Bookmark this page

About Regional Government

In 1973, the Province of Ontario passed the Regional Municipality of Durham Act to establish Durham as one of five Regional governments in the Greater Toronto Area. The Act annexed and amalgamated 21 former municipalities of the counties of Ontario, Northumberland and Durham to form eight area municipalities: Ajax, Brock, Clarington, Oshawa, Pickering, Scugog, Uxbridge and Whitby. Members of the first Regional Council were elected late in 1973 and the Regional Municipality of Durham began operating on January 1, 1974.

The regional system of municipal government consists of two tiers. The first tier is the regional level, which operates at a broader scale to provide planning, servicing and financing for the Region. The eight area municipalities constitute the second tier, and operate at a more local scale, handling services such as local planning, fire protection, tax collection and parks and recreation.

Durham Region lies just east of Toronto in the area of Ontario known as the Golden Horseshoe. The southern part of Durham has experienced rapid growth of its residential, industrial and commercial sectors in the past decade. North Durham is predominately rural lands with a thriving agricultural sector and the environmentally important Oak Ridges Moraine. With access to ample greenspace, Lakes Ontario, Scugog and Simcoe, as well as urban amenities, Durham Region offers a high standard of living for both city and rural dwellers.

This unique mix of urban and rural lifestyles is supported by an excellent transportation network, public utilities and social infrastructure.

Regional Government

Regional Council is comprised of the Regional Chair and the Mayors and Regional Councillors from the eight Area Municipalities. Regional Council meetings are held at The Regional Municipality of Durham Headquarters in Whitby.

Regional Responsibilities:

  • 9-1-1 Management
  • Borrowing of Money for Capital Expenditures of Upper and Lower Tier
  • Municipalities
  • Child-Care Centres, Nursery School Programs and Durham Behaviour
  • Management Services (Children)
  • Delegated Authority for Local Area Municipal Official Plans and Amendments
  • Durham Regional Official Plan and Implementation
  • Economic Development and Tourism
  • Emergency Management
  • Family Counselling
  • Industrial, Commercial and Residential Development Approvals
  • Land Ambulance Services
  • Land Division Consent Applications
  • Long Term Care and Services for Seniors
  • Municipal Water Supply, Treatment, Distribution and Billing
  • Ontario Works Programs and Services
  • Police Services
  • Property Tax Policy
  • Provincial Offences Court, Prosecution Services, Administration and
  • Collection of Fines
  • Public Health Programs and Services
  • Regional Roads, Bridges and Traffic Signals and Controls
  • Sewage Collection and Treatment and Billing
  • Social Housing
  • Strategic Land Use Planning
  • Subdivision and Condominium Approvals
  • Transit and Specialized Transit Services
  • Waste Disposal Facilities and Material Recovery Facility
  • Waste Management: The Region is responsible for Collection, Composting, Processing / Disposal of all Garbage, Blue Box Recyclables, Green Bin Compostables, Yard Waste, White Goods and Bulky Items in all Area Municipalities except for Oshawa and Whitby who are responsible for their own collection of Garbage, Green Bin Compostables, Yard Waste, White Goods and Bulky Items

Area Municipal Government

The local councils are located in each of the eight area municipalities. The main responsibilities of the area municipalities are listed below.

Area Municipality Responsibilities:

  • Animal Control
  • Building and Plumbing Inspections and Permits
  • Business and Lottery Licensing
  • Fire Protection / Prevention
  • Green Bin, Garbage, Yard Waste and White / Bulky Items collection in Oshawa and Whitby only
  • Library Services
  • Local Planning and Development
  • Local Streets and Sidewalks
  • Municipal Elections
  • Parking and By-law Enforcement
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Property Standards
  • Property Tax Collection
  • Vital Statistics