FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 21, 2015
A senior Delegation from the Northern Ontario Service Deliverers Association (NOSDA) met with a number of Provincial Cabinet Ministers at the 2015 Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) Annual General Meeting in Niagara Falls earlier this week and was very pleased with the responses from Government .
NOSDAs delegation included Janet Gawne, Vice Chair of NOSDA and Chair of the Sault Ste. Marie District Social Services Administration Board (DSSAB) and Fern Dominelli, Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) of the Manitoulin Sudbury District Services Board and Chair of the CAO Group of NOSDA as well as Les Gamble, Chair of the Manitoulin Sudbury DSAB and Al Spacek, Chair of the Cochrane DSSAB and President of the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities (FONOM).
NOSDA’s delegation with Liz Sandals, the Minister of Education was very positive. Minister Sandals agreed to amend a Regulation in the Education Act to guarantee that District Social Service Administration Boards (DSSABs) be formally included in the list of bodies receiving notice for when School Boards declare properties surplus. In addition the Ministry is issuing new partnership gu idelines that require school boards to include municipalities, DSSABs and Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) in their planning process when it comes to their accommodation requirements to allow Municipalities and DSSABs time to decide if properties coming up for sale are viable options for their needs. The delegation also raised concerns about the ability of smaller schools to offer day care for children under six when there are less than 20 children interested. The Minister indicated that the individual school boards did have the ability to offer child care for less than 20. NOSDA welcomed this clarification.
The NOSDA Delegation discussed the Infrastructure Ontario Lending Program with Peter Milczin, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure. The issue discussed was that DSSABs are not eligible to access Infrastructure Ontario (IO) funds for any of its programs where other CMSMs and individual municipalities do have access . It was requested that the Ministry amend the regulations under the Ontario Infrastructure and Land Corporations Act in order for DSSABs to be eligible applicants under the Infrastructure Ontario Loan Program. The PA indicated that at the next review of the regulations under the program they would consider NOSDA’s request.
NOSDA’s delegation with Lou Rinaldi, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing focused on the housing funding formula which is inappropriate for the realities of the North. NOSDA also brought up the need for capital funding for housing in Northern, rural and remote communities. It was also requested that the Provincial government advocate for affordable housing during the upcoming Federal Election.
NOSDA’s delegation on the issue of non-urgent patient transfers in Northern Ontario was heard by Indira Naidoo Harris, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. It was suggested that NOSDA ensures that the Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) know how successful northern pilot projects into non - urgent transportation have been and that the LHINs lobby MOHLTC for permanent, equitable solutions to the lack of medical transportation options in the North.
Kevin Flynn, Minister of Labour was very receptive to NOSDA’s delegation regarding stable Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) Rates. He indicated he would raise the concerns and put NOSDA in contact with Elizabeth Witmer, the Chair of WSIB.
In the delegation with Helena Jaczek, Minister of Community a nd Social Services the focus was Service System Management System (SAMS) and NOSDA’s concerns regarding its implementation. NOSDA indicated its commitment to continue working with the Ministry staff to work through the challenges SAMS has presented.
Finally, NOSDA spoke with Michael Gravelle, Minister of Northern Development and Mines. Minister Gravelle agreed to meet with NOSDA Chair, Iain Angus who is on the Board of the Thunder Bay DSSAB in October in Thunder Bay. He also agreed to support NOSDA on their delegation issues in any way he could.
NOSDA was pleased with the response from the Ministries regarding their delegations and looks forward to the 2016 AMO Annual General Meeting and Conference.
If you would like more information on this topic please contact Chris Stewart at, (705) 368 - 2114 or Fern Dominelli at, (705) 222 - 7777.
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The Northern Ontario Service Deliverers Association (NOSDA) is an incorporated body that brings together Service Managers in Northern Ontario who are responsible for the local planning, coordination and delivery of a range of community health and social services. These services represent a significant portion of the social and community service infrastructure in all Northern Ontario communities, and account for a large share of the property taxes that municipalities dedicate to these services.