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Municipal voices being heard at AMO conference

August 22, 2019   ·   0 Comments

Written By MARK PAVILONS

The Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) conference in Ottawa kicked off with some “huge wins” for municipalities like Caledon.

Mayor Allan Thompson hit the ground running at the conference, paying close attention to announcements made by provincial leaders.

Caledon joined other municipalities in pushing for broadband Internet in rural areas; a boost to seniors’ housing; strengthening regional governance and maintaining rural representation; natural gas expansion and affordable energy in Caledon; the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) West Corridor; transportation challenges in Caledon, including GO, and aggregate rehabilitation master plans.

Premier Doug Ford addressed dignitaries at the AMO conference, where he committed to building strong, local partnerships with municipalities. Highlighting Ontario’s investments in local communities, Premier Ford committed to equipping local governments with what they need to build their communities from the ground up, deliver better value for taxpayers, and build for the future.

“Our government’s relationship with Ontario’s municipalities is incredibly important to us,” said Premier Ford. “As the level of government closest to the people, municipalities know the needs of their communities best. We must work together to put local communities back in the driver’s seat of their own affairs.”

Ontario’s municipalities work together to achieve shared goals and meet common challenges through AMO, a non-partisan, non-profit association that supports and enhances strong, effective municipal government in Ontario.

All Government of Ontario ministers attended this year’s AMO conference, which wrapped up Wednesday.

From the content of announcements made by the Premier, “they’ve listened to us,” Thompson observed. He noted there’s been a lot of collaboration among municipalities and the Province seems to be paying attention. “This is huge for us,” he added.

Thompson admitted the Province is faced with a huge deficit and municipalities are willing to compromise.

A big win was news that land ambulances will not be privatized and funding in this area will reduce the local deficit.

The government vows to increase funding by an average of nearly four per cent for land ambulance services for 2019 and the funding will see an increase in 2020.

A new shared hospital funding plan was announced and Thompson said money can be found in Peel Region’s reserves to offset the costs. This, he stressed, “won’t cost the taxpayer a cent.”

The Province also plans to cut more red tape and free up funding particularly in public works. This is something municipalities have been lobbying for as well, Thompson said.

Ford said that to date, the government has identified 94 provincial reporting requirements for elimination and is simplifying or consolidating 27 others. This will allow municipalities to focus on the things that matter most – the frontline services people rely on every day. 



         

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