ROMA Conference identifier

ROMA: Connecting Rural Ontario will provide a robust two-day program that addresses topical and important issues facing rural municipalities. To help you plan your participation, below is a program outline of the topics that will be explored.

Sunday, January 24 

5:00 – 6:00 PM   Zone Networking Meetings

Monday, January 25                             

7:30 AM Visit Exhibitor Booths
8:00 AM Welcome
8:10 AM Opening Keynote: Chantal Hébert  
8:50 AM ROMA Update and AGM 
Allan Thompson, Chair, ROMA
Afshin Majidi, Secretary Treasurer, ROMA
9:10 AM Wellbeing as a Foundation for Recovery in Rural Ontario 
Elizabeth McIsaac, President, Maytree
9:30 AM Visit Exhibitor Booths  
10:00 AM The Hon. Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario
10:15 AM Graydon Smith, AMO President 
10:30 AM Andrea Horwath, Leader of the Official Opposition and NDP 
10:45 AM The Hon. Christine Elliott, Minister of Health - COVID-19 Update 
11:00 AM Ministers’ Forum:
Supporting Vibrant Rural Communities with Health, Social Services, and Human Capital
This discussion will focus on the necessary health and other resources to continue protecting people and families, including the delivery of critical programs, and other supports for people impacted by the virus.
  Participating Ministers:
  Doug Downey, Attorney General
  Christine Elliott, Minister of Health and Deputy Premier
  Sylvia Jones, Solicitor General
  Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education
  Raymond Cho, Minister for Seniors and Accessibility
  Jill Dunlop, Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues
  Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care
  Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development
  Ross Romano, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities
  Todd Smith, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services
  Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions
11:45 AM Lunch Break and Networking
  • Visit Exhibitor Booths
  • Networking Opportunities:
    • MPAC: Discover MPAC’s new Municipal Connect!
    • NWMO
12:30-1:45 PM     Concurrent Session A
  Come Hell or High Water: Actions to Mitigate Flooding
The purpose of this session is to offer participants practical examples of actions being taken to better prepare for flooding. Hear how Ottawa is looking to improve infrastructure as well as better cross jurisdictional communications to help reduce flood emergencies. MNRF will outline their flood strategy and how it can help hazard avoidance and preparedness. Participants will also hear about the recent work in Chatham-Kent that identified the science driving shoreline erosion, public process and resulting policies to deal with rising Lake Erie water levels.

Getting Connected: Practical Steps Communities Can Take to Close the Digital Divide
In the 21st century, connectivity is a necessity, not a luxury. Municipal governments do not have a mandated role in telecommunications but are facing increasing pressure to find ways to bring connectivity to their communities. Join us as we talk about the tools and resources that municipal governments can employ – if councils so choose – to build better connectivity outcomes.

  • Co-Sponsored by: The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) & the Centre of Excellence in Next Generation Networks (CENGN)

2:00-3:15 PM  

Concurrent Session B

Now What? An Open Conversation on Community Safety and Well-Being Plans 
Now more than ever municipal governments have been called on to support the health, wellbeing and safety of their communities. The pandemic has heightened awareness and coordination needed for Community Safety and Well-Being Plans to effectively address a range of community issues. In this session, learn how communities across Ontario are completing their plans, tackling implementation, and how these plans can be a living document for improved services coordination. 
Rural Digital Transformation: Scalable Solutions for Municipalities 
During the pandemic, many municipalities would prefer to simply ‘CTRL-ALT-DELETE’ their problems. During this session, several rural municipalities will share how they are overcoming the challenges that the pandemic has revealed or exacerbated. Scalable digital solutions designed for rural municipalities are available and will help you move along the path towards more efficiency and effectiveness while ensuring municipal business continuity during the current global crisis.  

How Communities and Industry Can Better Work Together to Build Connectivity
Bringing improved broadband connectivity in rural communities is top of mind for all elected officials. Municipal governments know there is a digital divide, with many leading the charge to find local solutions, both in the short- and long-term. Solutions must involve working with the technology companies themselves. Join us as we discuss some connectivity solutions that already exist in Ontario, and how communities and industry can better work together.

