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Municipal politicians rang up $195,000 travel tab last year
The Waterloo Region Record
In his 13 years at the Region of Waterloo, Councillor Jim Wideman has only spent $583.01 in taxpayer cash on travel. That was in 2007 to attend a one-day waste management conference in Mississauga. By comparison, Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo and regional councillors spent a total of $195,000 in 2012 to attend conferences, meetings and other events, according to a Record analysis of annual expense reports. That's the most spent in the past four years.
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Study: Ottawa taking Ontario for $11 billion a year
National Post
Outdated policies that cause Ontario to turn over roughly $11 billion more to the federal government each year than it receives in return are placing an unfair strain on the province, a public policy think tank said in a report. The study by the University of Toronto's Mowat Centre points to what it calls the province's "fiscal gap," which it blames almost entirely on "inequities in federal spending." It says Ontario continues to contribute a disproportionate amount to federal coffers, even though it's no longer wealthier than the average province.
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Tolls, taxes and the future of Ontario's roads
Canada Free Press
Premier Kathleen Wynne is flirting with the idea of raising taxes in Ontario. Specifically, she is floating the idea of different "revenue tools" to finance both upgrades to existing infrastructure as well as Metrolinx's proposed $50 billion transit expansion plan in the GTA. Instead of just committing to one "revenue tool," the premier is planning to impose a combination of taxes, tolls, and fees — while hoping the impact is so small that Ontario taxpayers won't notice.
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PRODUCT SHOWCASE
  Scytl Canada Modernizes Elections

Scytl Canada, renowned for pioneering internet voting nationally, is evolving to better serve the needs of elections officials. Scytl expands its suite of election modernization tools, providing voters with greater access to information about elections, polling places, and so much more. These solutions have been deployed worldwide in over 1400 jurisdictions.
 


Traditional Chinese medicine to be regulated in Ontario, registration needed
Calgary Herald
Patients receiving acupuncture, herbal remedies or other forms of traditional Chinese medicine in Ontario will soon gain some reassurance that those treating them are qualified to do so. The passing of the Traditional Chinese Medicine Act in 2006 created the self-regulatory body which will now demand that every practitioner register with the college after passing a series of tests or displaying that they have equivalent experience after having seen at least 2,000 patients in the last five years.
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City access-to-information requests continue to rise
Ottawa Citizen
The number of requests made to the city under access-to-information legislation continued to go up last year, says a staff report. The city received 855 requests for general records last year under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, up from 680 in 2011 and 576 in 2010. Staff in the office that handles the requests also reviewed and released more pages of records, says the report to council's finance and economic development committee.
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Ontario's 'sunshine list' of high wage-earners grew 11 per cent in 2012
Toronto Star
Ontario's top-earning public servant took a pay cut last year — to $1.7 million. Thousands of other public sector workers, including Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair and TVO anchor and producer Steve Paikin, saw their compensation rise despite the minority Liberal administration's push for voluntary pay freezes as the province fights an $11.9 billion deficit.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Police Chief Bill Blair reads the riot act to rank-and-file police officers (The Globe and Mail)
Rural municipalities fight wind farms with high fees (Toronto Star)
Cities get another round of infrastructure money (CBC News)


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Mississauga and Brampton crack down on unlicensed driving schools
Toronto Star
Driving schools in Brampton and Mississauga are being put on notice that they won't be allowed to operate if they don't follow provincial rules. The crackdown follows a Star investigation that found dozens of GTA driving schools are teaching new drivers without being licensed by the province to do so. Brampton, which is currently conducting license renewals for all municipal businesses, will now require driving schools to provide proof that they are approved by the province to teach the beginner driver education course.
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PRODUCT SHOWCASE
  Foster the New Economy in Your Community

The event, hosted in Toronto on March 26th and 27th, 2013, is designed for municipalities, including Councillors, Economic Development Officers, and other stakeholders involved in cultivating the creative economy. Attract entrepreneurs and investments; Improve quality of life; Strengthen economic competitiveness. Enter VIP Code AMC15 and save 15% when registering online.
 


