THE REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY OF PEEL

GOVERNMENT RELATIONS COMMITTEE

MINUTES GRC-2009-1

The Government Relations Committee (GRC) met on January 29, 2009 at 9:37 a.m. in the 5th Floor Boardroom, Regional Administrative Headquarters, 10 Peel Centre Drive, Suite A, Brampton.

 

Members:
A. Groves; E. Kolb*¨; R. Paterak¨, as designate for Regional Chair Kolb; J. Sanderson; A. Thompson

 

Members Absent:

G. Carlson; S. Fennell; G. Miles

 

Also Present:

D. Szwarc, Chief Administrative Officer; J. Smith, Commissioner of Health Services; Janet Menard, Executive Director, Human Services Transition & Integration; C. Clifford, Director, Strategic Innovation and Policy; L. Rubin, Project Leader, Strategic Projects; G. Naipaul-Denton, Public Affairs Associate; C. Thomson, Committee Clerk

 

_______________________________
* See text for arrivals
¨ See text for departures


Chaired by Councillor A. Thompson.


1. DECLARATIONS OF CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
- Nil


2. APPROVAL OF AGENDA

RECOMMENDATION GRC-1-2009:

That the agenda for the January 29, 2009, Government Relations Committee meeting be approved


3. GOVERNMENT RELATIONS STATUS REPORTS AND CURRENT ACTIVITIES

a) Federal Government

Received

Lowell Rubin, Project Leader, Strategic Projects provided an overview of “Budget 2009: Canada’s Economic Action Plan”, tabled by the Minister of Finance on January 27, 2009. Highlights of the 2009 budget include:

Lowell Rubin advised that the Leader of the Liberal Party submitted a motion to require the government to provide regular status updates on spending measures as outlined in the budget by the end of March, June and December 2009. Should these reporting targets not be met, the Liberal’s will no longer support the government, resulting in a possible election being called.

Curry Clifford, Director, Strategic Innovation and Policy, advised that the Region issued a press release on January 28, 2009 titled “Peel Community to Benefit from Federal Budget”.

Councillor Thompson inquired if infrastructure projects would be funded through one-third contributions from the federal, provincial and local levels of government and was advised by Lowell Rubin that details regarding how funds will flow for projects are not yet known. He indicated that staff is working to obtain information on how the federal funds will flow to municipalities.

Councillor Groves inquired if there are restrictions on the type of projects that may receive federal infrastructure projects and was advised by Lowell Rubin that the focus is on “shovel- ready” projects that would be ready to commence at the start of the 2009 and 2010 construction seasons but no additional details are available at this time.

Janet Menard, Executive Director, Human Services Transition and Integration, advised that a meeting is scheduled for Monday, February 2, 2009 with representatives from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Regional Chair Kolb, Mayor McCallion and Councillor Mullin. Keith Ward, Commissioner of Human Services and Janet Menard will also be attending the meeting and will provide a presentation outlining the role the Region of Peel plays in the provision of social housing and demands on the system; initiatives that have been undertaken by the Region of Peel to address the demands on the system, and; suggestions that have arisen from Regional Council discussions regarding actions that could be undertaken by CMHC.

The proposed actions include:

Janet Menard undertook to report back to the Government Relations Committee with any advice from the February 2, 2009 meeting that could facilitate an advocacy plan for the consideration of Regional Council.

Councillor Groves inquired if the 2009 Federal budget includes any announcements related to Health. Curry Clifford, Director, Strategic Innovation and Policy advised that there was an announcement regarding Health Transfer Agreements with provinces, for which Ontario advocated and has expressed its appreciation to the federal government.


b) Provincial Government

Received

Lowell Rubin, Project Leader, Strategic Projects advised that John Tory, Leader of the Conservative Party, will be seeking election to provincial parliament in the riding of Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes – Brock. The date of the bi-election has not yet been set; Rick Johnson has been named as the Liberal Party candidate; and Mike Schreiner as the Green Party candidate. The New Democratic Party has not yet announced a candidate.

Councillor Groves suggested that consideration be given to lobbying the provincial government for increased funding for mental health and addiction issues, noting as the economy worsens, community needs in the area of mental health and addiction are likely to increase. Janette Smith, Commissioner of Health Services noted that David Caplan, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care expressed the need for a provincial mental health strategy but there is no timeline or process in place to date. Also, both Peel-area Local Health Integration Networks have accountability for funding mental health services and have identified it as a priority area.

Janet Menard noted that the provincial auditor recently released a report that included his observations on the issue of mental health and addiction services and suggested that staff review the report to determine if it supports the need for additional resources to deal with mental health and addiction issues.


c) Local Government

Received

Lowell Rubin, Project Leader, Strategic Projects advised that he, along with Chair Kolb and Councillor Thompson met with Bonnie Crombie, MP, Mississauga-Streetsville on January 16, 2009 to brief her on concerns that Peel has raised with its other federal representatives. Councillor Thompson and Lowell Rubin met with Navdeep Singh Bains, MP, Mississauga-Brampton South on December 12, 2008.

