More than 900 municipal leaders come together at 2017 ROMA Conference

TORONTO, Jan. 30, 2017 /CNW/ -The Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) kicked off its first standalone conference in many years today with the spotlight on energy costs, rural economic development and the fiscal future of Ontario's municipalities.

Premier Wynne today announced a $100 million Natural Gas Grant Program for municipal governments that currently do not have service. ROMA has been advocating for natural gas expansion and awaits more information on how the new grant program will be implemented.

"Many homes and businesses in rural and northern Ontario rely on electricity for heating which is much more expensive than natural gas," said Ron Holman, Chair of the Rural Ontario Municipal Association. "We welcome natural gas expansion and are looking for a flexible program that reflects the fiscal realities of different communities."

The Premier also announced the renewal of the Rural Economic Development Program (RED). Funding for rural economic development is a good thing.

More than 900 rural officials from across the province are participating in the Conference program that includes more than three dozen plenary sessions and workshops, reflecting the broad scope of municipal responsibilities. In addition, municipal staff and officials will take part in as many as 300 delegation meetings with provincial and federal ministers.

"More than half of Ontario's municipalities have populations of less than 10,000 while many more are rural in character," said Ron Holman, Chair, Rural Ontario Municipal Association. "The ROMA Conference is a chance for municipal leaders to build new partnerships and knowledge that will help rural communities thrive." 

Conference highlights for Tuesday, January 31 include:

  • 9:00 a.m. – Message from Municipal Affairs
  • 9:20 a.m. – Message from Lynn Dollin, President, Association of Municipalities of Ontario
  • 10:20 a.m. – Message from the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
  • 11:20 a.m.Rex Murphy delivers closing keynote

All media are required to register in the VIP Room on the Concourse Level at the Sheraton Centre.

ROMA is the most representative and effective voice for Ontario's rural municipal governments. Through its relationship with the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, ROMA advocates for policies and programs that will help build thriving rural Ontario communities.

Follow the conference on Twitter: @ROMA_Ont, Hashtag: #ROMASpeaks

SOURCE Association of Municipalities of Ontario

To view this news release in HTML formatting, please use the following URL:

For further information: For more information about ROMA or the 2017 Conference, contact: Brian Lambie, ROMA Media Contact, 416-729-5425,


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