THE REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY OF PEEL

GOVERNMENT RELATIONS COMMITTEE

MINUTES GRC-2008-9

The Government Relations Committee (GRC) met on November 6, 2008 at 11:05 a.m. in the 5th Floor Boardroom, Regional Administrative Headquarters, 10 Peel Centre Drive, Brampton.

 
Members:

G. Carlson; E. Kolb; G. Miles; J. Sanderson; A. Thompson

   

 

 
Members Absent:

S. Fennell; A. Groves

   
 
Also Present:

D. Szwarc, Chief Administrative Officer; C. Clifford, Director, Strategic Innovation and Policy; L. Rubin, Project Leader, Strategic Projects; D. Hodkin, Public Affairs Associate; G. Cristiano, Social Policy Analyst; C. Thomson, Committee Clerk

Chaired by Vice-Chair Councillor A. Thompson


1. DECLARATIONS OF CONFLICTS OF INTEREST - Nil


2. ELECTION OF CHAIR

C. Thomson, Committee Clerk presided.

RECOMMENDATION GRC-15-2008:

That Councillor Thompson be appointed Chair of the Government Relations Committee for the term ending November 30, 2010 or until a successor is appointed;

And further, that Councillor Carlson be appointed Vice Chair of the Government Relations Committee for the term ending November 30, 2010, or until a successor is appointed.

Councillor A. Thompson, assumed the Chair.


3. APPROVAL OF AGENDA

RECOMMENDATION GRC-16-2008:

That the agenda for the November 6, 2008, Government Relations Committee meeting be approved.


4. ITEMS DEFERRED FROM PREVIOUS GOVERNMENT RELATIONS COMMITTEE MEETINGS

a) Town of Markham Second Suites and Strategy Options Information Summary Report

Received


5. REQUESTS FROM REGIONAL COUNCIL FOR GOVERNMENT RELATIONS SUPPORT

a) AMO Immigration Paper, report from the Commissioner of Human Services and General Manager of Peel Living dated October 6, 2008 and a Draft Report from AMO titled “Putting Out the Welcome Mat: Why Immigration Matters to Ontario’s Municipalities”

Deferred to the December 18, 2008 Government Relations Committee meeting


6. REPORTS

Items 6.b) and 6.c) were dealt with.

  b) Government Relations Status Report
      Discussion led by A. Irving, Devon Group

Received

Anthony Irving, Devon Group, provided an update on the current activities of the provincial and federal governments. He noted that on October 31, 2008 the province released a report titled “Facing the Future Together” which highlights the results of the Provincial Municipal Fiscal and Service Delivery Review (PMFSDR). The PMFSDR clarified the responsibilities of Regional and provincial governments with respect to the funding and provision of services and uploads certain responsibilities to the province which were previously downloaded to municipalities. Ontario Works and court security costs will be fully uploaded to the province by 2018 and will result in a net annual benefit to municipalities of more than $1.5 billion compared to 2007. Over the nine year phase-in period, preliminary estimates indicate that the cumulative total savings to Peel from the upload of Ontario Works will be approximately $81.8 million by 2018.

David Szwarc, Chief Administrative Officer noted that the uploading would not impact the 2009 Regional budget and that the estimated Ontario Works savings in 2010, based on anticipated 2009 caseload volume, would be approximately $600,000. This amount will increase annually based on the provincial phase-in schedule, resulting in approximately $20 million in savings in 2018 which is the last year of the phase-in period. The phased-in savings will be based on actual annual Ontario Works expenditures.

Councillor Miles noted that the PMFSDR report did not include all services that have been downloaded to municipalities, such as social housing and land ambulance and requested that staff provide an analysis showing all services that have been downloaded, the 2008 actual costs of the downloaded services and a detailed analysis of the anticipated impact of the phased-in savings. The CAO undertook to provide the requested information to the next Regional Council meeting .

A. Irving advised that economic issues are the current focus of the federal government, noting that issues facing municipalities were not a key component of the Conservative Party election platform.

  c) MPP Peel Caucus Update
      Discussion led by A. Irving, Devon Group

Received

A. Irving, Devon Group, stated that Charles Sousa, MPP, Mississauga South has expressed interest in helping to form a Peel Caucus of MPPs; efforts had been delayed at the federal level as a result of the federal election and could be further delayed as federal party leadership campaigns begin.

a) Principles to Guide the Government Relations Committee’s Future Focus and Short and Medium Term Strategies

RECOMMENDATION GRC-17-2008:

That the principles and strategies, as set out in the report of the Director, Strategic Innovation and Policy dated October 14, 2008 and titled “Principles to Guide the Government Relations Committee’s Future Focus and Short and Medium Term Strategies” be approved.

