2020 AMO Conference Highlights

2020-08-25 1:11:58 PM


AMCTO staff attended the 2020 AMO Conference. It  looked a little different this year: using multiple platforms, AMO held a virtual conference with (most of) the usual activities expected from the largest municipal conference in Canada.

We are pleased to report that we had an excellent delegation with AMCTO president Robert Tremblay, AMCTO staff and Minister Clark on Tuesday. The conversation was well received and productive. Robert highlighted on Twitter some of what was discussed.

Ministers’ Forums
One significant difference from previous years (other virtually participating that is) was that there was three times the Ministers’ Forum fun! Each day of the conference contained a forum with different ministers (though Minister Clark participated in each one) on different themes.
You may have seen on Twitter that AMCTO got a couple of shout-outs during the Ministers’ Forum on the Voter’s List and MFIPPA. Some more of the interesting takeaways from AMCTO’s perspective are below:
Supporting Community Well-Being with Health, Social Services and Education

  • Honourable Minister Christine Elliott committed to continuing consultations on public health with advisor Jim Pine as soon as possible.
  • Solicitor General Sylvia Jones committed for municipalities to be involved in the recently announced review of the Court Security and Prisoner Transportation Program.   
  • Honourable Minister Ross Romano agreed that international students contribute much to Ontario’s economy and talked about the benefit of attracting and retaining international students in small, rural and northern municipalities. An “international students policy” is being developed to address gaps in student demographics and skills within these municipalities. Consultations on this project will conclude at the end of August. This game  
Infrastructure, Transit and Resource Development
  • The Honourable Minister Caroline Mulroney said that the ministry is looking at results in Toronto, in response to a question about expanding the scope of the Safe School Zones Act for speed enforcement in school zones. She said she looks forward to hearing more from other municipalities on this issue.
  • In response to a question about providing Ontario Community Infrastructure Program (OCIP) funding upfront rather than as a reimbursement, the Honourable Minister Laurie Scott said that streamlining the process is important, particularly for smaller municipalities and that while not guaranteed, she is continuing to have conversations with the federal government on this. 
Economic Recovery
  • The Honourable Minister Doug Downey shared that his ministry has talked to municipalities about best practices in regard to joint and several liability. Through these discussions he reported that while some municipalities work to reduce insurance costs for pre-screening, others (small and large municipalities) have joined forces to tackle this issue together. He spoke about the importance of municipalities demonstrating an overall savings in insurance and committed to continuing conversations on this and how to best mitigate risks before making any changes to this process.
  • The Honourable Minister Lisa Thompson committed to working with us, the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPC), and the County of Simcoe on updating MFIPPA, recognizing that the government needs to get it right.
  • In response to a question about diversifying financial tools for municipalities Minister Clark said that he is ‘not a fan of new revenue tools’ and that working through AMO with the federal government, provincial government and municipalities is important.
  • Honourable Minister Prabmeet Sarkaria is committed to continuing to reduce burden on municipalities and will be continuing to speak with mayors across Ontario in order to propose further solutions and move legislation forward.
  • In response to a question about the Voter’s List, Minister Clark highlighted that AMCTO has been a valuable partner on this, that he would have more to say soon and that the change is long overdue.
  • Honourable Minister Monte McNaughton indicated that the ministry was working on “a workforce action plan” in response to a question on job opportunities for youth and said that he looks forward to working with AMO and municipalities to ensure young people understand and are aware of the different career opportunities within the public service.
As noted in our blog post on the Premier's address, there was some good news announced for OMPF recipients. 

As is typical, there were addresses from various ministers including Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark, Depuity Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott and Minister of Infrastructure Laurie Scott as well as federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities Catherine McKenna. These speeches mostly focussed on recapping previous announcements and good news for the sector including the Safe Restart Agreement and support for  combatting COVID-19. 

Additionally, the opposition leaders all addressed the delegates: 

Andrea Horwath said that there were positive first steps to assist municipalities with COVID-19 recovery through the Safe Restart Agreement but that municipalities will need more support to get out of the financial difficulties they find themselves in. 

Stephen Del Duca acknowledged that municipalities have been asked to do more with less over the years and added that so much can be achieved when people work together.

Mike Schreiner of the Green Party spoke about how every level of government rose to the occasion of addressing COVID-19 and recognized that recovery isnt possible if the Province doesn’t support municipalities.



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