37th Congress Minutes

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Atlantic Mayors’ Congress

St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador

October 18-19, 2018

9:00 am, Thursday, October 18, 2018

Victoria Room 123, St. John’s Convention Centre

New Gower Street, St. John’s, NL

Attendees: Danny Breen, Mayor, City of St. John’s

Adam Lordon, Mayor, City of Miramichi

Anna Allen, Mayor, Town of Windsor

Carolyn M. Bolivar Getson, Mayor, District of Lunenburg

Clarence Prince, Councillor – Cape Breton Regional Municipality

Christine Blair, Mayor, Colchester County

Percy Farwell, Gander

Wally Anderson, Happy Valley-Goose Bay

Bill Mills, Mayor, Town of Truro

Pam Mood, Yarmouth

Craig Scott, Torbay

Stephanie Anglehart-Paulin, Mayor, City of Campbellton

Jimmy MacAlpine, Digby County

Waye Mason, Deputy Mayor, Halifax

Geoff Stewart, UNSM

Timothy Habinski, Annapolis County

Art Slipp – Past President, Union of Municipalities of NB

Tony Keats, Municipalities NL

Laurie Boucher, Mayor, Antigonish

Craig Pollett – Executive Director – MNL

Matt Kerrigan – Executive Director – Atlantic Mayors’ Congress

Maureen Harvey, Legislative Assistant, City of St. John’s

MINUTES

Welcome Remarks and Land Acknowledgement – Mayor Danny Breen

Mayor Breen opened the meeting with the following land acknowledgement:

“We respectfully acknowledge the Province of Newfoundland & Labrador, of which the City of St. John’s is the capital City, as the ancestral homelands of the Beothuk. Today, these lands are home to a diverse population of indigenous and other peoples. We would also like to acknowledge with respect the diverse histories and cultures of the Mi’kmaq, Innu, Inuit, and Southern Inuit of this Province.”

Approval of Agenda – Atlantic Mayors’ Congress 2018

The agenda for the Atlantic Mayors’ Congress 2018 was accepted as presented with unanimous consent.

Approval of Minutes – Atlantic Mayors’ Congress 2017 – Windsor, Nova Scotia

Motion

Moved – Anna Allen; Seconded – Timothy Habinski

That the minutes for the Atlantic Mayors’ Congress 2017 be adopted as presented.

CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY

The Executive Director reminded the group that in keeping with Nova Scotia legislation and proper incorporation processes, there will be an election of officers and asked participants to give consideration to serving on the Board of Directors for the Atlantic Mayors Congress.  An election will be held at the end of this meeting.

FCM Updates 

Brock Carleton, CEO, FCM

Mr. Carleton  was welcomed and delivered a presentation, a copy of which is attached to these minutes as Appendix A.

The presentation focused on the strategic directions for FCM and the strategy and goals in preparing for federal election 2019.

Mr. Carleton identified the following core goals:

  • Evolving the municipal-federal relationship
  • Securing new fiscal tools that municipalities need
  • Advancing existing priorities

He indicated that considerations of FCM as it continues to work on behalf of Canadian Municipalities is to analyze the following:

  • Demographic shifts
  • Evolution of technology
  • Management of fiscal resources
  • Climate change – mitigation and adaption
  • Governance model

The presentation also focused on the role of FCM as identified at through engagement with municipalities:

  • The national convenor of local governments, leading the development of a common municipal agenda;
  • The national voice of local governments; and
  • A nationally and internationally respected hub for sharing knowledge and best practices in municipal governance.

Four key strategic directions over the next five years were identified as:

  • Empowering cities and communities
  • Enabling cities and communities to improve the lives of all Canadians
  • Building Municipal Capacity
  • Managing an efficient organization to maximize results.

Mr. Carleton suggested the following key matters will likely emerge by the next Federal Election which is scheduled for the fall of 2019:

  1. Climate change agenda
  2. Fiscal situation – concerns about the federal deficit
  3. First Nations reconciliation question

Going in to the election, from a municipal perspective, Mr. Carleton suggested it will be a very competitive election and as such it is necessary to keep the following matters in the forefront:

  • Municipal agenda is not done in spite of the progress that has been made
  • Stay relevant to political landscape – deter from partisan involvement.
  • Fiscal question in terms of funding coming to municipalities – inadequacy of programs
  • Focus on success – investment in Canada Plan and National Housing Strategy
  • Making sure existing priorities are advanced – core municipal infrastructure – expansion of Federal Gas Tax Fund, new investments in climate and disaster mitigation, support for local priorities (housing, cannabis legalization, policing, mental health, energy efficiency)
  • Using election 2019 to drive transit investment
  • Using election 2019 to push for re-imagining of how to expand rural broadband access
  • FCM will need to be nimble in terms of responding to the campaign strategy

It was noted that the federal parties have already reached out to FCM as they develop their party platforms.

