Column: January 29 2018

Rural Ontario Municipal Association

As I am the City of Ottawa’s representative on the Board of the Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA), I joined more than 1,000 rural municipal officials from across the province at the 2018 ROMA Conference in Toronto from January 21 to 23.

The conference is a key opportunity for rural officials to raise local priorities with the provincial government, foster partnerships and learn about new opportunities. Funding municipal services and infrastructure continues to be a recurring theme.

Municipal governments face an estimated funding gap of $4.9 billion annually for the next ten years, just to maintain current services and address infrastructure needs. Municipal governments and property taxpayers need to see a plan that helps reduce this gap in a meaningful way. The conference was an opportunity for local leaders to press all three parties for solutions.
Key highlights of the ROMA conference included:

  • Speeches by all three party leaders, as well as a number of Ministers
  • Ministers’ forum where over 20 ministers and Premier answered questions of concern from delegates
  • Sessions on matters such as rural broadband, natural gas and autonomous vehicles
  • Critical challenges like rural schools and health care access
  • The impacts on local services of cannabis legalization
  • More than 300 municipal delegation meetings with provincial and federal ministries

Conference news releases, fact sheets and presentations from key speakers are posted on ROMA’s website at

Have your say on the Vehicle-for-Hire Accessibility Fund

The City of Ottawa is asking residents to weigh-in on how to spend more than $450,000 in the Vehicle-for-Hire Accessibility Fund (VFH). Residents can have their say by completing an online survey or by attending a public consultation session at City Hall. The questionnaire is on until February 16.

You have until Friday, February 2 to register online to attend the public consultation session at City Hall taking place on Friday, February 16. (Registration has closed for an earlier session at City Hall taking place on Tuesday, January 30).

The VFH Accessibility Fund aims to address the reality that many private transportation companies, such as Uber, cannot currently accommodate persons who use mobility devices including power wheelchairs and scooters.