The Intergovernmental Relations Advisory Committee (IRAC) met on February 17, 2011, at 11:10 a.m. in the Council Chamber, 5 th Floor, Regional Administrative Headquarters, 10 Peel Centre Drive, Suite A, Brampton.
P . Foley; G. Miles; E. Moore; P. Saito; J. Sanderson; A. Thompson; J. Tovey
S. Hames, due to vacation; E. Kolb, due to vacation; M. Morrison, due to vacation; R. Paterak, due to other municipal business; R. Starr, due to other municipal business
D. Szwarc, Chief Administrative Officer; N. Trim, Chief Financial Officer and Commissioner of Corporate Services; R. K. Gillespie, Commissioner of Employee and Business Services; J. Menard, Commissioner of Human Services; J. Smith, Commissioner of Health Services; C. Reid, Regional Clerk; G. Malhotra, Director, Strategic Planning, Policy and Partnership, Human Services; S. Davis, Director, Office of Strategic Innovation and Policy, Executive Office; D. Arbuckle, Manager, Public Policy;
G. Cristiano, Senior Policy Advisor, Public Policy; K. Morgan, Program Support Coordinator, Public Policy; L. Rubin-Vaughan, Intergovernmental Relations Advisor, Office of Strategic Innovation and Policy; C. Thomson , Committee Clerk
C. Thomson, Committee Clerk presided.
1. ELECTION OF CHAIR AND VICE-CHAIR
That Councillor Thompson be appointed Chair of the Intergovernmental Relations Advisory Committee for the term ending November 30, 2014, or until a successor is appointed by Regional Council;
And further, that Councillor Sanderson be appointed Vice-Chair of the Intergovernmental Relations Advisory Committee for the term ending November 30, 2014, or until a successor is appointed by Regional Council.
Councillor Thompson assumed the Chair.
2. DECLARATIONS OF CONFLICTS OF INTEREST - Nil
3. APPROVAL OF AGENDA
That the agenda for the February 17, 2011 Intergovernmental Relations Advisory Committee meeting, be approved.
a) Lowell Rubin-Vaughan, Intergovernmental Relations Advisor, Office of Strategic Innovation and Policy, Presenting the Region of Peel MP/ MPP Winter 2011 Advocacy Update
That the MP/MPP Winter 2011 Advocacy Update be endorsed.
Councillor Moore complimented staff for producing a high quality document and asked if the Advocacy Update is distributed to a broad audience.
Lowell Rubin-Vaughan, Intergovernmental Relations Advisor, responded that the Advocacy Update is distributed to local Members of Parliament (MPs), Members of Provincial Parliament (MPPs) and their staff, as well as to any elected officials pictured in the document.
Councillor Moore suggested that an inventory of local MP and MPP photos be maintained for inclusion in future Advocacy Updates.
Councillor Sanderson suggested that the Advocacy Update include reference to delays experienced by police officers at hospitals, in addition to the issue of paramedic offload delays, noting that the police budget significantly impacts the Region.
Lowell Rubin-Vaughan undertook to determine if Regional Council has previously endorsed a position regarding police delays at hospitals.
a) 2011 Government Relations Opportunities and Strategies
That the Government Relations Opportunities and Strategies identified in the report of the Chief Administrative Officer, dated February 1, 2011 titled, “2011 Government Relations Opportunities and Strategies,” be amended to include strategies for engaging local media and community agencies;
And further, that the Government Relations Opportunities and Strategies identified in the subject report be approved, as amended;
And further, that Public Policy staff within the Office of Strategic Innovation and Policy provide regular updates to the Intergovernmental Relations Advisory Committee and Regional Council, when appropriate, on the progress of the initiatives outlined in the subject report.
Councillor Tovey stated that in his experience, face to face meetings at Queen’s Park are more effective than written communications. He suggested that the Region of Peel consider hosting a “Peel Day” at Queen’s Park, noting that such events provide excellent networking opportunities and that Councillors in attendance at the legislature are recognized.
David Arbuckle, Manager, Public Policy, undertook to investigate the feasibility of incorporating a “Peel Day” at Queen’s Park within the election strategy. He noted that including local businesses and Boards of Trade and Chambers of Commerce would help defray the cost to the Region for hosting such an event.
Councillor Tovey inquired if the Intergovernmental Relations Advisory Committee had considered developing policy positions related to heritage and culture.
R. Kent Gillespie, Commissioner of Employee and Business Services, responded that staff will be reporting to Regional Council later in the year with an update on the Heritage program, noting that the program has been re-vamped to be more relevant to the Peel community. He stated that the renovated Heritage Complex facility will enable the achievement of goals related to community cohesion and the Region’s Diversity Strategy.
Councillor Tovey inquired if advocacy positions have been developed related to the restrictions on utilizing waste as a resource, noting that in Sweden, fertilizer pellets are produced from waste. He stated that Canada has the technology to produce fertilizer pellets from waste however, the product cannot be sold in Canada due to legislation.
David Arbuckle advised that advocacy efforts in this area have focused on conflicting legislation, and undertook to meet with Councillor Tovey and the Commissioner of Public Works to discuss the issue further.
Councillor Moore suggested that there may be merit in aggressively pursuing grant opportunities that may be available through the provincial and federal governments that could be applied to the Heritage program.
R. Kent Gillespie responded that the Region has an aggressive grant writing system that ensures applications are submitted for any grants related to heritage and museum programs.
Councillor Moore encouraged the investigation of grant opportunities in the areas of Health and Children’s Services.
