To keep members informed, AMO provides updates on important issues considered at regular AMO Board of Directors’ meetings. Highlights of the September 28, 2012 Board meeting follow:

Mayors Coalition For Affordable, Sustainable and Accoutable Provincial Policing
Mayors Coalition for Affordable, Sustainable and Accountable Provincial Policing Gerry Marshall, Mayor, Town of Penetanguishene, provided an update on the work that the Mayors Coalition has been doing regarding Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) costing. Of concern to the Coalition are the rising cost of the OPP and the affordability of the service to municipalities. Board members noted that the rising cost of policing is endemic to own force services too and that OPP contract negotiations and arbitration decisions have a significant impact on costs. Questions were raised about potential impacts of several Coalition ideas, such as equalized billing for OPP services. The Board received the presentation.

Arbitration Update
AMO’s Labour Expert Advisor, Craig Rix, Hicks Morley, and Joy Hulton, Regional Solicitor, York Region and Emergency Services Steering Committee (ESSC) member provided some observations about Bill 121, An Act to Deal with Arbitration in the Public Sector (short title: Ability to Pay Act, 2012).  Bill 121 sets out in detail the PC platform as relates to the labour relations system. This Bill is awaiting 2nd reading and referral to Committee. At the same time, the Government is proposing to reintroduce its previously failed arbitration changes but through a draft omnibus bill, Protecting Public Services Act, that contains new compensation restraint measures and processes. In the spring, the Government lost its arbitration changes through opposition amendments to the Government’s Budget Bill (Bill 55).

The Board has directed staff to do further work including developing any necessary changes to advance municipal interests and report back with recommendations. (See AMO Breaking News, October 2 that contains a draft resolution.)

Gas Tax Fund - AMO 2011 Annual Expenditure Report
The Board approved AMO’s 2011 Gas Tax Fund Annual Expenditure Report and Audit Statements for submission to Infrastructure Canada. Municipal governments continue to use the gas tax funds effectively to make progress on the sustainability objectives of the Agreement with the federal government and that also creates jobs. The report is available on the AMO website and on Gas Tax at Work.

AMO Response to the Child Care Modernization Report Framework
The Province is seeking public input on a new proposed policy direction to guide child care delivery in Ontario. The Board approved AMO’s approach to its response to the Ministry of Education’s discussion paper, “Modernizing Child Care in Ontario: Sharing Conversations, Strengthening Partnerships, Working Together.” Key to modernizing the system will be the continued need for the Province to stabilize the existing system from the impacts of the introduction of full day kindergarten.

AMO Response To The Final Proposed Amendments To The Integrated Accessibility Regulation Governing The Design Of Public Spaces
The Province has released the final proposed amendments to the Integrated Accessibility Regulation (IAR) outlining Accessibility Standards for the Built Environment governing the design of public spaces. AMO has convened a municipal staff working group to inform AMO’s submission to the proposed amendments. AMO will continue to emphasize that the objectives of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act need to be implemented in a manner that is affordable, efficient and sustainable for municipalities.

LAS Update
LAS, a subsidiary corporation of AMO, should be the preferred provider of competitively-priced and sustainable business services for Ontario municipalities. The LAS continues to market its services and products to municipalities so that they can “save money, make money, and build capacity”. The Board was briefed on electricity and natural gas pricing for 2013; the much better rates of return that pooled investments are bringing to those in the One Investment program; the recently launched Energy Consulting Service that is providing seven staff on a regional basis across Ontario to assist municipalities in their energy conservation planning and consumption work such as data collection, audits, procurement assistance, policy development and more.

There's Gor To Be A Better Way
AMO is looking for practical ideas on how to improve provincial program delivery and create savings for the province and/or municipalities. We believe that There’s Got to be a Better Way. You are encouraged to submit your ideas and thoughts before October 31, 12:00pm. However, AMO’s Ideas Box is always open.

And A Reminder: Collaborate. Innovate. Discover: Counties, Regions And Single Tier (Crst) Symposium
Occurs October 25 & 26 in the Grand Central Lodge at the Blue Mountain Resort.

Program Highlights (subject to change) include:
  • A Review of Homelessness Integration Initiatives – Nonie Brennan, CEO of the Chicago Alliance to End Homelessness.
  • Arts Makes Cents – the business care for arts and festivals in your community.
  • With Respect to Old Age – Dr. Samir Sinha, Director of Geriatrics, Mount Sinai and the University Health Network Hospitals and Provincial Lead, Ontario Seniors Care Strategy.
  • Ontario’s State of Repair – an update on end of operating agreements.
  • Diversity and Politics, Women, Culture and Your Communities – making local government a place for everyone.
  • Why Immigration Matters – Ontario’s strategy for Ontario’s future.
  • Social Assistance Review, Recommendations for Change – what the Commission’s Report and government action may mean for Ontario’s municipalities.
  • Ottawa and the Provinces – Paul Wells, Senior Columnist for Maclean’s magazine.
Register today! Don’t miss out on the 2012 CRST Symposium.