The Intergovernmental Relations Advisory Committee (IRAC) met on August 20, 2009, at 11:09 a.m. in the 5th Floor Boardroom, Regional Administrative Headquarters,
Prentice; P. Saito; J. Sanderson; A. Thompson
Members Absent: E. Moore, due to vacation; E. Kolb, due to a personal matter; M. Morrison
R. K. Gillespie, Acting Chief Administrative Officer; J. Menard, Commissioner of Human Services; J. Smith, Commissioner of Health Services; J.P. Gedeon, Acting Director, Office of Strategic Innovation and Policy; L. Rubin, Intergovernmental Relations Advisor; C. Thomson, Committee Clerk
Chaired by Councillor A. Thompson.
1. DECLARATIONS OF CONFLICTS OF INTEREST - Nil
2. APPROVAL OF AGENDA
That the agenda for the August 20, 2009 Intergovernmental Relations Advisory Committee meeting, be approved.
a) Update: 2009 Association of Municipalities of
(AMO) Annual Conference held August 16-19, 2009 (Oral) Ontario
Discussion led by Lowell Rubin, Intergovernmental Relations Advisor, Public Policy & Planning
Councillor Thompson advised that the presentation materials that were prepared to facilitate discussion with the various Ministries and provincial representatives at the AMO Annual Conference were very well received and thanked staff for their work in producing clear, concise information to convey the current situation in Peel, as well as, the willingness of the Region to work with provincial and federal levels of government to implement solutions to identified issues.
Lowell Rubin, Intergovernmental Relations Advisor, reviewed the material that was presented at the AMO Annual Conference during meetings with representatives from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, the Minister of Immigration and Citizenship, and the Minister of Children and Youth Services.
Councillor Sanderson advised that during the meeting with staff from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, he raised the issue of the Mental Health Unit at Brampton Civic Hospital which has yet to open and noted that direct access to mental heath supports would alleviate some of the current stresses affecting hospitals in general, and emergency room wait times in particular.
Councillor Saito stated that mental health is a key priority of the Peel Youth Violence Prevention Network with respect to wait times for accessing counselling services. She noted that the issue of mental health crosses many boundaries as it impacts the judicial, housing and health systems and the community at large.
In response to a question from Councillor Saito, Janet Menard, Commissioner of Human Services advised that staff would be providing comments on the provincial discussion paper titled “Every Door is the Right Door – Towards a 10 Year Mental Health and Addictions Strategy” by September 15, 2009.
Councillor Saito suggested that the response from Peel should clearly communicate the desire for Region of Peel representation on any provincial committee that is formed to implement the 10 Year Plan.
Councillor Sanderson stressed the impact of emergency room offload delays on police resources in addition to ambulance resources, noting that he has witnessed up to eight police cars in the emergency room parking lot at a time.
Councillor Thompson noted that he recently received emails from two Fire Chiefs expressing concern regarding the time spent by fire fighters in emergency rooms which impacts the fire services coverage and response times.
Councillor Prentice requested that Regional Chair Kolb, in his role of Chair of the Peel Police Services Board, obtain statistics related to police delays at all Peel-area hospitals, including the impact of the delays on their budget.
Lowell Rubin advised that Peel representatives met with Michael Chan, Minister of Immigration and Citizenship who advised that the Ministry has been working with their federal counterparts to expand the Canada Ontario Immigration Agreement to provide approximately $2 billion in federal funding over five years. The Minister advised that he will be meeting with his federal counterpart in September, 2009 and plans to propose an improved devolution process where federal funding would be provided to the province for 100 per cent allocation to municipalities. The Minister anticipates that such an arrangement would speed up the flow of funds to municipalities.
The Minister also expressed concern that Canada, and Ontario in particular, are not doing enough to attract foreign students. He noted that Australia attracts approximately 300,000 foreign students annually and Canada is lacking in this regard.
Councillor Prentice inquired as to how more information could be obtained regarding the attraction and benefits of foreign students. Lowell Rubin stated that the Ministry undertook to send him information which he will then share with the Committee.
Councillor Prentice inquired as to what the Region of Peel could do to speed up the release of federal funds for immigration supports.
Councillor Saito suggested that Peel agencies and organizations should be encouraged to lobby at the federal level, noting that the Peel Multicultural Society would be an effective lobby group if they are provided relevant information. She suggested that the Peel Multicultural Society be provided with comments and questions related to immigration issues for discussion at their upcoming annual general meeting. Councillor Saito stated that if all of Peel organizations send consistent messages, there is a greater chance they will be heard at the senior levels of government.
