2018 ROMA Conference Draws Rural Leaders

Focus on Rural Municipal Priorities and Needs

Media Release

Kenora, ON  – Mayor Dave Canfield and Councillors Louis Roussin and Rory McMillan joined more than 1,000 rural municipal officials from across the province at the 2018 Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) Conference in Toronto from January 21 to 23.

The conference is a key opportunity for rural officials to raise local priorities with the provincial government, foster partnerships and learn about new opportunities. Funding municipal services and infrastructure continues to be a recurring a key theme, one that will be important heading into the provincial election.

Municipal governments face an estimated funding gap of $4.9 billion annually for the next ten years, just to maintain current services and address infrastructure needs. Municipal governments and property taxpayers need to see a plan that helps reduce this gap in a meaningful way. The conference was an opportunity for local leaders to press all three parties for solutions.

Key priorities for the City of Kenora were:

  • Connecting Link Program Eligibility
    The Highway 17 corridor through Kenora be recognized as an important link to services for surrounding communities and a roadway used extensively by both short and long distance travelers. The City of Kenora is seeking to be designated an eligible community under MTO’s Connecting Links Program.
  • Community Justice Centre and Supportive Housing
    Proceeding with the development of a Community Justice Centre (CJC) in Kenora will create more opportunities for court diversion and allow for early interventions by service providers to increase chances of rehabilitation. Doing so will also require investments into supportive housing. In addition, the City recognizes that the vast majority of those interacting with the court system are not from Kenora thus creating a need for community justice services across the District.

Other highlights of the conference included:
• Speeches by all three party leaders, as well as a number of Ministers
• Ministers’ forum where over 20 ministers and Premier answered questions of municipal concern from delegates
• Sessions on economic development matters, such as rural broadband, natural gas and autonomous vehicles.
• Critical challenges like rural schools and health care access
• The impacts on local services of cannabis legalization
• More than 300 municipal delegation meetings with provincial and federal ministries

Conference news releases, fact sheets and presentations from key speakers are posted on ROMA’s website at www.roma.on.ca.

ROMA is the most representative and effective voice for Ontario’s rural municipal governments. About 270 of Ontario’s 444 municipalities have populations of less than 10,000, while scores more are rural in character. Through its relationship with the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, ROMA advocates for policies and programs that will help build thriving rural Ontario communities.

For more information about ROMA or the 2018 Conference, contact:
Brian Lambie, ROMA Media Contact, 416-729-5425, lambie@redbrick.ca