AMCTO Municipal Minute
Feb. 25, 2015

Mystery tunnel found near Pan Am Games venue
CBC News
National security officials have been notified that an underground tunnel was discovered near a venue for this summer's Pan Am Games in Toronto, CBC News has learned. The tunnel was dug in the woods near Toronto's Rexall Centre and York University's Keele campus. It was large enough for a person to stand in, at around 2½ metres in height, and was about seven metres long. The tunnel had lights inside, powered by a generator, and the walls and ceiling were reinforced.More

Privacy commissioners issue guidelines for police on body-worn cameras
Toronto Star
It so small it may be imperceptible when attached to an officer's lapel, glasses or hat. But for police forces, the implications of a body-worn camera are immense. The dizzying array of privacy considerations the cameras demand are spelled out in new guidelines released by the federal and provincial information watchdogs — principles experts say will provide police with much-needed direction when using the fast-expanding policing tool.More

Premier Kathleen Wynne stands by her deputy chief of staff after finding of 'apparent contravention' of law
National Post
As the opposition renewed its calls for resignations over the Sudbury byelection bribery allegations, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne is standing by her team and deputy chief of staff. "I will not force someone to resign over allegations I do not believe to be true," Wynne said at a press conference following opposition calls for Pat Sorbara, her deputy chief of staff, to resign and the premier to step aside if charges are laid.More

Toronto students win court challenge over prom breathalyzer test
Toronto Star
In a precedent-setting decision, two Toronto high school students took their principal to court and won the battle against mandatory breath testing at prom. The Northern Secondary School students petitioned the court after their principal, Ron Felsen, demanded compulsory breathalyzer tests at last year's prom.More

Federal government introduces tough new railway standards
Toronto Star
The federal government says it will beef up rail safety inspections, demand higher insurance liability from small carriers and create a disaster relief fund paid for by oil producers — the latest response to 2013's deadly oil-by-rail tragedy in Lac-Mégantic, QC. "With this legislation, any railway or any company that ships crude oil will share in accountability for clean-up and compensation costs in event of an accident," Transport Minister Lisa Raitt announced.More

Council to decide whether to study new Toronto taxes
Toronto Star
In a push to deal with a looming budget crunch, city council will decide whether to study new taxes that could balance the books. But just the idea of a report that would look at those tools — what could include liquor, tobacco and entertainment taxes — has already drawn criticism at city hall, led by Mayor John Tory.More

Mayor John Tory to pitch SmartTrack in Ottawa
Toronto Sun
Mayor John Tory is heading to Ottawa to pitch his SmartTrack plan. Tory will be meeting with opposition leaders and at least one Conservative cabinet minister to sell his transit plan. According to the mayor's office, Tory will be meeting with both NDP leader Thomas Mulcair and Liberal leader Justin Trudeau.More

Everything you need to know about becoming a better listener
Harvard Business Review
"It can be stated, with practically no qualification," Ralph G. Nichols and Leonard A. Stevens write in a 1957 HBR article, "That people in general do not know how to listen. They have ears that hear very well, but seldom have they acquired the necessary aural skills which would allow those ears to be used effectively for what is called listening." In a study of thousands of students and hundreds of businesspeople, they found that most retained only half of what they heard — and this immediately after they'd heard it. Six months later, most people only retained 25 per cent.More

Second Guelph Hackathon and announced
City of Guelph
The City of Guelph, as part of its ongoing commitment to community participation in local government, is launching two initiatives to enhance City services: An Open Guelph Online Hackathon and These initiatives coincide with International Open Data Day. The Online Hackathon is designed for students, local application developers and interested community members to use City data to create innovative mobile and web-based applications and tools for Guelph residents. The tools will help to improve the delivery of transit and solid waste services.More

Patients can sue hospitals for invasion of privacy, appeal court rules in Peterborough case
Durham Region
Patients have the right to sue hospitals over invasions of privacy, the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled recently. The ruling upheld an earlier decision that said the province's health privacy laws do not bar patients from seeking legal action against hospitals if their privacy is breached. More

S&P affirms Windsor's AA credit rating
Our Windsor
Standard & Poor's (S&P) Ratings Services has affirmed its long-term issuer credit and senior unsecured debt ratings for the City of Windsor as "AA," citing the city's "low debt burden, exceptional liquidity, strong budgetary performance, and strong financial management." S&P issued a stable outlook for the city, noting an expectation that, "in the next two years, the city's tax-supported debt burden will continue to decline, liquidity will remain exceptional, and budgetary performance will remain strong."More

U.S. Supreme Court rejects appeal in challenge to 2nd Detroit-Windsor bridge
The Windsor Star
The U.S. Supreme Court has decided it won't intervene in a lawsuit that challenges the selection of a Detroit neighbourhood for a new bridge to Windsor, ON. Neighbourhood groups and the private owners of the Ambassador Bridge — the aging span that currently links Windsor and Detroit — claim the U.S. federal government violated environmental law, among other legal standards.More

Measles virus circulating in Ontario is a variant previously unknown to WHO
The Globe and Mail
The measles outbreak in Canada's largest city was already a minor epidemiological puzzle when scientists discovered something that deepened the mystery. Of the 11 Greater Toronto Area patients diagnosed with the highly contagious illness since the end of January, none are connected to each other in any way that public health staff could discover through interviews with the patients or their parents.More

Are you emotionally intelligent? Here's how to know for sure
The Globe and Mail
When emotional intelligence (EQ) first appeared to the masses, it served as the missing link in a peculiar finding: people with average IQs outperform those with the highest IQs 70 per cent of the time. This anomaly threw a massive wrench into the broadly held assumption that IQ was the sole source of success.More

How leaders should react when someone disappoints
Harvard Business Review
"Why?" the CEO of the hedge fund yelled at one of his portfolio managers. "Why would you increase that investment? What were you thinking?" The portfolio manager muttered a weak defense which the CEO promptly and easily tore to shreds.More

Hate conflict? Just follow these steps
The Globe and Mail
Conflict confounds us. Inevitably, we come away from tense conversations feeling that we might have done better if only we had been less emotional and steadier. But Dana Caspersen, who has a master's degree in conflict studies and combines coaching with her career as a dancer and performer, says that what we need to do is practice 17 simple principles.More

How to break 'the curse of knowledge'
Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw famously wrote, "He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches." But it's often more accurate to say, "He who can do can’t teach." It's natural for novices to seek out experts for guidance. That's why many organizations adopt formal mentorship and training programs. Unfortunately, though, experts frequently make lousy teachers.More

The Agenda on Municipal Matters

Last week, TVO's the Agenda hosted a panel discussion on municipal issues, featuring a discussion about gridlock of the provinces Joint and Several Liability system. AMCTO is still calling for the province to reform Joint and Several Liability, which leaves municipalities across the province disproportionately liable in nuisance lawsuits. You can watch the video, which features representatives from AMO and the City of Hamilton, here.More

New Health and Safety Resources

AMCTO is pleased to be hosting a new section on its website full of health and safety training resources. These resources, which cover a range of topics, including workplace violence and the implications of Bill 18, will be of particular interest to Joint Health and Safety Committees, and those who work in human resources and public safety. Find out more here. More

Bill 8 Q&A

AMCTO has prepared a new Q&A on Bill 8, the MPP Public Sector Accountability and Transparency Act, to give municipalities and municipal staff a better sense of what to expect when the Bill is proclaimed and implemented. The Q&A covers the scope of the Bill, what AMCTO plans to do about it, and how it will affect local meeting investigators and municipal ombudsmen. You can read a copy of the Q&A here. More