This is the second year that the Annual AMO Municipal Conference has been held virtually. Members of the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities Board shared three policy positions with Minister Clark, Rickford, Romano, Elliott, Bethlenfalvy, Fullerton, Associate Minister Stan Cho, Parliamentary Assistant Christine Hogarth, and over 60 ministry staff were on the call. We discuss planned topics, including creating Mutual Aid agreements with Municipal Fire Departments for the help provided in unincorporated areas. As well, we shared our thoughts on the Transportation issues facing the five large Municipal airports. Also, FONOM raised the issue of add Municipal finance tools, specifically Land Transfer tax.
President Whalen commented, “the Local Fire Departments are often the only First Responder within 60 minutes of an event in an unincorporated area. The delay is due to the distances between communities and the patrols of the OPP and EMS” and “that without the creation of Mutual Aid agreements many Fire Departments will not be able to assist. ”
The value of the Northern Municipal Airports has often been overlooked by previous transportation studies, which may be due to the traffic volume compared to those in the GTHA. The Pandemic has harmed many industries, and airport operations have been one of those hit hardest. FONOM appreciates that airports are viewed to be under Federal jurisdiction, but we draw attention to several recent funding announcements by the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund. The FONOM Board asked the Minister of Transportation to consider a five-year project to support the five large Municipal Airports in Northern Ontario with their operating and capital budgets.
The City Toronto Act of 2006 granted Toronto broader municipal revenue tools than the other 443 municipalities. The Association of Municipalities of Ontario has long lobbied for its members the right to access them. The Toronto Act permits the City to charge and collect a Municipal Land Transfer Tax parallel with the Ontario government for all property sales, except for first-time home buyers. In 2020 the City of Toronto received $800 million; this offset represents 15% of their annual revenue (page 28). This revenue tool would generate nearly $ 2.68 Billion for the other Ontario Municipalities. Vice President Paul Schoppmann stated, “with a Province-wide municipal deficit of $6 Billion, FONOM believes having this revenue tool would help our members to address their growing infrastructure deficit”.
FONOM is an association of some 110 districts/municipalities/cities/towns in northeastern Ontario mandated to work for the betterment of municipal government in Northern Ontario and to strive for improved legislation respecting local government in the north. It is a membership-based association that draws its members from northeastern Ontario and is governed by an 11-member board.