In his election column, Bob Mok focuses on the municipality system and the election of mayors and city councillors.
For the earlier article in this series, please go to the following link:
3) Municipal Government:
There are 2 kinds of Municipal governments – Regional Municipality (Example: York region, Waterloo Region) and Local Municipality (Example: Markham, New Market, Aurora, etc.).
Regional municipalities provide services over an area encompassing more than one local municipality. For highly populated areas, this tier of government is more efficient in providing services, such as maintenance and construction of arterial roads, transit, policing, sewer and water systems, waste disposal, region-wide land-use planning and development and health and social services.
Local municipalities looks after Recreational facilities and services, waste Management, Fire Services, Parks and pathways, Cultural facilities, etc. They also provide infrastructure for main roads, sewers, and bridges and also handle social services. All of these responsibilities have to do with a direct interaction with its inhabitants. City councils govern the large municipalities while smaller governments are commonly called towns, villages, parishes, rural municipalities, townships, or hamlets.
The province of Ontario governs the extent of powers and duties, internal organization and structure of municipalities through a consolidated statute – The Municipal Act. The current total number of municipalities in Ontario is 444.
Local Municipalities are also referred to as "lower tier" municipalities when there is another level of municipal government like a county or region involved in providing services to residents. Where there is only one level of municipal government in an area, it is called a single tier municipality.Examples of single tier municipalities in Ontario: City of Chatham-Kent, City of Greater Sudbury, City of Hamilton, City of Ottawa and the City of Toronto.
Municipal Elections are held every four years on the fourth Monday in October since 2010. The next one will be held on Oct 22, 2018.
There are two systems to elect municipal councillors or aldermen – elected at large or by ward.If councillors are elected at large, all councillors represent the entire municipality. The candidates with the highest number of votes win the election and become the new councillors. If councillors are elected by wards and each ward is represented by only one councillor, then the winner will be determined by the “First past the post” system.In Ontario, the head of a local municipal council is either called the Mayor or the Reeve.
Regional Chair is the head of a regional council. The chair can be chosen by a vote of the members of regional council or directly elected by voters. Some are elected to sit on both the regional council and the local municipal council. In some municipalities, members of local municipal councils are appointed by their councils to serve at the regional level. The head of council of a local municipality is a member of the regional council.
The three levels of government in our political system collect taxes from us and provide services corresponding to their responsibilities in return. A basic understanding of their functions is necessary for all citizens and immigrants when they want to maximize results out of their hard earned dollars without getting the “run around”.
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