January 23, 2018

AMO’s Lens on the Election

  • Local Share: A 1% HST increase ($ 2.5 billion) dedicated to municipal infrastructure would offer financial sustainability to municipal governments year over year. Ontario’s municipal governments collectively face a $4.9 billion a year funding gap every year looking forward for the next 10 years consisting of infrastructure and operational costs, most of which are directed by provincial laws and regulations. Relying on the property tax base to address this gap is not sustainable and continues to put upward pressure to significantly increase property taxes each year or reduce services. The political parties are challenged to outline their plan for addressing the fiscal sustainability problem.
  • Local Say: Provincial laws and regulatory standards need to reflect the diversity of Ontario’s municipal governments.  All too often there is a one-size fits all approach. The Province needs to actively listen and act, giving municipal governments the respect and trust to make policy decisions that fit their community, not Queen’s Park.

  • The platform promises that have been made public follow.  More are expected in the coming weeks.  We will be analyzing party commitments against AMO’s Local Share/Local Say Lens as more information is known.  The Lens will be the basis of the questions AMO’s members should ask throughout the election, as will AMO.
  • The language used to describe campaign commitments in this document is paraphrased from the cited party sources.  We have added some facts for context as well as links to specific party documents.
  People's Guarantee   Our Vision For Ontario  Our Priorities
How do the platforms propose to help municipal governments make financial ends meet?
A PC government would:
  • Restore the $70 million cut from the Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund (OMPF) since the OMPF phasedown began in 2013 (by the end of a four-year mandate).
  • Allow pooling of similar projects under the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund (for those 100,000 or under) and promote public-private partnership opportunities under the program.
  • Dedicate $124 million for recreational infrastructure, including $20 million for local parks (over the four-year term back ended).
  • Revenue sharing agreements between First Nations, municipalities and the Province for future mining, forestry, and aggregates projects.
  • Pursue joint and several liability reform (no details on how yet).
  • Fully allocate the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund and index the fund to inflation.
  • Upload responsibility over Toronto’s subway infrastructure to the Province: investing $5 billion in new subway lines, including $200 million to extend the Eglinton Crosstown Project; would ask the federal government to match.
  • Restore funding for anti-gang and anti-gun task forces in Ottawa and Toronto.
  • Expand Provincial OPP Enforcement Team to combat contraband tobacco to include local police forces and provide with necessary tools.
  • Create a local infrastructure fund by enhancing the Jobs and Prosperity Fund.
A Liberal government would:
  • Engage with municipalities to discuss what comes next in terms of long-term fiscal sustainability for municipal governments and to explore potential revenue tools.
  • Explore extending revenue tools in the City of Toronto Act to other municipal governments.
  • Consider the next phase of uploads from municipal governments, which may include roads and recreational infrastructure.
  • Explore the potential for uploading policing and emergency service costs.
An NDP government would:
  • Work collaboratively with municipalities to identify ‘progressive sources of revenue’.
  • Match municipal operations funding in public transit on a 50/50 basis.
  • Put safe roads and road maintenance first.
  • Fairly share responsibility over housing costs and invest to repair social housing and shelters across Ontario (no details on how yet).
  • Fairly share responsibility over transit, housing, and childcare.
  • Ensure fair access to funding for Northern and Rural communities.
  • Invest in infrastructure.
  • Make sure the federal government pays its fair share for infrastructure projects.
  • Equip police services with the staff and resources they need for the challenges they face.
  • Properly fund counselling services for survivors of domestic and sexual assault.
A Green government would:
  • Support public and mass transit within and between cities.
  • Increase support for social and co-op housing.
  • Properly fund long-term care facilities.
How would the platforms improve service outcomes?
  • Sell surplus provincial land to build housing or give to municipalities to build affordable housing.
  • Create 15,000 new LTC beds in five years, 30,000 over ten years.
  • Reduce hospital and emergency wait times.
  • Restore $50 million to seniors’ preventative therapy services budget.
  • Invest $1.9 million to build a comprehensive mental health system.
  • Create task force to study access shortages to family doctors and specialists across the province.
  • Create a new Child Care Refund to cover up to 75% of childcare expenses or $6750 per child.
  • Create 100,000 new licenced childcare spaces.
  • Require new elementary schools to have some form of child care space.
  • Cut approval times for new child care spaces.
  • Reform the home care sector so that administrative costs are cheaper and more money goes towards care.
  • Address justice delays by appointing more judges.
  • CCTV technology in court facilities that don’t already have them.
  • Expand Crisis Outreach and Support Team Pilot Project to divert people in crisis towards mental health workers and away from police contact.
  • Sell air rights about GO Stations and provincial transit stations to increase housing stock.
