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A Look Ahead to the AMO 2020 Virtual Conference Next Week


Next week the annual Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) conference takes place. This event is always a great opportunity for elected officials and city staff from across the province to come together and discuss issues of shared importance, meet with provincial ministers, and bring local issues to the table. Through keynote speeches, breakout sessions and networking opportunities, there is no shortage of time to learn, explore, and build new relationships.

As I shared last week, I am thrilled to be part of AMO’s Large Urban Caucus board this year for a 2-year term beginning next week. Our first board meeting will take place next Wednesday afternoon and I look forward to collaborating with my new board colleagues and setting some goals for the term ahead.

One of the most valuable part of AMO’s conference is the opportunity to have individual meetings with provincial ministers and members of their teams. We can bring issues specific to Burlington to their attention, and discussions often result in actionable takeaways on both sides.

While normally this event happens in person, this year’s format will be virtual due to ongoing precautions around COVID-19. This presents a few barriers to the usual face-to-face networking moments, but there are also many benefits:

  • Elimination of travel costs (this year’s event was originally scheduled to take place in Ottawa)
  • Additional staff can attend who normally wouldn’t be able to travel due to budget or logistics
  • Minister meetings will now include the opportunity to present digital presentations along with more attendees being present

The learning sessions that are already being professionally filmed (instead of live) will include an interactive element on first viewing in order to facilitate questions and answers with the speakers.  Each session will be recorded so that delegates will be able to access every session being offered, meaning we can watch them at our leisure and take more in without the usual choices we have to make due to scheduling barriers (another great benefit this year). Topics that are expected to be covered this year include COVID-19 Response: Early Lessons from the Municipal Front-Lines, Transforming Long-Term Care in Ontario, Fighting Climate Change by Cutting Food Waste, Building Strong Relationships with Indigenous Communities, the Future of 911, and the Need for Broadband Connectivity in a Pandemic World.

Our minister meetings this year include time with:

  • Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks, the Honourable Jeff Yurek
  • Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Infrastructure, MPP Steve Crawford
  • Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the Honourable Steve Clark
  • Attorney General, the Honourable Doug Downey
  • Parliamentary Assistant to Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, MPP Mike Harris
  • Minister of Transportation, the Honourable Caroline Mulroney

I will also be sitting in on meetings with Halton Region’s leadership team to discuss our shared regional issues with:

  • Minister of Finance, the Honourable Rod Phillips
  • Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the Honourable Steve Clark
  • Minister of Transportation, the Honourable Caroline Mulroney
  • Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, Michael Tibollo
  • Associate Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, MPP Randy Pettapiece

I look forward to providing a full and detailed update after the conference is over and sharing news with you about what we were able to learn, discuss and move forward for our community.




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Marianne Meed Ward

Marianne Meed Ward

A Better Burlington began in 2006 after my neighbours said they felt left out of city decisions, learning about them only after they’d been made. As journalist for 22 years, I thought “I can do something about that” and a website and newsletter were born. They’ve taken various forms and names over the years, but the intent remains: To let you know what’s happening at City Hall before decisions are made, so you can influence outcomes for A Better Burlington. The best decisions are made when elected representatives tap the wisdom of our community members, and welcome many different perspectives.This site allows residents to comment and debate with each other; our Commenting Guidelines established in 2016 aim to keep debate respectful. Got an idea or comment you want to share privately? Please, get in touch:

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