The Intergovernmental Relations Advisory Committee (IRAC) met on January 28, 2010, at 10:02 a.m. in the 5 th Floor Boardroom, Regional Administrative Headquarters, 10 Peel Centre Drive, Suite A, Brampton.
E. Kolb; E. Moore; M. Morrison; J. Sanderson; A. Thompson
Members Absent: M. Prentice, due to other municipal business; P. Saito, due to other municipal business
R. Paterak, Regional Councillor; D. Reader, Executive Assistant, Government Relations, City of Brampton; J. Menard, Commissioner of Human Services; J. Smith, Commissioner of Health Services; D. Mowat, Medical Officer of Health; D. Arbuckle, Manager, Public Policy; S. Mistry, Senior Policy Advisor; L. Rubin-Vaughan, Intergovernmental Relations Advisor; G. Naipaul, Public Affairs Associate; 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 January 28, 2010 Intergovernmental Relations Advisory Committee meeting, be approved.
a) Peel Seniors' Low-Income Dental Program Update
That the Medical Officer Health undertake a review of current literature to determine what information is required to ascertain the impact of dental health on overall health;
And further, that the Medical Officer of Health report back to a future meeting with recommendations regarding information that could be collected from Senior’s Low-Income Dental Program participants, to form the basis of a study to determine the impact of dental health on overall health;
And further, that the Medical Officer of Health engage the University of Toronto Dental Program in discussions to determine their interest in conducting such a study, and report back to a future meeting with findings.
Regional Chair Kolb inquired if program participants were asked to provide information that would enable staff to determine the number of participants who are new Canadians, noting that if the dental program provided in Peel serves a need that is particular to a specific segment of the population, opportunities for funding partners could be identified in other ministries that serve those segments.
Dr. Mowat, Medical Officer of Health, indicated that demographic information was not collected from program participants.
Janette Smith, Commissioner of Health Services, advised that it is a program audit that verifies participant’s low-income status.
In response to a question from Regional Chair Kolb, Janette Smith advised that the 2010 Budget includes $1.2 million base funding for the Low-Income Seniors’ Dental Program, as well as, $1.2 million one time funding from reserves. In 2011, the base budget will be $1.2 million. She noted that it is difficult for staff to recommend a base budget amount as the impacts of the economy and the level of demand are hard to quantify.
Councillor Paterak suggested that a medical school be asked to conduct a study of the population accessing the dental program to determine whether their overall health improves as a result of receiving dental care. The results of the study could then be used to prepare a business case to demonstrate that investing in dental care results in savings in other areas of the health system as patient’s overall health improves.
Councillor Moore stated that there will always be a wait list and demand for the seniors’ dental program and that the ability to successfully advocate for additional funding will depend on the business case that can be made for the service. She suggested that staff collect participant testimonials to confirm a correlation between dental health treatments they received and the impact it has had on their overall health.
Janette Smith suggested that discussions take place with the University of Toronto’s Dental Program and the Ontario Dental Association (ODA) regarding the benefits of conducting a study of program participants to determine the impact of improved dental health on their overall health and to request that the ODA consider contributing towards the funding of such a study.
Councillor Sanderson advised that Dr. Bob Hiscock, a retired dentist from Brampton, had expressed interest in assisting with low income dental programs in Peel and suggested that Dr. Mowat follow up with him to discuss opportunities for advancing the case for a study with the ODA.
Dr. Mowat suggested that staff review current academic literature that details the impact adequate dental care has on patients overall health, to determine if there are any gaps in the information that is available; and, what questions need to be asked to obtain the information for the proposed study. At that point, Dr. Mowat suggested that the University of Toronto Dental Program be contacted and external funding opportunities be explored.
Councillor Morrison expressed concern that in the current economy, there will be more people who qualify for the program and insufficient funding to serve them. She further noted that the $1,200 limit for the average participant does not amount to a lot of dental work especially if they have not had dental care in several years.
David Arbuckle, Manager, Public Policy, advised that since the time of writing the subject report, Gerry Phillips has been appointed Minister Responsible for Seniors and Vic Dhillon has been appointed Parliamentary Assistant to Minister Phillips.
b) Proposed MP/MPP Communications Strategy (Oral)
Discussion led by David Arbuckle, Manager, Public Policy, Office of Strategic Innovation and Policy
That the “Proposed MP/MPP Communications Strategy,” as presented to the Intergovernmental Relations Advisory Committee at its meeting held on January 28, 2010, be endorsed.
