12/03/2013

This Policy Update is to inform AMO members of the following recent provincial policy developments: New Child Care Legislation Introduced and Long Term Energy Plan Released

New Child Care Legislation Introduced

Today Liz Sandals, the Minister of Education, introduced new legislation as part of the government’s intention to modernize the child care legislative framework in Ontario. The government’s stated intention is to “strengthen oversight of the province’s unlicensed child care sector while increasing access to licensed child care options for families.”

 The proposed Child Care Modernization Act will affect existing legislation as follows:

  • Repeal and replace the Day Nurseries Act  (DNA)  governing licensing and child care provision;
  • Amend the Education Act (EA) governing education concerning School Board provision of after-school programming for 6-12 year olds; and,
  • Amend the Early Childhood Educators Act  (ECEA) governing the Early Childhood Educators’ profession to meet the requirements of a statutory duty to review the act before February 2014 and align with other relevant legislative amendments.
AMO is supportive of the government’s efforts to update these three critical pieces of legislation as part of its child care modernization initiative.  Equipping the child care system with a new legislative framework in Ontario is an essential part of the modernization agenda.

We have indicated general support for the government’s overall vision to create a modernized system of child care and early learning as a critical contributing factor in creating and sustaining a healthy and prosperous Ontario.  At the same time modernization should be implemented in an affordable, efficient and sustainable manner and further, should ensure that there are no adverse effects on the broader child care system, particularly in small, rural and northern communities. Representing these interests, AMO provided input into the ministry’s policy development through a focussed consultation process.

We have not yet had the opportunity to review this new legislation. We will analyze the legislation when available and inform members of any significant impacts.

Long Term Energy Plan Released

The December 2nd release of the revised Long-Term Energy Plan (LTEP) as a guiding document for energy conservation, generation, transmission and distribution is intended to provide the context for regional and municipal energy plans.   Municipalities are large consumers and managers of energy, accounting for over $1 billion of energy supplies in Ontario annually.  The 2013 LTEP addresses crucial energy, economic and environmental issues for the next 20 years and replaces the 2010 LTEP.  The Plan is aimed at actions which support conservation first and then reliable clean energy. As well, the plan will be implemented based on community involvement through regional plans.  Overall energy costs are predicted to rise, but at a smaller magnitude than the 2010 plan predicted.

Conservation:  The success of the plan hinges on meeting conservation targets.  Meeting these targets is intended to delay costly investments to produce more energy (e.g. nuclear reactors).  Some conservation will be met through managing demand (more use of off peak cost hours), some by retrofitting or using more energy efficient machines.  

Supply Mix:  The proposed overall mix is similar to the current mix except that all renewable sources will play a larger role as current commitments are built, nuclear will play a smaller role. The nuclear reactors at Bruce and Darlington will be refurbished in the next 20 years.  Natural gas infrastructure to rural and northern Ontario is a priority but there are no details in the Plan.  Renewable energy will continue with a significant role.  The target for renewables from the 2010 plan of 10,700 MW is extended.  Specifically an additional 600 MW of Wind, 280 MW of Solar, 100 MW of Biofuels will be awarded to reach this goal and an additional 95 MW of hydro is planned by 2021.

Transmission:  Northwestern Ontario transmission is a priority.  The current East/West Tie and Pickle Lake will continue and a Thunder Bay-Dryden corridor is planned.

Regional Planning:  There is emphasis on working with municipalities to create regional energy plans addressing conservation, supply, and transmission.  All 21 energy regions are expected to have plans in place over the next five years.

Municipal Implications:
  • This plan anticipates better energy rates than previously forecast which will benefit the municipal bottom line as well as that of large industrial users and other rate payers.
  • Meeting conservation targets will be a challenge.
  • A municipal and community energy plan will help meet energy use targets and participation in regional energy planning.