The Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities (FONOM) Board started its last meeting of 2021, pausing for a Moment of Silence in honour of the late Austin Hunt. Aussie, a long-time Board Member and Past President of FONOM passed away on November 10th at the age of 95.
During the meeting, the Board received presentations from Corina Moore and Al Spacek of Ontario Northland Transportation Commission, Mary Dawson-Cole and Al Spacek of the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation, and Dr. Robert Haché of Laurentian University. The Board appreciates receiving an update on the recent activities of these organizations. “We were happy to hear the account of ONTC’s Test Train” and “MPAC’s exciting venture in Northern Ireland,” stated President Danny Whalen. He further commented, “it was welcome news to hear that the scholarships and bursaries for the University and the Northern Ontario School of Medicine are secure.” Dr. Haché reassured the Board that the CCAA process is not impacting the student life of those enrolled in Laurentian’s programs.
The shortage of Health Care Professionals was discussed at length by the Board. Many of the communities in the North either have a Doctor and Nurse shortage. Some communities have no physicians at all. “FONOM and many of its member municipalities had lobbied for the creation of the NOSM,” commented Danny Whalen, “and now we will ask the Province to increase the enrollment to address the shortages in our communities.” Also, the Board will discuss with the Ministry of Health the funding of small Hospitals receives to attract and retain nurses.
The communes being created in unorganized townships were also discussed, similar to the Boreal Forest Medieval Project. The creation of such projects will harm the environment! There are health and safety concerns, and the impact they will have on neighbouring Municipal and Emergency Services is a concern to FONOM.
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.