01/29/2009

To keep members informed, AMO provides updates on important issues considered at regular AMO Board of Directors’ meetings. Highlights of the January 2009 AMO Board meeting follow:
Blue Box Plan Review
The Board received information on the Waste Diversion Act Review and the Blue Box Program Plan Review. The Board gave direction that all submissions are to be in keeping to the previously approved AMO positions in respect to both of these matters.

AMO/OMSSA Poverty Paper
The Board received: Government Makes a Difference: Working Together Towards Poverty Reduction, co-written by AMO and the Ontario Municipal Social Service Association. The paper discusses important considerations in poverty reductions strategies. These include recommendations on developing local poverty reduction strategies; the importance of addressing provincial policies and programs that operate at cross purposes of one another; and the need for reliable, sustained funding of programs and initiatives.

AODA: Information and Communication Standards
The Board approved AMO’s response to the proposed Information and Communications standard under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. AMO’s key concerns focus on the scope of the standards, the resulting high costs of compliance and the timing, particularly given the economic climate. AMO remains deeply concerned that the standards are not affordable and would have a significant impact on property taxes and the competitiveness of business in our communities. However, AMO is confident that the shared commitment and objectives of creating barrier free communities can be achieved in a fiscally responsible manner.

Energy Issues Update
The Board received information on possible changes to the legislative and regulatory environment governing energy conservation, generation and planning. AMO will continue to guide the development of this legislation to ensure new opportunities are created for municipalities and their local distribution companies while enhancing existing conservation and energy management practices.  

Cap and Trade of Greenhouse Gases Credits
The Board received information on the Government of Ontario’s membership in the Western Climate Initiative including its commitment to implement a Cap and Trade system. The Ministry of Environment has issued a discussion paper on how its proposed cap and trade system for Ontario may work. Under the scheme, there is potential for emitters to purchase credits from projects that offset carbon, including non-regulated sectors.

Federal Budget Briefing
The Board received information regarding the municipal impacts of the Federal Budget released January 27. AMO welcomed the substantial increase in infrastructure funding throughout Ontario and looks forward to sitting down with its federal and provincial partners to ensure that investments are received quickly. AMO is awaiting further details and will pass information to its membership as it becomes available.