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

Environment and Land Tribunals Ontario
The Board received a presentation from the Chair of the Environment and Land Tribunals Ontario (ELTO), Michael Gottheil. Currently, the ELTO is undergoing a review looking to become more modernized and user centred, and is looking forward to working with municipalities over the coming months.

Provincial Budget
Staff outlined the impacts to municipal governments in the recently released Provincial budget and commentary on the labour related matters.

Changes to Ontario Works Incentive Funding
The Board received information regarding the changes to Ontario Works Incentive Funding. In January 2010, the program was changed from a 100% provincially funded program, to a 50-50 provincial municipal cost share. The Ministry have agreed to provide additional funding to those negatively impacted as a result of the change back up to their 2009 total incentive funding allocation. However, starting in January 2011, funding will be subject to a 50-50 cost share. AMO will be bringing the impacts to the MOU table.

Marihuana Medical Access Regulations
The Board supported a resolution from the Regional Municipality of York Police Services Board regarding Health Canada’s Marihuana Medical Access Regulations, which calls for mechanisms to ensure that individuals licensed to grow marihuana for medical purposes adhere to the laws and regulations around fire, safety and electrical hazards, and the need to inform local governments and police services of licenses issued in their communities.

Suspension without Pay in Policing
The Board supported a White Paper, Suspension without Pay in Policing, from the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP), which calls on the Province to adopt measures to allow for the suspension of police officers without pay when such officers are charged with serious federal offences not related to their performance of duty.

Blue Box Update
AMO’s response to the draft Blue Box Program Plan (BBPP) revisions emphasizes the need to go beyond the proposed focus on recycling, and to also deal with reduction of material. AMO is also raising concerns that the BBPP proposed to extend the Continuous Improvement Fund (CIF) without the benefit of prior negotiations between the industry and municipalities. Analysis of the CIF projects has been requested and is underway. It will be available to the AMO Waste Task Force for deliberations and recommendations in the coming weeks. The decision on the CIF is expected at the board meeting in June.

Federal Gas Tax Communications
The Federal Gas Tax Fund is the most stable and predictable source of infrastructure funding for municipalities. Municipalities are completing their agreements with AMO for the next funding period and while permanency is a federal position, AMO and municipal governments need to continue to demonstrate the value and benefits of the funding given federal fiscal constraints.

Energy Services Overview
The Board received an overview of forces currently impacting energy rates and some possible advocacy positions that balanced impact on primary industries, municipal bottom lines, impacts on other ratepayers and taxpayers, impact on overall system and long-term planning, plus other shared social and political objectives. The AMO Board endorsed the recommendations to express support for the Industrial Transmission Connected Electricity Efficiency Program and the Northern Industrial Electricity Rate Program and to support the proposed Coincident Peak Allocation of the Global Adjustment. The Board also directed staff to lobby the Province for an education campaign that targeted residential consumers, to lobby the OPA to develop a Biomass Fuel consumption incentive, and to lobby all parties to provide capacity assistance to the municipal sector for conservation and demand management program development.