GORE BAY – The Manitoulin Provincial Offences Act (POA) board will be requesting the support of all Island municipalities as it lobbies the province for funding to be provided to all municipal POA offices impacted by COVID-19.
“There will be a letter sent to all participating municipal councils for support in lobbying the province, indicating that with the COVID-19 pandemic, we are short about $22,000 (unaudited) in our 2020 budget and for the 2021 budget we are estimating a shortfall of about $7,000—that is assuming the number of fines handed out pick up this year,” said Gore Bay Mayor Dan Osborne at a Gore Bay general government committee meeting last week. He pointed out these expenses all relate to COVID-19.
Stasia Carr, clerk for the Town of Gore Bay, told the meeting, “the letter will be going out to all municipalities asking for their support to lobby the province for funding due to COVID-19 expenses. We have not received any funding yet (relating to COVID-19 expenses).”
“This is not acceptable,” stated Mayor Osborne. “The POA had to take funds out of reserves to pay (2020 costs) due to the shortfall and are looking at another shortfall this year. They are not supporting POA and the fines being imposed (by the OPP that would be processed through POA) are down by a large number now, so there is something wrong there as well. I can’t imagine everyone is behaving.”
The province had transferred the POA operations to municipalities in 2000 with the expectation that it would operate at a profit and not negatively impact the financial status of the participating municipalities.
Mayor Osborne said, “this is a provincial problem, we shouldn’t have to cover the costs of POA through our municipalities.” He noted the letter will not only be sent to all participating municipalities and all POA court operations in the province, but include the ministry of the Attorney General, local MPPs and the premier of Ontario.