Curry Clifford, Director, Strategic Innovation and Policy, welcomed input from Government Relations Committee members with respect to the principles contained in the report titled “Principles to Guide the Government Relations Committee’s Future Focus and Short and Medium Term Strategies”.

Councillor Thompson stressed the importance of supporting the efforts of the Mayors in their work with the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), noting that efforts should be undertaken to strengthen the relationship between the Government Relations Committee and the area municipal Mayors to ensure consistent messaging.

Councillor Miles concurred with Councillor Thompson, stating that it is better to speak with one voice by connecting the work of the Government Relations Committee with the work being undertaken by the Mayors and suggested that the Committee could identify ways in which the Mayors could assist the efforts of the Committee.

Councillor Miles stated that there appears to be a disconnect between municipalities and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), noting that municipalities are familiar with the work being done at FCM but it does not appear that FCM is aware of the daily issues faced by municipalities. Councillor Miles suggested that relationships could be developed with FCM staff in an effort to build awareness and encourage greater focus on community collaborations.

Councillor Miles noted that issues regarding youth violence and policing do not appear to be on the FCM agenda and suggested that Regional Council take a leadership role in these areas by adopting broad policies for distribution across Canada, prior to the 2009 annual FCM conference.

Councillor Thompson requested that staff work with Regional Chair Kolb and Councillor Miles to investigate how to best advance issues of youth violence and policing for consideration at the next meeting of the Government Relations Committee.

  b) Government Relations Status Report
      Discussion led by A. Irving, Devon Group

This item was dealt with earlier in the meeting

  c) MPP Peel Caucus Update
      Discussion led by A. Irving, Devon Group

This item was dealt with earlier in the meeting

  d) MP Reception
      Discussion led by L. Rubin, Project Leader, Strategic Projects

Received

Lowell Rubin, Project Leader, Strategic Projects outlined a proposal to host a breakfast reception for recently elected Members of Parliament to foster an environment of mutual consultation so as to work as partners with the federal government to find ways to address the needs and increasing funding pressures affecting Peel residents and taxpayers. A proposed date of December 5, 2008 from 7:45 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. was proposed, as MPs are usually at their constituency offices on Fridays and it is hoped they would be able to attend the reception.

Councillor Miles suggested that a reception be scheduled to take place before or after a Regional Council meeting, noting that similar recent events have not been attended by many Members of Council. Councillor Miles further cautioned that a Friday morning reception is not a convenient time for members to attend.

Councillor Thompson suggested that the Government Relations Committee send written invitations to all members of Council to attend the reception, stressing the importance of their attendance.

Councillor Miles suggested that a meet and greet be scheduled prior to a Regional Council meeting to give all Members of Council the opportunity to meet Peel area MPs and MPPs. Regional Chair Kolb could introduce them at the commencement of the Council meeting. Councillor Miles noted that having all three levels of government together would highlight collaborative efforts and that the event could include a food drive or Toys for Tots donations to benefit the Peel community.

Councillor Thompson requested that staff contact the offices of Members of Parliament to determine their availability and identify means to orient MPs on Peel while seeking to involve Councillors in such meetings.

  e) Update from November 4, 2008 Mayors and Regional Chairs of Ontario (MARCO) Meeting
      Discussion led by Regional Chair Kolb

Received

Regional Chair Kolb advised that information received at the November 4, 2008 Mayors and Regional Chairs of Ontario (MARCO) meeting indicates that the major focus of the province will be on job creation as it is an issue that resonates with many citizens across the province. MARCO attendees were also advised that the province does not intend to propose amendments to the development charges legislation.


7. COMMUNICATIONS

a) Dalton McGuinty, Premier of Ontario, Letter dated October 9, 2008 Expressing his Appreciation for the Support of the Region of Peel for the Efforts to Narrow the Wide Gap between what Ontarians Contribute to Federal Revenues and What they Get Back in Federal Spending

Received


8. OTHER BUSINESS


9. NEXT MEETING

The next meeting of the Government Relations Committee is scheduled for Thursday, December 18, 2008, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., Regional Administrative Headquarters, 5th Floor Boardroom, 10 Peel Centre Drive, Brampton, Ontario.

Please forward regrets to Christine Thomson, Committee Clerk, (905) 791-7800, extension 4582 or to christine.thomson@peelregion.ca.


10. ADJOURNMENT

The meeting adjourned at 12:13 p.m