Province Announces Changes to Development Charges Act, Improvements to Public Health Funding, at AMO Conference
LONDON, ON, Aug. 22, 2023 /CNW/ - Today at the 2023 Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) Conference at the RBC Place in London, the Hon. Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing announced the government's intention to update the definition of "affordable," as part of upcoming changes to the Development Charges Act.
Minister Clark confirmed that the new definition of affordable housing would consider income – a critical factor in the definition of affordable housing nationally. Changes to the definition would be part of amendments to the Development Charges Act, which would consider income levels when determining access to exemptions from development-related fees.
"Any definition of affordable housing needs to consider everyone's ability to pay the rent," said Colin Best, AMO President. "We commend the government for responding to AMO's request to update the definition of affordable housing to better target development fee discounts. AMO also requested that the government defer moving forward on development fees for "attainable" housing introduced as part of Bill 23, to ensure that discounts to developers are focused on incentivizing affordable housing for those most in need."
In a separate address to delegates, the Hon. Sylvia Jones, Minister of Health, announced changes to how local public health units will be funded, supported and directed, including reverting back to a 75% provincial and 25% municipal cost sharing ratio. Strengthening the local public health system and ensuring financial sustainability are priorities for AMO.
"To keep people and communities healthy, local Public Health Units need the resources and support to get the job done right," said Colin Best, AMO President. "Today's announcement responds to critical recommendations about addressing longstanding challenges and is an important step toward building a more sustainable local public health system. AMO looks forward to working with the government on ways to further strengthen Ontario's local public health system."
The Minister of Health announced that the provincial government will:
- Revert funding back to a 75% provincial and 25% municipal cost sharing ratio from a previous 70/30 cost share arrangement;
- Increase base funding for public health units by 1% annually for the next three year so that they can prepare and plan with certainty:
- Work on a longer-term approach with a guarantee that future changes will not create more financial burden for municipalities;
- Work with the public health sector to clarify roles and responsibilities to reduce overlap and ensure that public health is aligned with provincial priorities; and,
- Provide resources, support, and incentives to facilitate voluntary mergers to better support their communities.
There are 34 Public Health Units in Ontario that operate under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, 1990. Ontario municipalities co-fund, and in some cases directly administer, the units to provide services. AMO has provided advice and recommendations to the provincial government on how to strengthen the public health system.
More than 2,000 participants are attending the 2023 AMO Conference in London, August 20 – 23. It's an important opportunity for municipal officials to work together with the Ontario government on solutions to today's greatest challenges. The event features more than 60 speakers, sessions and workshops, reflecting the broad scope of municipal responsibilities and priorities. Reporters can register onsite in Salon C2, RBC Place, London. For program details, visit https://www.amo.on.ca/2023-amo-conference.
AMO works to make municipal governments stronger and more effective. AMO brings together Ontario's 444 municipalities to achieve shared goals and meet common challenges.
Visit AMO's website, www.amo.on.ca, and follow the Conference on X (formerly Twitter), Instagram, Threads, and LinkedIn. Use the Conference hashtag #AMO2023.
For further information:
For more information: Brian Lambie, AMO Media Contact, 416-729-5425, firstname.lastname@example.org