ROMA Insider - February 2021
Inside this issue:
- Introducing New Roma Chair Robin Jones
- 2021 ROMA Conference Highlights
- Consultation On ROMA Governance and Zones
Introducing New ROMA Chair Robin Jones
At last month’s ROMA 2021 Conference, Westport Mayor Robin Jones was elected as ROMA’s new Chair and will serve a two-year term in the role.
Mayor Jones has been an active member of the ROMA Board since 2018 and is also Chair of the Rural Caucus of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario. Prior to entering political life, she had a 33-year career in policing. She held senior positions with the Waterloo Regional Police, the OPP and retired as Chief of Nishnawbe-Aski Police.
In her address to the Conference, Mayor Jones affirmed the ROMA Board’s commitment to being a strong voice for rural municipalities and advocating for support that meets their unique needs and challenges. Priorities include recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and expanding broadband access.
“ROMA is motivated by the belief that rural communities are critical to the social, cultural and economic fabric of Ontario,” said Mayor Jones. “I’m honoured to serve as ROMA Chair and will continue to advocate for support that meets the unique needs and challenges of Ontario’s rural municipalities.”
2021 ROMA Conference Highlights
Due to the pandemic, ROMA’s annual conference was held entirely online this year.
More than 1,100 people participated in the Conference, which featured almost 300 delegation meetings between municipal councils and provincial cabinet ministers and parliamentary assistants.
Key highlights from the event included:
- Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs, announced the launch of the second intake of the Municipal Modernization Fund – $40 million to help small and rural municipalities with service delivery reviews and modernization efforts.
- Premier Doug Ford announced that the 2021 funding envelope for the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund (OCIF) will remain stable at $200 million.
- Conference delegates took part in two separate question and answer sessions with provincial ministers. Topics included COVID-19 vaccine rollout, Blue Box transition to full producer responsibility, municipal insurance costs and joint and several liability, broadband access, and funding for transportation infrastructure.
- There were more than two dozen speeches, sessions and workshops for delegates to virtually attend.
As well as Robin Jones’ election as new ROMA Chair, Kevin Holland, Mayor of the Township of Conmee, was elected First Vice Chair and Eli El-Chantiry, Councillor, City of Ottawa, elected to continue serving as Second Vice Chair.
Mayor Jones recognized the service of outgoing Chair Mayor Allan Thompson.
“Mayor Thompson has been a passionate advocate on rural matters. During his term as Chair, we have seen the ROMA Conference prosper and our influence grow,” she said.
She also thanked outgoing Vice Chair Chris White, Mayor of the Township of Guelph Eramosa, for his “steady leadership and contribution to ROMA.”
Consultation on ROMA Governance and Zones
One of the ROMA Board’s strategic priorities for 2021 is conducting a governance and zone review to strengthen how ROMA represents rural communities. This will include a survey of rural municipal leaders this summer to learn more about what ROMA is doing well and what it can do better.