Today, the Government of Ontario announced that the result of its study of governance reform in regions across Ontario, including Niagara, was to accept the status quo. To many who were looking for changes in the municipal government structure, this will come as a disappointment.
However, the GNCC does not take it to mean that the door has been closed on a made-in-Niagara solution to increase governmental efficiency or reduce overlapping services and jurisdictions. The process of study and consultation confirmed that inefficiencies persist in Niagara’s present structure, and we feel that local governments in the region should take this as an opportunity to pursue solutions to them.
The Government of Ontario also announced that $143 million would be made available to municipal governments across Ontario to lower costs and deliver better services. Niagara could tackle some of our inefficiencies with our share of these funds, such as multiple and overlapping bus networks, duplicate planning and economic development departments at two levels of government, or inefficient schedules and responsibilities for road maintenance.
We urge local governments across Niagara to assemble a compelling bid for our share of these funds and use them to tackle some of Niagara’s more pressing governance concerns. Many organizations across Niagara put considerable research into this issue, and we hope that local governments will tap those organizations as resources which can help them solve problems in the region. Local governments should take notice and work to solve the many issues with the present structure that were raised during and before the review process.
“This may be the end of the Government of Ontario’s plan to reform Niagara, but it does not have to mean that we close the book on useful reform. The process has shown that there is an appetite and a need for meaningful change and greater efficiency in Niagara, and we hope that local governments will pursue that.”
— Mishka Balsom, President & CEO, GNCC
The Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce is the largest business organization in Niagara and the second-largest Chamber of Commerce in Ontario, with 1,500 members representing 50,000 employees. More information on the GNCC is available at gncc.ca.
Mishka Balsom, President & CEO of GNCC
Mishka@gncc.ca or 905-684-2361