03/27/2007

AMO/ROMA Submission to the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry.
Municipalities are on the front lines of providing quality of life; they are the first to see the consequences of poverty.

In rural areas, in particular, the consequences of poverty are manifest in ways that are less obvious. The costs to municipalities are more than just financial. When local citizens are living in poverty, it impacts overall community viability so that its future potential is at stake.

Municipal governments have an important role to play in terms of economic development. In Ontario, they are also the providers of key community health and social services. To effectively do so, however, is largely a question of resources.

Local governments need enough funding and flexibility to respond to dynamic local needs. Not only does federal and provincial policy need to consider the special challenges faced by rural communities, it needs to line up with adequate funding.