11/29/2007

AMO welcomed a renewed provincial commitment in the Throne Speech to put municipalities on a firm financial footing.
Issue: The Lieutenant Governor of Ontario delivered the Speech from the Throne to open the Second Session of the Thirty-Ninth Parliament of the Province of Ontario.  

Background:  

  • The Speech from the Throne focused on the theme of “Moving Forward the Ontario Way” through priority initiatives aimed at: providing for a better educated workforce, opportunity and prosperity for all, a healthier and greener province, and stronger relations with Ontario’s First Nations. The Speech sets out the government’s legislative agenda for the upcoming legislative session.
  • The government renewed its commitment to the Provincial-Municipal Fiscal and Service Delivery Review pledging to, “put our cities and towns on a firm financial footing.” The government pledged to, “do its share”, and build on the progress made to date with the municipal sector. This follows the previously announced Ontario Drug Benefit and Ontario Disability Support Program uploads announced by the Premier at this year’s August conference. The costs in 2008 of this 4 year, $935 million upload are to be funded by projected provincial Budget surpluses to be shared by municipalities and school boards. 
Key New Commitments (as contained in the Speech):
  • ncreasing the Northern Heritage Fund to $100 million; 
  • A new Eastern Ontario Development Fund - Details of the Fund have not been announced; and
  • A ban on the use of cosmetic pesticides across Ontario.
AMO has already signalled to the Province the importance of working with municipalities to ensure that the pesticides initiative is undertaken in a way that will not adversely affect municipalities and rural Ontario. 

Other Key Commitments:
  • Accelerating the expansion of public transit in the Greater Toronto Area through the MoveOntario 2020 plan;
  • Reducing Ontario’s greenhouse gas emissions by six per cent of 1990 levels by 2014 and eighty per cent by 2050; and
  • A renewed commitment to addressing poverty including an increase in the number of child care spaces, affordable housing plans, and dental benefits for low income earners.
AMO will work with the government to ensure the needs and priorities of municipalities influence the development and implementation of these initiatives.

AMO looks forward to continuing the work of the Provincial-Municipal Fiscal and Service Delivery Review with the Province and the release of the final report as early as possible in the spring of 2008.   

Action: For your information.