05/23/2002

Toronto, Ont., May 23, 2002: AMO welcomes today’s release of the Walkerton Inquiry’s Part Two Report.
“ AMO will undertake a comprehensive analysis of the Walkerton Inquiry findings. Based on what we have seen so far, the report appears to confirm what we have been saying all along - there is no need to totally overhaul the system, it is a good one. However, Justice O’Connor has identified some areas in the system that need to be improved, and we will work hard with the Province to make our water delivery system even better,” said Ann Mulvale, President of AMO.  

Since the tragic events in Walkerton in May of 2000, municipalities have undertaken a comprehensive evaluation of all of their water treatment systems, and are now busy making improvements to their systems where independent engineering reports identified a need. Municipalities have also undertaken comprehensive groundwater studies. These studies cover approximately sixty percent of Southern Ontario, and municipalities hope to receive further provincial funding to cover even more of the Province.   

Some areas of interest to AMO that are addressed in the second report include: 

  • Provincial oversight, including the regulatory framework and enforcement of regulations 
  • The need for a Safe Drinking Water Act
  • Strengthening of source water protection and the link between local planning decisions and watershed management 
  • The need for accreditation of water delivery organizations.
“The test of any additional reforms proposed by the Walkerton Inquiry and the Provincial Government will be whether they protect not only health and safety, but also support economic development, and maintain property values, particularly in smaller municipalities and in the North”, said Ann Mulvale. “We want to work with the Province on how the recommendations could be implemented and to fully understand and carefully consider the impacts of any changes.  It would be a mistake to respond in a knee jerk or piecemeal fashion.” 

AMO participated throughout the Inquiry in both Parts 1 and 2, representing the municipal voice through expert testimony and written submissions. Justice O’Connor and his staff are to be commended for their excellent work throughout the Inquiry. 
 
The Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) is a non-profit organization with member municipalities representing 98 per cent of Ontario’s population.  AMO supports and enhances strong and effective municipal government in Ontario and promotes the value of municipal government as a vital and essential component of Ontario and Canada’s political system.

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