I recently attended the Association of Municipalities Ontario (AMO) conference in Windsor. I joined more than 1,800 participants from municipal, provincial and federal levels of government to work collectively on municipal challenges and plan for the future.
Speakers and delegates included Ontario’s Premier, the Honourable, Kathleen Wynne, the leaders of the opposition and the Minister of Municipal Affairs, Bill Mauro. Session topics included infrastructure funding and planning, innovation and service sharing, climate change, rural economic development and disaster preparedness, and more.
Besides learning, networking and taking away tangible ideas and solutions for the Town of Newmarket to address our infrastructure deficit, I’m pleased to announce I was elected as a representative on the 2016-2018 AMO Board of Directors Regional and Single Tier Caucus.
As a member of the AMO Board of Directors I will work collaboratively with all levels of government to address the urgent need for long-term fiscal sustainability, the need to grow healthy future- focussed job opportunities and prioritize economic development in an emerging digital economy for Newmarket, York Region and Ontario.
Recently in Newmarket we saw a significant $15 million investment announcement by Hon. Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development. This investment is for a Health Ecosphere: An Innovation Pipeline for Commercial Health Solutions—a joint project of Southlake Regional Health Centre, York University and University Health Network’s Centre for Global eHealth Innovation. The funds come from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) and will support Southlake and its partners to develop and commercialize 37 personalized and enterprise health technology solutions over the next three years, and will create or sustain an estimated 128 jobs.
The Government of Canada’s $15 million contribution will be matched by $19.5 million in cash, or in-kind contributions, from private-sector and academic partners, bringing the total investment to $34.5 million.
The Health Ecosphere funding will support the development of health-related technologies, such as a management and information system for in-patients with heart conditions and technology to detect when a person falls in their home. Southlake will also become the third site for the Artemis project, a big data project that can predict life-threatening infections in newborn babies up to a day sooner than we can now. These solutions will lead to better outcomes for patients and reduced health-care costs.
As more funding from the Provincial and Federal governments for municipalities is made available by application and priority, it becomes even more important to communicate our long-term vision and collaborate with our municipal partners. More than I’ve seen in 16 years of politics, governments and community partners are working in collaboration to find innovative solutions to ensure we have the financing in place to deliver the most efficient and effective municipal infrastructure, programs and services.