Mr. Carlton informed the group that approximately 80 municipalities in Atlantic Canada have contributed to a Special Advocacy Fund which now has $720,000 

The presentation concluded with a number of questions, many of which are highlighted below:

  1. What is the priority of FCM in relation to the proposed gas tax increase?
    • It is an evolving conversation.  The Board has authorized staff to address this question without complete specificity, so it can get a sense of direction in terms of campaign platforms.  The same holds true for discussions on the GST and broadband. It has to be fiscally balanced against other priorities.   It ties in to the big fiscal tool.
  1. What is the impact on electric vehicles relative to gas tax?
  • The gas tax transfer has nothing to do with the sale of gas – nothing more than a transfer from federal general revenues to municipalities.
  1. Has any thought been given to loosening the requirements for some funds that FCM manages such as the Green Fund?  As an example, the Town of Torbay was refused under the Green Fund because it was not innovative enough.  Now they are attempting to get Climate Change funding which is lower on their priority list for the community.
    • Two kinds of funding –
      1. Federal funds – FCM attempts to influence the degree of accessibility to funding.  Gas tax is the most useful as it has the fewest strings attached.  FCM is always negotiating to make it more accessible.   Same is the case for funds for roads and bridges, which is more complex at involves another layer of funding (Provincial)
      2. FCM funds – funds that are made available to FCM to administer to municipalities.  It is not membership dollars.  To facilitate equity there is criteria that has to be met.  For example; Green Fund agreement with the Federal Government requires innovation.  Sometimes difficult to find the balance in evaluating proposals.  Members were encouraged to contact FCM staff who are commissioned to assisting municipalities with “best fit” funds for the projects they wish to pursue.

  

It was suggested this topic would be good for discussion at a future FCM World Forum.  Innovation in Toronto may differ starkly from innovation in many rural communities across the country.  It was clarified that funding under many programs are not eligible for major cities like Toronto. Nor is Toronto considered under the innovation criteria.

Discussion continued with respect to the role of the Provinces in federal programs noting that municipalities rarely see any return on investment in the immediate future for economic development initiatives.  Such programs are a result of bilateral agreements between the Province and the Federal Government which will effectively impact the municipality, yet the municipality has no voice in negotiating such agreements.

  1. How can we bring the relationship between FCM and three tiers of Government to the next level?
  • It is a challenge to get everyone to have a “seat at the table”.  The one area where inroads are being made is in relation to infrastructure.  However, while it is not for the purposes of “decision making” just yet, it is welcoming to know that the Provinces and Territories are not rebelling when FCM is engaged in discussions that may impact municipalities.  Improved relationships will take time but there is definitely indication of energy to move in that direction.  
  • Fiscal tools sometimes transcend into relationship that will get things moving on the ground.  i.e. gas tax, transfers.
  1. Is there a role for organizations such as Municipalities NL and comparable organizations of other Provinces and Territories to adopt a similar and more modern framework in lobbying their respective governments for “buy in” and/or funding for various initiatives?
    • FCM Board always invite representatives of these organizations to attend their meetings to facilitate networking and discussion.  
    • While these organizations may be piggybacking on the framework of FCM but it is not relying on it to do the required lobbying.
    • Where there is an example of a Province living up to the commitments of the Federal Government, FCM needs to know. Example: confirmation of the commitment to direct 25% of tax revenue from cannibas to municipalities.
  1. Given that municipalities which do not currently have transit cannot tap into provincial funding, is it possible to access Federal funding through FCM?
  • While it is not likely that Federal funding is available, Mr. Carleton will attempt to identify other Federal programs that may be leveraged and send the information to the Recording Secretary for distribution.  
  1. Why, when the Prime Minister put forth his intention to have funding for broadband into the hands of municipalities, in Nova Scotia, only $1.4 million of $7 million has been made available? 
    • Mr. Carleton agreed to follow up on this matter.

Mr. Carleton was thanked for his presentation and the session adjourned at 10:30 am.

Ocean Superclusters – Context and Update

Carey Bonnell, VP of Sustainability and Engagement for Ocean Choice International

Mr. Bonnell delivered a presentation a copy of which is attached to these minutes as Appendix B.

He gave an overview of the company followed by an in-depth explanation of ocean superclusters and a short promotional video.

Canada’s Ocean Supercluster is an industry-led collaboration that will build Canada’s ocean economy into one of the country’s most significant and sustainable value-creating economic segments.  It is a Federal undertaking, with investment from companies across Canada, partnerships with post-secondary institutions, indigenous groups and international partners.

It is a private sector-led partnership—concentrated largely in Atlantic Canada—that brings companies together to boost innovation and modernization across oceans sectors. The Ocean Supercluster includes companies of all sizes who are committed to adopting and commercializing technologies to solve shared challenges. The partnership will also invest to develop talent, improve supply chain opportunities, and foster more ocean start-ups to build the innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The partnership spans the ocean economy, including fisheries, aquaculture, oil and gas, marine bio products, transportation, defence, marine renewables, and ocean technology. Through the Ocean Supercluster, companies are collaborating to define a shared innovation roadmap based on common challenges and requirements.

