January 2017
Backgrounder

About ROMA

The Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) is the most effective and representative voice for rural municipal government in Ontario. Working through the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO), ROMA advocates for provincial policies and programs that support the vitality and long-term prosperity of Ontario’s rural communities.

ROMA’s Board members come from across Ontario and are elected by participants at the annual conference. Several Executive Members of the Board are members of the Rural Caucus on AMO’s Board of Directors, ensuring rural priorities are reflected in AMO policy positions and negotiations.

ROMA Advocacy

Over the past year, ROMA has advocated on a wide range of policy matters:
  • The need for more rural infrastructure funding, including pressing for formula-based approaches that ensure all municipalities can benefit.
  • The sustainability of rural retirement homes, including funding to install sprinkler systems.
  • Expanded rural broadband services.  In 2016, the federal government announced new funding for broadband internet service and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission defined high-speed internet as a basic service for all Canadians.
  • On policing ROMA has pressed for changes to OPP Billing and MPAC assessment of land uses such as recreational trailers, mobile homes, and wind turbines, to ensure rural municipal governments are being charged fairly for the OPP service they receive. To date, we have seen some action at the Province to review the assessment practice of these areas.
  • ROMA brought the rural lens to AMO’s policing modernization task force in 2015 and continues to provide input into AMO’s advocacy on the matter.
  • During the past year, ROMA has participated in numerous provincial reviews and consultations, including: aggregates, conservation authorities, wetlands conservation, wildlife damages, wastewater, rural transit, affordable housing, health care and trails.
  • Other ongoing policy priorities include natural gas expansion, rural economic development and the closure of rural schools.
 

The 2017 ROMA Conference

ROMA is hosting first standalone conference in a number of years, as it aims to shine a spotlight on the pressing challenges and emerging opportunities facing Ontario’s rural communities.

More than 900 participants from rural Ontario municipalities and other organizations will participate in the 2017 ROMA Conference from January 29 to January 31 at Toronto’s Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel.

Highlights

  • Featured presenters include Premier Kathleen Wynne, Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader MPP Patrick Brown, and NDP Rural Affairs Critic, MPP John Manthoff.
  • The Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Jeff Leal and Minister of Municipal Affairs Bill Mauro are also on the program.
  • Another two dozen Ministers and Parliamentary Assistants will take part in an open forum discussion.
  • More than three dozen plenary sessions and workshops will be held during the conference, reflecting the breadth of rural municipal concerns, from energy and property taxes to rural health care and economic development.
  • Municipal staff and officials will take part in nearly 300 delegation meetings with provincial officials.
Follow the conference on Twitter: @ROMA_Ont, Hashtag: #ROMAspeaks