To keep members informed, AMO provides updates on important issues considered at regular AMO Board of Directors’ meetings. Highlights of the January 25, 2013 Board meeting follow:

Best Management Practices for Soil Management
The Ministry of the Environment (MOE) is seeking input on its document on Best Management Practices (BMP) for Soil Management – also known as Commercial Fill or Excess Soil. The Board approved AMO’s proposed response to the Ministry. While valuable as guidance, the BMP falls short of its potential to provide the most robust toolbox for municipalities especially regarding compliance and enforcement.  

AMO Response to the Social Assistance Review Commission (SARC)
The Board approved an initial response to the recommendations of the SARC, which would suggest establishment of a deliberative policy process with provincial counterparts to examine the benefits and risks of social assistance transformation. The Commission released recommendations that point to a potential shift in the municipal role of social services delivery including, assuming new responsibility for delivering the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) and playing a greater role in delivering employment services. Given the magnitude of the SARC and breadth of recommendations and risk, the Board noted municipal interests that must be explored and addressed before decisions are made.

Ontario’s Great Lakes Strategy and Water Sector Strategy
The Board received a report that highlighted key issues outlined in two recently released provincial water strategies – the Great Lakes Water Strategy and the Water Sector Strategy – and their potential impacts to the municipal sector. Both strategies are not legally binding but outline ongoing provincial water priorities such as quality and quantity management, the ongoing evolution of source water protection planning, improving municipal storm water management, as well as the development and implementation of new and innovative water technologies. AMO will continue to keep members informed when and if the government begins implementing the actions outlined in both strategies.

Special Projects Update
December saw the release of the Best Practices in Cost Recovery for Municipal Water and Wastewater services report. It, along with an accompanying guide, was posted on the AMO website. The purpose of the report is to assist municipal governments move to full cost pricing and full cost recovery.

The Long-Term Municipal Integrated Capital Plan Project with the Municipal Finance Officers’ Association of Ontario (MFOA) is well underway, with ten municipalities providing the case studies. Most municipalities do five and ten year capital plans, but that does not capture the life of assets.  This project looks at what 30 plus year horizon might look like and how it could improve and influence infrastructure funding.  It is expected that a report will be prepared for members later in 2013.

Municipal Employer Pension Centre of Ontario (MEPCO)
MEPCO's chair outlined some of this Board's recent work, including its input to the review of the OMERS governance.  The report by the review facilitator was released as the Board meeting was underway. MEPCO will provide a summary and reaction as soon as possible.  It will also be gearing up for the 2013 specified change proposal process as it continues to focus on proposals that OMERS should consider in order to achieve sustainability of the Plan and contributions.  In addition, the invoices for membership have gone out and the fee has been reduced to reflect revised employee counts that it undertook with municipalities, since it cannot get this information directly from OMERS.

LAS Update
The Board received an update regarding LAS’ recently launched Energy Consulting Service.  Five regional Energy Efficiency Service Providers (EESPs) are stationed across the Province to help capacity constrained municipalities conduct free energy efficiency audits and assist in completing grant applications. Why? EESP’s will help municipalities save money by reducing energy use, and comply with the Green Energy Act Regulation 397/11. Check out LAS’ Energy Consulting Service on the LAS website.