Mr. Bonnell explained that five superclusters announced by the Federal Government.

  • Digital technology
  • Protein industries
  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • SCALE.AI
  • Ocean

Approximately $350 million has been earmarked for the ocean supercluster over the next five years driven by the ocean sector. 

Given that Atlantic Canada is an ocean nation, it is fitting that we utilize and preserve the ocean as a natural resource.  

1% of the Canadian GDP is derived from the ocean.  When it comes to Atlantic Canada, we can become the leader and hence there are so many opportunities.  

Users of the ocean include supply companies, ocean companies, SME’s, academic institutions, government and communities and it is important that these stakeholders have partnership that facilitate collaboration so that a global benefit can be realized.    Approximately $350 million will be invested in the ocean supercluster over the next five years and it will be driven by the private sector.

The intent is to take solutions identified in addressing key ocean challenges and sell them to the world.  

A five-year strategy in building the ocean supercluster involve technology leadership and cluster building (sharing requirements and priorities).  This will generate programs and services which will:

  • Strengthening links between cluster partners
  • Fostering innovations applicable to multiple industries
  • Building capability in the innovation ecosystem
  • Expanding global reach of supercluster companies
  • Addressing global ocean challenges.

Mr. Bonnell went on to outline the five-year strategy and identify five-year outcomes in terms of economic and ecosystem impact.

Economic Impact

  • Improved cost structures, productivity, expanded production, enhanced sustainability, etc.
  • New and expanded supply and export opportunities for ocean technology SMEs and suppliers
  • GDP growth, per capita 
  • Employment growth
  • Increased business investment in research and development.

Ecosystem Impact

  • More start-ups and new entrants not the ocean economy
  • Increase in the amount of “competent capital’ investing in Canada’s ocean economy
  • More commercialization and IP-generating activity involving Canadian post-secondary and research labs.
  • More inclusion and participation by under-represented groups
  • Deepened pools of Canadian-based IP in ocean industries

In the weeks to come, the key priority for the Ocean Supercluster will be to finalize the terms of a contribution agreement with the Federal Government. Agreement of terms of Contribution Agreement 

  • Finalize by-laws and file articles of incorporation 
  • Finalize Unanimous Members Agreement 
  • Finalize operating policies and procedures 
  • Preliminary Program definition 
  • Elect Board 
  • 5-year Supercluster Strategy 
  • Year 1 Annual Plan 
  • First cluster workshops and events 
  • First project approvals 

Question/Answer Period

  1. How does local fish packing and fish processing facilities fit in as it relates to the Ocean Supercluster?
    • The reach out has not been at the local level at this point.  It will eventually engage with local groups through senior partner organizations to leverage funding opportunities.
  1. Will the Ocean Supercluster impact Atlantic Bioventures which is an industry interested in processing waste (example starfish)?
    • Agreed that it may be something worth pursuing as a new avenue. 
    • While some waste is being processed but there is a much greater opportunity on the horizon.
  1. How does the Ocean Supercluster, Ocean Frontiers Institute and Cove interconnect?
    • Ocean Frontier Institute (academically driven) – currently strategizing on Phase II (Phase I has been launched)  Phase 11 calls will be coming out in January. 
    • Ocean Supercluster is industry driven while the Ocean Frontiers Institute is academically driven but focusing on commercial opportunities.  Harnessed in the right way it will create tremendous synergy in the Atlantic regions. 
    • Cove facility fits in well as an incubator for the Nova Scotia Region.  Need to identify an equivalent in the NL Region.  It is a great way to leverage the Ocean Frontier Institute and the Ocean Supercluster.  
  1. How is climate change impacting the Ocean and the ocean economy?
    • It is huge.  In recent years ocean productivity is at its lowest level because of low stock levels.  Very concerning trend if you are in the fish business.
    • Huge issue for aquaculture, weather (storms), and oil and gas industries as well.  
  1. Are the five vessels shown in the presentation equipped with equipment to catch, package, freeze and sell?
    • The five offshore vessels are “freezing at sea” vessels
  1. Is the reduction in shrimp related to the areas that are being fished?
    • Everyone is feeling the decline in shrimp.
    • Major driver is the decline of the stock.
  1. Noted that University of NB is not part of academic team?  How can you make sure New Brunswick doesn’t miss the boat especially with the eastern coast of NB being a huge coastline?
    • On the Ocean Frontier Institute – UNB applied separately unlike MUN, DAL and PEI.  
    • UNB were part of a forestry application
    • Under the Phase II component of the OFI, there is talk of more transient institutional collaboration, so there may be opportunity for UNB.
    • Under the Ocean Supercluster, the door is wide open for academic engagement.  (Cook Aquaculture, Irving and others are very much involved)
  1. How can the communities/businesses on the eastern coast of NB become more engaged in the conversation?
    • Consultation sessions have been held in NB but Mr. Bonnell not directly involved.
    • There will be further reach-out once incorporation is finalized.  There will be opportunity for other members to come on board.
    • Mr. Bonnell suggested interested members contact him directly and he will re-direct to ensure there is open opportunity.  It is not meant to be restrictive.

