04/01/2016

To keep members informed, AMO provides updates on important issues considered at regular AMO Board of Directors’ meetings.
Highlights of the April 1, 2016 meeting include:

Patients First
The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) is considering transformation of primary, home, and community care that would have major impact on public health and other municipally co-funded programs. The AMO Board is supportive of strengthening patient-centred care but under the right conditions to succeed. The Board of Directors approved a principled, comprehensive approach for responding to the MOHLTC Minister and officials on a range of health matters that have a municipal impact or implications. The principles can be found here at:  AMO's Principles to Guide the Response to the Provincial Patients First Strategy.

Waste Free Ontario (Bill 151)
Bill 151 has almost completed the required hours for the 2nd reading debate and is likely to be sent to Standing Committee hearing soon.  The AMO Board was briefed on the intensive government relations work underway to try to secure municipal amendments to improve the Bill.  One needed amendment relates to the payments to municipal governments for Blue Box services during the transition. Municipal governments must have a seat at the table during the transition as well as when the new legislation is in place. There will be an integrated waste management system which municipal governments will still be responsible for operating and funding. When the legislation is sent to Standing Committee, a detailed Members’ Update will be sent with an outline of key points and the draft amendments being sought.

Framework for Marijuana Legalization and Municipal Implications
The federal Liberal Party made an election commitment to legalize, regulate, and restrict access to marijuana.  AMO is researching the opportunities and challenges to municipal governments of a legalized marijuana framework in light of municipal community services.  Recommendations on how to approach the sector’s discussion with the federal government, the Province, and other stakeholders with proposed next steps will be brought forward for the Board’s consideration at their June meeting.

Basic Income Guarantee
The 2016 Ontario Budget announced a commitment to analyzing a Basic Income pilot. The AMO Board was briefed on this social assistance model which is gaining support at the municipal and provincial levels. AMO’s President has corresponded with the Ministers of Finance and Community and Social Services to signal our expectation to be engaged in the development of the pilot given the social assistance programs managed at the local level. The Board received this update and will be informed of the Province’s response to the AMO President’s letter once received.

Provincial Consultation on Excess Soil Management
The Board was updated on the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change’s review of Excess Soil Management.  Based on stakeholder consultations and collaboration with other Ministries, a proposed policy framework has been released, which has been posted on the Environmental Bill of Rights for comments and plans to amend regulation by the end of 2017. The Board approved a proposal for AMO staff to develop a submission to highlight municipal concerns and considerations. 

MEPCO Update
The MEPCO Board’s update included the proposed CPP enhancement discussions between the federal and provincial governments as well as the ORPP and how it requires pension plan coverage for municipal part-time employees which is to be implemented January 1, 2020.  There are a number of complex implications for both matters and MEPCO Board is undertaking the necessary work that considers the municipal government perspective as input to CPP and OMERS Plan.  

LAS Update
LAS is looking to the future and the potential for new programs or services. LAS staff is currently on the road conducting the annual Town Halls across Ontario.  Integrated into the Town Halls is a segment where members are being asked for input on potential new programs or services.  This information will help, in part, inform any future direction taken by LAS.