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Timmins the only major Northern city not offered strong mayor powers

The additional powers have expanded to 21 more municipalities that are projected to have a population of over 50,000 people in the next eight years
2018-05-07 Timmins City Hall2 MH
Timmins City Hall. Maija Hoggett/TimminsToday

As the strong mayor powers grow to 21 more municipalities, Timmins is the only major centre in the north to not make the cut. 

In an effort to build more homes quickly in the province, Premier Doug Ford announced on August 21 that the mayors of more municipalities could be granted the special authority if they commit to building an assigned number of homes in the next eight years. 

Eligible municipalities that sign on will have access to the three-year, $1.2-billion Building Faster Fund that will dole out $400 million annually to municipalities reaching at least 80 per cent of their annual housing target for that year. There's a bonus for municipalities that exceed their target.

"Ten per cent of the overall funding will be reserved for small, rural and northern communities that have not yet been assigned a housing target by the province to support unique needs and circumstances," reads the news release.

The population is a driving factor in the decision in choosing what cities got the nod. 

The new municipalities included in the expanded program are all projected to have a population of 50,000 or more by 2031. 

All of the major Northern Ontario municipalities already have a population of at least 50,000, except Timmins where the population dropped to 41,145 in 2021 census. 

Each of the new municipalities will have to commit to building a provincially assigned housing target. 

The commitments Northern municipalities have to agree to are 3,800 new homes by 2031 for Sudbury, 2,200 new homes for Thunder Bay, 1,500 units for Sault Ste. Marie and 1,000 units for North Bay.

The strong mayor powers include a handful of tools for the head of a municipality to speed up delivering municipal-provincial priorities such as housing, transit and infrastructure. It was first given to the mayors of Toronto and Ottawa in the fall of 2022, then was expanded to 26 more municipalities on July 1, 2023. 

If all of the areas sign on to today's announcement, 50 municipalities will have strong mayor powers.

— TimminsToday