Discussion concluded with agreement that all four provinces must collaborate to move the initiative forward so that it can grab on to the market share.

Luncheon

Kendra MacDonald, CEO, Ocean Supercluster

The Congress took the opportunity to welcome Kendra MacDonald, newly appointed CEO of the Ocean Supercluster.  The luncheon also welcomed economic development lead staff from various cities across Atlantic Canada.

Ms. MacDonald indicated that by increasing ocean productivity it will enable Canada to better compete in world markets.

“It is an honour to be the inaugural CEO of the Ocean Supercluster and to have the opportunity to lead an organization that will have such a dramatic impact on Canada’s ocean economy,” says MacDonald. “Together, with the support of our diverse partners, I look forward to building on the current momentum to realize the untapped potential of our oceans.”

Infrastructure Impacts of Extreme Weather and Asset Management

Jim Abraham, ClimAction Services

Communities and Climate Change

Jonas Roberts, Climate Consulting Group Lead

Wood Environment & Infrastructure Solutions

Mr. Abraham delivered a presentation entitled Infrastructure Impacts of Extreme Weather and Asset Management.  This was followed by a presentation form Mr. Jonas Roberts entitled Integrating Climate Change Into Asset Management.  Both presentations are attached to these minutes as Appendix C and Appendix D.

Integrating Climate Change into Asset Management:

The presentation focused on:

  1. Climate change 101
    • Global change
    • Resulting impacts
  1. Engineering and Municipal challenges
  2. Integrating Climate Change into Asset Management

In addition to the material contained in the presentation the following points were highlighted:

  • Rather than it being exclusively climate change, it is more “global change”.  Contributing factors include the following:
    • Population has been growing 
    • We live in vulnerable areas and possess valuable stuff
    • Infrastructure is aging
    • People live longer’ energy has enabled advances in technology for better food production, cleaner water and better health care
    • Energy use increased with the growth of population and the economy
    • Fossil fuels release CO2 into the atmosphere; a greenhouse gas that remains for more than a century
    • Greenhouse gases trap heat keeping it from being radiated back into space (otherwise we would be -30C colder)
  • The presentation highlighted some of the changes in 
    • Significant economic impacts
    • World population development
    • Growth in CO2 emissions
    • Carbon dioxide variations
    • Global temperature
    • Sea Level – resulting impact from coastal floods, storm surge impacts
    • Precipitation levels/event
    • Hurricanes
    • Infrastructure 
      • Land transportation (roads, railways and bridges)
      • Building infrastructure (public and private)
      • Storm Water management, water supply, water and wastewater treatment facilities
  • Challenges that municipalities are facing include:
    • Cities growing and more densely populated; villages shrinking and losing their tax base
    • Complex and aging infrastructure
    • Climate change and extreme weather
    • Valuable assets and tax-base in vulnerable areas
    • Limited mitigation (e.g. FDRP ended in late 90’s)
    • Flood maps outdated or not transparent
    • Reduction in climate observing network
    • Aging population with increased expectations: duty of care
    • Limited municipal resources and/or expertise.
    • Potential increases to credit rating

The second presentation by Mr. Jonas Roberts was delivered dealing with Climate Change Impacts on Atlantic Canadian Communities

Key Messages:

  • Anything affected by weather has the potential to be impacted by climate change and it usually varies from place to place.
  • Municipalities in Atlantic Canada will be affected
  • Municipalities can mitigate risks by addressing:
    • Climate change impacts
    • Vulnerability and risk assessments 
    • Implementing adaptation plans

What can communities require as a result of local extreme weather/climate events?

  • Cooling requirements (relief centers)
  • Longer growing season (irrigation systems)
  • Invasive species
  • Wildfire risk
  • Tourism
  • Evolving winter road maintenance
  • Storm water infrastructure capacity may be affected
  • Shoreline sensitivity (and transformation)

What can communities require as a result of global extreme weather/climate events?

  • Food security (the need to grow more locally)
  • Immigration and conflicts (readiness for an influx of immigrants)
  • Changing shipping routes
  • Mitigation efforts and regulations (look for synergies)

Tools and resources that may be already be available

  • Responses to changing weather conditions through general operations and emergency plans
  • Evaluation of the impacts of climate change – what can be expected in a future climate
  • Evaluation of vulnerabilities and risks
  • Development and implementation of adaptation plans

The group was provided with links to a number of NL Adaptation Tools and Resources.  It was noted that municipalities need to understand their vulnerabilities before they can increase resilience.

