Ontario hosted the annual meeting of Ministers responsible for local government, in Ottawa this week, providing a platform for discussions on shared priorities and the promotion of strong communities across Canada.
The Hon. Steve Clark, Ontario's Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, who chaired the Provincial-Territorial Table of Ministers Responsible for Local Government from 2022 to 2023, emphasized the value of the gathering. In a press release issued after the meeting, Minister Clark stated, "This was an excellent opportunity for us to learn from each other, reflect on our experiences, and discuss best practices which will allow provinces and territories to advance key shared priorities, including increased housing supply."
While the majority of provinces and territories were present at the meeting, Alberta was unable to take an active role due to the transitional period following its recent election. However, Alberta was represented as an observer.
We reached out to Alberta Municipal Affairs for a comment on the conference attendees, but no response was received at the time of publication.
The discussions during the meeting centered around several crucial areas, including local governance, climate change adaptation planning, associated local infrastructure, increasing housing supply, and enhancing local services to accommodate growth.
The Honorable Ahmed Hussen, Canada's Federal Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion, was invited to participate in a portion of the meeting by the provincial and territorial ministers. This joint engagement signified the shared commitment of all levels of government to address municipal challenges and work towards a common goal.
During the gathering, the provincial and territorial ministers, alongside the federal minister, reiterated their support for the shared Principles Underlying Federal Government Initiatives Regarding Municipalities. They emphasized the importance of predictable federal infrastructure funding as a key factor in empowering local governments.
Minister Clark expressed the dedication of provincial and territorial governments to advocate for their local partners and collaborate with the federal government to ensure the availability of necessary resources and tools to overcome challenges. "Provincial and territorial governments will continue to advocate on behalf of our local partners and work with the federal government to ensure we have the necessary resources and tools required to overcome any challenges," he affirmed.
Looking ahead, the next Provincial and Territorial Ministers meeting is scheduled for June 2024 and will be hosted by the Honorable Krista Lynn Howell, Newfoundland and Labrador's Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs. Minister Howell eagerly anticipated the event, stating, "I look forward to welcoming colleagues to our province in June 2024 to discuss current and emerging priorities and our shared work to build strong, sustainable communities."