TORONTO, Feb. 15, 2012 /CNW/ - Ontario's municipal governments will work
with the Government of Ontario as it considers the advice of Don
Drummond's Commission on the Reform of Ontario's Public Service, and as
it charts a fiscally sustainable course for our province.
"All of Ontario's governments, provincial and municipal, face very real
fiscal challenges and we all have a comprehensive report to consider,"
said AMO President Gary McNamara. "We all have a shared interest in
changes that achieve better value for taxpayers, reduce duplication,
improve services and control costs."
The Commission acknowledges that the 'provincial-municipal relationship'
is complex and intertwined. Several dozen of the Commission's
recommendations touch on services and responsibilities that are of
interest to municipalities. There is merit to exploring the Report's
recommendations in areas such as:
Social programs and housing (e.g. consolidating delivery of the Ontario
Disability Support Program (ODSP) with Ontario Works at the municipal
Health care (e.g., uploading cost of public health and delivery through
Local Health Integration Networks (LHINS));
Infrastructure, real estate and electricity (e.g. consolidating Local
Distribution Companies (LDCs), and full-cost pricing and full-cost
recovery of water and wastewater treatment services);
Justice system (e.g. alternatives for policing in non-core areas and
improvements to Provincial Offenses Act (POA) fine collection); and,
Labour relations (e.g. improving transparency and accountability within
the arbitration system).
AMO is anxious about the potential for altering the upload agreement and
the Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund. The Commission is recommending
to delay planned uploads of provincial costs from the municipal
property tax base by two years. Premier Dalton McGuinty has made it
clear previously that his government would honour its commitment to
upload $1.5 billion in Provincial costs from the municipal property tax
base by 2018. In addition, he previously assured municipalities that
his government would not download new costs onto the shoulders of
municipalities. The Commission acknowledges that the uploads are in the
public's best interest, and that municipal governments are struggling
with their own fiscal pressures.
"AMO looks forward to having productive discussions with the Ontario
Government prior to preparation of the 2012 Provincial Budget," said
AMO is a non-profit organization representing almost all of Ontario's
444 municipal governments. AMO supports strong and effective municipal
government in Ontario and promotes the value of municipal government as
a vital and essential component of Ontario and Canada's political
SOURCE Association of Municipalities of Ontario
For further information:
Brian Lambie, AMO Media Contact, 416-729-5425, firstname.lastname@example.org