Peel Region chairperson Frank Dale and his team were busy at this year’s Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) conference, held in Ottawa from August 13 to 16. Eight meetings were scheduled with provincial ministers and party leaders to stress the need to address key issues such as gridlock, climate change and affordable housing.
“The 2017 Association of Municipalities Conference was quite productive for the Region of Peel,” said Dale. “Regional council believes that having strong relationships with our provincial partners is vital to building a stronger Peel. This conference represents an important opportunity to build those relationships and ensure the needs of Peel’s residents and businesses are front and centre with provincial decision makers.”
In a meeting with Helena Jaczek, Minister of Community and Social Services, region officials advocated for an integrated Ontario Works service delivery model.
As Peel grows from the current 1.4 million people to almost two million by 2041, Ontario Works caseloads are trending upward. On an average monthly basis, there were 18,574 Ontario Works cases in 2016, up from 18,103 cases in 2015 with one-third of the cases in the region being sole-support parents.
The region maintains that a more unified model would allow for integrated support for single-support families, similar to Peel’s ‘Families First’ program, which is designed to help address the complex needs of single parents by providing services through a collaborative partnership including Peel public health, Peel children’s services and Ontario Works.
According to the region’s briefing notes, released before the conference began, “While Ontario Works provides funds for basic needs, people often need help that goes beyond financial assistance. The Families First program has shown to be effective in addressing multiple barriers of single-parent families and helps them exit Ontario Works assistance more quickly. This supports both the Region of Peel’s and the province’s goal to reduce poverty.”
Regional councillors also asked their upper-tier counterparts to take action on providing more predictable and sustainable funding for water/wastewater infrastructure and exploring potential partnership opportunities to benefit the long-term care sector.
In the photo, Caledon Mayor Allan Thompson (left) and Mississauga Councillor Jim Tovey (right) meet with Minister of Municipal Affairs, Bill Mauro.