Premier Announces more than $935 Million Upload of Provincial Disability and Drug Benefit Costs



    OTTAWA, Aug. 20 /CNW/ - AMO President Doug Reycraft today applauded the
Premier's announcement that the Government of Ontario will upload $935 million
in disability and drug benefit costs over a period of four years, beginning in
2008.
    "The Province is tackling the most pressing municipal priority of the
past decade, by reassuming responsibility for costs that never should have
been placed on the municipal property tax base," said AMO President,
Doug Reycraft. "This is a significant step toward fixing a $3 Billion funding
gap that undermines the competitiveness of Ontario's municipalities."
    The Province will upload 100 per cent of the cost of its Ontario Drug
Benefits Program (ODB) in 2008, saving municipalities $173 million annually.
In 2009, the Province will upload 100 per cent of the cost of administering
the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), saving municipalities another
$100 million. In addition, it will upload the total cost of the ODSP by 2011
with savings of $660 million.
    Currently, municipalities are required to contribute 20 per cent of the
costs of both ODB and ODSP benefits and 50 per cent of the costs of
administering ODSP. The cost of these Provincial income redistribution
programs has grown by 40 per cent and 30 per cent respectively since 2003.
    AMO is currently engaged with the Ontario Government in a joint review of
provincial-municipal fiscal arrangements. This review is scheduled to provide
consensus-based recommendations in the spring of 2008.
    "This is an important milestone in the Fiscal Review. It demonstrates
that the Province is committed to ensuring that municipalities have the
resources that they need to focus on their core responsibilities." added
Reycraft.

    AMO is a non-profit organization representing almost all of Ontario's 445
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 system.





For further information:

For further information: Pat Vanini, AMO Executive Director, (416)
971-9856, ext. 316 or (416) 729-4394; Brian Lambie, AMO Media Contact, (416)
729-5425


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