To keep members informed, AMO provides updates on important issues considered at regular AMO Board of Directors’ meetings. Lynn Dollin’s, AMO President, short video on the Board Meeting is here for your viewing

Highlights of the June 16, 2017 meeting include:

Asset Management Regulation
The Board directed the President to write to the Minister of Infrastructure (MOI) to voice AMO's major concerns regarding municipal capacity to meet the new planning requirements without additional on-going financial support. The regulation is likely to require almost all municipal governments to significantly re-do their current asset management plans to include: new current and future service level analysis and planning for the performance of their assets; greenhouse gas mitigation efforts, electricity costs, non-infrastructure solutions and; approval of plans by a licensed engineer prior to submission to council. Councils are encouraged to review the proposed regulation with their senior staff to assess their impact and provide input to the province by July 24. Please notify MOI if you require more time to provide municipal comments.

Municipal 1/3 Tax Exemption
The AMO Board was briefed on the results of a survey sent to municipal treasurers on municipal council remuneration and the use of the one third tax exemption. The survey indicated that the majority of municipal governments in Ontario are using the one third tax exemption, and that there would be new costs to switching to fully taxable municipal remuneration. The Board directed staff to work with other Provinces to pursue advocacy on the federal government’s removal of the one third tax exemption for municipal elected officials.

WSIB Work Related Chronic Stress Draft Policy
WSIB is undertaking consultation on a draft policy to support implement provincial legislation (Bill 127 Budget Bill). It will have significant implications for all Ontario employers, including municipal governments, such as workers who routinely experience high levels of stress due to the nature of their job will not be excluded simply because all workers in their job experience stress.  .  Consultation ends July 7

Bill 148, Fair Workplace, Better Jobs Act, 2017 (Second reading)
This Bill would make substantial changes to the Employment Standards Act and Labour Relations Act. Scheduling, equal pay, personal emergency leave, union certification and successor rights are a few of the issues this Bill will change that impact municipal operations and budgets. The AMO Task Force will providing advice on the nature and priority of proposed AMO amendments from a municipal employer perspective. The Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs will have hearings in July – further hearing information.

Ambulance Act Changes
The province has recently announced proposed changes to emergency health services, including providing alternative options for medical treatment and paramedic services. There will be a public consultation process over the summer with the provincial intent to introduce legislative changes in the fall session. On the face of it, there may be welcome improvements to the EMS dispatch system and expanding the scope of paramedic practice so that patients can be better directed to appropriate medical treatment. Regretfully, the province has also announced they will 100% fund two fire-med pilot projects. There is no evidence to show that there will be improved patient outcomes, and municipal labour and risk management issues are significant if these pilots proceed. AMO is demanding that the province include legislation that prevents arbitrators from imposing fire-med programs on unwilling municipal governments.

Bill 139:  Building Better Communities and Conserving Watersheds Act, 2017 (First reading)
Includes both OMB review and CA Act review. AMO will be making separate submissions on each.

Land Planning Appeals Tribunal (OMB Review)
The AMO Board supports this proposed direction for a renewed land use appeal process.  Most significantly, this proposed legislation would replace the Ontario Municipal Board with the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT). The LPAT decisions would be scoped and no “de novo” hearings would be allowed.  Instead, major land use planning matters could only be appealed on the grounds that they don’t conform or aren’t consistent with provincial/municipal plan and policies.  As well, if passed this legislation would eliminate appeals of provincially approved municipal official plans and major updates.  It would establish the Local Planning Appeal Support Centre that would provide process and legal advice to individuals who wish to appeal.  Comments to an EBR posting end August 14th, 2017.

Conservation Authority Act Review
Bill 139 contains a schedule that would amend the Conservation Authorities Act. AMO generally supports the changes. This includes requiring CA policies, procedures and budgeting to better harmonize with municipal processes. It establishes a clearer CA mandate and service relationship with municipal governments. The proposed regulatory power to stipulate qualifications of CA Board members is not supported. The need for provincial assistance to bolster CAs to meet the mandated services is recommended. Comments to an EBR posting close June 30th 2017.  

Excess Soil Draft Regulation
AMO’s submission will be based on recommendations from AMO’s Excess Soil Working Group. The Board emphasized the concern for new unfunded municipal responsibilities for monitoring and compliance.

Waste Management Update
Municipal Technical Working Group has been working collectively for the sector on the transition of diversion programs to the new Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act, 2016. Initial focus has been on transition of the Blue Box program. Blue Box 2017 Steward Obligation has been set at $123.7M by Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority. This is $7M or 5% less than what municipalities requested based on our verified net costs. Staff continue to discuss this issue with the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change.

LAS Update
LAS Annual report was presented. The High Interest Savings Account (HISA) grew by 700% in 2016 while the LED Streetlights program cumulatively has helped over 150 municipalities realize $10 million in energy savings. For more details the LAS Annual report can be found here.

Federal Gas Tax Update
AMO is working closely with the sector to strengthen the project; asset management outcomes reporting leading up to a report due to Infrastructure Canada in early 2018 that will highlight the beneficial impacts and how funds are meeting national objectives.