Ontario Community Leaders support McGuinty Liberal Upload

    QUEEN'S PARK, ON, Oct. 31 /CNW/ - After years of cuts and downloading
under the Conservatives and NDP, the McGuinty Liberals are moving to upload
all social assistance benefits and court security costs from municipalities
and property taxpayers.
    The announcement is a result of the Provincial-Municipal Fiscal and
Service Delivery Review, which has created new and better ways to fund and
deliver services to the people of Ontario.

    Community leaders from across Ontario spoke out in support of today's

    Peter Hume, President, Association of Municipalities of Ontario
    "In 2005, we called upon the Ontario Government to work with
municipalities to develop a plan to restore fiscally sustainable municipal
government to Ontario over a manageable period of time. The Province listened
and it has worked with us to build stronger communities throughout Ontario."

    David Miller, Mayor of Toronto
    "Today's announcement shows very clearly that this provincial government
has both listened and acted in response to the needs of our communities. The
provincial government came to the table, worked closely with us, and got the
principles right. We have set forward on a new course."

    Hazel McCallion, Mayor of Mississauga
    "Today is an extremely historic step forward in offloading the property
tax with items that should not be on it. And so I am excited after forty years
this is a very historic day for the municipalities of Ontario... Great day for
the municipalities."

    Chief Vern White, Ottawa Police Service
    "This announcement is a good step in ensuring that police services can
re-focus their resources on core police services."

    Len Crispino, President & CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce
    "The ten year plan announced today to upload 1.5 billion in social
assistance benefits and court security costs from the municipalities will go a
long way to easing the burden on the property tax base, and addressing the
long held concerns of our members. Today's progress is even more significant
because it represents a major step forward despite the challenges presented by
today's economic climate."

    Carol Wilding, President and CEO of the Toronto Board of Trade
    "We are pleased that the Government of Ontario has returned financing of
these programs to the Provincial level where they belong. We also recognize
that the current fiscal situation has lengthened the timeline for
implementation and reduced the amount of money available for all priorities
but it is important to note that the Government of Ontario continues to have
ongoing dialogue with the City of Toronto and AMO."

    Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police & Ontario Association of Police
    Services Boards
    "Ontario's police leaders and police services boards today welcomed the
commitment by the Government of Ontario to fulfill its responsibility to pay
for court security and prisoner transportation costs."

    Mike Trojan, Chief Administrative Officer, Niagara Region
    "Today's announcement is a significant one for Niagara Region. It
translates into a $45 million relief in regards to our overall budget over a
ten year period, and will assist with cost pressures in delivering essential
programs, especially for those residents hit by the downturn in the economy."

    Roger Anderson, Chair, Region of Durham
    "For generations to come, this Review will benefit municipalities and
property taxpayers alike. This is a good day for Ontario municipalities with
many more to come."

    Richard Adams, Mayor of Parry Sound
    "Simplifying the delivery of housing and homelessness programs is a great
opportunity to achieve better outcomes for those that rely on these services.
This is a big step forward."

    Eddie Francis, Mayor of Windsor
    "This is an example of how good public policy can be developed -
principled, thoughtful, collaborative. This exercise has raised the bar on how
to get things right."

    Michael Power, Mayor, Municipality of Greenstone
    "Meaningful and principled changes are being made as a result of this
Review. We continue to move forward together."

    Doug Reycraft, AMO Immediate Past-President and Mayor of Southwest
    "These (Report) recommendations reflect a tremendous amount of hard work
and careful thought by provincial and municipal partners. Our objective has
been to develop recommendations that achieve a sustainable fiscal relationship
for both orders of government."

    Bob Sweet, Mayor of Petawawa
    "Social assistance benefit programs never belonged on the property tax
base. That it's being made right as part of this Review is something I'm proud

    Peter Partington, Regional Chair, Niagara Region
    "Local governments are the first source of basic services for citizens.
The functions of local government impact our daily lives. I'm pleased to see
recognition of this reality in the results announced today."

For further information:

For further information: Brian Clow, (416) 325-3670,

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