City of Brantford is very encouraged by a series of positive discussions with Ministers and provincial staff to advance Brantford’s interests, following the 2022 AMO Conference, which took place in Ottawa from August 14 to August 17.
Making news on the first day of the conference, Premier Ford announced he’s planning to expand strong mayor powers to municipalities in addition to Toronto and Ottawa. The legislation introduced by Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clark last week would give the Mayors of Ontario’s two largest cities veto powers over by-laws that conflict with provincial priorities, to expedite priority developments such as affordable housing.
Brantford Mayor Kevin Davis said he “commends the Ontario government for attempting to better define the powers of a Mayor as current provincial legislation is extremely vague as to what those powers are, however I would not support this initiative being extended beyond Toronto and Ottawa without there being a pause to properly measure the impact it will have on those two cities and allowing for a robust public consultation process.”
In addition to taking part in key conference topics including climate change, strengthening indigenous relations, creating inclusive communities, women’s leadership, housing affordability, and modernizing the public health system, the Brantford delegation was also very encouraged by the provincial announcement that nearly $764 million in funding will be invested to assist municipalities with the cost of land ambulance operations – an urgent need in our community.
Another major topic of the conference was how to better care for the province’s most vulnerable citizens who are experiencing chronic mental health and addiction. Mayor Davis, a member of Ontario’s Big City Mayors (OBCM) joined his mayoral colleagues in calling for an emergency meeting with the province to advance solutions for the chronic homelessness, housing affordability, and the mental health and addictions crises facing Ontario communities. OBCM reiterated their position that the province must come together with the municipalities, sector experts, and other key stakeholders to put in place the supports and resources urgently needed for our chronically unhoused and those suffering with mental health and addictions.
Brantford CAO Brian Hutchings says he and City staff “are looking forward to working collaboratively with our provincial counterparts to provide more urgently needed supports and resources to provide for our community’s most vulnerable.”
Hutchings said he is also encouraged by the interest and commitment shown by Ministry of Transportation officials to further explore the City’s advocacy for a regional transit solution linking Brantford, Guelph, Cambridge, Kitchener, the County of Brant and Six Nations of the Grand River. A regional solution is consistent with a broader vision to better align with surrounding communities north of Brantford, as successfully demonstrated through existing post-secondary and hydro utility partnerships.
The Brantford Delegation also met with representatives of the Ministry of the Attorney General to discuss expanding court services in Brantford to meet current and future space needs, with the intention of consolidating use of current vacant spaces to leverage efficiencies, resulting in reduced maintenance and operational costs. The last major expansion of Brantford’s courts occurred over a century ago.