Zachary Spicer is the Director of Research and Outreach with the Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC). He holds a PhD in Political Science from The University of Western Ontario and began his career as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Brock University after completing post-doctoral fellowships at the University of Toronto’s Institute of Municipal Finance and Governance and the Laurier Institute for the Study of Public Opinion and Policy at Wilfrid Laurier University. He is a former Senior Policy Advisor for Ontario’s Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing and has published three book on local government, including The Boundary Bargain: Growth, Development and the Future of City-County Separation.
Topics of Discussion
- Who are you, what you are doing for a living, areas of research etc.
- What do you do at the Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC)
- What interests you in municipal government?
- Describe The Boundary Bargain – What was the issue you were trying to unpack
- In Boundary Bargain you use London Middlesex as one of your example communities of tensions between urban and rural municipalities. Can you unpack what you found in those communities.
- Is there a solution to these boundary challenges?
- Given skyrocketing housing prices in urban areas across SW Ontario do you think we will see a proliferation of these boundary challenges, as ex-urban municipalities’ populations grow with people priced out of cities?
- I have also heard two different perspectives on upper tier governments one from a small community (Zorra Township) and one from a larger community (Tillsonburg) in Oxford county. There were certainly different perspectives on the role of the upper tier and the perceived value and benefit of those relationships.
- I don’t know if you have thoughts on some of the lower/upper tier municipal structures and their impacts on governance.
- Covid Impacts on municipal government – what are you seeing from a research perspective and what will be a new normal for municipalities?
- I know you have recently done reports on digital service transformation in smaller communities.
- You have also done research on Smart Cities and the Smart Cities Challenge what did you see in that research.
- The provincial budget will be arriving that day, any rapid reactions on the budget, how it might impact municipalities etc. your thoughts
- I ask all of the municipal leaders over the next 10 years where do they want their community to be? What is the biggest opportunity and challenge for SW Ontario municipalities over the next decade?
- Magic policy wand, if you were to identify one policy change to make that would improve the lives of people in SW Ontario what would it be?