  • N/A, AMO will analyze once the official platform is released.
  • Prioritize family access to affordable, quality childcare regardless of income or location.Supports would be dedicated to non-for-profit childcare.
  • Create more affordable housing by investing in social housing and co-op housing, focusing on multi-unit residences.
  • Reform social assistance in Ontario using a Social Assistance Review Committee.
  • Work with municipalities and local community organizations to support affordable, accessible recreation ranging from sports fields, to arenas, to curling rinks, to community hubs, and libraries.
  • Invest in quality long-term care and improving both home care and palliative care.
  • Improving quality and access to mental health supports.
  • Make homelessness prevention a priority.
  • Invest in addiction, rehabilitation, detox centres, and harm reduction services.
  • Provide new emergency supports devoted to delivering urgent mental health care.
  • Immediate moratorium on cuts to nurses and health care workers until a comprehensive staffing and HR framework is developed.
  • Guarantee access to health services for people within five days and increase number of care hours people receive.
  • Improve access to primary care providers.
  • Create a provincial child care strategy.
  • Support a basic income guarantee that will help assist people during transitions such as between jobs, starting a family, etc.
  • Make phone and online therapy sessions available and covered by the Province.
  • Increase funding to address the wait times for publicly available therapy.
How do the platforms enhance prosperity for the broader community?
(e.g. schools, post- secondary, hospitals)
  • Make broadband and cellular infrastructure projects eligible under OCIF and dedicate $100 million towards these projects.
  • Improve job information portal.
  • Review and quicken foreign credential processes.
  • Ensure greater provincial control over the Provincial Nominee Program.
  • Eliminate barriers preventing forestry industry from flourishing and give industry a seat at the international negotiating table.
  • Integrated tourism strategy, with focus on Northern Ontario Tourism.
  • Roads to the Ring of Fire.
  • Streamline existing media tax credits to promote the film and television sector.
  • $50 million to clean the Great Lakes.
  • Create a special mining working group.
  • Create a special agricultural task force.
  • N/A, AMO will analyze once the official platform is released.
  • Ensure access to broadband internet services for all Ontarians, particularly in rural and northern areas.
  • Make sure the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program is responsive to the labour market.
  • Partner with non-profit organizations, settlement service providers, employers and municipalities to create job opportunities and settlement services in rural, remote and northern communities to address the unique challenges these communities face in attracting and retaining immigrants.
  • Work with professional associations and the federal government to streamline the foreign credential recognition process.
  • Encourage innovation clusters across Ontario.
  • Help small businesses by overhauling Ontario’s Business Supports Programs.
  • Create a comprehensive food and water strategy working with farmers, fishers, Indigenous people, city organizers, and more.
  • Work with colleges and employers to ensure college graduates are ready for the workforce.
  • Work with tradespeople, employers and educational institutions so that there are opportunities for education and apprenticeships.
  • Support small businesses through government procurement.
  • Pursue an auto and manufacturing strategy, including to make Ontario a leader in driverless, hybrid, and electric vehicle technology.
  • Advance the Ring of Fire project.
  • Support media and culture industries by creating competitive tax credits and by working with municipalities to streamline zoning opportunities for innovative production spaces.
  • Commitment to help post-secondary students graduate debt free.
  • Stop the monopoly of marijuana so small businesses and local farmers can benefit local economies.
  • Reduce income inequality by making electricity and housing more affordable for people.
  • Support continuing education to help fill skill gaps in communities or to assist individuals in kick starting their own small enterprises.
How do the platforms promote a Local Say?
  • Increasing municipal input into provincial growth plans.
  • Restore local planning authority over renewable energy projects.
  • Amendments to the Planning Act to reduce approval of permits timelines, encouraging regular zoning updates.
  • N/A, AMO will analyze once the official platform is released.
  • Recognize the regional, economic, social, and cultural diversity of Ontario municipalities and make sure the Province holds up its fair share of responsibility.
  • Allow municipal governments to pursue inclusionary zoning to increase affordable housing.
  • Support community energy plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the use of fossil fuels, lower energy consumption.
  • Encourage complete street design that make it safe for all users: drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, and those with accessibility needs.
Do the platform promises value municipal governments?
  • Provide explicit explanations as to why projects are denied under the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund to increase provincial accountability and to improve the future success of an application.
  • Commitment to initiate conversations about the next phase of uploads.
  • Repair the provincial government’s relationships with municipalities by making a “new deal with cities and towns”.
  • N/A, AMO will analyze once the official platform is released.