03/28/2007

To keep members informed, AMO provides updates on important issues considered at regular AMO Board of Directors’ meetings. Highlights of the March 2007 Board meeting.
Species at Risk
The Board considered a technical briefing from the Ministry of Natural Resources on updated legislation for Species at Risk. Members expressed dissatisfaction at several features of the legislation. Ministry staff was advised of the need for further discussions with the sector and other stakeholders before proceeding on this issue. The following motion was passed:

“AMO believes that the protection of species in an important matter, however, AMO strongly encourages the Province to delay any Standing Committee Hearing process and put in place a series of meetings with municipal governments and other key stakeholders, to be held across the province that would offer the opportunity for question and answers about the proposed legislation. This would help achieve a better understanding of the proposed legislation, its flexibility, new process, rules and enforcement. This interim step would offer a better opportunity to discuss matters than is normally achieved at Standing Committee. An interim step would help for more informed submissions and presentations to Standing Committee on ideas to ensure the legislation is clear and does not bring unintended consequences.”

A copy of this motion will be forwarded to the Minister of Natural Resources, other relevant Ministers, as well as to the leaders of the main provincial parties.

Best Practices Blue Box Program Plan
The Board was asked to provide direction to the Municipal-Industry Program Committee (MIPC) of Waste Diversion Ontario (WDO) regarding the WDO Best Practices KPMG Project. The project aims to determine the Ontario net system best practice cost for determining the stewards’ contribution, and to identify best practice activities, which are to be correlated to costs. Municipal representatives at MIPC are concerned that there would be no correlation between costs and best practices.

Municipal representatives of MIPC were seeking Board direction to ensure that there is a correlation between best practices and stewards’ fees. Endorsing the recommendations of municipal MIPC representatives, the Board unanimously agreed that further AMO support of the project would be contingent on the correlation between best practice activities and steward fees. Should no correlation be found, municipal representatives are to renegotiate the Cost Containment Plan with Stewardship Ontario and Waste Diversion Ontario with a new methodology other than Best Practice. The Board also indicated that the Minister of the Environment should be made aware of these very serious issues and be requested to provide a new direction to Waste Diversion Ontario to ensure that municipalities are paid 50 per cent of their total net costs of the Blue Box Program in line with stipulations under the Waste Diversion Act. Finally, the Board raised the issue of applying best practices to packaging, in accordance with enhanced producer responsibilities. This is an issue that requires immediate attention from the Blue Box Program Stewards.

AMO Principles for Housing in Ontario
The Board considered a set of principles for housing developed by AMO staff. In light of municipalities’ role providing social housing, the importance of a strong municipal voice on this issue was noted. Members agreed that the principles represented a very progressive step in terms of social housing policy in Ontario. The Board provided a strong endorsement of the AMO Principles for Housing which will now be communicated to the provincial and federal governments. These principles will serve as the basis for future AMO discussions on housing in Ontario.

Proposed Ontario Public Health Standards
The Board considered a set of recommendations from the AMO Public Health Task Force regarding the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care’s proposed Ontario Public Health Standards. Support was expressed for the flexibility the Standards provide. However, because the protocols that will guide service delivery have not yet been created, a cautious approach was advised. The Board approved the recommendations of the Task Force. These recommendations will now be forwarded to the Co-Chairs of the Technical Review Committee for consideration.

 WDO Board Restructuring
The Board received an update on the proposed restructuring of the Waste Diversion Ontario (WDO) Board. The Board endorsed the new governance model as supported by the WDO Board. The proposed restructuring of the WDO Board is now before the Minister of the Environment for approval.
 
Municipal Hazardous or Special Waste Program Plan (MHSW)
The Board received an update on the public consultation that is taking place on the development of the preliminary Household Hazardous and Special Waste (MHSW) Program Plan. The plan is scheduled for completion in late May 2007 when it will be considered for endorsement by the WDO. It will then proceed to the Minister of the Environment for approval. Further details on the proposed plan will be provided to the AMO Executive at its April 2007 meeting.

Penalty Policies for Over-Reporting on Municipal Blue Box Datacall
The Board considered a revision to the penalty policy for over-reporting on municipal blue box datacall. It was proposed that the penalty policy be modified to ensure that all municipalities which over-report by more than 2% are subject to penalties. It was recommended that this policy be applied to the 2005 audited programs which over-reported. The Board approved the proposal, which will now be communicated to MIPC for recommendation to the WDO.

LCBO Funding Distribution to Municipalities
The Board was asked to consider how the $5 million LCBO funding commitment from the deposit return program should be distributed to municipalities. Expressing agreement with the AMO Waste Management Task Force’s recommendation, the Board decided that distribution should be based on total glass marketed by program.

Funding for Print and Media Campaign to Encourage Recycling
Municipal MIPC representatives requested direction from the Board on the issue of funding the blue box print and media campaign through the Effectiveness and Efficiency (E&E) fund. Consisting of two commercials and some print media designed to encourage recycling, the campaign was initially intended for the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Once completed, however, it became evident that all Ontario municipalities stood to benefit from the ads. Province-wide broadcasting costs amount to $3.1 million. 

The Board supported the broadcast of the commercials across Ontario with one third of the $3.1 million total cost flowing from the E&E fund. The remaining two thirds of the cost will be requested from the Ministry of the Environment and Stewardship Ontario. AMO staff will report on the responses from MOE and Stewardship Ontario at the AMO Executive’s April 2007 meeting.

 Fine Reductions under the Provincial Offences Act
The Board discussed the issue of fine reductions being ordered by JPs in POA cases where the defendant has made a charitable donation. While concern was expressed with respect to funding implications for local charities, Board members indicated that such fine reductions were not an appropriate use of the POA system. The Board approved that a letter be sent to the Ministry of the Attorney General asking him to advise JPs and MAG officials that this practice is inappropriate.