A question/answer period followed:

  1. Can you generalize on the net effects of water supply resulting from climate change?
    • It will vary from location to location.  Municipalities should however, track rainfall data and develop a conservation plan. Good communication to residents is essential. e.g. encourage residents to conserve water in the spring if a winter thaw has not yielded great rainfall results.
  1. When and where will the presentation on behalf of FCM be held in Nova Scotia and how do municipalities tap into them.
    • Notification should go to municipalities within the next week.  It will be available to all those who are aligned with the Nova Scotia Federation of Municipalities. 
  1. Given the drought in in southwest Nova Scotia in two of the last three years, is there a plan where there is a mandatory mechanism to address this? 
    • It may be that the capacity of the reservoir needs to be increased.  
    • Ground water is the main issue.  As in most critical incidents, people don’t change their behavior until it becomes a crisis.
    • It involves an education component and the public has to be accountable for managing resources.
    • Conservation of wetlands is also essential.
  1. If we were to do everything possible to mitigate the risk associated with climate change, how are successes realized when there are so many other countries that are doing nothing?
    • Leadership is key
    • Municipalities need to become leaders with the potential outcome that senior governments, organizations and countries will follow.
    • If everyone waits, nothing happens.
    • We have the technology to get to zero emissions, yet without the willpower it will not take place.
    • From a mitigation perspective it is an economic opportunity that is worth the investment.  The focus also needs to be on adaptation.
  1. Given the increased frequency of major weather events is a 100-year plan still realistic, or should we be looking at a 20-year plan?
  • The IDF curves need to be updated with the outlook for climate change for a shorter-term period.
  • Engineers have not yet come up with a modified process to shorten the time period
  • Tipping buckets for measuring rainfall need to be replaced with weighing resources.
  1. How does the ozone impact climate change?
    • Very little to do with climate change – more so greenhouse gas emissions.
    • The ozone does not appear to be getting any worse.  
    • The Antarctic is most impacted by the ozone.
  1. How do municipalities go about attempting to stop the trend in ignoring climate change?
  • The biggest obstacle to overcome is trust among authorities.  The public does not know who to trust when discussing climate change.  Politicians don’t always trust scientists and vice versa.
  • In addition to engineering expertise, municipalities need to involve their planning departments in assessing the risks, mitigating those risks and building adaption plans in to their municipal plan regulations.  
  1. The moral aspect of climate change is critical.  If it is true that by 2030, approximately 200 million people will be climate change refugees, how do we convince the authorities that this will become a crisis?
    • While it may not be fully recognized in Canada, the US military have recognized it and taken steps to mitigate risk.  When people get hungry, they get grumpy and the outcome is not good.  When there is disparity between the rich and poor because of drought – the hungry starts aligning themselves with unsavory groups.   
    • The Great Lakes is an area that is risk in terms of water.

Discussion concluded with agreement that the effort required to mitigate emissions is very doable, but it requires political will and a war-like effort.   

Immigration for Communities

  • Municipalities NL Welcome Kit – Craig Pollett – CEO – Municipal Newfoundland Labrador
  • My New St. John’s Site – Jessica Barry, LIP Officer, City of St. John’s

Mr. Pollett delivered a presentation a copy of which is attached to these minutes as Appendix E.  The presentation shared information about how MNL is supporting and welcoming immigrants to the Province.

It was noted that Newfoundland and Labrador is facing significant demographic challenges. We have Canada’s most rapidly-aging population and the country’s lowest birth rate. In fact, it’s projected that by 2025 there will be a 10 percent decline in our working-age population. This represents 35,000 fewer people in the labour market. Among other things this drastic decrease could lead to reduced tax revenues which may lead to reduced resources for our communities. Immigration is one important way the province can help address these challenges.

He presented information on an initiative undertaken by MNL to welcome immigrants to our Province.

In 2017 the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador launched The Way Forward On Immigration in Newfoundland and Labrador, the province’s collaborative, partnership-driven immigration action plan and road map to increasing immigration to the province.  It outlines actions that attract and retain newcomers. Welcome NL is an important piece in the effort to encourage more immigrants to make Newfoundland and Labrador home.

Welcome NL is a project of Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador, in partnership with The Office of Immigration and Multiculturalism, and the Department of Advanced Education Skills and Labour, that focuses on building capacity in communities to welcome and retain immigrants. Among other things, Welcome NL offers communities a toolkit of resources to raise awareness and offer guidance on welcoming.

Here on this site you will find information on:

  • The context for and importance of immigration
  • The various ways people immigrate to Newfoundland and Labrador
  • How to build the foundation for a welcoming community through identifying champions and building teams
  • How to do a welcoming community inventory
  • What services are available to help immigrants settle and integrate in our province

Jessica Barry – Local Immigration Partnership Officer with the City also conducted a presentation on the City of St. John’s Local Immigration Partnership as included in Appendix F.

The St. John’s Local Immigration Partnership (LIP) is a collaborative community dedicated to improving immigrant integration and retention in St. John’s.

