EOWC and eastern MPPs meet to talk social policy, services

By Lindsay Advocate

The meeting was co-hosted by EOWC Chair Andy Letham (pictured) and MPP Todd Smith.

Members of the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus (EOWC) held a meeting with their provincial counterparts recently to discuss issues of interest for Eastern Ontario such as affordable housing, health care, emergency services and financial impacts on municipal service delivery.

The meeting, co-hosted by EOWC Chair Andy Letham and MPP Todd Smith (also Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade), is an annual gathering of Provincial MPPs and the heads of Council from across the region.

“I would like to thank our Provincial MPPs for their presence and interest in our region’s growth and development,” stated Letham. “The EOWC recognizes the Province’s support for our number-one priority, being the improvement and expansion of the cellular and mobile broadband networks in Eastern Ontario, and thanks our MPPs for their efforts in securing the Province’s $71-million contribution to the project.”

The meeting provided an opportunity for the EOWC to update the MPPs on its recent advocacy work, including submissions to the Province on red-tape reductions and regulatory burdens for affordable housing and long-term care. The Wardens also highlighted the impacts of the Province’s recent budget amendments on municipal service delivery, including paramedic services, child care, Ontario Works, and public health units.

“We realize that the Province of Ontario has set important efficiency goals for itself and for the municipal sector, in order to achieve specific financial targets in the coming years,” added Letham. “The EOWC acknowledges the government’s intentions, and today we reiterated the value and importance of having our voices around the discussion table – namely, to provide a local perspective that is well-researched and well-respected.”

The Wardens asked for clarity on the Province’s current priorities, and specifically how the EOWC could contribute its unique insight on governance, structure and funding models.

“We need a voice to transition properly and budget appropriately over the next few years,” explained Letham.

“Local municipal taxpayers are contributing to program and service delivery, and we look forward to working with the Province on achieving its goals while maintaining the quality of our services for the residents of rural Eastern Ontario.”

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