08/22/2014

To keep members informed, AMO provides updates on important issues considered at regular AMO Board of Directors’ meetings. Highlights of the August 2014 Board meeting include:
Volunteer Firefighters:

The AMO Board of Directors unanimously approved making an application to seek status in a double hatter’s duty of fair representation proceeding at the Ontario Labour Relations Board.  A double hatter has filed his application at the Labour Relations Board. The “duty of fair representation” provisions of the Labour Relations Act stipulate that a trade union shall not act in a manner that is arbitrary, discriminatory, or in bad faith in representing employees.  The same double hatter (DH) is the focus of an arbitration hearing as the union has kicked this firefighter out of its union because he works part-time as a volunteer firefighter in his home community.  Because the DH is no longer a member in good standing within the union association, it is seeking dismissal of the DH from the full-time employment position given the “closed shop” provision that stipulates that only Association members in good standing are able to be members of the full-time firefighter bargaining unit.  AMO is taking a principle-based approach to the double hatter’s situation as a matter of fairness and personal liberty as firefighters should be able to use their free time as they wish to without reprisal.

Business Tax Capping:

The Ministry of Finance will be asked to amend the Municipal Act, 2001 in order to allow upper and single-tier municipalities the choice to opt out of the practice of business tax capping.  Opting out of business tax capping would allow municipalities to redeploy and prioritize resources elsewhere as the current system is administratively complex and difficult to navigate.  AMO is recommending that the government make the necessary legislative amendments in advance of the next general assessment in 2016.  

Photo Radar in Construction Zones:

Recent collision incidents in road construction zones have ended in loss of life.  AMO’s Board discussed the likelihood that speed of the vehicles in these zones was a contributing factor and the possibility of using technology such as photo radar to aid enforcement of the construction zone speed limits.  It directed the President to write to the Minister of Transportation urging the adoption of a pilot project to implement and assess photo radar technology in road construction zones to increase the safety of workers and motorists.
    
Rail Safety:

The AMO Board discussed recent rail safety improvements and the need for increased action by the federal government.  The Board passed a resolution requesting the federal minister of transportation consider rail safety audits, route analysis and planning and increased federal funding for public rail crossing improvements. This resolution will also be sent to FCM.

Large Renewable Energy Framework:

The Ontario Power Authority (OPA) has completed the Request for Qualification (RFQ) framework and is receiving applications from prospective developers.  OPA has released a draft approach for the Request for Proposal phase of new large renewable energy projects. The draft includes language about consultation with municipalities.  The AMO Energy Task Force reviewed the draft RFQ framework in July and provided the AMO Board of Directors with their advice on a proposed response.  The AMO Board adopted the advice and the AMO response will include comments such as: greater detail in this framework is required so that developers know that municipalities will have site related expectations, they need to review detailed plans and that each municipality may have additional requirements such as a public engagement process.

MEPCO Update:

MEPCO Chair Doug Reycraft updated the AMO Board on:

  1. the status of the 2014 OMERS Specified Plan Change Process and that no benefit change proposals received the necessary support of the joint employer/employee Sponsors Corporation (SC);
  2. the review underway by the SC of the its Primary Plan SPDOS (funding strategy);
  3. the MEPCO Board sponsorship of an educational session at the AMO Conference; and
  4. the success of MEPCO in working with OMERS Administration Corporation staff to annually post its aggregate membership data. This information will assist MEPCO with its billing purposes.
The AMO Board of Directors was also provided with staff informational reports on:
  • Power Dams Special Payment Program.
  • Provincial and Federal Funding for Municipal Infrastructure Status Update.
  • Province’s initiative re: Community Personal Service Workers and Municipal Impacts.
  • Preparing for Ontario Climate Change Activities.
  • Federal Gas Tax Baseline Research.
  • Errors and Omissions in the Electronic Land Registry.
  • LAS Program Update.
  • Quarterly Resolutions Report.