Lowell Rubin highlighted additional meetings, including his attendance at Bob Dechert’s pre-budget consultation town hall meeting on January 8, 2009; David Szwarc, Chief Administrative Officer met with Provincial Deputy Ministers and Chief Administrative Officers on January 19, 2009 to discuss the provincial Environmental Assessment process; and on January 22, 2009, Regional Chair Kolb and Curry Clifford, Director, Strategic Innovation and Policy met with John Tory, Progressive Conservative Leader, to update him on Region of Peel issues.

Lowell Rubin updated the Committee on steps taken to develop the Region of Peel federal pre-budget submission, including the December 11, 2008 Regional Council Resolution (2008-1447) indicating priority policy areas to address; Regional Chair Kolb’s letter dated December 16, 2008 to Minister Duncan, Ontario Minister of Finance, in preparation for his Federal/Provincial Finance Ministers’ meeting; and the December 22, 2008 pre-budget submission to the Prime Minister of Canada, Leaders of the Opposition, Premier of Ontario, Regional Council and community stakeholders.

Lowell Rubin further advised that Regional Chair Kolb received a letter from Mayor Morrison, dated January 5, 2009, outlining the accomplishments of AMO in 2008, emphasizing the October 2008 report from the Municipal-Fiscal and Service Delivery Review.

Lowell Rubin noted that Mayor McCallion and Mayor Fennell attended the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Big City Mayors Caucus (BCMC) in Ottawa on January 15, 2009 at which enhancing a funding model based on Gas Tax Fund to fund infrastructure projects was supported. Region of Peel projects were also included in FCM’s report “Municipal Infrastructure Projects: Key to Putting Canadians to Work”.

Janet Menard advised that Charles Sousa, MPP, Mississauga South, hosted a Poverty Round Table which was attended by Regional staff.

Curry Clifford, Director, Strategic Innovation and Policy indicated that all Regional advocacy information would be posted to the Region of Peel’s new Advocating for Peel website in the near future.


4.
ITEMS DEFERRED FROM PREVIOUS GOVERNMENT RELATIONS COMMITTEE MEETINGS

Item 4.c) was dealt with.

c) Youth Violence and Policing Issues – Issues, Policy Positions and Advocacy (Oral)
Discussion led by J. Smith, Commissioner of Health Services

Received

Janette Smith, Commissioner of Health Services advised that several provincial ministries are involved in issues related to youth; however, there is no coordination between them and the age limits for the provision of youth services varies among ministries. She stated that the issue of youth violence is very complex and that a short-term strategy would not address the issue and suggested that an aligned, sustained commitment to the issue by the provincial government is needed.

Janette Smith provided highlights from “Review of the Roots of Youth Violence” by The Honourable Roy McMurtry and Dr. Alvin Curling in 2008 which included 30 recommendations for a sustained, aligned and structural response to the roots of violence involving youth, based on the following four pillars:

Addressing the roots of violence involving youth, including poverty, racism, poor housing, youth mental health, education, need for supports for families and youth engagement, and issues arising in youth justice.

A youth policy framework to guide and coordinate policies and programs for youth by reference to developmental stages and outcome goals.

A neighbourhood capacity and empowerment focus to strengthen communities through initiatives such as schools as community hubs, supporting resident engagement and stable funding for agencies that serve disadvantaged youth.

Integrated governance to drive and coordinate work across the Ontario government and to work effectively with other orders of government and with the strengthened communities.

Janette Smith stressed the need to maintain pressure on the province to ensure the recommendations are acted upon.

Councillor Thompson stated that there is a need to address how social needs will be incorporated into the community as the population intensifies. He further suggested that local schools need to be partners in addressing the needs of youth, noting that many school boards no longer allow outside groups to utilize school facilities during evenings and weekends. Councillor Thompson suggested that the Government Relations Committee advocate to the federal and/or provincial government, as appropriate, to reconsider the liability rules that impede social interaction in public facilities.

Councillor Thompson asked Janette Smith to identify specific issues that would benefit from the Government Relations Committee advocacy. Janette Smith responded that the GRC could encourage the province to move forward on the recommendations arising from the Review of the Roots of Youth Violence and the development of a youth policy framework. She further suggested that the GRC advocate for a partnership between the Region of Peel and the province to address the community needs that have already been identified in Peel.

Councillor Thompson asked staff if it would be beneficial for Councillors attending the Rural Ontario Municipal Association Annual Conference in February, 2009 to request meetings with attending Provincial Cabinet Ministers to discuss issues related to youth violence and the need for human services infrastructure to keep pace with population growth. David Szwarc, Chief Administrative Officer suggested that such meetings could be beneficial.

