11/18/2011

To keep members informed, AMO provides updates on important issues considered at regular AMO Board of Directors’ meetings. Highlights of the November 18, 2011 Board meeting follow:

AMO’s 2012 Strategic Objectives, Operational Activities and Special Initiatives
The Board approved recommendations on how AMO can continue to make a difference in 2012 for municipal governments’ roles and responsibilities while also upgrading its IT infrastructure to enhance members’ services.  The Board agreed to a goal oriented, strategic approach to maximize the opportunities by using the “keep your eyes on the road analogy” that will  maintain a post-election focus on AMO’s Top 12 Asks plus other on-going key policy priorities and several new strategic initiatives. In addition, the Board will be preparing for several mandatory reviews of key legislation, including the Municipal Act and the OMERS Act.  

Investment in Affordable Housing Ontario Program
Janet Hope, Assistant Deputy Minister, Housing Division, Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, provided an overview of the recently announced Canada-Ontario Investing in Affordable Housing (IAH) program. The Agreement will see almost $481 million dollars available to Ontario’s municipalities through to 2015. The program boasts a new flexible approach that had been promoted by AMO and its members.  The AMO Board was pleased to see new funding made available within a new program framework and delivery approach, but did express concern with the implications of time limited programs and growing housing pressures in communities across the province.

AMO Policy Paper “Challenges Leading to Confusion in Planning Act Decisions”
The Board approved the planning policy paper on “Challenges Leading to Confusion in Planning Act Decisions”.  The AMO Planning Task Force policy paper highlighted the major areas of overlapping jurisdiction that arises from various provincial legislation, regulations and policies and their intersection with the Planning Act.  The overarching recommendation arising from the paper is that there needs to be a clear hierarchy of the provincial legal regime developed so that municipalities and applicants and the public can rely on a consistent and transparent scheme for their planning decision-making processes.  The paper was not intended to address the role of the OMB in planning decisions. 

2012 Distribution of Blue Box Steward Funds to Municipal Programs
The Board approved the proposed distribution methodology of 2012 Blue Box Steward funding to those municipalities that responded to the 2010 Waste Diversion Ontario data-call. The future development of a revised Pay-Out model used to distribute future funding and proposed upcoming municipal consultation to inform its development was discussed.

Review of Municipal Election Act
In preparation for consultation on the Municipal Elections Act and AMO’s advocacy of possible legislative reform, the Board has established a short term Task Force to review and prepare recommendations related to proposed changes to the Municipal Elections Act with nominees from each of the Caucuses. The Task Force shall report back to the Board of Directors with proposed recommendations.  Terms of Reference will be concluded once the Ministry’s review scope is announced. 

FIT and MicroFIT Program Review 
The Ministry of Energy and the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) have launched  the scheduled review of the Feed-In Tariff (FIT) and MicroFit Programs. The review will examine program rules and pricing and is open for public comment until December 14, 2011.  The Board approved recommendations that represents AMO’s comprehensive response and that may also be used in members’ own submissions to the review.  This will be forwarded to municipalities separately through the AMO Watch File.