The Intergovernmental Relations Advisory Committee (IRAC) met on June 10, 2010, at 11:10 a.m. in the Council Chamber, 5 th Floor, Regional Administrative Headquarters, 10 Peel Centre Drive, Suite A, Brampton.
E. Kolb; M. Morrison; E. Moore; R. Paterak; M. Prentice; A. Thompson
P. Saito, other municipal business; J. Sanderson
D. Szwarc, Chief Administrative Officer; J. Smith, Commissioner of Health Services; J. Menard, Commissioner of Human Services; C. Reid, Regional Clerk; G. Malhotra, Director, Strategic Planning, Policy and Partnership, Human Services; N. Lee, Director, Waste Management; D. Arbuckle, Manager, Public Policy; S. Mistry, Senior Policy Advisor, L. Rubin-Vaughan, Intergovernmental Relations Advisor; R. Martin, Committee Clerk
Chaired by Councillor A. Thompson.
1. DECLARATIONS OF CONFLICTS OF INTEREST - Nil
2. APPROVAL OF AGENDA
That the agenda for the June 10, 2010 Intergovernmental Relations Advisory Committee meeting, be approved.
a) Summary of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) 73 rd Annual Conference
Lowell Rubin-Vaughan stated that the report provided an overview of the policy resolutions that were endorsed by the voting members attending the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) 73rd Annual Conference. Further information on any of the resolutions is available upon request.
Lowell Rubin-Vaughan reported that significant discussions took place on a variety of issues including affordable housing, childcare, aboriginal issues and immigration.
Councillor Thompson recognized the efforts and effectiveness of Mayor Fennell and Mayor McCallion at the FCM meetings.
Lowell Rubin-Vaughan noted the influence that the FCM has with the federal government. The relationship between FCM and the federal government is similar to the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) and the provincial government.
Councillor Morrison stated that FCM has the attention federal government. Noting the wide range of policy resolutions endorsed at the FCM meetings, Councillor Thompson added that the federal ministers and staff that attended the FCM meetings were very interested in municipal issues and the resolutions endorsed.
Councillor Morrison agreed that the federal government is interested in municipal concerns and stressed the need to raise issues with federal representatives on a regular basis. David Arbuckle responded that after the municipal elections in October 2010, IRAC members should discuss and develop plans to utilize Peel’s local Members of Parliament who are members of the governing party, including Bob Dechert (Mississauga-Erindale) and David Tilson (Dufferin-Caledon) along with opposition Members of Parliament such as Navdeep Bains (Mississauga-Brampton South) to help schedule meetings with federal representatives in Ottawa. Councillor Morrison expressed support for developing a strategy to hold meetings with federal representatives in order to raise issues important to the Region of Peel.
Councillor Prentice expressed concern that the proposed provincial Waste Diversion Act I, with regard to waste management planning is putting the Region of Peel in a very difficult position. The Ontario legislature adjourned for the summer without final reading of the Waste Diversion Act is creating a great deal of uncertainty Norman Lee, Director, Waste Management, stated that will be made at the Waste Management Committee calling on the provincial government to move as quickly as possible to pass the bill. A letter will also be sent through the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) to the provincial government expressing concern about the uncertainty that has resulted for municipalities caused by the delay in passing the legislation.
Councillor Morrison stated that as Peel’s representative on the AMO Board of Directors, she would assist in raising the issues related to the Waste Diversion Act at AMO and requested further information on the issue. Norman Lee undertook to provide Councillor Morrison with details on the motion coming to the Waste Management Committee and the letter from AMO to the provincial government.
Councillor Paterak reported that the federal and provincial governments have made grants available to municipalities for small wastewater systems. Upper tier municipalities are not eligible to apply for funding under these programs. Smaller communities within upper tier municipalities should have access to this grant program as they are no different than lower tier municipalities who are able to apply for funding for small wastewater systems.
b) Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement: Renegotiation and Impact on Peel
Discussion led by Janet Menard, Commissioner, Human Services
Janet Menard reported that in 2005 the Government of Canada and the Ontario Provincial Government signed the Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement that brought $920 million of federal funding to the province for settlement and integration services. Over the past five years not all of the funding agreed upon by the federal government has been made available to the province. A new agreement was to be completed by March 31, 2010 but when negotiations stalled both parties agreed to extend the current agreement for one year.
Janet Menard stated that the Region of Peel has not taken a position in the ongoing negotiations between the federal and provincial governments. She will be attending a municipal immigration committee meeting in Ottawa on June 21, 2010 when this issue will be discussed and report back to IRAC.
Janet Menard recommended that the Region of Peel request for a more formal role for municipal governments in the immigration agreement but that the Region should not take sides in the negotiations regarding which level of government should control immigration services funding.
Councillor Prentice stated that IRAC will need additional information before taking any position on whether the federal or provincial government should be responsible for control of immigration service funds. She enquired if there would be any financial impact on the Region should the provincial government take on responsibility for delivering immigration services provided by the agreement. Janet Menard responded that the Region is not directly responsible for delivering services under the current agreement. Should the provincial government gain control of the funding of the immigration programs there could be a devolution of responsibilities to the municipalities. Should that situation develop there is potential financial impact for the Region should the province not provide 100 per cent of the funds necessary to administer programs.
That Janet Menard provide additional information on the immigration agreement to the Intergovernmental Relations Advisory Committee;
And further, that staff prepare a recommendation proposing the position the Region of Peel should take regarding with regards to which level of government should be responsible for delivery of immigration services.
