Ontario’s Municipal Voice in the 2014 Provincial Election.
A week ago I was at Queen’s Park for the release of the Ontario Government’s 2014 Budget. Today, we are in the midst of a provincial election. It’s a pivotal time for our Province, and for Ontario’s municipal community.

Early next week, AMO will be distributing a summary of the Board’s priorities and concerns on key municipal topics.  

First and foremost, we expect all parties to honour the upload agreement that Ontario signed in 2008, committing the Province to upload its social service and court security costs from the municipal property tax base by 2018. Property taxes should never fund provincial responsibilities.

We are looking for provincial investment in infrastructure – across Ontario – and for investment in urban transit. Municipal governments own and manage the majority of the infrastructure that the Province needs to succeed. It includes our transportation systems – roads, bridges and transit, whether in urban or rural or northern Ontario. It’s about clean water and so much more.    

We need the Ontario government to work with us, as partners, to build prosperous communities, and ensure that we can afford the basics such as emergency services, insurance and waste management.   

We will express these priorities, and others, positively as good ideas. And, for clarity, we will share a list of bad ideas that includes:

  • Downloading provincial costs onto municipalities and property taxpayers,
  • Creating new municipal responsibilities that aren’t funded,
  • Taking a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to Ontario’s diverse regions and communities, and
  • Tying the hands of municipal government.
Municipal leaders should have no trouble explaining why these widely held priorities are important locally, or regionally.

In addition to posting our list of good ideas and bad ideas on our website, we will be mailing printed versions to all elected officials. It’s not a script, but it is a guide to our best expression of hopes and concerns that are broadly held by municipal leaders across Ontario.

As AMO President, and as a long serving Board member, I believe it is important for Ontario’s municipal community to speak with a strong and clear voice during election periods. Ontario voters are preparing to choose their local representatives at Queen’s Park, and they are choosing the course that Ontario will follow.

Throughout the campaign, AMO will work to ensure that municipal perspectives are understood by all parties and their election teams. This is a continuation of our standard, ‘open-door’ policy.

We will provide updates throughout the campaign, here in our weekly WatchFile.  Breaking News alerts will also be sent, if warranted. The WatchFile is free to receive and free to share. Help us communicate our message.

You are also encouraged to follow us on Twitter (@AMOPolicy), and to support us when we share information that is important to you and to your community.

If you have any questions about AMO’s positions, you are certain to find further details about each of them on our website.  Without exaggeration, thousands of public pages have recorded AMO’s work on hundreds of municipal topics, over many years. If you can’t find it on our website, please call us.

AMO’s policy positions are developed in partnership with our members, and they are guided by our large, elected Board of representatives from across Ontario.

AMO is not a head office, or a thing. AMO is a meeting place. Through AMO, Ontario’s municipal community works in common cause, to support one another and to advance changes that benefit our communities.

Over the coming weeks, Ontario’s municipal voice will only be as strong as we make it.  Now is the time.


Russ Powers
AMO President
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