Image of Volunteer Firefighter Five new firefighters charged by their union for volunteering in their hometown.  Each has been convicted by an OPFFA jury, fined and is awaiting an OPFFA appeal process before they can go to the Ontario Labour Relations Board.  Mandy Gould, one of the firefighters received two standing ovations at the AMO conference for her courage to stand up.  Help by contributing as individuals or municipally through www.gofundme.com and search for Support our Local Two Hatters. 

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August 2017 Board Meeting
To keep members informed, AMO provides updates on important issues considered at regular AMO Board of Directors’ meetings. The Board met in Ottawa, Ontario prior to the 2017 Annual AMO Conference. Highlights of the August 12, 2017 meeting include:

One-Third Tax Exemption Resolution
The Board passed a resolution requesting that the Federation of Canadian Municipalities champion this matter federally and to coordinate other provinces impacted by the federal policy change set to take place January 2019.  (FCM has recently advised that it will discuss this matter at its September Board meeting.)  AMO’s survey responses from municipal treasurers demonstrates that there is a cost impact to municipal governments in Ontario. 

Bill 148, Fair Workplace, Better Jobs Act, 2017
The AMO Board continues to recommend amendments to Bill 148 to exempt municipal operations.  The recent annual conference profiled the legislation and our concerns. The Minister of Labour has assured AMO and delegates that the unintended consequences in the drafting as relates to municipal governments will be re-examined.  Exemptions will be needed to the Bill that would frustrate municipal public safety and emergency activities.  If not amended, it would make big changes to the Employment Standards Act and Labour Relations Act.  Scheduling, on-call payments, equal pay provisions, vacation entitlements, personal emergency leave, union certification, and successor rights are a few of the issues that would impact municipal operations and budgets. 

Bill 139, Building Better Communities and Conserving Watersheds Act, 2017
Land Planning Appeals Tribunal (OMB Review)
The AMO Board will be advising Ministers Mauro and Naqvi that it supports this proposed direction for a renewed land use appeal process with a couple of suggestions such as:
  • all provincial land use policies should be transferred to the Provincial Policy Statement where it is easily found and more apparent;
  • 90 days seems too short for the 2nd decision process so 120 days will be recommended;
  • the effectiveness of the second decision process should be reviewed a couple of years after implementation; and
  • greater upfront dialogue between provincial and local planning staff at the outset of amendments so that there is better understanding of the application of provincial policy to local circumstances, so the likelihood of appeal is reduced.
Digital Government and Ontario’s Municipal Governments
The AMO Board received and approved a comprehensive paper, including its four recommendations enabling municipal government digitization. The AMO Digital Government Task Force report "#OnMuni Online: Towards Digital Transformation and Opportunities for Ontario’s Municipal Governments" explores how municipal governments can consider available digital opportunities, overcome perceived barriers to digital transformation, and show how municipal governments can digitally mature.

Waste Management Update
AMO, with its municipal partners and key producers, have been advocating the move of the Blue Box program to full producer responsibility faster than the Ministry’s proposed 2023 date.  The advocacy has resulted in an announcement at the recent AMO Conference by MOECC Minister Chris Ballard that he has directed the Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority and Stewardship Ontario to amend the Blue Box Program Plan as a first phase of transition to the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act, 2016.  In addition, municipal comments to the EBR posting of MOECC’s, “Discussion Paper: Addressing Food and Organic Waste in Ontario” were recently submitted. 

Leadership “Onward” Project
The AMO Board received an update on the Leadership “Onward” Project.  With the critical need for municipal succession planning at the senior leadership staff level, the objectives of this project include the development of programs to respond to leadership gaps that include:  creation of champions at the political level, active promotion of municipal succession planning and talent development efforts, and increased awareness of municipal management as a career choice.  Jim Pine, CAO, County of Hastings, pinej@hastingscounty.com, and Tony Haddad, CAO, Town of Tecumseh, thaddad@tecumseh.ca are the project’s municipal leads.

Highlights of the 2017 AMO Annual Conference: For plenary session videos including Local Share, Nik Nanos polling, panel discussion on global trends and impacts, provincial leaders’ sessions and more, please click here.