I attended the joint meeting of mayors from large urban centres (LUMCO) and regional chairs (MARCO) yesterday.
The Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Jim Watson, was present to update the group on a number of items.
Key issues of concern raised by members of the group included:
Housing – the lack of funding in the last Federal budget for housing and the loss of Federal funding for homelessness programs and shelters in March 2009. A recent report on this matter produced by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities was referenced.
Development Charges – the need to roll back the many exemptions and exclusions that the former government added to the Development Charges Act. These changes prevent municipalities from recouping the full costs of growth. This is placing a huge burden on property taxpayers and as a policy works against the Province’s own Place to Grow legislation.
A great overview of the Accessibility for Ontarions with Disabilities Act (2005) was provided. The goal of the AODA legislation is to achieve a fully accessible province by 2025. The Act applies to both the private and public sectors and is targeted at the following areas: customer service, information and communications, employment, built environment and transportation.