05/03/2002

Toronto, Ont., May 3, 2002 – The Association of Municipalities of Ontario considers the Report “Canada’s Urban Strategy” a clear opportunity for re-shaping how governments work together.
The interim report by the Prime Minister’s Task Force on Urban Issues goes a long way in framing the issues and identifying direction for next steps.

The Report corroborates what municipal governments have been saying - that the demands on services and programs are outstripping the ability of the property tax base to cope.  “We have to find new ways of generating revenue and funding activities that are putting this strain on the tax base,” said AMO President, Ann Mulvale. “We can no longer afford to limp along and ignore the real investment needed to address the many challenges, challenges that are shared by many different types of municipalities in Ontario. We must have predictable and stable revenue streams.”

The Report identifies three priority initiatives - affordable housing, infrastructure and transportation.  “AMO agrees that these are priority areas and addressing them will help turn the tide and strengthen our urban regions,” said Mulvale. “We need to stay focused on results.  In looking at urban regions, we can ill-afford to ignore the challenges of rural and northern communities.”

The Report states that the three orders of government - federal, provincial and municipal must have more meaningful collaboration.  “AMO strongly agrees,” said Mulvale. “In Ontario, we have a Memorandum of Understanding with the provincial government on how we will be consulted on legislation and programs that impact municipal government.” AMO welcomes the recognition that the federal government has a role to play and looks forward to providing input to the Prime Minister’s Task Force on how to bring this Urban Strategy to life.  

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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