Aimed at helping newcomers fully engage in all aspects of social, economic, and cultural life and building on the knowledge gained through other LIP’s across the country, the role is to:

  • Establish priorities and develop action plans to help address key immigrant issues
  • Encourage broader stakeholder collaboration
  • Help St. John’s grow as a welcoming community for newcomers
  • The goals of the LIP are: 
  • To enhance awareness of immigrant needs among a broader range of community stakeholders;
  • To expand the number of broad-based multi-sectorial partnerships at the local community level to respond to needs;
  • To increase capacity to research and disseminate best practices; and,
  • To improve access to, coordination of, and linkages to services that facilitate immigrant settlement and integration.

My New St. John’s is an online and mobile-friendly services map to help newcomers easily find and access programs and services available to them in the City. 

Taken from the perspective of the user, map allows individual to: 

  • Search for settlement services, language training, employment and entrepreneurship supports, community services, multicultural organizations and other programs/services in the city 
  • Search for what’s applicable to the individual by filtering by age, immigration category
  • Find out where they need to go by using the directions and transportation option functions
  • Visit: https://mynewstjohns.ca/

It was noted that the City is currently heavily involved in marketing and promotion of the initiative with development of French version of the platform in partnership with La Fédération des francophones de Terre-Neuve et du Labrador (FFTNL)

This initiative was made possible through financial support for the City of St. John’s, the Department of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.

Question/Answer period:

How many hits to the website so far?  

  • About 1000 which is positive recognizing there has not yet been much promotion.
Discussion with IRCC, & Provincial Immigration Offices

How Municipalities Consider and Address Immigration

  • Remzi Cej, Director, Office of Immigration and Multiculturalism, Department of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Natasha Kim, Director General, Immigration Branch, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
  • Lara Dyer, Director, Immigration Branch, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
  • Rob Kelly, Assistant Deputy Minister, Government of New Brunswick
  • Amanda Stephens-Maillet, Manager, Post-secondary Education, Training and Labour, Government of New Brunswick
  • Mary Hunter, Manager, Office of Immigration, Government of Prince Edward Island
  • Jennifer L’Esperance, Director, Government of Nova Scotia

Elizabeth Lawrence, Director of the City of St. John’s Economic Development, Culture and Partnerships Department, facilitated the session which intended to address how communities addressed immigration.  Joining the meeting were a number of colleagues who, coincidentally, were in town for meetings with the Office of Immigration and Multiculturalism from the Department of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour from the Province.   Coincidental that Remsi was having his colleagues here and provided this opportunity to discuss.  Unique opportunity to get everyone in the same room.  

Ms. Lawrence delivered a presentation (Appendix ???) providing demographics of the Province by age group, age groups in Atlantic Canada, and 2016 census selected age groups by Province.

She then generated discussion by noting that, “In the past five years, the Atlantic provinces have seen the most dramatic changes in the country, amid “low fertility, low immigration levels and migratory losses to other regions of Canada.“ As a result, the region saw the biggest drop in the share of working-age people in the five-year period, and the biggest increase in the portion of seniors. The difference in the share of seniors in Atlantic Canada and in Alberta – the province with the youngest population – is the largest since Confederation, Statscan said….”

The following questions were put forth for discussion:

  • As a region how can we, as communities, support the retention of immigrants in the longer term?  
  • Why are immigrants choosing to stay or not stay?  
  • How can we work with federal and provincial governments more effectively in this effort?

While much of the discussion was inaudible from a minute-taking perspective , the following highlighted points were captured:

