• Legislative Review

— Ontario’s Big City Mayors support Stopping Harassment and Abuse by Local Leaders Act —

QUEEN’S PARK – Ontario’s Big City Mayors (OBCM), comprising mayors of Ontario cities with a population of 100,000 or more, have joined together to support Bill 5: Stopping Harassment and Abuse by Local Leaders Act.Bill 5, introduced by Stephen Blais, MPP for Orléans and the Ontario Liberal Critic for Municipal Affairs and Housing, if passed, would create a process to vacate a Municipal Councillor’s seat for agregious violations of workplace violence and harassment policies.

“I want to thank the OBCM for uniting together to help address the harassment and abuse problems facing cities and towns across the province,” says Blais. “The support from the 29 largest municipalities in Ontario representing nearly 70% of Ontario’s population speaks to the urgency needed of this legislation to be enacted into law.”

“In addition to OBCM’s support, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) and the Rural Ontario Municipalities Association (ROMA), have recently written to the Premier and Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing advocating for the measures included in Bill 5,” adds Blais.

A growing movement entitled ‘The Women of Ontario Say No’, borne out of a situation in Simcoe County, has prompted municipal governments to stand with the citizens they represent to speak up in support of Bill 5 and tougher penalties for municipal leaders who abuse, harass and demean staff, colleagues or members of the public.

“When municipally elected officials can retain their position of power, even when egregious acts of harassment are investigated and substantiated, we all lose. The message this sends to communities and the residents in them is toxic. We expect a higher standard of conduct in every other workplace in Ontario. It is about ensuring the rights of women, and all Ontarians are respected,” says Emily McIntosh, lead advocate for the Women of Ontario Say No. “The leadership of Ontario’s Big City Mayors is critical. Elected officials are there to represent the views of their electorate – it is now the responsibility of the provincial government to ensure this legislation receives royal assent, sending the message that violence and harassment isn’t just something governments ‘say’, it’s something they act upon”.

The following municipalities have also voted in support of Bill 5:

Town of Collingwood
Town of Adjala-Tosorontio
Township of Ramara
Town of Midland
Township of Oro-Medonte
City of Woodstock
Town of New Tecumseth
Essa Township
Township of Clearview
Township of Springwater
City of Barrie
City of Ottawa
Town of Wasaga Beach
Township of Tiny
Municipality of Dutton Dunwich
City of Mississauga
Township of Brock
Town of Ajax
Town of Enniskillen
City of Pickering

Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury
Town of Penetanguishene
City of Orillia
Township of The Archipelago
City of London
Municipality of Kincardine
City of Kenora
Township of Norwich
Municipality of Richmond Hill
City of Hamilton
The City of Sault Ste. Marie
City of Stratford
Town of Aurora
Town of Gananoque
Municipality of Chatham-Kent
City of Peterborough
City of North Bay
Township of Asphodel – Norwood
Township of Dubreuilville
Township of Alberton

Township of Addington Highlands
Town of Georgina
Town of Parry Sound
Township of Mulmur
Municipality of Lambton Shores
Town of Ingersoll
Beckwith Township
Township of Perry
Municipality of Arran-Elderslie
Municipality of Greenstone
Town of Orangeville
Prince Township
Township of North Huron
Township of East Hawkesbury
Township of Zorra
Niagara Regional Council
City of Vaughan

Bill 5 will be debated at Second Reading on May 30, 2023.

Read the release from Ontario’s Big City Mayors here.