Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus releases 2024 to 2027 strategic priorities

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The Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus (EOWC) is made up of 13 member municipalities. Graphic via EOWC website.

The Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus (EOWC), a voluntary body that advocates for 103 small urban and rural municipalities in the eastern Ontario region, has released its strategic priorities for the next three years.

The Caucus announced the 2024 to 2027 strategic priorities on Wednesday, May 29, 2024, explaining that determining three the priorities that will “guide its decision making and advocacy focus” required “collaboration and consolidated feedback among representatives of its member municipalities.” Those three strategic priorities are:

  • Infrastructure investments
  • Housing for all
  • Health care access

Noting that the EOWC is “committed to working with all tiers of government, business operators, and community leaders to ensure people across Eastern Ontario’s small urban and rural communities are equipped to thrive into the future,” the caucus released the following Strategic Plan, outlining the approach they plan to take for each of the priorities.

Infrastructure: The Foundation for Local Prosperity

  • Advocate for continued and necessary investment in provincially and federally owned and controlled infrastructure.
  • Create flexible and adaptive policies to enable our municipalities and the Ontario government to unlock capacity and build innovative infrastructure solutions.
  • Invest in municipal infrastructure that provides predictable, fair, evidence-based funding to allow municipalities to plan and create economic environments that foster growth.
  • Invest in infrastructure that supports an environmentally sustainable economy.

Housing: The Backbone of Thriving and Supportive Communities

  • Continue to advocate for alternative funding to assist eastern Ontario municipalities to plan and develop housing and related infrastructure.
  • Make programming more equitable by advocating for the expansion of the parameters for funding eligibility and allocation across all municipalities.
  • Develop and recommend flexible and adaptive housing policies to enable eastern Ontario municipalities and the Ontario government to build innovative housing solutions.

Health Care: The Engine for Healthy and Resilient Communities

  • Undertake an environmental scan to measure what municipalities are spending directly on health care and to access related trend data and forecasting. This will include integrating a social determinants of health framework into the assessment.
  • Provide evidence-based feedback and data to inform government decisions around long-term care, paramedicine services, public health, and the evolution of Ontario Health Teams. The EOWC will incorporate social determinants of health to map-out impact.
  • Educate the publica nd continue to advocate for adequate and sustainable funding to support the delivery of health care services and to ensure the long-term viability of the health care system

“Reliable infrastructure systems and facilities to foster growth, a range of housing options that are affordable and meet the needs of all people, and access to health care services are critically important to people living, raising families, and building businesses in Eastern Ontario,” EOWC Chair Peter Emon said in a statement.

“This strategic plan is a blueprint for ensuring that we all work together to ensure those needs are met for residents of rural Eastern Ontario, now and into the future.”

Additionally, the EOWC said the caucus will continue to work towards the following:

Strengthening our Organizational Impact: The Value of the EOWC’s Voice

  • Ensure our work is informed by research and an evidence-based approach.
  • Engage in collaborations and partnerships that move the needle on issues impacting eastern Ontario.
  • Communicate strategically and effectively on multiple levels of government and all our key partners and members.
  • Provide effective and strategic leadership and building our organizational strength to ensure our efforts are impactful

The EOWC is a non-profit organization, whose mandates cover an area of 50,000 square kilometres, serving 800,000 residents, according to the caucus, which has served the region for more than 20 years. The caucus is made up of the following 13 member municipalities:

  • Count of Frontenac
  • County of Haliburton
  • County of Hastings
  • City of Kawartha Lakes
  • County of Lanark
  • United Counties of Leeds and Grenville
  • County of Lennox and Addington
  • County of Northumberland
  • County of Peterborough
  • United Counties of Prescott and Russell
  • County of Prince Edward
  • County of Renfrew
  • United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry

The two current elected officials heading up the organization are Chair Peter Emon, Warden of Renfrew County, and Vice-Chair Bonnie Clark, Warden of Peterborough County. For more information, visit the EOWC website.

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