  • Many temporary workers have been here for decades
  • It is important to work with immigrants to guide them through the citizenship process.  There are two streams to be navigated – temporary pathways vs permanent pathways. Employers need to be educated in guiding people through the respective pathway
  • One of the biggest challenges’ immigrants have to overcome is the language barrier
  • Multicultural organizations are key to integrating people into the community – religious community has been a key player
  • It is not just the urban centers who are welcoming immigrants, many small towns are welcoming people partially for the contribution to the economy.
  • Some municipalities are collaborating as part of regions in welcoming multiculturalism
  • Kudos to NB Multicultural Association in creating awareness and hosting activities – e.g. barbecue with 350 citizens who came out to meet the Mayor and other community leaders. 
  • We need to listen to immigrants to identify their wants and needs.  
  • With greater awareness among the community, the adage of immigrants taking jobs is diminished.
  • Community integration is critical and much of the uptake is through recreation programming
  • A key component to ensuring immigrants have their needs met is a good transit system and affordable public housing.
  • Most immigrants are not unreasonably demanding in terms of amenities.  They require for their basic needs to be met.  Recently St. John’s developed a cricket field which is the recreational home to many immigrants in the City with programming expanding.
  • There must be shift away from referencing immigrants to “those people”.
  • Many communities are experiencing a decreasing population and quite often communities need and welcome their respective areas of expertise.
  • Immigrants are not a threat and they are an essential part of sustaining the community.
  • Some provinces need to be more open to the idea of permanent resident voting as opposed to the requirement to be a Canadian citizen.
  • Processing immigration applications is a complex exercise for immigration officials.  There is a great need to simplify the access to the right pathway.
  • Some communities hold meetings every month in an effort to make immigrants feel welcome.
  • Social media can be a useful tool in promoting awareness and acceptance
  • Immigration officials rely on municipalities in assisting them in bringing people into the country.  Welcoming an inclusive environment can only be done at the grass roots level. 
  • Municipalities need to be mindful of what immigration does and if necessary, request clarity around their role.  Welcome NL will be vital in spreading the word across the Province. Hospitality at the community level really encourages further growth.  
  • Without immigration our Provinces will shrink. 
  • Challenges for immigration government officials include:
    • Language
    • Providing orientation
    • Resettlement
    • Funding for organizations and institutions
    • Metrics and measurement of outcomes
    • Identifying what immigrants need before they arrive in our country.
    • The role of IRCC involves challenges of language, orientation, resettlement and providing funding to organizations.  
    • Identification of appropriate amenities particularly in rural areas
    • Partnerships at a high level are vital. 
    • Infusion in the francophone community
    • Overcoming the often disjointed and unsynchronized efforts of governments
    • Navigating through bureaucracy and red tape.
    • Breaking down the unfavorable mindset – garnering public confidence
    • Ensuring retention of immigrants
    • Garnering public confidence.
    • Balancing outmigration against immigration
    • Finding the appropriate “best fit” resource for those in need
    • Balancing immediate needs against long term needs
  • Some observations of government officials include:
    • Unlike our society where young people have become accustomed to instant gratification, immigrants are willing to work hard and value what is earned.
    • Expectations for immigrants is often lower than it is for Canadian citizens
    • There are vast entrepreneurial opportunities for immigrants who are willing to work hard.
    • Many communities have rallied to infuse clusters of immigrants.

Discussion concluded with agreement that while great progress has been made in welcoming immigrants to our country, barriers and obstacles remain.  However, with a continued collaborate effort municipalities in partnership with stakeholders, can continue to build on its success for the benefit of all concerned.

Energy East Pipeline

Art Slipp, Past President, Union of Municipalities of New Brunswick, presented the topic of the Energy East pipeline seeking a position of the Atlantic Mayor’s Congress supporting consultations  

The Energy East pipeline was a proposed oil pipeline in Canada. It was to deliver diluted bitumen from Western Canada and North Western United States to Eastern Canada, from receipt points in Alberta, Saskatchewan and North Dakota to refineries and port terminals in New Brunswick and possibly Quebec.  In 2017 the Federal Government quashed plans to continue with this project. 

Mr. Slipp posed the question that if the Energy East Pipeline were to become a reality, would municipalities of the Atlantic Congress support the initiative.  He asked that consideration be given to a response at the meeting in Spring 2019.

Discussion took place with agreement that more information is required to enable members to make an informed decision.  To that end it was suggested that a presentation identifying the pros and cons of the initiative be presented at the next meeting of the Congress. Or in the alternative, information be sent out to members in advance so that due review and consideration can be given.

 

Election of Officers – Atlantic Mayors Congress

As stated at the outset of the meeting, AMC’s Matt Kerrigan – Executive Director – Atlantic Mayors’ Congress reminded members of the need to become incorporated resulting in the need for a Board of Directors.

It was noted that at least three representatives would be required, however, five would be preferred.  

Meetings of the Board of Directors would be incorporated into two Congress meetings resulting in mitigation of additional travel expenses.  At one of these meetings an annual report and financial statements will be filed.

Mr. Kerrigan called for nominations and the following names were put forward:

  • Stephanie Anglehart-Paulin
  • Waye Mason
  • Christine Blair
  • Craig Scott
  • Bill Mills

Nominations closed after three calls and the foregoing people were chosen by acclamation.  All five members were asked to submit the required contact and other information to the Executive Director.

Modifications to AMC Website

At the last meeting recognition was given to the need for updating the AMC website.  To that end Mr. Waye Mason committed to this project.  Mr. Mason reviewed the updated website with the group noting the following improvements:

The Executive Director reported that following the last m

  • All key information is now on one page
  • Modifications made to the explanation of who the AMC is using the Terms of Reference
  • Agendas have been posted to the website.
  • Information about past congress meetings and accompanying documents are now available.
  • The new Board of Directors will be posted to the site
  • Contact information is posted.

Members responded favorably to the changes and Mr. Mason was thanked for is effort.

Mayors Roundtable Discussion

In the absence of Mayor Breen, Mr. Kerrigan commenced the Mayors Roundtable Discussion.  Members were asked to present three topics on interest taking place in their respective municipalities.

