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Changing Patterns of Governance in Metropolitan Regions: Australian and Canadian Perspectives

October 25, 2023 @ 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm

Regional government is once again in the spotlight in Ontario. Last May, the provincial government announced its intention to dissolve the Region of Peel and move towards three single-tier cities. It has also expressed interest in the assignment of responsibilities between lower-tier municipalities and regions in other parts of the province. It is thus timely to look at the best way to govern metropolitan regions.

In Australia, metropolitan governance is characterized by state government dominance of strategic planning, major infrastructure, and service delivery. At a time when regional governance is changing in Ontario, the province can learn from the challenges faced in Australia, especially in the areas of housing affordability, climate change, transportation, and local governance.

On October 25th, a panel of experts discussed emerging trends in regional governance in Australia and the implications for Greater Toronto, Ontario, and Canada more generally. The panel examined the benefits and risks of strong provincial intervention in local affairs, with a focus on the dissolution of Peel Region.

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Graham Sansom is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). From 1998 to 2012, he was Professor and Director of the UTS Centre for Local Government and the Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government. Previously, he was Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Local Government Association, a consultant in planning and public policy, and a senior official in local and state governments. In 2018, Graham was a Visiting Scholar at IMFG. During 2012-13, Graham chaired a major review of local government for the state government of New South Wales. He has since worked on similar reviews in most other Australian states.

Janice Baker has held a variety of senior roles in the municipal sector since 1987 and was most recently the Chief Administrative Officer for the Region of Peel. From 2005 to May 2020, she served as Mississauga’s City Manager and CAO. She received the 2020 Vanier Medal from the Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC), is a member of the Women’s Executive Network Top 100 Hall of Fame, and holds the designation of FCPA, FCA.

Zack Taylor is Associate Professor of Political Science at Western University, where he teaches and researches on urban politics and local governance, with a particular focus on the governance of urban regions. He also pursues parallel interests in municipal campaigns and elections, local public finance, and political geography. Professor Taylor was the founding director of Western University’s Centre for Urban Policy and Local Governance. He is a Fellow at IMFG and a non-practicing Registered Professional Planner. His book Shaping the Metropolis, which compares the historical development of metropolitan governance in Canada and the United States, was published in 2019. He is also co-editor of the journal Territory, Politics, Governance.


Tara Vinodrai is the Director of the Master of Urban Innovation program at the Institute for Management and Innovation at the University of Toronto Mississauga, where she teaches a course on urban and regional economic development theories. As an economic geographer, her research focuses on innovation, economic development, work and labour market dynamics, and technological change in cities as well as the uneven outcomes, patterns and equity implications associated with changes in urban and regional economies. Her most recent publications include a widely used, co-edited book, Canadian Cities in Transition (Oxford University Press), which recently received an Award of Planning Excellence Merit from the Canadian Institute of Planners. She has provided advice to large cities, smaller communities and higher orders of government related to innovation, economic development and regional prosperity.


October 25, 2023
4:30 pm - 6:00 pm


Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance


Massey College, Massey Common Room
4 Devonshire Place
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2E1 Canada
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