11/28/2006

To keep members informed, AMO provides updates on important issues considered at regular AMO Board of Directors’ meetings. Highlights of the November 2006 Board meeting.

AMO Appointments to the Fiscal and Service Delivery Review Committees
The Board approved the municipal representatives who will represent AMO on the Fiscal and Service Delivery Review. 

KPMG WDO Best Practice Report
KPMG has been engaged by the Municipal-Industry Programs Committee of Waste Diversion Ontario (WDO) to identify best practices for municipal recycling programs in Ontario. A presentation by KPMG provided an overview of the study.

AMO Board members advised KPMG that best practice activities do not necessarily result in lowest costs, and in fact, can be more costly.  The study should reflect this if it is to be effective. The Board also noted that a critical part of the best practice project should relate to the stewards and the application of best practices to packaging.  The project should also explore the impacts of the cost of marketed material on blue box programs and the role of industry in realizing best practice. The Board also questioned the addition of the LCBO component in the best practices framework given that there will be no concrete data before the project is completed. It was agreed that these concerns should be communicated to WDO.

Bill 140 – Long Term Care Act Changes
The Board unanimously approved the list of concerns which will be presented to the Standing Committee and the Minister.  The Bill takes a command and control approach to long-term care, which contrasts with previous statements made by the Premier and the Minister of Health and Long Term Care that acknowledge municipal leadership on the issue. 

A foremost concern is the stipulation that operators of long-term care homes would be personally liable for employees’ failure to meet the requirements of the Act (Section 67). It was also noted that there are no new funding commitments to support the new compliance requirements.  AMO will request that Section 67 be repealed or amended, and insist that the Province honour its commitment to provide $6,000/resident for care, providing new funding allocations in line with any new requirements. The Committee hearing process is expected to begin in early 2007.

Financial Impact of LDC Conservation Efforts
The Board deliberated over the current approach to setting the variable energy charge (¢/kWh), the mechanism through which local distribution companies (LDCs) recover their fixed distribution-related costs. The current approach delivers a disincentive to LDCs for meaningful Conservation and Demand Management (CDM) programs by negatively affecting their overall revenues. The Minister of Energy will be advised of AMO’s support for a modified Lost Revenue Adjustment Mechanism (LRAM) to ensure LDCs are adequately compensated for successful CDM programs. 

OEB Compliance Officer’s Interpretation of the Affiliated Relationship Code (ARC)
The Board also considered a request from the Electricity Distributors Association (EDA) for AMO’s support in challenging compliance orders from the Ontario Energy Board (OEB)’s Chief Compliance Officer (CCO).  Compliance with the recent CCO bulletins would require LDCs to change arrangements that were previously described in applications for licenses and rates which were subsequently approved by the Board. LDCs would incur significant costs and rates would increase, without corresponding benefits or protection to consumers and despite the fact that the CCO has not identified any harm to ratepayers flowing from existing arrangements.  AMO will support moving the oral hearing on the Affiliated Relationship Code forward.

Development Charges Act
The introduction and consideration of Bill 151, the most recent Budget Bill, generated further discussion on the loss of revenue to assist with transit, hospital and other important infrastructure.

The Board discussed the need for immediate action on the government’s outstanding commitment to review and amend the Development Charges Act, 1997, and advised that the matter be brought to the attention of the Premier and the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.