October 11, 2018

Earlier today, AMO briefed the government members of the Ontario Legislature’s Standing Committee on Social Policy regarding the Association’s recommendations on Bill 36. Provided for your reference is a copy of AMO’s written submission that speaks to municipal governments’ role. The Standing Committee will undertake clause-by-clause review on Monday October 15th after which we will know whether our advice is accepted. The Bill is to be in effect for October 17 as it specifies the role of the AGCO, places of use, and other important matters.

AMO’s recommendations for amendments include:
  • A technical amendment to the Municipal Act to ensure that municipal governments have the proper authority to regulate cannabis smoking in public;
  • Ensuring cannabis retail stores are located only in commercially zoned areas allowing retail;
  • Clarifying the role of municipal government in providing input to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) regarding its decision-making for store site licenses; and
  • A formal process for municipal government input into cannabis retail siting authorizations in our communities that requires AGCO to have regard to municipal concerns in its decision making.
AMO will continue to work with our Municipal Reference Group on Cannabis Retail to operationalize these recommendations if the government moves forward with them. AMO remains concerned that the costs related to legalization, from closing illegal dispensaries to road enforcement and other use will exceed the funds the province receives from the federal government, of which $40 million to be shared with municipal governments. We will be working with members to monitor this.

Last week, AMO provided members with a comprehensive briefing on legalized recreational cannabis in Ontario. We will update members as any major developments arise.