Why Do Municipal Elections Matter?
Municipal Elections are Coming and Your Vote Matters!
This has been a busy year for politics in Ontario. Thanks to all the election signs, news stories and a flood of ads from every political party, most Ontarians were very aware of the provincial election in June. But, it’s much easier to overlook the municipal elections across Ontario that are happening now.
It’s important to pay close attention to your municipal elections. There are many decisions made at that level that have a major impact on the citizens and working people in your community.
You have the chance to vote on October 22.
What Does Your Municipal Government Do Anyway?
It’s easy to lose track of what the three levels of government – Federal, Provincial, and Municipal – in Canada are responsible for and what services they provide. Often, there is overlap between levels too and that can change from one community to another.
For example, do you know which level of government provides police services to your community?
- Your water supply and sewage treatment;
- Garbage and recycling pickup;
- Road and sidewalk maintenance;
- Community planning and development;
- Parks and playgrounds; and,
- Many other services.
And, don’t forget that municipal elections include your School Board Trustees too!
How Does Municipal Government Affect Workers?
While most of the legislation that applies to the membership of Locals 175 & 633 is set by the provincial government, the municipal level also affects working people. Many municipalities employ workers directly to perform municipal services like garbage pickup, road maintenance, library services, fire and police, etc.
UFCW Local 175 has Members who work for municipalities in homes for the aged, arena operation, road maintenance, and as first responders too. These workers get an opportunity to have direct input into their employers’ management structure by voting for their local municipal representatives.
Municipal bylaws can have a direct impact on workers as well. Municipalities, for example, have the power to allow retail businesses to open on most public holidays. This type of decision has the potential to strip away up to eight paid days off from retail workers. Attempts to pass such a bylaw have been made in The City of Toronto and the Region of Peel. In November 2017, the Region of York did pass this bylaw and they did so with no public consultation. Plus, city staff in the City of Windsor have recommended to that Council to do the same there.
Planning and business development can have a huge impact on the workforce in a given municipality. The approval of new commercial and business space can provide for more jobs in a community, and maintain existing businesses as well.
Often, municipalities can attract manufacturing plants and other development based on the planning, tax rates and services offered. Your municipal government ultimately determines most of these incentives to business.
How Can You Make a Difference?
The most direct way that you can have an impact at the municipal level is to make an informed vote for the local representatives that best support your interests.
Voting day is October 22, 2018.
You can find details through the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing at www.mah.gov.on.ca, and your local municipal office or website. Try Googling your city or town for its official website or type in the city/town name + Municipal Elections.
Looking for more guidance on your local candidates and the issues?
Municipal elections can be confusing and can include a lot of candidates. Across Ontario, there are District Labour Councils. These councils are made up of Union members from many different Unions. Each council has a process to review every candidate’s position on issues affecting workers and Union members. After review, many of these Labour Councils will endorse a candidate/candidates that the council members believe would be good for working people to consider.
It only takes a few minutes to vote! Your vote can have a huge impact on the working people and families in your municipality.
Want to read more about some of the issues decided by your Municipal Government?
- Familiar issues at the forefront in Kenora: Enjoy the election campaign now as the real work of city council begins October 23
- Policing: Mayoral hopefuls talk tough on crime (Thunder Bay)
- Affordable Housing, Budgets, & More: Ottawa votes: Here are the issues that will consume our next city council
- Key issues: Voters divided on key issues in London
- Transit: Toronto’s biggest election issue – getting around this busy city
- Education: Hamilton municipal election shines light on education issues
- Holiday Shopping: York Region faces criticism for being a statutory holiday Grinch & Delegations put a human face on proposed changes to holiday shopping bylaw