Ontario announces tuition fees compromise
The Varsity
The Ontario government released a revised tuition framework recently, setting new guidelines on how much universities can raise annual tuition rates. For the next four years, colleges and universities in Ontario may increase tuition by three per cent each year (one per cent more than inflation), down from five per cent under the previous framework. The provincial government also hinted it would potentially act against controversial flat or 'program' fee structures, such as those implemented at the University of Toronto.
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Ontario high school teachers reach deal with province
CBC News
Ontario secondary school teachers have reached a deal in principle with the provincial government after a long labour dispute that resulted in contracts being imposed by the government on public school teachers earlier this year. "The government and [Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation] have been able to resolve implementation concerns identified in a number of areas including: sick leave, maternity leave, retirement gratuity, unpaid days, and local bargaining," said Education Minister Liz Sandals in a statement.
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Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion faces conflict of interest hearing
Toronto Star
For the second time in her lengthy career, Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion faces the possibility of being removed from office. The application being heard by the Ontario Superior Court alleges McCallion moved amendments and voted on development charge issues at the Region of Peel that stood to save her son's company, World Class Developments, $11 million.
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A sneak peek at Metrolinx's short list of 'revenue tools' for expanded transit
Toronto Star
The rubber hits the road on transit funding as Metrolinx releases a short-list of tools it favours to pay for a massive expansion of the Toronto region's long-neglected transportation system — possibly including such inventive ideas as an employer payroll tax or even GPS-tracked mileage fees. The list provides the clearest picture yet of how residents and corporations will dig into their pockets to fund a war on the traffic congestion that's sapping the region's prosperity.
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City fails to meet public transit targets, looks at restructuring system
CBC News
Hamilton has failed to meet targets set by council and staff to improve public transit ridership and reduce reliance on cars in the city, officials say. Now, major policy changes and investment are needed so the city can avoid what the transit director calls a "crisis situation" for traffic and transportation in Hamilton.
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Ontario budget 2013: Liberals hope to avoid election by reaching deal with opposition before budget day
Toronto Star
Finance Minister Charles Sousa hopes to have a budget deal in place with the opposition to avert an election before he introduces the minority Liberals' spending plan. In contrast to last year, Sousa and Premier Kathleen Wynne are conducting negotiations on the provincial budget prior to it being tabled not after.

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Election robocalls need new regulations, panel advises
CBC News
A report for Elections Canada obtained exclusively by CBC News calls for new laws to crack down on federal political parties making misleading and fraudulent phone calls to voters during election campaigns. The report comes on the heels of news stories that Elections Canada is recommending charges be laid in connection with automated phone calls — so-called robocalls — to voters in Guelph, ON, on election day 2011, deliberately directing them to wrong polling stations.

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Peterborough's nuclear industry aims for new deals in the U.K.
The Peterborough Examiner
Two members of the Greater Peterborough Area Economic Development Corporation are heading to England next week to generate interest in the city's nuclear industry. Dan Taylor, GPAEDC president, crosses the pond recently with Danielle Deal, who works in investment attraction and job creation for the organization.

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Why Scugog firefighters earn more than those in Toronto
Toronto Star
What four words strike fear in the hearts of many municipality budget planners and councilors? Essential. Services. Arbitration. Awards. When municipalities are unable to negotiate contracts with fire, police and paramedic unions — essential-services workers, who are not allowed to strike — the task goes to a conciliator, then an arbitrator. This can lead to settlements like the recent one in Scugog, which gave first-class firefighters a 26.7 per cent pay hike, bringing their salary to $80,440 — higher than their Toronto counterparts, who earn $78,741.
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 AMCTO Legislative Updates

On March 28, the "Public Sector Capacity to Pay Act" was introduced by MPP Jim Wilson. Click here to read more.
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 Municipal Career Opportunities

Municipality of Port Hope - Director of Finance

Norfolk County - Manager Human Resources and Staff Development

Niagara Region - Director of Administration

Township of Amaranth - Deputy Treasurer

County of Brant - Director of Planning




 Upcoming Municipal Events

Date Event Location
April 14-16 Ontario Municipal Taxation and Revenue Association (OMTRA) Spring Training Workshop Collingwood
April 14-17 Ontario Business Improvement Area Association (OBIAA) National Conference Toronto
April 16-19 Parks and Recreation Ontario (PRO) Forum Collingwood
April 24-26 Ontario Municipal Human Resources Association (OMHRA) Spring Workshop Kingston
April 19 AMCTO Clerks Forum Vaughan
April 24-26 NOMA Conference Thunder Bay
May 10 AMCTO Municipal Leaders Forum Mississauga
May 15 AMCTO Licensing & Law Enforcement Forum Brampton
June 9 - June 12 AMCTO 75th Annual Conference (Registration now OPEN) Blue Mountain Resort, The Town of The Blue Mountains, ON




 
The Municipal Minute
Frank Humada, Director of Publishing, 289.695.5422
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Joanne Lam, Content Editor, 289.695.5474   
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