Live City Check-In—One-on-One with Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie

A candid conversation with Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie, on how her city is dealing with the challenges of COVID-19 and what the short, medium and long-term impacts on the city could look like

5 Key

A roundup of the most compelling ideas, themes and quotes from this candid conversation

1. Where are the funds?

Mayor Crombie said that all cities are struggling to keep revenue coming in, and there is no ability for cities to go into deficit and losses are not recoverable. She added that the federal and provincial governments have done a great job at providing business continuity funding and relief funding for students, seniors and the unemployed. And now the last frontier is municipalities.

2. Tale of two pandemics 

COVID-19 cases in Ontario are generally on the decline. And while there are certainly communities in Ontario which are COVID-free, densely populated areas like Toronto, Mississauga and Ottawa are seeing delines at a much slower rate, Mayor Crombie said. She added that this means there shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all solution to mitigating the impacts of the crisis.

3. Mayoral unity

Mayor Crombie said a key learning that has already emerged from COVID-19 is that when mayors act in unison, they have a much stronger voice. She said a united front means they can come together and talk about common themes that impact each of their municipalities – like infrastructure and transit funding, affordable housing, green infrastructure, etc. And when they speak with one voice, she said, it has the biggest impact at all levels of government.

4. Signal of Hope

Mississauga is a very diverse city, the mayor said, and the Muslim population is one of the city’s largest groups. And while the City has banned religious gatherings, the City of Mississauga voted to allow mosques in the city to do calls to prayer during Ramadan, relaxing city noise bylaws up to the end of the religious holiday on May 24. The mayor said this has provided the community with a message of hope, inspiration, and support – one which is supported by the interfaith community in Mississauga.

5. Using technology for civic engagement

The mayor said the City of Mississauga was an early adopter of technology in order to continue council meetings. She said she has also used online platforms to consult with over 600 community and business groups over the last eight weeks, asking them how COVID-19 has impacted them and how the city, or other levels of government, can help. She says it’s business and community leaders who are helping drive the discussion on issues such as economic recovery.

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