Bill 39 Passes 3rd Reading, Greenbelt Consultation, Safe Restart Funding for Transit, Next Generation 9-1-1, New Regulations Proposed under Community Safety and Policing Act, and Ontario Health Teams
Bill 39, Better Municipal Governance Act, Passes Third Reading
The Legislative Assembly of Ontario voted to approve Bill 39, Better Municipal Governance Act, during Third Reading on Thursday. The Act will amend the Municipal Act to allow heads of council designated by regulation to receive strong mayor powers to be able to propose by-laws and pass them with more than one-third of council voting in favour if they advance provincial priorities. Currently, only Toronto and Ottawa mayors will receive these powers.
Provincial priorities will be designated by regulation and are proposed to include meeting provincial targets for 1.5 million new homes by 2031 and increasing infrastructure development to support them.
AMO, many municipal councils, opposition members, and other groups have requested that the one-third approval of by-laws by council be removed from the Bill as it undermines democratic norms.
In addition, the Bill allows the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to appoint the Chairs of York, Peel, and Niagara Regions while the government designates provincial facilitators to assess regional and lower tier responsibilities.
Comments Submitted on the Greenbelt
AMO continues to respond to the regulatory and environmental postings under Bill 23 – The More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022 and the More Homes Built Faster Plan. AMO’s comments on the proposed amendments to the Greenbelt Plan on December 2 and all other housing related documents can be found here.
Safe Restart Funding for Transit Announced
Premier Doug Ford and the Minister of Transportation, Caroline Mulroney, announced new funding for municipal transit through Phase 4 of the federal-provincial Safe Restart Agreement (SRA). The funding announced earlier this week will provide $505 million to help municipal transit systems ensure safe and reliable systems in the face of continuing challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This funding is to help municipal transit systems address costs related to the COVID-19 pandemic between February 1, 2022, and December 31, 2022. Municipalities will be able to use their funding allocations to cover revenue losses, operating expenses, and provincial transit priority projects, including fare and service integration and On-Demand transit.
The funding builds on previous rounds of federal-provincial COVID-19 support for municipal transit and funds have been allocated to 107 municipal governments with a base amount of $5,000 plus an allocation based on actual impacts reported through previous SRA phases.
Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) Funding Opportunity
The Government of Ontario is providing funding over three years to support Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) in Ontario with their transition to the new NG9-1-1 emergency services communications system. All applicants must apply through this call for proposals to be eligible for funding in any of the three years. Applications are now due January 10, 2023.
Community Safety and Policing Act Regulatory Proposals
The Ministry of the Solicitor General has released regulatory proposals related to the Community Safety and Policing Act. Regulations must be in place to be able to bring the new legislation into force. Comments are due by January 2, 2023. Further regulatory proposals are anticipated throughout 2023.
The current proposals are:
- Ontario Provincial Police Detachment Board Members Codes of Conduct
- Conflict of Interest (for police services members)
- Vehicle Pursuits.
AMO has reviewed the proposals and has not identified any areas of significant concern. Municipalities that will be appointing OPP Board members are encouraged to review the proposals and comment directly to the Ministry. AMO will continue to engage with the Ministry of the Solicitor General and other stakeholders on policing.
New Guidance Document for Ontario Health Teams
The Ministry of Health has released new direction for Ontario Health Teams (OHTs) in the guidance document Ontario Health Teams – The Path Forward. This guidance is intended to promote greater standardization, informed by lessons learned through OHT implementation to date. The areas of focus for the guidance include clinical priorities, governance, operational capacity, and communications.
This guidance reflects some of the recommendations outlined in our submission. The incorporation of OHTs as not-for-profit corporations will contribute towards addressing our recommendation for clear governance and accountability standards. While we would still like to see a mandated municipal voice into OHT service planning tables and governance boards, the guidance does encourage engagement with municipalities. We continue to recommend that the Ministry mandate municipal representation in future guidance provided to OHTs. We would also like to see further resources announced for municipal service manager participation. AMO will continue to work with the Ministry of Health and Ontario Health to promote greater municipal involvement as OHTs advance in maturity across the province.