The Ontario Liberal Party (OLP) has responded to AMO President Russ Powers regarding municipal priorities and the Liberal platform.

The Response from the Ontario NDP was provided to members yesterday and available on AMO’s Provincial Election 2014 web page. AMO is working with the Progressive Conservative Party to provide similar details and members will be updated when these are received and clarification provided.

Liberal Municipal Commitments:

The Ontario Liberal Party has responded to the priorities that AMO sought clarification on. The party has provided a detailed response to each of the items raised by AMO. Major commitments included in the response are summarized below. To read the full document, please go to AMO’s Provincial Election 2014 web page and select the AMO Liberal Party Response.

Liberal municipal commitments
Provincial-Municipal Relationship
  • MOU:  will ensure that important policy initiatives that affect municipalities are brought forward to the AMO-MOU table as part of the policy development process
  • Ontario Liberals have no plans to implement new municipal revenue tools, however, would commit to working though the AMO-MOU table to develop new ways to manage costs and pay for essential services
Municipal Finance
  • Upload:  the OLP committed to continuing the upload, on schedule
  • OMPF:  they would proceed with the phase-down of the OMPF to $500 million – the OMPF would be $515 million in 2015
  • OPP Billing:  the Ontario Liberals committed to working with AMO to implement one of the options of AMO’s OPP Billing Steering Committee for a 60:40 split between base costs and service calls; the need to include commercial and industrial properties in OPP base cost calculations; having a 3rd party audit of the model before presentation to municipalities; and provide mitigation funding to manage the transition to a new model
  • Emergency Services Service Delivery:  committed to address policing services by introducing a package of legislative or regulatory changes as early as Spring 2015 once the Future of Policing Advisory Committee report’s recommendations are received this fall
  • POA:  Ontario Liberals would reintroduce the proposed Bill 34 changes to help municipalities collect unpaid fines at the first opportunity
  • Joint and Several Liability:  Ontario Liberals would continue to work with AMO to develop a practical and fair solution to this complex challenge
  • Development Charges:  will introduce legislation to remove the 10 per cent discount on transit development charges and work with municipalities to determine a progressive, forward–looking formula for calculating transit development charges
  • PLT Reform:  would consult with municipalities, taxpayers, and other northern stakeholders to bring forward solutions that address tax fairness in northern Ontario later this year
Municipal Infrastructure
  • Transit and Transportation:  will work with municipalities on how best to prioritize transportation and transit investments through the use of rigorous business case analysis and have an evidence-based process to decide which projects receive funding (through the $28.9 billion funds) and committed to expansion of major highways, municipal LRT, GO Transit, and SW Ontario rail service; refurbishment of Ontario Northland (ONTC) infrastructure and $1 billion for Ring of Fire development
  • Small, Rural and Northern Municipal Infrastructure Fund:  will invest $100 million to support critical municipal priorities in 2014-15 and expect the fund to grow over time; will discuss with AMO how to transition to 100 per cent formula-based
Municipal Labour Matters
  • Interest Arbitration:  committed to working toward compromise to require arbitration decisions that are timely and provide detailed reasons so that municipalities do not have to wait for results and can understand why decisions have been made
Municipal Administration Matters
  • Ombudsman:  Ontario Liberals remain committed to expanding accountability in the public sector; would work with AMO to identify best ways to expand accountability
Human Services Matters
  • Ontario Works (OW) and Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP):  Ontario Liberals would move forward on social assistance reform by streamlining social assistance benefits. They would not merge the municipally run Ontario Works program with the provincially run Ontario Disability Support Program.
Environmental Matters
  • Waste:  the Ontario Liberals recognize the important role municipalities play in delivering quality recycling services and would reintroduce a waste reduction bill that reflects the view that the municipal role should be recognized
  • Energy:  they are committed to the Long Term Energy Plan including consultation on regional energy planning; investing in energy infrastructure; Conservation First; would continue the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit Plan, Ontario Energy & Property Tax Credit, Northern Ontario Energy Credit, the Conservation and Demand Framework , the Industrial Conservation Initiative, the Industrial Electricity Incentive, the Northern Industrial Electricity Rate Program; would end the Debt Retirement Charge and create a new Home Electricity Assistance Program,  and provide up to $200 million over two years for a new Natural Gas Access Loan

AMO will continue to update members on major announcements and commitments relating to municipal governments, particularly responses of the parties to AMO’s priorities and communications.