5 . GOVERNMENT RELATIONS STATUS REPORT AND CURRENT ACTIVITIES
Discussion led by Lowell Rubin-Vaughan, Intergovernmental Relations Advisor, Office of Strategic Innovation and Policy
a) Federal News
b) Provincial News
c) Local News
Lowell Rubin-Vaughan thanked Mayor Fennell and her staff for arranging Region of Peel’s participation in meetings with federal representatives at the FCM Annual Conference. Regional staff had the opportunity to meet with a number of federal representatives including the Honourable Michael Ignatieff, Leader of the Liberal Party; Gerard Kennedy, Parkdale-High Park MP; Brian Jean, Fort McMurray-Athabasca MP and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities; and, Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party.
Councillor Thompson reported that during a discussion with Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, the Honourable Michael Ignatieff mentioned that he was aware of the housing issues faced by the Region of Peel and asked for further details on Peel’s seniors dental program.
Councillor Thompson stated that Gerard Kennedy expressed interest in the Goods Movement Taskforce and hoped other municipalities would get involved with this important issue.
Councillor Thompson reported that Brian Jean stated that the Home Renovation Tax Credit program was one of the best investments the federal government made as part of their economic stimulus package.
Councillor Thompson stated that Elizabeth May was interested in Region of Peel issues and encouraged the Region to continue to provide her with information.
Lowell Rubin-Vaughan provided an overview of the speeches made by the four federal party leaders at FCM.
• Right Honourable Prime Minister Stephen Harper thanked municipalities for their support and co-operation in moving the 16,000 infrastructure projects forward. The Prime Minister stated that the federal government is interested in working with municipal partners on the current infrastructure programs but there will be no new longer-term funding commitments in addition to those already established.
• Honourable Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff outlined various aspects of a Liberal policy platform. The Liberal leader proposed what he called a “facilitated relationship” where municipalities would have greater input on the programs they implement and expressed support for extending the deadline for stimulus funding past the March 31, 2011 deadline.
• Honourable New Democratic Party (NDP) Leader Jack Layton outlined the NDP platform including filling gaps in the safety net and working with municipalities on a legislative model for permanent infrastructure funding.
• Green Party Leader Elizabeth May outlined a municipal friendly platform that included diverting RRSPs to municipal bonds as a way of creating new revenue for municipalities and developing stable long-term funding for municipal governments.
Lowell Rubin-Vaughan provided details on a briefing session held with Honourable John Baird, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities. Minister Baird thanked municipalities for their cooperation on the infrastructure projects and confirmed the program will come to an end on March 31, 2011. The FCM Executive raised concerns regarding new federal wastewater regulations. Minister Baird committed to raising the issue of wastewater regulatory changes with Environment Minister Jim Prentice. Minister Prentice contacted FCM and indicated his interest in meeting to discuss the impact of the regulations.
Lowell Rubin-Vaughan, moving to provincial news, noted the private member’s bill introduced by Conservative MPP Jerry Ouellette proposing the establishment of a new Standing Committee on Public Accounts for Health and Education. The Ontario Legislature adjourned on June 3, 2010 and is scheduled to resume on September 13, 2010.
Lowell Rubin-Vaughan stated that implementation of the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) will begin on July 1, 2010.
Councillor Moore noted the conflicting information regarding the implementation of the HST has caused a great deal of public confusion.
Councillor Morrison expressed concern that municipal governments are required to pay the HST and then must apply for a HST rebate. This process needs to be refined in order to reduce the cost to municipalities of completing the paperwork involved with obtaining the HST rebate. She stated that the provincial government should work with municipalities on issues like the HST in order to develop solutions to potential problems before legislation is enacted.
Councillor Morrison noted that the Region of Peel has a good reputation for participating in AMO subcommittees and offered to take Regional issue to the AMO board. Councillor Thompson stated that Regional staff would be available to assist Councillor Morrison with preparations for future AMO meetings.
David Szwarc (CAO) stated that there is a process in place at the Region to prepare materials for the AMO and provide a report to Regional Council on the outcome of AMO meetings. He noted that the Region of Peel does not receive an agenda directly from AMO but if that material were made available to staff, they could prepare notes for the meetings. Councillor Morrison undertook to provide Regional staff with the agenda for the AMO meeting.
Councillor Paterak stated that municipalities need to present a case to the federal and provincial governments that municipal governments should be exempt from the HST in order to reduce the costs associated with completing the paperwork necessary to apply for the rebate.
That staff prepare a report exploring the options regarding the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) rebate process for municipal governments , for consideration at a future meeting of Intergovernmental Relations Advisory Committee.
6 . COMMUNICATIONS - Nil
7 . Other Business or Current Issues to be Discussed
a) Draft: Letter from Emil Kolb to Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism and Honourable Eric Hoskins, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to Demonstrate the Region of Peel’s Appreciation for the One-Year Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement and Willingness to Work with both Orders of Government to Establish a Long-Term Funding for Immigration Funding
That the letter dated June 10, 2010 from Regional Chair Kolb, be sent to Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism and Eric Hoskins, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.
8. NEXT MEETING
The next meeting of the Intergovernmental Relations Advisory Committee is scheduled for Thursday, July 8, 2010, at 2:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber.
8 . ADJOURNMENT
The meeting adjourned at 12:27 p.m.