Halton is part of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), although it is the only regional municipality in the GTA that is not situated directly adjacent to Toronto’s city proper. However, the region is split between the census metropolitan areas (CMAs) of Toronto and Hamilton. Burlington is part of the Hamilton CMA, while the rest of the region is part of the Toronto CMA.
Halton experienced a growth rate of 17.1% between 2001 and 2006, and 14.2% between 2006 and 2011, giving it one of the highest growth rates in the country. Despite the unprecedented growth in residential development, agriculture and protected lands along the Niagara Escarpment are still the predominant land uses in the region. Halton has been ranked by Maclean's national crime ranking report as being the "safest place to live" in the GTA and one of the top five in Canada.
The Regional Municipality of Halton was established on 1 January 1974 as the successor to the former Halton County by the Regional Municipality of Halton Act, 1973. From 1 January 2003, it has been governed by the Municipal Act, 2001.
Until the 2000 municipal elections, the Chairman of the Regional Council had been appointed by the Ontario government. From that date, it has been an elective position. Joyce Savoline was the last appointed Chairman, and was elected and reelected as Chairman until her retirement from the position in 2006. The current Regional Chairman is Gary Carr.