TORONTO – Ontario Premier Doug Ford delivered an appreciative message to as many as 1,500 municipal delegates attending the 2020 Association of Municipalities Ontario (AMO) conference on Monday. The three-day conference is being delivered online for the first time due to COVID-19.
Premier Ford announced that the envelope and structure of the Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund (OMPF) would remain unchanged for 2021, guaranteeing $500 million of critically important funding for municipalities, particularly in rural and Northern communities. Earlier this week his government released the first phase of its commitment to deliver $4 billion in federal and provincial assistance to municipal governments, hard hit by COVID-19 and related costs.
“That’s obviously good news for all our municipalities,” stated Ian Anderson, mayor of Billings Township, of Premier Ford’s announcement.
Ken Noland, reeve of Burpee-Mills Township and chair of the Manitoulin Municipal Association (MMA) said, “I guess it is good news. I go back to the same old thing; this (OMPF) funding was put in place by the government to help municipalities offset the costs of such things as policing, and DSB costs that were downloaded onto municipalities. This funding needs to remain in place unless the government is going to take some of those downloaded costs back.”
“Over the past six months, municipal governments have made dramatic changes to keep communities safe, and to promote economic recovery,” said AMO President Jamie McGarvey. “AMO has helped them through its advocacy work, and it has taken its important annual conference online. Through this virtual meeting format, governments large and small are coming together and working together to serve people better.”