(Toronto, Ont. November 16, 2016) – Today, the Ontario government introduced the Building Ontario Up For Everyone Act (Budget Measures) 2016, if passed, will include a provision to ensure the direct election of the Chair of York Region Council and the other remaining Regions (Niagara and Peel) who do not democratically elect their Chair and CEO. Currently, the York Region Chair is unelected and directly appointed by members of Regional Council.
“I’m absolutely delighted that the province has moved forward with the strengthening of regional democracy that I advocated for in my private member’s bill. It’s wonderful to see this incorporated in provincial legislation,” said Chris Ballard, MPP for Newmarket-Aurora. “This is a great day for democracy in York Region,” he added.
Ballard’s proposed legislation, Bill 42 – Direct Election of the York Region Chair, received all-party support during first and second reading. At committee, it was supported by many residents and elected officials during public hearings. Five York Region municipalities passed motions in support of Bill 42 and the direct election of the region chair which included Aurora, East Gwillimbury, Markham, Newmarket and Whitchurch-Stouffville.
The Region of York accounts for about one-third of the local municipal tax bill, has an annual operating budget of $2 billion dollars and a debt of almost $2.9 billion. “Residents have told me for years direct election of Regional Chair will mean they have more of a say on how their region grows,” Ballard said. “An election will provide a great opportunity for Regional Chair candidates to put forward their vision for the Region, and explain past decisions.” He added that the position of Regional Chair is, perhaps, the most important and powerful government post in the region.
Ballard’s Bill 42 was the third attempt to make the Regional Chair an elected position. Previously, private members bills by the Hon. Reza Moridi and Hon. Dr. Helena Jaczek were stalled when election cycles precluded all bills from moving forward. Ballard said he is thankful to his York Region MPP colleagues for their support at Queen’s Park.
Ballard would also like to thank Regional Councillor Joe Li, Regional Councillor John Taylor, Regional Councillor Nirmala Armstrong, Regional Councillor Jim Jones, and Mayor Justin Altman, Councillor Tom Mrakas, Councillor Wendy Gaertner, Councillor Michael Thompson, Councillor Christina Bisanz, Councillor Karen Rea, and Councillor Dave Neeson helped to accomplish something very special in our Province.
Additionally, many others must be acknowledged as their voices impacted this bill when they called, wrote, and made deputations to MPP Ballard’s office and before the Standing Committee on the Legislative Assembly in Queen’s Park. Thank you to Mayor of Ajax Steve Parish, Former Mayor of Richmond Hill Al Duffy, Former Mayor of Whitchurch-Stouffville Sue Sherban, Former British MP Gordon Prentice, Howard A. Doughty, Marilyn Ginsberg, Anthony Pullano, Benjamin Williamson, Cliff Davies, Darryl Wolk, Chris Campbell, Jason Cherniak, Mario Racco, Catherine Marshall, Bob Mok, Jim Kwon, and Bryan Allen.
Brian Morris, Executive Assistant
Office of Chris Ballard, M.P.P.
238 Wellington St., East, Aurora, ON, L4G 1J5
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