MPP gets no response from AG’s office on POA COVID-19 costs

Over $20,000 in pandemic costs leaves office in rare deficit position

MINDEMOYA – Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Michael Mantha says that the Ontario Attorney General continues to note that he is looking into the Gore Bay provincial offences board of management’s request for COVID-19 funding to offset an unprecedented operating deficit of $22,000. 

“While the attorney general acknowledges the concern, no action has been taken thus far,” said Mr. Mantha. “I have raised the issue with the attorney general Doug Downey and he has said ‘Mike I’m looking into it.’” 

Mr. Mantha’s explanation comes after council for the Municipality of Central Manitoulin added its support to others on Manitoulin following a recommendation by its safety, security and health committee to support the POA request for COVID-19 funding from the province. 

“Do you have any idea what the projections are for this year or next, 2021 or 2022, will be (in terms of deficit being faced by the POA board of management). Is it going to get worse?” asked Richard Stephens, mayor of Central Manitoulin at a council meeting last week. 

“There will probably be a deficit for 2020 and 2021,” replied Councillor Derek Stephens, chair of the POA board of management, noting the continued costs relating to extra cleaning and manpower needed to cope with the pandemic requirements will continue to impact the budget for some time. 

Council passed a motion on the recommendation of its safety, security and health committee to “support the following motion made by the Gore Bay Provincial Offences Board of Management’s request for COVID-19 funding and forwarding copies showing our support to the premier of Ontario, Ministry of Attorney General and our local MPP. Whereas the POA board of management is concerned with the current financial status of the Provincial Offences Act-Gore Bay court services; Gore Bay is operating at a deficit of $22,000 which is unprecedented; and whereas the deficit is directly attributable to the restrictions imposed by the province as it relates to the province’s response to the COVID-19 situation. It is pointed out the province had almost one year to find a solution to ensure the safe and continued operations of the provincial offences court system in Ontario; and, the province transferred the POA operations to municipalities in 2007 with the expectation that it would operate on a profit and not negatively impact the financial status of the participating municipalities. The Gore Bay POA board of management lobby the provincial government to provide COVID-19 support funds to all POA court operations in the province of Ontario. Further all POA court offices in the province of Ontario be asked for to support this motion by sending letters to the premier of Ontario, Ministry of Attorney General and local MPPs asking for action to provide financial assistance to all municipal POA offices impacted by COVID-19.”