January 18, 2019

AMO is pleased to release two policy discussion papers on health issues entitled, "Partners for a Healthy Ontario: A Check-up on the Municipal Role for Health” and its accompanying document “A Compendium of Municipal Health Activities and Recommendations.” The papers are the product of AMO’s Health Task Force and approved by AMO’s Board. The Task Force was co-chaired by AMO Board members Mark Taylor, former Deputy Mayor and Councillor of Ottawa and Graydon Smith, Mayor of Bracebridge.

The starting place for the paper is the fact that Ontario’s municipal governments are deeply invested in the public health and health care services. This level of involvement has been evolving over time and is not generally understood by the public, province or stakeholders. Municipal governments contributed $2.1 billion for health costs in 2017, an increase of 38% since 2012. This does not include support services, like social services, housing and recreation.

The paper reviews the current municipal role in health and provides recommendations to modernize and strengthen the provincial-municipal working relationship. With local knowledge and expertise, municipal governments can provide valuable input into the health system. Given the level of financial investment, municipal governments should also have greater say over health delivery decisions that affect municipal costs and services. This should also lead to better local health outcomes in a way that is fair to property taxpayers and residents.