09/26/2014

To keep members informed, AMO provides updates on important issues considered at regular AMO Board of Directors’ meetings. Highlights of the September 26, 2014 Board meeting include:
Today’s meeting was the first Board of Directors meeting for the nine new members who were elected at the August AMO conference.  A high-level board orientation was provided prior to the Board’s business agenda.  Highlights of the September 2014 Board meeting include:

FCM - 2015 Federal Election Strategy Platform:

Brock Carleton, FCM Executive Director, and Carole Saab, FCM Acting Director of Policy and Government Relations provided an overview of the FCM “Hometown Champion” campaign as part of the awareness-building and support for advancing municipal governments’ interests was presented along with a draft-proposed 2015 Federal Election strategy for feedback and comments.  This generated a good, wide-ranging discussion which will be considered as the strategy is finalized by the FCM Board later this year.  Canadians want to see all levels of government cooperate to make our hometowns stronger.  Become a Hometown Champion today and sign up today.  AMO will continue to work with FCM on how to evolve the national election strategy to Ontario.  

AMO’s 2013 Gas Tax Fund Annual Expenditure Report:

The Board approved AMO’s 2013 federal Gas Tax Fund (GTF) Annual Expenditure Report and Compliance Audit for submission to Infrastructure Canada.  In 2013 municipalities invested $517 million from the GTF into 1,600 projects worth more than $4.7 billion.  Full details are contained in the report, which will be posted online shortly.  To learn about the Fund, visit Gas Tax At Work or follow us on Twitter @GasTaxInOntario.

Municipal Hazardous and Special Waste: MHSW Phase 1 and Phase 2 Updates:

The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) Phase 2 funding to municipalities ends on October 1.  MOECC has expected that stewards would organize and undertake a voluntary program for municipally collected materials.  This approach has resulted in loss of targets, unclear recycling standards, fragmentation, loss of payment for some municipal costs, and lack of access for more northern, remote, or rural areas.  AMO will be raising these serious concerns with the Minister as part of the overall costly and environmentally challenging situation of waste and diversion generally in terms of municipal role and responsibility.

The Phase 1 MHSW discussions regarding a new agreement with Stewardship Ontario have begun.  Matters being proposed include amending the agreement to clarify how materials moved to an Industry Stewardship Plan (ISP) would be handled.  As well, there is discussion about reducing the number of audits, in particular for materials such as pesticides which are declining and "orphaned" (no Steward to pay for the recycling).

Provincial Funding Consultation: Cycling Infrastructure:

The provincial budget included $10 million for cycling infrastructure over three years and $400,000 for cycling training.  The Ministry of Transportation is now consulting on how to design the programs for this funding.  The Board is recommending that MTO pursue a program design that has a broad scope of eligible funding categories; promotes flexibility for municipalities to access funds in various stages of incorporating cycling in the planning process; recognizes established municipal cycling training programs; and ensures that interested community groups can also apply for training delivery funding.

MEPCO Update:

The AMO Board was updated on the status of the OMERS Sponsors Corporation Primary Plan Funding Policy (SPDOS) Review, initiated in mid-August by that Corporation.  The MEPCO Board provided input to the Statement of Plan Design Objectives and Strategy.  We expect the Sponsors Corporation to provide information on the results of its review in the coming month.  

The MEPCO Board met with Michael Latimer, OMERS President and CEO, to discuss new directions for OMERS Administration Corporation policy and organizational change, as part of its ongoing dialogue with OMERS leadership.  MEPCO sponsored an education session at the AMO Conference on “Trends in Private and Public Sector Pension Benefits” and the presentation is available at www.mepco.ca.  MEPCO has also launched a Twitter account to provide followers with MEPCO and OMERS updates and general information related to public sector pension developments.  Follow MEPCO on Twitter @theMEPCO.