To keep members informed, AMO provides updates on important issues considered at regular AMO Board of Directors’ meetings. Highlights of the August 2010 Board meeting follow:

Union Gas
The Board received a presentation from the President of Union Gas, Julie Dill. Ms. Dill spoke of Union Gas’ commitment to social responsibility in managing their energy resources, and also their positive working relationship with municipalities across Ontario.

Ontario Power Authority (OPA) microFIT Tariff Decision
Staff outlined the OPA changes to the Ontario Micro Feed-in Tariff (Micro-FIT) program. AMO was actively involved in the advocacy for a microFIT tariff that provided a reasonable rate of return for investors and protected the energy rate base. AMO believes the decision the OPA has made in terms of a new price and the grandfathering of applications submitted should enable the completion of viable projects.

AMO Representation on OPA FIT Program Advisory Panel
AMO has been asked to provide representation for a new panel being established to recommend a process for the upcoming FIT program review. Many AMO members are keenly interested in the FIT program, and AMO’s subsidiary LAS is also directly involved via its Solar Photovoltaic Program. The Board directed that AMO staff member Scott Vokey be appointed to the OPA FIT program advisory panel.

Result of the Blue Box Negotiations on Fee Payments by Stewards
The Blue Box Municipal Industry Policy Committee (MIPC-BB) and Stewardship Ontario have reached agreement on fees for the payment of Blue Box costs for 2011. The quantity of Blue Box tonnes marketed in 2009 decreased from 2008. This decline has been attributed to a decline of 18,000 tonnes in the City of Toronto resulting from the collection strike during the summer of 2009, while the remaining decline is assumed to be related to lower consumption due to the recession. Marketed tonnes were also significantly down. The contribution by the stewards to the Blue Box Program is at $91,840,603, an increase of 10% from the previous year. MIPC also reached agreement on the future of the CIF and extended the agreement for the 2011 program year. The contribution is to be reduced to 10% from the previous 20% on the condition that the money be committed within 18 months (by June 30, 2013) or be distributed to municipalities.

Infrastructure Stimulus Projects
AMO staff reported on Infrastructure Stimulus projects funded through the Infrastructure Stimulus Fund (ISF), Building Canada Fund – Communities Component (BCF-CC) and Recreational Infrastructure Canada (RINC). According to federal and provincial sources, these projects are largely on track and are expected to be completed by March 31, 2011 or before. The Board re-affirmed the need for flexibility on the funding deadline for municipalities that experience delays and Premier McGuinty, speaking to delegates at the annual AMO conference noted that, while municipalities should re-double their efforts to complete projects on time, the provincial and federal governments should be reasonable and flexible on projects that miss the deadline.

Land Ambulance Response Times and Reporting Standards
AMO staff have been working with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and municipal staff regarding land ambulance response times and Public Sector Accounting Board (PSAB) reporting issues.

Staff informed the Board of plans to work with the WSIB to establish a WSIB Municipal Advisory Group.

Open for Business
AMO staff reported they are tracking Bill 68, Open for Business, which has had 1st and 2nd readings and debates and will be going back to the Legislature this Fall.

Implementation of the Provincial Municipal Fiscal Service Delivery Review (PMFSDR)
The Board received an update on the progress of the PMFSDR implementation working groups. Activities are underway to implement the recommendations in all areas of the review. As with the Review, the implementation is a joint partnership with the appropriate ministries and municipal staff representatives doing the work. Working groups will keep the Ontario-AMO Memorandum of Understanding team informed of the progress. AMO staff will continue to keep the Board informed on progress.

Hospital Capital Costs
The Board received an overview of initial findings of a report on the various methods currently being employed to generate a municipal contribution to the expected local share of hospital capital funding.