Councillor Moore inquired how the relationship between municipalities and the senior levels of government could be improved, noting that most municipal contact with the provincial and federal governments have been centred around the need for more funding. She suggested that Peel’s communications should be concise and focussed on how the Region of Peel can assist the local members as opposed to solely focusing on how they could help Peel.
Councillor Thompson stated that he and staff met with several MPs and MPPs over the past few months and their positive approach to the discussions was well received, and concurred with Councillor Moore that Peel’s communications should be solution-oriented.
David Arbuckle concurred that changing the current relationship requires establishing trust and open communication so that Ministers, local MPs/MPPs and their staff are comfortable engaging the Region of Peel in discussions.
Councillor Morrison stated that the Region of Peel has never “cried wolf” with the senior levels of government and inquired how Peel could communicate that the need for improved human services funding in the Region is a reality.
David Arbuckle responded that the proposed strategy is only a part of the equation and that larger advocacy issues need to be considered. He noted that historically, municipalities communicate issues during provincial/federal election campaigns, by which time Party platforms have already been finalized. He suggested that in order to influence the development of Party platforms, lobbying efforts would ideally commence in the next three to six months.
Councillor Morrison noted that political Parties form committees that work to compile the Party platforms and suggested that identifying any Peel area participants would be beneficial.
In response to a question from Councillor Sanderson, David Arbuckle advised that MP/MPP staff turnover can be considerable, particularly in the second term of government.
c) 2010 Provincial and Federal Pre-Budget Submission
That the public policy issues identified in the report of the Chief Administrative Officer dated January 20, 2010 titled “2010 Provincial and Federal Pre-Budget Submission”, be endorsed;
And further, that staff develop a pre-budget submission based on the identified public policy issues.
David Arbuckle, Manager, Public Policy, advised that since the time of writing the subject report, the Region of Peel has been scheduled to present to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs on February 2, 2010 at 2:00 p.m. He noted that 10 minutes have been allocated for the presentation, followed by a five minute question period. Councillor Thompson, as Chair of the Intergovernmental Relations Advisory Committee will be presenting on behalf of the Region of Peel and will be accompanied by David Arbuckle.
Lowell Rubin-Vaughan, Intergovernmental Relations Advisor, advised that Councillor Thompson and Councillor Sanderson, in their roles as Chair and Vice Chair of IRAC, along with Peel senior staff, will be meeting with various Ministers at the 2010 ROMA/OGRA Annual Conference where the focus of Peel’s discussions will be on collaborative opportunities.
d) 2010 ROMA/OGRA Annual Conference
That the public policy issues identified in the report of the Chief Administrative Officer dated January 19, 2010 titled “2010 ROMA/OGRA Annual Conference,” be endorsed;
And further, that staff develop briefing notes on the identified public policy issues to support discussions with various Ministry representatives at the conference.
Lowell Rubin-Vaughan noted that the ROMA/OGRA Annual Conference will provide an opportunity for Peel’s representatives to meet with Linda Jeffrey, the newly appointed Minister of Natural Resources and MPP for Brampton-Springdale to introduce her to issues related to Conservation Authorities.
Councillor Thompson noted that Councillor Morrison will be attending the 2010 ROMA/OGRA Annual Conference on behalf of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) and the Countryside Mayors Alliance and will be available to attend Peel’s meetings, provided there are no scheduling conflicts.
4. GOVERNMENT RELATIONS STATUS REPORT AND CURRENT ACTIVITIES
Discussion led by Lowell Rubin, Intergovernmental Relations Advisor, Office of Strategic Innovation and Policy
a) Federal News
b) Provincial News
c) Local News
Lowell Rubin-Vaughan, Intergovernmental Relations Advisor, distributed an updated list of Provincial Parliamentary Assistants, announced on January 25, 2010, and requested that the list be distributed with the meeting minutes so that all members of Council receive the updated information.
5. NEXT MEETING
The next meeting of the Intergovernmental Relations Advisory Committee is scheduled for Thursday, February 18, 2010 at 11:00 a.m. in the 5th Floor Boardroom, Regional Administrative Headquarters, Suite A, 10 Peel Centre Drive, Brampton, Ontario.
Please forward regrets to Christine Thomson, Legislative Specialist, (905) 791-7800, ext. 4582 or at email@example.com.
6 . ADJOURNMENT
The meeting adjourned at 11:25 a.m.