January 1, 2025. Brampton, Mississauga and Caledon would all become single-tier municipalities thereafter.
The Transition Board
The Act does not provide specifics on how the dissolution of the Region, distribution of assets and liabilities, and the restructuring functions will be accomplished. Instead, the approach Bill 112 takes is to authorize the Minister to appoint a “Transition Board” of up to five people. The Transition Board will monitor the actions of the Region, Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon during the transition and is given the power to compel disclosure to assist in that role. The Transition Board is also tasked with providing recommendations to the Minister on the restructuring. The recommendations could be implemented through a variety of mechanisms, including through the passage of future regulations. However, the creation of regulations is not limited to the implementation of recommendations from the Transition Board.
A Requirement to Act in the Public Interest
Bill 112 contains provisions requiring the Region, Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon to consider the restructuring and public interest in transactions, commitments, and agreements entered into after May 18, 2023. The provision seems intended to ensure prudent decision making while simultaneously discouraging waste. The Transition Board is empowered to direct any of the municipalities to undo or not proceed with actions that the Transition Board sees as contrary to the public interest. That power is backstopped by the Minister’s power to make an order should the need arise.
What is clear is that Bill 112 is only the first step in what promises to be complex restructuring process that will be closely watched across much of Ontario.