October 31, 2018

October was a busy month for elected municipal officials and clerks.  Given this, we wanted to provide an update of provincial legislation and activities that you may not have had a chance to consider with local elections and activities.  

Bill 47: Making Ontario Open for Business Act
The provincial government introduced Bill 47, Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018 on October 23rd that largely repeals the previous government’s Bill 148, Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017.  Throughout the Bill 148 debates, AMO and municipal employers were told that local governments were not the intended targets regarding precarious employment.  Municipal governments are employers of choice – paying good wages with good benefit packages that provides stable, mostly unionized, employment throughout the province.  Despite several key amendments achieved by AMO for municipal governments, Bill 148 added requirements that increased costs for municipal budgets without any increases in efficiencies such as the challenging scheduling and on-call provisions.

AMO Contact:  Monika Turner, Director of Policy, mturner@amo.on.ca, 416.971.9856 ext. 318.

Cannabis Act Passed; Municipal Council Considerations
Municipal governments have until January 22, 2019 to opt out of cannabis retail.  Councils that decide to allow cannabis retail need to consider any local conditions that they feel should be reflected in location decisions.  AMO recommends that municipal staff prepares a report to Council that lays out any considerations communities would like the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) to be aware of when approving sites.  This report will need to be considered by January 22 and can form the basis of staff comments on site proposals to AGCO.  AMO’s most recent cannabis policy update and materials can be found here.

AMO Contact:  Craig Reid, Senior Advisor, creid@amo.on.ca, 416.971.9856 ext. 334.

Bill 34, Green Energy Act Repeal Act, 2018
This Bill, if passed, would return the authority for land use planning of renewable energy projects to municipal governments.  AMO made a presentation October 30th to the Standing Committee on Social Policy welcoming this change.  Transition matters and oversight of existing renewable energy projects are addressed in the submission.

AMO Contact:  Cathie Brown, Senior Advisor, cathiebrown@amo.on.ca, 416.971.9856 ext. 342.

Ontario Consulting on New Climate Change Plan
The provincial government is consulting on a new climate plan for Ontario.  Residents have the opportunity to provide input on priorities.  AMO will provide comments to the provincial government and make them available soon to municipal members for information:  Consultation:  A Made-in-Ontario Climate Change Plan.

AMO Contact:  Craig Reid, Senior Advisor, creid@amo.on.ca, 416.971.9856 ext. 334.

Full Producer Responsibility for Waste Diversion Programs:
The transition of used tires, electronics, and household hazardous waste programs to Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act, 2016 are underway while the Blue Box program remains in its current challenging state.  Full producer responsibility fits with making polluters accountable and ensures businesses are responsible for the materials they put into the market.  The costs are moved off the property taxpayer who has little ability to manage or influence any decisions on packaging.  A recent Draft Discussion Paper on how to transition the Blue Box has been released by Municipal Resource Recovery & Research Collaborative (M3RC).  [M3RC is composed of senior staff from AMO, City of Toronto, the Regional Public Works Commissioners of Ontario, and the Municipal Waste Association.]

AMO Contact:  Dave Gordon, Senior Advisor (Waste), dgordon@amo.on.ca , 416.971.9856 ext. 371.

Fire Regulations – Update
On October 5th, the Province revoked the Mandatory Certification Fire Regulation, citing that the regulation “would present significant challenges for fire services and municipalities – in particular in small, rural, and northern municipalities with volunteer fire departments”.  The Community Risk Assessment and Public Reporting regulations will come into force as scheduled.  Although we are pleased that the Mandatory Certification regulation has been repealed given all the municipal concerns expressed, we will continue to work with the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs, and the Fire Fighter Association of Ontario to make sure fire fighter safety is paramount.  We will also work with the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (MCSCS) and fire associations to have the Reporting regulation in a form that is viable before it comes into force.

AMO Contact:  Monika Turner, Director of Policy, mturner@amo.on.ca, 416.971.9856 ext. 318.

AMO Events and Training Update
In this post election season, AMO is working on a number of councillor workshops for the upcoming term. In person workshops include: Municipal Leadership Essentials (November, 2018), As a Member of Council What You Need to Know (February/March, 2019), Land Use Planning: Beyond the Basics (February/March, 2019), and Communications for Elected Officials.

Don’t forget AMO’s year-round education portal MunicipalEducation.ca houses a number of foundation courses to kick start any education and development plans.  Visit AMO.on.ca/training to learn more about what AMO offers.

AMO Contact:  Navneet Dhaliwal, Special Events and Business Development Coordinator, ndhaliwal@amo.on.ca, 416.971.9856 ext. 330.