Regional Council and Regional Councillors . Municipal Election 2018 Conversations. Edition 3

2 min to read

Our local government is organized in a two-tier structure - Municipal and Regional.  There are 9 municipalities in York Region  - Richmond Hill, Vaughan, Markham, Aurora, King, East Gwillimbury, Whitchurch - Stouffville, Georgina, Newmarket.

York Region is big:      

Population of over 1.1 million.
Budget of about $3 billion
Debt of about $2 billion
Area of 1,762 km²

The Regional Government looks after:

Public transit
Regional Roads (i.e. Yonge, Bathurst, Bayview, 16th Ave)
Social services
Public Health
Affordable Housing
Emergency medical service

Click here for the entire list of services provided by the Region of York.
Their headquarters is at 17250 Yonge Street, Newmarket.

The region is governed by a group known as York Regional Council, which consists of 20 elected representatives. These include each of the nine mayors, and 11 regional councillors who are elected from the constituent municipalities as follows:

1 from Georgina
1 from Newmarket
2 from Richmond Hill
3 from Vaughan
4 from Markham

The position of Chair of York Region is chosen by the 20 elected representatives. Former Richmond Hill MPP Reza Moridi introduced a private members bill requiring this important position to be an elected one.  The argument is that the person who holds this important position, with a salary of over $200,000, should be accountable to the people and been given this responsibility in a transparent method. Reza believes that the title of chair is a misnomer.  It is more akin to a Premier. 

The new provincial government reversed this legislation in June. 

To note, in Ontario there are 6 Regional Governments. Along with York there were four other municipalities, Niagara, Halton, Muskoka and Peel, which were also going to be electing for the first time the Chair of the Region, but are now not. Durham Region had been electing their chair and will do so again in this upcoming municipal election.  

The two regional councillors for Richmond Hill, Brenda Hogg and Vito Spatafora, are not running for re-election.  Both Brenda and Vito have served on council for over 20 years each.  This is a lot of knowledge and experience that will be missing from York Region’s council.

The residents of Richmond Hill should really pay attention to who they vote for.  It matters for the Town and the Region.  Good people who make good decisions are needed.

Because there is no incumbent there are many seeking the positions.

We need to choose 2 candidates from this list:

Jason Cherniak
Sabine Ho
Ramin Faraji
Carmine Perrelli
Carol Chan
Murtaza Bhujwalla
Joe DiPaola

I had a good conversation with Vito Spatafora about what the job of Regional Councillor entails.  “Energy and effort”, were his first words. He is concerned about the learning curve that will be required for whom ever is elected. An understanding of governance and the community and its residents is paramount.  Also, Vito says it is extremely important to have a very good grasp of finance and the budget process.

Despite the huge budget there are finite resources and vast needs.  Proposing new social programs would be popular but the sewers need to be built.

Vito also is concerned that the northern municipality’s needs not be neglected.  He remembers when Oak Ridges was less of an urban area.

There are currently 19 sub-committees, boards or task forces that the councillors and mayors sit on and may chair.  Their interests and experience should dictate where their efforts go.  A lot of in-depth reading is required to be effective. 

Vito is looking forward to not having the 40 to 80 hours of work each week.  But he has promised that he will find some time for the community.

This is the third bi-weekly Municipal Elections 2018 Conversations.

Previous editions:

Let's start thinking about who we will elect.

What does a councillor do?

Comments and questions are welcomed.  

There will be opportunities to meet the candidates at the Electionfests organized by the Richmond Hill Board of Trade
Connecting the Community will invite the candidates to speak at the regular scheduled Tuesday morning meetings and all are welcome to attend.
Specific questions to all of the candidates will be sent out and their answers presented in an upcoming newsletter.


Marj Andre
Community Connector
416 822-5139
[email protected]