The regional council in Durham asked the province in 2010 to pass a regulation allowing it to elect its chairperson instead of having someone appointed.
Municipal Affairs Minister Kathleen Wynne signed a regulation today that will allow Durham residents to determine if they would like to elect their regional chairperson.
The regional council, and at least five of the eight local councils in Durham, must pass resolutions supporting the change before it can take effect.
The public must also be consulted before Durham changes the rules to allow people to elect the regional chairperson.
Durham region includes Oshawa, Pickering, Ajax, Whitby, Clarington and the townships of Brock, Scugog and Uxbridge.
The regional chairperson in Halton and Waterloo is elected directly by voters, while others in Ontario are appointed by the elected councils.