The Intergovernmental Relations Advisory Committee (IRAC) met on July 16, 2009, at 11:10 a.m. in the 5th Floor Boardroom, Regional Administrative Headquarters,
E. Moore; M. Prentice; J. Sanderson; A. Thompson
Members Absent: E. Kolb; M. Morrison; P. Saito
D. Szwarc, Chief Administrative Officer; Janette Smith, Commissioner of Health Services; C. Clifford, Director, Strategic Innovation and Policy; K. Hale, Director of Communications; L. Rubin, Intergovernmental Relations Advisor; R. Martin, Committee Clerk
R. Martin, Legislative Specialist, presided.
1. ELECTION OF CHAIR AND VICE-CHAIR
That Councillor Thompson be appointed Chair of the Intergovernmental Relations Advisory Committee for the term ending November 30, 2010, or until a successor is appointed;
And further, that Councillor Sanderson be appointed Vice-Chair of the Intergovernmental Relations Advisory Committee for the term ending November 30, 2010 or until a successor is appointed.
2. DECLARATIONS OF CONFLICTS OF INTEREST - Nil
3. APPROVAL OF AGENDA
That the agenda for the July 16, 2009 Intergovernmental Relations Advisory Committee meeting, be approved.
a) Review: Intergovernmental Relations Advisory Committee – Terms of Reference (Oral)
Curry Clifford advised that although the Terms of Reference for the Intergovernmental Relations Advisory Committee sets quorum for committee meetings at three members, the Region of Peel Procedural By-Law states that quorum for a committee is a majority of the total number of committee members. The Procedural By-Law takes precedence over the Terms of Reference. Therefore quorum for the Intergovernmental Relations Advisory Committee is four.
Update: 2009 Association of Municipalities (AMO) Annual Conference (Oral) Discussion led by Councillor Thompson
Discussion led by Councillor Thompson
Councillor Thompson provided an overview of the agenda for the upcoming 2009 AMO Annual Conference.
Councillor Thompson reported that the AMO Annual Conference will provide delegates from the Region of Peel the opportunity to request meetings with Provincial Cabinet Ministers and/or Parliamentary Assistants in order to raise important public policy issues. He highlighted that staff were suggesting meetings with Minister Caplan (Health and Long-Term Care); Michael Chan (Immigration and Citizenship); and Sandra Pupatello (Economic Development and Trade)
Curry Clifford stressed the importance of meeting with the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, David Caplan, to discuss issues related to the Offload Nurse Program.
Janette Smith, Commissioner of Health Services reported that currently, the provincial government is committed to providing funding for the Offload Nurse program until March 31, 2010.
David Szwarc, CAO suggested that a report be prepared outlining the success of the Offload Nurse program and be presented to Minister Caplan as part of the effort to secure ongoing provincial funding beyond March, 2010.
Councillor Sanderson requested details on the delay times for Peel Regional Police Officers at local emergency rooms and the cost to the Region. David Szwarc responded that the requested information would be made available to members of the committee.
Councillor Prentice asked how meetings with provincial cabinet ministers are arranged at the AMO Annual Conference. Curry Clifford responded that requests for meetings with specific provincial cabinet ministers are made through the office of the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
Councillor Prentice requested that the issues related to the rising costs of the Senior Dental program also be raised with Minister Caplan.
Councillor Prentice requested that Council members be provided with all presentations prepared for meetings at the 2009 AMO Annual Conference prior to the event in order to provide feedback. Councillor Thompson confirmed that the information will be made available to Council members in advance of the AMO meeting.
Councillor Thompson reported that a meeting will also be requested with Sandra Pupatello, Minister of Economic Development and Trade to discuss the goods movement issue. Curry Clifford explained that the Minister, given her portfolio and understanding of international trade as an M.P.P. from Windsor, would be best positioned to advocate for Peel.
David Szwarc stated that the provincial government is attempting to present Ontario as a jurisdiction that is open to new investment and that a highly skilled labour force is vital to attracting new businesses. For that reason, a meeting with Michael Chan, Minister of Immigration and Citizenship should be scheduled at the 2009 AMO Annual Conference in order to discuss fast-tracking of foreign credentials. Highly skilled immigrants to the Region of Peel require a more streamlined system for gaining recognition of their credentials.
Councillor Moore requested information on the percentage of refugees as part of the total immigration population in the Region of Peel. David Szwarc responded that currently five per cent of immigrants to the Region are classified as refugees and stated that staff will provide updated figures on immigration in Peel.
6. GOVERNMENT RELATIONS STATUS REPORT AND CURRENT ACTIVITIES
Discussion led by Curry Clifford, Director, Strategic Innovation and Policy and Lowell Rubin, Inter-governmental Relations Advisor
Lowell Rubin highlighted key recent federal and provincial government announcements and appointments.
Lowell Rubin reported that the Region of Peel has received $98.592 million for 26 infrastructure projects and $30.172 million for social housing renovation and retrofit programs. There is also a pending Green Infrastructure Fund of $1 billion that will be made available over the next five years. Projects that will be considered eligible for Green Infrastructure funding include:
• Wastewater infrastructure;
• Sold waste management;
• Carbon transmission and storage infrastructure;
• Green energy generation infrastructure;
• Green energy transmission infrastructure.