  • Session Brought to you by: Telesat, Hydro One & Cradlepoint Technologies
3:15 PM Exhibitor Booths

Tuesday, January 26 

7:30 AM Visit Exhibitor Booths
8:00 AM MPP Stephen Blais, Ontario Liberal Party
8:15 AM Michael J. Smither Question Box Panel 
9:00 AM The Hon. Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
9:15 AM Mike Schreiner, Leader, Green Party of Ontario 
9:30 - 9:45 AM Break 
10:00 AM The Hon. Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development  
10:30 AM The Hon. Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing
10:45 AM Ministers’ Forum:
Rural Economic Resilience, Infrastructure and Resource Development
This discussion will focus on solutions to respond to the serious economic impacts of COVID-19, including critical programs and tax measures to support individuals and job creators to lay the groundwork for a robust long-term economic recovery for the province.
Participating Ministers
Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Peter Bethlenfalvy, President of the Treasury Board and Minister of Finance
Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade
Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries
Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation and Minister of Francophone Affairs
Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, and Minister of Indigenous Affairs
Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Businesses and for Red Tape Reduction
Laurie Scott, Minister of Infrastructure
Lisa Thompson, Minister of Government and Consumer Services
Bill Walker, Associate Minister of Energy
John Yakabuski, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry
Jeff Yurek, Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks
11:30 AM Lunch Break and Networking
  • Visit Exhibitor Booths
  • Networking Opportunity: OMA: The latest on COVID-19 vaccines and roll-out, and the pandemic’s effects on rural health care
12:30-1:45 PM Concurrent Session A 

The Pathway to Full Producer Responsibility of the Blue Box
For years, municipal governments have advocated for the Blue Box program to transition the management of packaging and products to those who make them, producers. The Province has listened, and the regulation for the Blue Box is being finalized (TBC January 2021) Discussions on how producers will deliver this service and what if any role your municipality will have are going to occur.  Come learn from experts in the field about what decisions your Councils need to consider, and by when.

Governing New OPP Detachments Boards 
The Community Safety and Policing Act, 2019 prescribes a new OPP detachment board framework in order to provide each municipality and First Nation receiving OPP policing services with greater civilian governance.  This session will discuss the regulations around reconstituted OPP detachments boards by discussing local considerations around the size, representation, roles and responsibilities for board members, and improving police governance. 
Community Paramedicine in Ontario: Opportunities and Challenges 
Community paramedicine is an effective and innovative way to provide health care services to residents in Ontario’s communities. It helps in rural areas where access to other primary health care services may be lacking. The provincial funding program has morphed from a pilot to ongoing programming in many Ontario municipalities employing various models that meet local need and circumstance. Recently the government announced an expansion to help people on wait lists for long-term care stay in their homes longer.  Overall, there are both opportunities and challenges for community paramedicine in Ontario that will be explored in this session. 
2:00-3:15 PM

Concurrent Session B 

Innovative Care Models and Services for Seniors in Rural Communities
Seniors are the fastest growing age group in Ontario. It is important to understand the living and care options that seniors in rural Ontario have, and to find solutions that enhance the quality of seniors care regardless of where they live. Learn from experts about innovative care models that are possible in your communities.
The High Cost of Inaction – A Municipal Lens on the Cannabis Regime and Designated Production Sites
A growing number of communities are experiencing issues with personal and designated medical cannabis grow-ops. Municipal governments face roadblocks when they are confronted with local change for action around these grow-ops. In particular, rural communities have voiced increasing concern with the need for additional information and controls on growing operations. In this session, hear from municipal representatives about what rural municipalities are facing and what is needed to better protect residents; hear about OPP enforcement and non- enforcement actions that are informing public safety; and hear from Health Canada on how cannabis operations are regulated and steps being taken to improve oversight.

The Science Behind Implicit Bias 
Government-Wide Implicit Bias Awareness’ Training Program applies the modern science of bias to decision-making; it educates training participants on the impact of implicit bias on their perceptions and gives them the skills they need to reduce and manage their biases.  Municipal governments are the primary centres for essential and community services and all our governmental agencies have a responsibility to deliver quality public policy to all community members, fairly and impartially.  This session will help participants understand that even well-intentioned people have biases; explore its impact; and, provide tools to help recognize conscious and implicit biases, and implement behavioural responses. 

*topics are subject to change