Item 4.b) was dealt with.

b) Goods Movement in Peel – Issues, Policy Positions and Advocacy (Oral)
Discussion led by T. AppaRao, Director, Transportation Planning & M. McLeod, Manager, Modelling Goods Action

Received

Councillor Thompson stated that the Goods Movement in Peel – Issues, Policy Positions and Advocacy presentation to the December 18, 2008 Government Relations Committee contained information that all members of Council may be interested in receiving and suggested that it be placed on a future General Committee agenda. Feedback received from members of Regional Council could then be discussed at a subsequent Government Relations Committee meeting.

Councillor Thompson further suggested that the Region of Peel establish its own Economic Development team and was advised by David Szwarc, Chief Administrative Officer that such a recommendation would require support by Regional Council.

*Regional Chair Kolb arrived at 10:30 a.m. due to other municipal business.
¨Councillor Paterak departed at 10:30 a.m. due to other municipal business.

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”

Received

b) Goods Movement in Peel – Issues, Policy Positions and Advocacy (Oral)
Discussion led by T. AppaRao, Director, Transportation Planning & M. McLeod, Manager, Modelling Goods Action

This item was dealt with earlier in the meeting

c) Youth Violence and Policing Issues – Issues, Policy Positions and Advocacy (Oral)
Discussion led by G. Miles, Chair, Peel Youth Violence Prevention Network

This item was dealt with earlier in the meeting  

d) Report on the Advocate Activities since Last Committee Meeting (Oral)
Discussion led by C. Clifford, Director, Strategic Innovation & Policy

Received

Curry Clifford, Director, Strategic Innovation and Policy noted that a summary of advocacy activities was provided during the discussion of item 3 on the agenda.

e) Plans to Advocate Priority Public Policy Positions Adopted by Regional Council
Discussion led by C. Clifford, Director, Strategic Innovation & Policy

Received

Curry Clifford, Director, Strategic Innovation and Policy, reviewed the report titled “Plans to Advocate Priority Public Policy Positions Adopted by Regional Council” noting that staff is available to assist the Committee to undertake further planning in the months ahead.

David Szwarc, Chief Administrative Officer noted that pre-budget submissions were developed for the 2009 federal budget and suggested that staff begin to develop submissions in advance of the 2009 provincial budget for consideration by the Government Relations Committee, to ensure they are finalized and submitted upon approval by Regional Council.

¨Regional Chair Kolb departed at 10:34 a.m. due to other municipal business.

A quorum of voting members was lost, and in accordance with Section III-4(f) of the Procedural By-law 57-2006, as amended, subcommittee continued to receive information from staff.

f) Support Requirements for the Government Relations Committee
Discussion led by C. Clifford, Director, Strategic Innovation & Policy

Councillor Thompson noted that members of Regional Council had raised concerns regarding the use of the Devon Group by the Government Relations Committee and that page 4 of the report titled “Support Requirements for the Government Relations Committee” contains information on the amount budgeted and spent on services provided by the Devon Group. He indicated that the Devon Group services may be required for certain projects in the future but that Regional staff have contacts and resources to take on much of the work in-house. He further suggested that the subject report be included on an upcoming General Committee agenda so that Councillors who previously raised concerns would have the information.

Curry Clifford, Director, Strategic Innovation and Policy, clarified that while staff from his area are providing support to the Government Relations Committee, neither the staffing complement nor the budget have increased as a result.


5. REQUESTS FROM REGIONAL COUNCIL FOR GOVERNMENT RELATIONS SUPPORT
- Nil


6. REPORTS

a) GRC Principles and Tactics Continued: Supporting all Committees of Regional Council
Discussion led by C. Clifford, Director, Strategic Innovation & Policy

Curry Clifford, Director, Strategic Innovation and Policy suggested that the General Committee section Chairs be advised that the Government Relations Committee is available to work with them to assist in areas of advocacy related to their sections.

David Szwarc, Chief Administrative Officer suggested that the GRC Chair raise the issue at the February 5, 2009 General Committee meeting.


7. COMMUNICATIONS
- Nil 


8. OTHER BUSINESS or CURRENT ISSUES THAT NEED TO BE DISCUSSED
- Nil


9. NEXT MEETING

The next meeting of the Government Relations Committee is scheduled for Thursday, February 19, 2009, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., Regional Administrative Headquarters, 5th Floor Boardroom, 10 Peel Centre Drive, Suite A, Brampton, Ontario.

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


10. REQUESTS FROM GOVERNMENT RELATIONS COMMITTEE TO Regional Council and Subcommittee
s - Nil


11. ADJOURNMENT

As a quorum of voting members was not again achieved and as all business had been reviewed, in accordance with Section III-4(f) of Procedural By-law 57-2006, as amended, items not dealt with during this meeting will be placed on the agenda of the next meeting of the Government Relations Committee scheduled for February 19, 2009.