Municipal leaders from Ontario’s rural communities gathered today at the 2015 OGRA/ROMA Conference in Toronto.

Conference highlights for February 23, 2015:

Premier Wynne discusses the possibility of new tax tools
Premier Kathleen Wynne spoke to delegates, covering key topics including funding for infrastructure (including Connecting Links) and economic development.

The Premier said that she is open to having a discussion about giving municipalities access to new tax tools.  Currently, there are several taxation powers allowed within the City of Toronto Act that no other municipality in Ontario have.  These new tools may represent a short-term opportunity but they will not fix long-term issues with municipal fiscal sustainability.  That is why AMO is beginning to do important work that will help determine what tools municipalities need to achieve greater financial independence.

The Premier’s full speech is available on AMO’s website.

AMO President Gary McNamara addresses delegates
Gary McNamara spoke to municipal leaders, welcoming newly elected officials and reiterating the need for community leaders to stand together to face our collective challenges.

He also outlined key policy priorities, including the need to reform Ontario’s municipal liability and interest arbitration systems, increase funding for infrastructure and protect our province’s volunteer firefighters.

The full speech is available on AMO’s website.

Minister’s Forum
21 Ontario Government Ministers and Parliamentary Assistants faced direct questions from municipal mayors and councillors in an open forum.

Ministers responded to 30 questions, covering everything from natural gas distribution to concerns over municipal liability.

The Conference continues tomorrow with keynote speeches from both opposition leaders.  For program details, visit Combined Conference website.and follow #OGRAROMA on Twitter.