A report will be presented on Monday, Sept. 18 to inform City Council of potential changes coming to the Corporation as a result of the province’s Strong Mayor powers.

Currently, 27 municipalities in Ontario have Strong Mayor powers. This list does not yet include Thunder Bay as it has not been designated.

The report, written by City Clerk Krista Power, highlights the associated legislation. Under the new Strong Mayor powers, the Mayor could:

  • Appoint, dismiss and assign “other duties” to the City Manager
  • Determine the organizational structure of the City
  • Hire or dismiss the “head of any other part of the organizational structure” of the City
  • Direct municipal employees to undertake research, provide advice, as well as carry out duties and implement decisions
  • Appoint chairs and vice-chairs of prescribed local boards
  • Establish or dissolve Committees of Council, appoint Chairs and Vice-Chairs and assign functions to Committees
  • Require council to consider any matter that could advance a provincial priority
  • Veto a By-law that could interfere with a provincial priority
  • Propose, prepare and adopt the annual budget, and propose amendments to the budget throughout the year

Many of the powers listed above are complex, with specific timelines allowed to veto decisions, appeal decisions, or require only one-third support of Council. Some of the legislative changes have not been confirmed by the province, such as what local boards could be impacted.

Under the provincial regulations that enact the Strong Mayor Powers, some of this authority could be delegated to City Administration.

On Monday, Mayor Ken Boshcoff will also present a memorandum to Council asking for support to write to the provincial Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing that requests having the Strong Mayor powers enacted, while also confirming the City’s Housing Target.

At the Association for Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) conference in August 2023, Premier Ford announced that 21 additional municipalities including Thunder Bay, will be given strong mayor powers if their mayors (or heads of council), commit in writing to meet their provincially assigned housing target by October 15. Thunder Bay has been assigned a housing target of 2,200 homes by 2031.