08/28/2007

To keep members informed, AMO provides updates on important issues considered at regular AMO Board of Directors’ meetings. Highlights of the August 2007 Board meeting.
AMO Proposed Changes to Waste Diversion Act
The Board approved the AMO /AMRC Discussion Paper and its recommended changes to the Waste Diversion Act. The paper follows the Five-Year Review of the Act. Jennifer Jackson, Legal Counsel with the City of Ottawa and a member of the AMO Waste Task Force outlined the paper’s key recommendations which were subsequently approved by the Board. The paper will now be transmitted to the Ministry of the Environment for consideration.

WDO Committee Appointments
The Board approved two new appointments to the WDO Public Affairs Committee (PAC) and the WDO Generally Acceptable Principles Committee (GAP). Kim Kitagawa from Waterloo Region will sit as an AMO member on PAC while Brad Whitelaw from Niagara Region will sit on GAP.

AMO Response to the Proposed Transportation Standard
The Board considered AMO’s response to the proposed Transportation Standard under the Accessibility of Ontarians with Disability Act (AODA), 2005.  Accessibility standards include both sector-specific standards as well as common standards which will apply to all sectors of the economy. A key concern that was highlighted was the need for greater harmonization between each standard as well as among the different sectors as well as the lack of committed, sustainable funding from the province. It is anticipated that some smaller jurisdictions may be forced to suspend transit operations. It was noted that a number of Standards are yet to be developed and it is expected that the municipal fiscal impact of implementing the AODA will be prohibitive. Staff emphasized the importance of individual municipalities also responding to the proposed Transportation Standard emphasizing the anticipated impact of the proposed Standard.  The Board approved the AMO response and directed staff to communicate the recommendations and key considerations to the Ministry.

Proposed Terms of Reference: AMO Social Policy Task Force
The Board approved the amalgamation of AMO’s Community & Social Services Task Force and AMO’s Housing and Homelessness Task Force into the AMO Social Policy Task Force. It was agreed that a single, integrated unit would facilitate a more comprehensive understanding of Provincial program and policy decisions. The Board received the Terms of Reference for the new Task Force and directed staff to assemble membership.

Presumptive Legislation for Volunteer Firefighter Cancer Claims
The Board considered AMO’s response to the Ministry of Labour’s request for input regarding the application of presumptive legislation to volunteer and part-time firefighters and fire investigators who contract certain cancers or suffer cardiac injury. The Ministry will shortly be making regulations extending this legislation to these fire service employees. AMO was asked to comment on the circumstances, conditions and restrictions that should determine its application. 

It was broadly recognized that the contribution of volunteer and part-time firefighters could not be regarded differently than that of full-time fire service employees. AMO’s Fire Services Task Force also recommended a definition of ‘fire investigator’ be articulated in the regulation. The Task Force also underlined issues surrounding years of service in different capacities and recommended that the Province mandate baseline health checks and disclosure of outside activities for all fire service employees.

The Board approved the recommendations made by AMO’s Fire Services Task Force and directed staff to transmit the AMO response to MOL.

Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Legislation
The Board endorsed in principle a resolution from the City of Ottawa asking the Province to adopt Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods legislation. Designed to combat entrenched drug and prostitution activities through the use of civil remedies, the legislation is designed to support local public safety. Staff was directed to communicate with the Premier and the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services about the possible creation of such legislation in Ontario. 

Criminal Code Provisions for Graffiti-Related Offences
The Board expressed support for a resolution from the City of Windsor requesting Criminal Code provisions for graffiti-related vandalism. The resolution points to the need for more explicit fines and punishments for this offence under Canada’s Criminal Code. Staff was directed to transmit the resolution and AMO’s expression of support to the Minister of Justice and the Attorney General of Canada.