November 28, 2016

To keep members informed, AMO provides updates on important issues considered at regular AMO Board of Directors’ meetings. Highlights of the November 25, 2016 meeting include:

Long Term Energy Plan (LTEP) Review
Municipal governments look to a LTEP that enables and supports local and collaborative activities within the context of province wide goals and needs.  Energy costs need to be reasonable for municipal governments and residents.  Each municipality will have different drivers and opportunities to participate in generation, storage, and distribution of all forms of energy.  AMO is looking for an energy plan that encourages cost effective small scale projects and technology that build local capacity.  AMO will continue to work with the Ministry as the plan takes shape and is implemented. AMO’s Energy Task Force will meet soon to develop ideas on how the Premier can reduce electricity costs in a manner that is more substantive and sustainable.  Most LDCs rates are less than Hydro One rates.

Expanding Medical Responses
The AMO Board approved a strong response in opposition to the recent Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) proposal on Expanding Medical Responses through Fire Services.  AMO, with assistance from the Emergency Services Steering Committee, the Ontario Association of Paramedic Chiefs and the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs, will prepare a response that focuses on the evidence, or lack thereof, that this contentious proposal purports to offer.  In addition, it is expected that CUPE and OPSEU will be taking a strong position against the proposal.

OMB Review
The AMO Board is encouraging the Province to amend the legislation to limit the ability to appeal amendments of planning documents that implement provincial interests. The Board already has authority to not practice ‘hearing de novo’ which has chosen not to use, so it should be compelled.  If there is new evidence at the Board it must be obligated to send it back to Councils for consideration. AMO agrees that alternative dispute resolution should be better used.  Administrative practices, transparency and accountability can be vastly improved. The full AMO submission will be available on the website shortly.  It is clear that the Province must make more substantive changes with demonstrable outcomes.  AMO will continue to advocate on this issue.

Update on Bill 59, Putting Consumers First Act
The Bill, if passed, would enhance consumer protection measures by introducing new rules for home inspections, door-to-door sales, and payday loans.  It amends the Municipal Act to include new municipal authority to enact bylaws that would control where payday loan establishments are sited and the number of operations that are permitted.  The Board directed staff to make a Standing Committee submission.  It needs to be emphasized that any province-wide ban on products that are sold door-to-door must be enforced by the Province.

Bill 39, Aggregates Act
The AMO Board supports the Bill 39 approach and the changes to the fines regime, the additional new studies, and harmonizing expectations. It provides a permissive framework to enact the “Blueprint” released last year. The Bill is mainly a framework that relies on regulations. AMO will work with MNRF as they craft regulations to implement the Bill, specifically regarding the fees and royalties methodologies.

Wetlands Conservation Strategy
The Board discussed a draft Wetlands Conservation Strategy proposed by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF).  The Board approved feedback based on comments developed by AMO's Conservation Authorities Task Force.  The Board asked staff to keep them informed as the MNRF Strategy progresses, particularly in regard to the principle of ‘no net loss’.

2017 AMO Strategic Objectives and Budget
The Board approved its 2017 Strategic Objectives and related budget.  President Dollin will be sharing this information separately with members in the coming weeks.

Bill 68, Municipal Legislation Amendments (Municipal Act, Municipal Conflict of Interest Act)
The Association will be preparing a detailed review of the proposed legislative amendments for the Board’s consideration in January as input to the 2nd Reading/Standing Committee process.  

MEPCO Board Update
The AMO Board was updated on the status of Bill C-26, introduced by the Federal Government to implement the proposed CPP enhancement and on MEPCO’s considerations on integrating the CPP enhancement with the OMERS Plan. The MEPCO Board updated guidelines to assist in reviewing OMERS Plan changes and approved its 2017 Work Plan.