A delegation of local politicians and staff, representing Bruce County, recently attended the Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) Conference held in Toronto from January 21st – Tuesday, January 23rd.
The delegation was there to advocate for local needs given that the 2024 conference theme, ‘Closer to Home’, spoke directly to the needs for services locally.
Bruce County Warden Chris Peabody and Deputy Warden Luke Charbonneau made delegations to several provincial leaders.
- Minister Todd Smith (Energy) on the need to engage host communities on nuclear infrastructure projects.
- Parliamentary Secretary Nolan Quinn (Children, Community and Social Services) on better integrating Ontario Works and Employment Ontario to create positive outcomes for clients.
- Parliamentary Secretary John Jordan (Long-Term Care) on the need for investment in direct care within our long-term care homes rather than a focus on enforcement.
- Parliamentary Secretary Robin Martin (Health) on expanding our community para-medicine program to support those needing mental health and addiction care.
“ROMA’s annual conference is an invaluable venue for Bruce County and our local municipalities. It presents a forum to address the unique needs faced by our communities,” said Warden Chris Peabody. “These delegations start vital conversations with our provincial counterparts on the needs of Bruce County.”
In addition, Bruce County solutions were profiled for the province in three panel discussions:
- CAO Christine MacDonald talked about the leadership role municipalities play in poverty reduction and food security, profiling the work of Bruce County with the local Poverty Reduction Task Force.
- Commissioner of Community Development, Claire Dodds, profiled the work of Bruce County on its housing affordability toolkit and the focus of the Community Development Office on housing affordability.
- Director of Planning Jack Van Dorp shared the County’s work in engaging Indigenous communities in the planning process as part of the commitment to reconciliation.
More than 1,600 participants from as many as 300 municipalities, as well as organizations across Ontario, participated in the 2024 Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) Annual Conference.
Approximately 270 of Ontario’s 440 municipalities have populations of less than 10,000. ROMA, the rural arm of AMO (Association of Municipalities of Ontario) “advocates for policies and programs that will help build thriving rural Ontario communities”.
One of the key reports coming out of ROMA is that rural communities are being disproportionately impacted by Ontario’s healthcare crisis.
In the report, it points out that “… rural communities face a number of challenges, including lack of primary care providers and mental health resources, frequent emergency department closures, and acute shortages in health care workers and recruitment. Additionally, travel time for rural Ontarians to access these services is significant.”
To read more about ROMA and the roles that it plays, CLICK HERE