Municipal Monitor Q1 2017 | Page 16

2001 to permit municipalities to adopt road pricing mechanisms .”
In the statement , the Ministry of Municipal Affairs recommended further discussion of the issue .
“ In regards to revenue sources , we continue to encourage our municipal partners to have local , public discussions about what they need to be fiscally sustainable moving forward ,” the Ministry said . “ We will continue this conversation and hope to hear , broadly speaking , some agreement across municipalities on the issue .”
The province also indicated not all 444 municipalities need their own integrity commissioners .
“ With respect to our proposal that municipalities be required to provide access to an integrity commissioner , municipalities could consider pooling their resources for a shared integrity commissioner or hiring on a fee-forservice model ,” the statement said .
“ By providing access to an integrity commissioner who will provide advice to members of council and information to the public , the changes may help prevent complaints and court proceedings .” Other proposals of the bill include :
• Updating the definition of “ meeting ”;
• Broadening investment powers for municipalities meeting designated criteria in order to help finance infrastructure repairs and replacements ;
• Clarifying municipalities ’ right to pass climate change bylaws and participate in long-term planning for energy use ;
• Requiring reviews of regional council composition after every second municipal election , beginning in 2018 ;
• Affirming a municipality ’ s power to establish and determine the composition of community councils ;
• Proposing the heads of most regional councils be elected to ensure accountability to voters ;
• Ensuring parents ’ right to take time off for pregnancy or parental leave without fear of job loss .
“ Generally , I think the bill contains beneficial improvements to the legislation affected ,” said Abrams .
“ Expansion of the closed-meeting rules , removal of impediments for councillors to raise children , removing some roadblocks to changes in uppertier council composition , mandatory codes of conduct , and removing my pet peeve , the requirement to have the municipality ’ s auditor approve a municipal retention bylaw ; those are all positive things .
“ Bill 68 reflects change in a lot of areas and AMCTO , working alongside other municipal organizations and others , will be engaging the


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Ministry with suggestions for improvement .”
One of the topics under discussion by municipal reviewers is the proposed change to the definition of a meeting . According to the Government of Ontario website , “ The definition of ‘ meeting ’ in subsection 238 ( 1 ) of the Act , which applies to sections 238 to 239.2 , is re-enacted to mean any regular , special or other meetings of council , or of certain local boards or committees , where a quorum is present and where members discuss or otherwise deal with matters in a way that materially advances the business or decision-making of the relevant body .” Abrams indicated that the proposal may in fact introduce more uncertainty than clarity .
The proposal to broaden investment powers for municipalities also met with the MFOA ’ s approval .
“ The Association is heartened by the amendments conferring broad regulatory authority to the Minister to grant municipalities prudent investor status ,” it said in its statement . “ Before municipalities can exercise this power , however , rules and conditions will need to be set out in future regulations .”
Meanwhile , Association of Municipalities of Ontario executive director Pat Vanini said in a statement : “ AMO has just received the legislation and is still in the midst of reviewing it .”
“ The changes we ’ ve proposed are based on what we heard from municipalities , the public and other stakeholders during last year ’ s Municipal Legislation Review ,” the provincial government said in its own statement .
“ We look forward to working with municipalities , and others to build upon the work that municipalities have already undertaken with respect to accountability and transparency .”
Although the bill is widely expected to pass into law before the summer months , the Ministry of Municipal Affairs sees “ no set timeline on how long the process will take . The government will work with all parties to ensure it progresses through the House as quickly as possible .”
More details are available at http :// www . mah . gov . on . ca / Page15155 . aspx and http :// www . ontla . on . ca / web / bills / bills _ detail . do ? locale = en & BillID = 4374
14 Q1 2017 www . amcto . com