02/02/2005

Toronto, Ont., February 2, 2005 – On behalf of its more than 400 member municipalities throughout the province, AMO President Roger Anderson expressed regret that the City of Toronto has decided to withdraw from Ontario’s municipal association.
“AMO is a community of municipal governments across Ontario and we have often looked to Toronto for leadership,” said Anderson. “We regret Toronto’s decision not to be part of this community.  They will be missed.“

“Toronto’s ‘every municipality for itself’ approach sends the wrong message to its peers across Ontario and to the Provincial and Federal governments at a time when all three orders of government are working together to forge a new deal for all municipalities and all Ontarians.”

Toronto’s Mayor has stated that AMO cannot represent the City as effectively as Toronto could represent itself.  AMO agrees to the extent that every municipality is responsible for the quality of its own individual relationships with the Provincial and Federal governments.  AMO works with its member municipalities to help facilitate those relationships and to provide the strength of a common voice.  

AMO’s Board went to great lengths to accommodate Toronto’s desire for greater representation and influence over AMO’s policies and procedures.  Toronto was the only municipality granted a guaranteed seat on AMO’s 40-seat board.  It received seven seats in all and each was appointed by Toronto City Council.  In addition, Toronto was guaranteed a seat on AMO’s Executive Committee and at joint Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) meetings with the Ontario Government.  As a provincial association, AMO could not make further accommodations to this one municipality without compromising its ability to work on behalf of all Ontario municipalities, including its cities.

AMO understands the City of Toronto’s aspirations to secure “government-to-government-to-government” discussions with the Provincial and Federal governments.  

Participation in AMO’s MOU process with the Province would have provided Toronto and its Mayor an immediate and further opportunity to strengthen direct discussions with the Ontario Government through the MOU process and other means.  Furthermore, these opportunities would have existed in addition to whatever commitments the City may secure through the new City of Toronto Act. 

AMO has always recognized that Toronto is a unique municipality with unique concerns.   However, those concerns do not end at its borders.  Gridlock, immigration issues, and the high cost of social services and infrastructure renewal cannot be solved by one municipality working alone.  These problems can only be solved by a number of governments working together in common cause.  Toronto’s voice will be missed in these discussions. 

“We hope that in time the City of Toronto will come to see the value of having both a strong, individual relationship with the Provincial Government alongside membership in a strong and effective municipal association,” said Anderson.

The Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) is a non-profit organization representing almost all of Ontario’s 445 municipal governments.  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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