August 2017
Backgrounder

Municipal governments share the Province’s goal to protect Ontario’s natural resources and biodiversity and to preserve the economic development, recreation and wellness opportunities the natural environment provides.  

Municipal governments support the Provincial Policy Statement in a number of ways, including land use planning, water management, and conservation initiatives. In this context, there are a number of current government initiatives related to the natural environment that affect municipalities.

Aggregate Resources Act
  • Bill 39 creates a framework for welcome changes. These changes include intended harmonizing of language found in pieces of legislation that pertain to aggregates.
  • The effects of aggregate operations on water resources, including drinking water sources, are well-known, and must be better monitored.
  • Fee levels and distribution formula should be reconsidered to ensure fees are divided fairly between aggregate producing municipalities. As well, sharing with non-producing municipalities along haul routes needs to be examined.
  • AMO welcomes the interim updates to the fees, but will continue advocating for a final formula that covers the real costs.
Conservation Authorities Act Review
  • The Province has acted on the review of the Conservation Authorities Act, as part of Bill 139, which addresses the roles, responsibilities and governance of Conservation Authorities in resource management and environmental protection.
  • AMO will continue to  press for a better funding model that reflects that much of Conservation Authorities’ work supports provincial interests.
  • AMO recommends a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between municipal governments and each Conservation Authority to clarify roles and responsibilities, identify mandated functions, and align efforts where a municipality has more than one Conservation Authority.
Wetlands Policies
  • Municipal governments share the Province’s concern about the loss of wetlands, which play a critical role in local ecosystems. AMO views the creation of a province-wide plan as positive.
  • AMO anticipates that this initiative will allow for a focus on natural heritage systems that cross political boundaries, which many municipalities and conservation authorities lack the resources to take on.
  • AMO has asked for further details on the concept of “no net loss.” Some municipalities are interested in this approach and some conservation authorities have the resources to implement such an approach. Conversely, in areas where wetlands comprise a significant portion of the land base, achieving no net loss may not be realistic.