02/21/2006

Toronto, Ontario, February 21, 2006. AMO Applauds Premier’s commitment to tackle downloading and pay 50:50 share of ambulance costs.
AMO President Roger Anderson, welcomes Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty’s decision to work with the Association of Municipalities of Ontario to begin lifting the costly burden of health and social service costs that the previous provincial government downloaded on municipalities almost a decade ago.

The first expression of this commitment is a promise to ensure that the Province fully pays its true 50:50 cost sharing of land ambulance costs.

“AMO and its hundreds of municipal members have urged the Province to work with us to begin creating a viable plan to get us from where we are now, to fiscal sustainability, over a practical period of time,” said Anderson.  “The Premier has promised AMO trilateral discussions on the Federal / Provincial / Municipal fiscal imbalance, which is good news to communities of all sizes in every part of Ontario.”

The Premier’s ambulance funding commitment is expected to increase Provincial funding by $300 million over the next three years.  Ontario’s municipalities have fought hard to convince the Province to pay its fair share of ambulance costs for almost a decade.  

At a meeting last week, Premier McGuinty agreed the status quo was "unacceptable" and that working with AMO to address the fiscal imbalance was "the right thing to do."    
AMO and the Province share an existing consultation process that provides a strong forum to begin working toward fiscal sustainability for municipalities.  Better known as Memorandum of Understanding or MOU meetings, they are supported by a protocol that ensures municipalities have a seat at the table during Federal / Provincial discussions that impact municipal government.  The commitment is particularly important given the Premier’s desire to address Ontario’s $23 Billion fiscal gap with the Federal Government, and Prime Minister Harper’s commitment to tackle fiscal imbalances across Canada. 

The Premier announced both the ambulance funding initiative and the desire to work toward relieving municipalities of downloaded costs at the 2006 ROMA/OGRA Conference in Toronto.  The theme of this year’s conference is ‘fiscal fairness’.

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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