Janet Menard, Commissioner of Human Services, noted that the Peel Newcomer Strategy Group includes all Peel organizations and representatives (including the Peel Multicultural Society) and would be presenting to Regional Council in September to discuss future strategies. She suggested that the Peel Newcomer Strategy Group should be the main group to engage in its immigration-related advocacy endeavours.
R. K. Gillespie, Acting Chief Administrative Officer, suggested that existing cultural groups have access to the political structure and could assist the Region in communicating its messages. He suggested that existing cultural groups and their leaders be identified for future dialogue.
Councillor Thompson noted that the key note address by Don Drummond, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist, TD Bank Financial Group, to the AMO conference, regarding the state of the economy, was very informative and requested that staff provide Committee members with a copy of his presentation.
4. GOVERNMENT RELATIONS STATUS REPORT AND CURRENT ACTIVITIES
Discussion led by Lowell Rubin, Intergovernmental Relations Advisor, Public Policy & Planning
a) Federal Government
b) Provincial Government
c) Local Government
Councillor Saito suggested that the MP/MPP updates which are provided to local provincial and federal representatives could be strengthened to include strategic messaging on issues affecting Peel.
R.K. Gillespie, Acting Chief Administrative Officer agreed that the newsletters could be a useful tool to tell the Peel story and suggested that the senior government representatives would be interested in Peel’s attendance at the AMO Annual Conference and the discussions that took place with Ministers.
Councillor Saito requested that a representative from Communication Services be invited to attend the next meeting of the Intergovernmental Relations Advisory Committee with a proposal related to the strategic use of MP/MPP updates.
Additional Item: 5a:
a) Giancarlo Cristiano, Social Policy Analyst, Memo dated August 18, 2009 Providing Responses to Questions Raised at the July 16, 2009 Intergovernmental Relations Advisory Committee Meeting
6. OTHER BUSINESS or CURRENT ISSUES TO BE DISCUSSED
Additional Item: 6a:
Councillor Prentice noted that subsequent to the Mississauga Summit, a committee was formed at the City of Mississauga to examine health and social issues and inquired if Regional staff had been contacted regarding their participation.
Janet Menard, Commissioner, Human Services advised that her office had received information regarding Peel’s involvement on the Committee which indicated that Peel staff could participate as members of the Committee or serve in an advisory capacity.
Councillor Prentice stated that the work of the Mississauga Committee should be coordinated with the Region of Peel and requested that staff report back to the next Intergovernmental Relations Advisory Committee with details regarding the coordination between the City of Mississauga and Region of Peel.
Councillor Sanderson departed at 12:30 p.m.
A quorum of voting members was lost, and in accordance with Section III-4(g) of the
Procedural By-law 57-2006, as amended, Committee continued to receive information.
Additional Item: 6b:
b) Upcoming Meeting with the Minister of Children and Youth Services
Councillor Saito requested information regarding the purpose of the meeting scheduled for September 24, 2009 with the Minister of Children and Youth Services.
Janet Menard, Commissioner of Human Services advised that Regional Council had directed Regional Chair Kolb to arrange a meeting with the Premier of Ontario and the area municipal Mayors to improve the understanding of the true face of poverty in Peel. The matter was received by the Premier and referred by the Premier’s office to the Minister of Children and Youth Services.
Janet Menard advised that staff have developed a strategy for the meeting with the Minister which will be shared with the area municipal Mayors prior to the September 24th meeting.
Additional Item: 6c:
c) Budget Update – Community Organizations
Janet Menard, Commissioner of Human Services advised that many community organizations have had their in-year budgets reduced substantially and that some organizations have had to lay-off staff as a result of the budget cuts. There is concern that infrastructure stimulus funding has been reallocated from other areas which has resulted in the budget cuts. Staff will report to Regional Council in October 2009 on the outcome of a survey being conducted by the United Way regarding this issue.
7. NEXT MEETING
The next meeting of the Intergovernmental Relations Advisory Committee is scheduled for Thursday, September 24, 2009 at 11:00 a.m. in the 5th floor boardroom, if deemed necessary by the Committee Chair.
The Committee Clerk was requested to reserve the remaining 2009 meeting times previously scheduled for the Government Relations Committee for Intergovernmental Relations Advisory Committee meetings, which will be confirmed by the Committee Chair prior to each meeting.
The meeting adjourned at 12:39 p.m.