Councillor Moore asked if there was a deadline for applications to the Green Infrastructure fund. Lowell Rubin responded that at this point there is no deadline for applications due to the five year window for the project.
Councillor Thompson stated that the Green Infrastructure fund could potentially provide financial assistance for a solid waste incineration project.
Councillor Prentice requested the CAO follow up with the Commissioner, Environment, Transportation and Planning regarding the role the Green Infrastructure fund could play in plans for generation of energy through solid waste incineration. David Szwarc committed to meet with Dan Labrecque on this issue.
Lowell Rubin reported that Employment Insurance will continue to be a major issue for the federal government. In the 2009 federal budget the government announced an investment of $50 million over the next two years in the Foreign Credential Recognition Program to identify ways to improve the integration of internationally trained workers into the workforce.
Councillor Moore asked if skilled trades people are still unable to collect Employment Insurance despite having to make financial contributions to the fund. Councillor Thompson asked if small business owners are also unable to collect Employment Insurance even though they are required to contribute to the program. Curry Clifford undertook to looking into the matter and report back to the committee.
Lowell Rubin reported that on July 1, 2010 Ontario will adopt a single harmonized sales tax that will combine the current Goods and Services Tax (GST) with the Provincial Sales Tax (PST).
Councillor Prentice asked if research had been done to determine the financial impact of the harmonized sales tax on the Region of Peel. David Szwarc responded that unless there are changes made to the implementation of the harmonized sales tax, the additional cost to the Region will be $5 million.
Councillor Thompson stated that a meeting with John Wilkinson, Minister of Revenue should be set up at the AMO Annual Conference to make him aware of the financial impact the harmonized sales tax will have on the Region of Peel. David Szwarc responded that an information package would be assembled for a meeting with Minister Wilkinson.
Curry Clifford provided details on the Greater Toronto Region Economic Summit which took place on May 7, 2009. The summit brought together business and political leaders from across the Greater Toronto Area and focussed on developing short term economic actions. As a result of discussions at the meeting, a twelve point plan to revive and strengthen the regional economy was released on July 15, 2009.
Councillor Moore asked what role the Greater Toronto Marketing Alliance (GTMA) will play in the plan to revive and strengthen the regional economy. Councillor Prentice indicated that the Co-Chair of the Summit, Mayor McCallion be consulted about this and asked Curry Clifford do this.
Councillor Prentice requested that Regional staff contact Economic Development staff at the municipal levels to discuss improvements to marketing the Greater Toronto Region. Curry Clifford responded that he would bring this to the attention of staff the local Economic Development Offices.
Councillor Sanderson stated that the Region of Peel delegates attending the 2009 AMO Annual Conference should meet with David Caplan, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care regarding the lack of mental health care facilities in the Region. A meeting with Minister Caplan would allow Peel representatives to lobby for the necessary funding to open the mental health wing of the Brampton Civic hospital.
Councillor Prentice enquired if the Brampton Civic hospital was designed with space to provide mental health care services. Councillor Sanderson responded that the Brampton Civic hospital does have designated space for mental health care services but funding has not yet been made available to open this section of the hospital.
Councillor Prentice asked if the Credit Valley and Trillium hospitals provide mental health services. David Szwarc responded that both hospitals have mental health facilities.
Councillor Prentice questioned if there is a shortage of physicians in the Region. Janette Smith reported that currently the Town of Caledon is the only municipality in the Region of Peel that has been classified as an under serviced area. As a result of this classification, the Town of Caledon receives additional funding from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to attract doctors to the area. Councillor Thompson stated that the Town of Caledon was able to recruit additional physicians as a result of the assistance from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.
David Szwarc reported that the Mental Health and Addictions discussion paper released on July 14, 2009 by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care focussed on prevention as well as treatment. A meeting with Minister Caplan would provide the opportunity to highlight issues related to prevention of mental illness in the Region of Peel.
Janette Smith reported that a number of mental health prevention issues have been raised at the Peel Youth Violence Prevention Network (PYVPN) meetings. She further stated there are not enough support programs in the education system to provide treatment for children identified with potential mental health issues.
Janette Smith noted that mental health services for children are administered by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services while services for adults are the responsibility of the Local Health Integration Network (LHIN). Councillor Moore expressed concern at two different ministries delivering mental health services and suggested that the issue of coordinating efforts be raised in a meeting with Minister Caplan at the 2009 AMO Annual Conference.
David Szwarc suggested that staff contact Sandy Milakovic, at the Canadian Mental Health Association of Peel in order to obtain her input on a briefing note for the meeting with Minister Caplan. .
7. COMMUNICATIONS - Nil
8. OTHER BUSINESS or CURRENT ISSUES TO BE DISCUSSED
Additional Item: 8a:
Councillor Moore reported that she recently received a number of brochures from federal Members of Parliament and suggested that these brochures be collected in all three municipalities within the Region. David Szwarc responded that staff will collect these brochures and provide summary highlighting themes of the material at future meetings of the Intergovernmental Relations Advisory Committee.
9. NEXT MEETING
The next meeting of the of the Intergovernmental Relations Advisory Committee is scheduled for Thursday August 20, 2009, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., Regional Administrative Headquarters, 5th Floor Boardroom, 10 Peel Centre Drive, Suite A, Brampton, Ontario.
The meeting adjourned at 12:20 p.m.