01/29/2016

To keep members informed, AMO provides updates on important issues considered at regular AMO Board of Directors’ meetings.
Highlights of the January 29, 2016 meeting include:

Federal Infrastructure Funding
The AMO Board provided direction on key elements of program design the federal government should consider when developing new programs or repurposing existing programs. The elements included:

  • Federal funding should have a transparent process with clarity on why/why not a project was funded;
  • At least 60% of federal funds should be allocated provincially for municipal infrastructure, reflecting the municipal share of public assets;
  • Program design needs to reflect the variety of municipal governments in Ontario which is broader than most other provinces and territories;
  • Municipalities have an infrastructure gap, together projects of strategic importance locally can be invested in now and work towards investment in longer term infrastructure projects identified in municipal asset management plans;
What’s Next Ontario-Phase 2
Work on looking forward to 2016 and beyond, the municipal fiscal condition and possible solutions continues. The Board will be working towards a plan that would make municipal governments more fiscally sustainable as the services and infrastructure needs grow.

Ontario’s Consultation on Primary, Home and Community Health Care
The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has launched a consultation process on primary, home and community health care and to strengthen population and public health. A discussion paper with proposals for health transformation called “Patients First: A Proposal to Strengthen Patient-Centred Health Care in Ontario” can be found on the Ministry website. In order to respond to the provincial consultation by the February 29th deadline date, the Board approved establishing a Municipal Officials Working Group and for AMO staff to develop a response to key questions based on approved principles.

Bill 151, Waste Free Ontario Act, Update
The Board directed staff to submit a letter to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change in response to the posting of Bill 151, Waste Free Ontario Act on the Environmental Bill of Rights Registry. The letter will include key municipal issues that were determined through input of municipal waste staff at a recent workshop: Some of the identified key issues are:
  • No clear role for municipal governments in Blue Box collection and processing and decision making on programs and schemes for designated materials that will impact municipal integrated waste management system;
  • No clear requirements for producers to pay for designated materials that end up in municipal waste and/or litter streams [which is about 80% of the total waste stream];
  • No municipal role in transition/wind-up of existing programs under Waste Diversion Act to ensure smooth transition; and
  • Language in Transition Act perpetuates current disagreements between municipalities and producers regarding payments for blue box services, which should be fixed.
Staff will work with City of Toronto, Regional Public Works Commissioners of Ontario and the Municipal Waste Association to develop a joint response and ensure alignment of key messages.

Assessment of Landfills 2016: Review Principles
Mr. John Wilkinson, former Ontario Cabinet Minister, has been asked by the Province to resolve the outstanding issue of assessing landfills. This complex issue has been divisive between public and private landfill owners. The AMO Board directed the development of a joint letter with the Municipal Financial Officers’ Association supporting the principles of fairness, accuracy, stability and predictability, transparency, and ease of administration all within the parameters of a recognized assessment methodology. The Board also asked that the broader implications to municipal finance and the environment be part of the considerations.

Climate Change Opportunities and AMO Activities
The Board was updated on three AMO climate change initiatives emerging from the Board’s November 2015 approved position on climate change. The Board supports the pursuit of opportunities to fund climate change adaptation initiatives through cap and trade funds, provincial infrastructure funding, and the federal government’s new Green Infrastructure Fund.

LAS Update
The Board was provided an update on the LAS Sewer and Water Line Warranty Program. Launched in mid-2015, this LAS-endorsed program can provide municipal residents the opportunity for a low cost warranty program to help repair, replace, or restore the homeowner’s external buried water and sewer lines, which are often thought of as a municipal responsibility. The service is available for $11.50 per month or less. To date 14 municipalities representing 46,360 households have signed up, with 36 more currently investigating the benefits to their homeowners – are you one of those municipal governments?