McGuinty Government Unveils Stronger City Of Toronto For A Stronger Ontario Act
Historic Step Forward Would Mean More Autonomy For Toronto
TORONTO -- New legislation to strengthen the City of Toronto would help Ontario's largest city to grow and prosper by giving it the autonomy to make more of its own decisions, says Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty.
"A strong Toronto means a stronger Ontario. And greater autonomy is one of the tools that can make one of the world's great cities even greater," said Premier McGuinty. "Toronto would now have the ability to be as dynamic, as competitive and as successful as the people who have chosen to build their lives here."
The Premier marked the introduction of the proposed legislation -- slated for later today in the Legislature -- by joining Mayor David Miller and Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing John Gerretsen in a downtown office tower overlooking several of Toronto's neighbourhoods.
If passed, the legislation would allow the City to pass bylaws covering its services, programs and public assets. These bylaws could range from protecting public safety to setting bar hours to regulating store openings on holidays.
"Our government is the first to recognize Toronto in legislation as a responsible, accountable government with broad, permissive powers," said Gerretsen. "We feel that Toronto must take a historic step forward and set its own course. It's time for the people of Toronto to determine their own future."
Since taking office, the McGuinty government has taken bold new steps to improve relations between the two levels of government. This legislation builds on the government's investments in Toronto, including:
- More than $3.6 billion for Toronto's hospitals last year
- Approximately $1.3 billion to support Toronto-area universities and colleges
- $81 million in provincial gas tax funding in 2004-05
- $73 million to support the Toronto Transit Commission this year
- More than $28 million for affordable housing programs.
"The City of Toronto grew up a long time ago. It's time for the law to catch up," said Premier McGuinty. "Together with our new investments in things like public transit, health care and education, this Act would provide Toronto with the tools it needs to be as optimistic about its future, as it is rightfully proud of its past."