Steven Del Duca, the uncharismatic former Leader of the Ontario Liberal Party and now Mayor of Vaughan is proving to be a very big disappointment.

On Tuesday (20 June 2023) he called a special meeting in Vaughan to consider the City’s response to Doug Ford’s inchoate plans to shake up municipalities across the GTA. We know that Ford will break up Peel Region but we don’t yet know what he plans for other regions – including our own here in York and its nine constituent municipalities.

However, it is now clear Del Duca wants to see a “single tier” Vaughan taking over many services currently provided by York Region. Some services, such as the police and paramedics, will continue to be shared with the other York Region municipalities and special arrangements will have to be made. I see a plethora of boards and masses of red tape. 

Meaningless drivel

Del Duca came out with this meaningless drivel:

“We are a partner that can help the province and help our counterparts across York region with perhaps a new governance structure and model that will set all of the residents - not just here in Vaughan but right across what is today known as York Region - up for success.”

Del Duca is commissioning consultants to come up with a blueprint on a “governance structure” by the end of September. 

Del Duca was stung by Frank Scarpitti’s earlier announcement that he favours a York “megacity”. Which was rejected out of hand by Ford.

Del Duca believes he has to be seen doing something. Taking the lead. Charting the way forward. Being ahead of the curve.

Complete cobblers. Bad move. Del Duca is just helping Ford.


The debate at Vaughan on Del Duca’s motion was truly pitiful.

No-one came to the defence of York Region – not even those Regional Councillors like Mario Ferri who have served on the Region for hundreds of years. No-one asked what the implications would be for York Region and its constituent municipalities if Vaughan were allowed by the Province to split from the Region. No-one asked if the Region could survive without a major player such as Vaughan. Everyone assumed a huge municipal reorganisation was inevitable – and that a single tier Vaughan would be a good thing.

No-one mentioned the high calibre senior management at York Region. I’ve watched them for years – with no axe to grind - and most are very good and a number are outstanding. 

Ford's Regional Review 2019

No-one asked about the Ford Regional Review in 2019 which started out with great fanfare and ended as a damp squib. After all the talk of a massive municipal reorganisation nothing happened. The reorganisation report was never published. No-one in Vaughan called for the papers to be declassified so we could all make an assessment of the costs and benefits of a huge municipal upheaval. 

No. They just voted, lobotomised, for Del Duca’s unhelpful motion.

I found it very dispiriting.

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Update on 24 June 2023: From Newmarket Today: Newmarket Mayor urges care as Vaughan pushes for independence

Steven Del Duca on 20 June 2023:

"I am hopeful through the passage, hopefully, of this resolution that our staff will be empowered to work with us to come up with all of the information that council will need its disposal over the next number of months. 

I will also point out in terms of the urgency… again none of us having a crystal ball per se… I am under the impression that facilitators will be appointed relatively soon and relatively soon in Peel Region and relatively soon the other impacted regions around the greater Toronto and Hamilton area. And again that's one of the other reasons that I wanted us to take this opportunity as a Council to have this discussion today and to arrive in a place where we can we can work on this going forward.

I think the resolution does strike the right balance between, I'll say this, exploration that we should want to do the homework that we should want to do, but also sending a clear signal to our fellow lower tier municipalities and the region and the province, that we are a sophisticated, strong and growing municipality that has a demonstrated track record of delivering. And that we are a partner that can help the province and help our counterparts across York region with perhaps a new governance structure and model that will set all of the residents - not just here in Vaughan but right across what is today known as York Region - up for success."


Special Committee of the Whole 

DATE: Tuesday, June 20, 2023 



Mayor Steven Del Duca 

Whereas, on May 25, 2023, the Ontario government announced it will name facilitators to assess the future of the Regions of York, Durham, Halton, Niagara, Simcoe and Waterloo to determine the effectiveness of the existing two-tier governance structure; and 

Whereas, Ontario’s regional government model has been in place for almost 50 years and the aforementioned regions are each comprised of small towns and big cities that feature a wide variety of demographic characteristics; and 

Whereas, Vaughan has collaborated closely with all other lower-tier municipalities in York Region and recognizes the historic importance of what has been achieved as a result of this collaborative approach; and 

Whereas, the Ontario government passed Bill 112 (the Hazel McCallion Act) on June 8 which will dissolve the Region of Peel and make the municipalities of Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon single-tier; and 

Whereas, between 2011 and 2021, Vaughan experienced a population increase of almost 30 per cent, and is forecasted to grow by 66 per cent by 2051 for a minimum total population of 570,000; and 

Whereas, in March 2023, Vaughan Council approved a commitment to the Ontario government’s Housing Pledge which included a provincially mandated housing target for Vaughan of 42,000 housing units by 2031; and Item 2 Page 2 of 3 

Whereas, of all nine lower-tier municipalities in York Region, Vaughan contributes the highest share of property tax revenue (30.87 per cent in 2022) and development charge collection (47 per cent in 2022) to York Region; and 

Whereas, Vaughan continues to demonstrate its ability to maintain low property taxes while delivering exceptional public services, as indicated in the 2022 Citizen Satisfaction Survey that showed 88 per cent of respondents are satisfied with City services; and 

Whereas, Vaughan is enhancing services and leveraging innovative solutions to expedite permit approvals to help confront the housing affordability crisis, and is always seeking creative ways in which to eliminate unnecessary duplication in service delivery without sacrificing quality outcomes for its residents; and 

Whereas, the provincial government has made it clear with the passage of Bill 112 and the announcement of the impending appointment of regional facilitators that it is determined to make the structural changes necessary to streamline decision-making, expedite approvals, eliminate unnecessary duplication and modernize regional municipal governance; and 

Whereas, Vaughan recognizes that there are critically-important shared services that should continue to be delivered through pooled resources and collaborative decision-making across York Region (e.g. police and paramedic services, public transit etc); and 

Whereas, Vaughan is currently undertaking significant and transformational city-building planning and infrastructure initiatives that will shape the community for decades to come and, therefore, requires a governance model that reflects how it has evolved into a large, rapidly-growing, prosperous and sophisticated city with a bright future. 

It is therefore recommended: 

1. THAT the City of Vaughan confirms that the status quo governance model in York Region should be changed and modernized so as to reflect the current and future needs of our residents; and 

2. THAT the City of Vaughan explores a new governance model as part of the provincial government's facilitation process that could enable it, and all other York Region municipalities, to become single tier while enabling certain identified shared services across the region to be funded and administered in common with all other lower tier York Region municipalities; and 

3. THAT City of Vaughan staff be directed to undertake the analysis required to support exploring a new governance model; and 

4. THAT City of Vaughan staff be authorized to retain consultant support to assist with the analysis; and 

5. THAT City staff report back to Vaughan Council by the end of September 2023 with the report findings; and Item 2 Page 3 of 3 

6. THAT a copy of this resolution be forwarded to York Region Chair Wayne Emmerson, the Mayors of the nine lower-tier municipalities, the Premier of Ontario and the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.