Councillor Saito questioned the value of a “Meet the New Council Networking Event”, given the amount of time spent planning such an event and the related costs. She suggested that there would be more value if the event were held just prior to an election with all local candidates invited to attend, as well as local Boards of Trade, Chambers of Commerce and other key partners.
Councillor Saito requested clarification with respect to “Ottawa Day” and the number of Councillors who may attend.
David Arbuckle stated that, similar to the Committee’s work at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) Annual Conference, meetings with MPs would be scheduled in advance, and staff will provide briefing notes to Councillors attending the event.
Councillor Saito noted that Peel’s submission to the federal and provincial governments was sent at the end of January, 2011 and suggested that Regional Councillors should have been notified at the time of submission so that they could be prepared to respond to inquiries they may receive related to the submission.
Councillor Saito noted that the advocacy opportunities contained within the report do not include networking opportunities with organizations that we are advocating for and suggested that representatives be invited to Committee meetings to provide updates. Councillor Saito requested that the 2011 Government Relations Opportunities and Strategies be amended to include strategies for meeting with community agencies.
Councillor Thompson noted that previous efforts to invite agencies to meetings of the Intergovernmental Relations Advisory Committee (IRAC) were impacted by difficulties in achieving quorum.
Councillor Saito suggested that four or five Committee members could meet with agencies and report back to the IRAC.
Councillor Miles suggested that Regional Council’s Strategic Planning process will help identify areas where advocacy efforts should be focused.
Councillor Miles noted that Mayor Fennell’s work with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities has attracted over half a billion dollars in grants and funding for Brampton and that aligning Peel’s priority issues with those of other jurisdictions would strengthen the messages to be conveyed to other levels of government. She further suggested that Peel’s voice should be at the forefront of advocacy efforts calling for a National Housing Strategy. Councillor Miles also highlighted policing and water and wastewater matters as priorities of FCM.
Councillor Miles stated that Fair Share for Peel has been trying to affect change in Peel’s human services funding levels for over 20 years and that Peel should consider taking on a leadership role with the group as it is the Region’s mandate to provide human services.
Councillor Miles acknowledged the strength and energy of Peel’s three area municipal Mayors, stating that their combined commitment to fighting poverty in Peel would positively influence other levels of government.
Councillor Miles suggested engaging local media to become a partner in painting the portrait of Peel today by providing them with stories, statistics and contacts for a series of articles to be published up to the provincial election that would help residents understand the challenges facing the community.
Councillor Thompson noted that in previous meetings with Cabinet Ministers and Ministry staff, the term “fair share” was understood and that there is a willingness to move forward. There is a lot of interest in the “Families First” report, however its release has been delayed.
Councillor Thompson suggested that utilizing social media to engage youth in advocacy efforts could be beneficial.
David Arbuckle advised that staff will be reporting to a future meeting of IRAC with a provincial election strategy that proposes engagement and leadership strategies, including incorporating social media tactics.
David Szwarc, Chief Administrative Officer, stated that staff would be reporting to the March 10, 2011 Regional Council meeting with suggestions for engaging the public in the Strategic Plan process and that exercise will assist in educating the public about issues facing Peel.
Councillor Moore noted that conferences held by community agencies generally attract a large number of the Committee’s target audience and consideration should be given to participating in such events to mobilize attendees to take Peel’s message to decision making bodies.
Councillor Foley cautioned that utilizing social media to communicate Peel’s issues would require some demographic expertise as parents of young children, who are most affected by funding inequities, do not likely spend a lot of time on social media.
b) 2011 Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) and Ontario Good Roads Association (OGRA) Combined Annual Conference
Lowell Rubin-Vaughan, Intergovernmental Relations Advisor, stated that staff are preparing briefing notes for members attending the Rural Ontario Municipal Conference (ROMA)/Ontario Goods Roads Association (OGRA) Combined Annual Conference and undertook to advice IRAC members of confirmed meeting times with Ministries.
David Szwarc, Chief Administrative Officer, noted that in order to participate in meetings with Ministries, full conference registration is required.
6 . GOVERNMENT RELATIONS STATUS REPORT AND CURRENT ACTIVITIES
Discussion led by Lowell Rubin, Intergovernmental Relations Advisor, Office of Strategic Innovation and Policy
a) Federal News
b) Provincial News
c) Local News
Councillor Miles inquired if there is opportunity for Peel to participate in the Social Assistance Review being undertaken by the Ministry of Community and Social Services.
Janet Menard, Commissioner of Human Services, advised that the review is in its early stages and that the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) is advocating for broader representation.
David Arbuckle advised that staff will be meeting with the Minister of Community and Social Services and will be asking how Peel can assist in the Social Assistance Review.
In accordance with previous Committee direction, a copy of the Government Relations Status Report and Current Activities presentation will be distributed to all Members of Regional Council with the Committee Minutes.
7. COMMUNICATIONS - Nil
8.IN CAMERA MATTERS – Nil
9. Other Business or Current Issues to be Discussed - Nil
10. NEXT MEETING
The next meeting of the Intergovernmental Relations Advisory Committee is scheduled for April 7, 2011 at 11:00 a.m. in the Council Chamber, 5 th floor, Regional Administrative Headquarters, Suite A, 10, Peel Centre Drive, Brampton, ON.
Please forward regrets to Christine Thomson, Committee Clerk, (905) 791-7800, ext. 4582 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The meeting adjourned at 12:32 a.m.