AMCTO Municipal Minute
May. 22, 2013

Rob Ford faces more calls to address crack allegations
CBC News
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford remained silent about allegations he was filmed smoking what appeared to be crack cocaine, even amid mounting pressure from councillors to make a proper statement on the allegation. Although the mayor spoke in council chambers, delivering his most lengthy public speech since the allegations arose recently, his remarks had nothing to do with his reaction to the purported video.More

Privacy commission: Sudbury city's disciplinary action not protected
Northern Life
There is nothing in provincial privacy legislation that prevents the city from saying publicly what disciplinary action has been taken in connection with the Sudbury Transit ticket scandal, Northern Life has learned. In a recent email, Dr. Ann Cavoukian, Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, said the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act does not apply to information about employment related matters, "which would include disciplinary measures that have been taken against individual employees." More

7 provincial parks closed due to Ontario MNR budget cuts
CBC News
Budget cuts have forced seven Ontario provincial parks to remain closed as the 2013 camping season begins. For example, near Sioux Narrows-Nestor Falls, campers looking for a site at Caliper Lake Provincial Park were out of luck. The park is one the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources chose to close. Bill Thompson, the town's mayor, said his community depends on tourism.More

Horwath to decide whether to back Ontario Liberal budget
CBC News
Ontario voters may get some indication soon from NDP Leader Andrea Horwath on whether the province is headed for a spring election. Horwath will hold a news conference, where she's expected to say if Premier Kathleen Wynne's response to her list of post-budget demands is enough to ensure the spending plan is passed.More

Ontario plans to extend Highway 427
Premier Kathleen Wynne visited Conair/Cuisinart Consumer Products in Vaughan recently, where she announced the government's commitment to extend Highway 427 to Major Mackenzie Drive, connecting communities and supporting thousands of jobs throughout York Region. The 6.6 kilometre extension is included in the 2013 Budget. It is part of the government's commitment to make smart infrastructure investments across the province. This extension would help create jobs and strengthen the economy by helping goods and people to move more efficiently. More

Hidden camera catches abuse at Peterborough seniors facility
CBC News
The Ontario government and police are investigating a long-term care facility after a hidden video camera captured an elderly woman with dementia being abused by her caregivers. Camille Parent first became concerned last year when his 85-year-old mother, who lives at St. Joseph's at Fleming in Peterborough, ON, appeared with scratches and bruises.More

Ontario school boards: Teacher hiring rules will cause havoc
Toronto Star
Ontario's education ministry has quietly amended a controversial regulation around hiring teachers — changes that force school boards to interview all qualified applicants for long-term supply jobs, not just the ones they want to. The Peel District School Board estimates it will have to conduct more than 3,000 meetings alone for supply jobs, when staff would normally speak to about 400 candidates. More

Do high occupancy toll lanes really help congestion?
Toronto Star
Premier Kathleen Wynne is committed to giving them a try. But the Ontario NDP says high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes are a boondoggle in the making.The revenue they produce doesn't justify the expense of building them, according to NDP transportation critic Rosario Marchese. But experts say that their ability to manage congestion can be worth the investment, given the productivity that traffic is sucking out of the area's economy.More

Tough garage sale rules suck joy out of bargain-hunting
Toronto Star
Thou shalt not sell unwanted household goods without a permit. Thou shalt not advertise said sale on yonder hydro pole. And thou certainly shall not make it a regular gig. So proclaimeth the town council of Brighton — about 150 km east of Toronto — where the newly minted 10 commandments of garage sales have riled residents who complain the draconian rules are sucking the fun out of a popular pastime.More

Ontario ruling sheds light on massive scam targeting law firms
Law Times
Details of an international scam targeting law firms in Canada and the United States that bilked them of an estimated $70 million are slowly emerging in court actions on both sides of the border. More

Chemotherapy scandal: Ontario College of Pharmacists to amend bylaws on drug mixing
Toronto Star
A startling oversight gap that for decades has allowed drug-mixing companies to escape government inspections and public accountability is closing. Nearly six weeks after more than 1,200 cancer patients learned they received diluted intravenous chemotherapy drugs that may have compromised their recovery, the Ontario College of Pharmacists convened an emergency meeting recently to amend its bylaws.More

Ontario food now qualifies as 'local' under federal policy change
Toronto Star
Food produced and sold in Ontario now qualifies as "local," thanks to updated rules from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, which critics say was following outdated policies. The federal agency's original policy said food was only "local" if it was sold 50 kilometres from where it was produced or in the neighbouring municipality. This meant produce like blueberries from Thunder Bay wouldn't qualify as local if sold in Toronto.More

Ontario's new hospital funding plan ambitious
Troy Media
For several decades, the amount of funding that Ontario's hospitals receive each year has been based more or less on the funding they received the previous year, regardless of their patients or their performance. But over the next three years, the government plans to begin partially funding hospitals based on the number of patients they treat and the quality of care they provide. It's an ambitious plan that could fall flat or set a new global benchmark.More