January 2020
Highlights from ROMA’s 2020 Annual Conference

2020-01-22 11:02:38 AM


Below is a brief summary of announcements made by the Ontario Government at the recent Rural Ontario Municipalities of Ontario (ROMA) annual conference held from January 19th to 21st.

Premier Doug Ford

  • Announced a new intake for the Rural Economic Development Program to support economic development and job creation.

    • Rural communities and regions, Indigeneous communities and organizations, and not-for-profit organizations, and local servce boards are eligible to apply

    • ​Applications will be accepted until February 24, 2020

    • Funding will be available through two streams: Economic Diversification and Competitiveness Stream and the Strategic Economic Infrastructure Stream

    • To learn more, please click here

  • Under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program, an investment in roads, schools, hospitals, and broadband networks will be made over the next decade

  • $315 million will be invested in rural Ontario to improve and expand broadband and cell coverage in rural Ontario as part of the government’s Broadband and Cellular Action Plan

  • The Ontario Energy Board is finalizing guidelines and will be issuing a call for applications soon under Phase 2 of the Natural Gas Expansion Program.

  • There will be "no surprises" for Ontario municipalities in the government’s spring budget

Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark

  • All 27 joint funding applications under the Municipal Modernization Program have been approved

  • Feedback from consultations on the Provincial Policy Statement are currently being reviewed and the updated PPS will be released in the winter

Minister of Finance Rod Phillips

  • The Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund (OMPF) for 2021 will be maintained at $500 million

  • The government is consulting with stakeholders on Ontario’s property tax system to enhance the accuracy and stability of property assessments

  • The government will work with municipalities to “ensure vital services are supported while building a competitive business environment”

Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott

  • Planning is underway for 9-10 additional in-person sessions for consultations on public health and emergency health services

  • Over 400 submissions have been received on the two discussion papers for the consultations

Minister of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs Ernie Hardeman

  • Announced consultations on drainage red tape. The amendments are as follows:

    • Provide the Minister with legislative authority to develop and sign off on technical protocols, such as the Drainage Act and Conservation Authorities Act Protocol

    • Create a new streamlined Drainage Act for minor improvements; and

    • Update the engineer’s report to account for changes to the design made during construction.

  • For more on the consultations, please click here


Highlights of the Ministers Forum

  • Minister Clark on the reporting burden: more reports will be added to the 93 that have already been announced as eliminated and consolidated/simplified. Minister Clark says no list of reduced reports have been released as of yet but will consult with his staff about putting one together to meet AMCTO’s request

  • Attorney General Doug Downey on joint and several liability: recent consultations found best practices from some municipalities, which will be shared across Ontario. Next steps on the file include discussions with insurance companies and the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO)

  • Minister of Environment, Parks and Conservation Jeff Yurek on Blue Box program costs: says the government is committed to producers paying all Blue Box costs and penalties for those who do not comply are being prepared



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