Wally Anderson – Happy Valley Goose Bay

  • There should be more awareness and support for communities that are going to entertain major development.  i.e. Muskrat Falls.  A major industrial development presents challenges in terms of road maintenance, loss of human resources to the industry, mental health and addictions.
  • Dealing with three aboriginal groups can be challenging particularly where it relates to land title.
  • Cost of infrastructure is huge – land mass in Labrador is twice the size of Nova Scotia and there is very little assistance for infrastructure. 
  • In spite of the foregoing, it is a beautiful place to live.

Timothy Habinski, Annapolis Valley

  • Broadband internet project.  Annapolis Valley is one of the worst served areas for internet with fewer than 35% having access. They are currently doing a fibre optic cable build.  It is feasible for municipalities to do it independently with no expense from taxation.  They are borrowing to lend to a company who is building it.  Connection by 1000 homes will result in a breakeven point.  
  • Development of a trade mission to China. They sought out municipalities in China with similar issues and developed a sister city agreement.  Laying the ground work was important and currently the spinoff of increasing the number of exchange students has been a huge boost to the economy.

Craig Scott – Town of Torbay

  • Town is experiencing major influx of people and development.  Town has outgrown its infrastructure – municipal, recreation, trails etc.  
  • Built new municipal depot at a cost of $6 million.  This opened up land at the rear which is hoped to be developed commercially. 
  • Two new recreation facilities – consulted the public to see what they wanted.
  • In March will open a new community centre – $10 m.  
  • Reviewing at heritage and cultural projects. 
  • Town Hall under renovations – webcast Council meetings. 
  • In the midst of the asset management plan.  

Clarence Prince – Cape Breton Regional Municipality

  • Addition of a second berth in the port of Sydney. Tendered at $19M – shared equally with Municipal, Provincial and Federal Governments.
  • Engaged with a private investor in the hopes of getting a new library.
  • Considering the relocation of a downtown casino
  • Pursuing the development of two industrial parks.

Stephanie Anglehart-Paulin – City of Campbellton

  • Formed a committee of approximately 25 people to review the revitalization of downtown
  • Developer willing to purchase a government building with the hope of developing housing for people working in the downtown.
  • Joined Quest (through FCM) to assist with the development of a climate change adaptation plan.
  • Created a Facebook policy for employees to prohibit posting of negative information about the municipality and its Council/administrators.  Would be willing share with members who wish to view.

Bill Mills – Town of Truro

  • Introduced a road preservation tax – keeping roads in good shape.  More efficient to look after them than to do a total rebuild adds.  Cost to residents is about $42 on a $100,000 home.  No complaints received.
  • Addressed the issue of the number of deer – called for a hunt – requires registration to bow hunt and follow strict rules. Licenses for hunters in watershed areas have doubled.  Will know by December 9th how successful the deer hunt went.  This Hour Has 22 Minutes has incorporated a deer story into its script.
  • Has a new 12-15,000 sq. ft. facility for the production of cannibas, but because of demand, the acquisition of equipment has been difficult.

Jimmy MacAlpine – Digby County

  • Port of Digby which was built to house 70 boats has outgrown itself with more than 100 boats there now.  
  • Proposal submitted to the province for funding to expand 
  • The fishery and aquaculture has generated millions in economic activity
  • Has an initiative similar to the Annapolis Valley with connection to China.  Hoping to sign a similar friendship agreement.  There is uptake as well,  by the University, to network with China.
  • Development of a Regional Enterprise Network with Yarmouth 

Anna Allen – Town of Windsor

  • Major controversy over the development of an arena that was quashed as the community had been torn apart on the basis of the proposed location. Plan was to build a heritage arena as opposed to a hockey rink.  Arena that was to be built did not happen.  Neighboring municipalitiy withdrew funding commitment.  Plan was good and solid.  Town of Windsor saddened by this action but it was felt necessary.  
  • The lake in the town is an economic development driver.  When the causeway was built, there were proposed a fresh water lake. Group of people are attempting to “save our lake”.  Issue is with fish passage.  
  • County of West Hants and Town of Windsor are due to be amalgamated. Excited to be moving forward.  Government wants it to be in place in April 2020.     

Art Slipp – Past President, Union of Municipalities of New Brunswick

  • Acknowledged the sudden passing of former Executive Director Raymond Murphy. Replacement Margo Craig (appointed one year ago) unable to attend because of flight cancellation.
  • Unusual situation with Provincial election where two parties have twenty-one seats each.  Makes it difficult to get decisions through Government. Also the Province has agreed to delay municipal elections until May of 2019.  Seventeen municipalities have a total of twenty-three vacant seats.  Two municipalities do not have a quorum.  Hoping to convince the Province to expedite municipal elections.
  • While both major parties have committed to share  gas tax revenue with municipalities, a percentage allocation has yet to be determined. 
  • passed away suddenly.  Margo unable to get here. She is the new CEO.  Margo will be joining us on an ongoing basis.

Carolyn Bolivar Getson – District of Lunenburg

  • Dealing with lime disease – three-year pilot project with the Canadian Government with stations for the monitoring of deer ticks established.  Promotion and awareness has been huge for which the public is appreciative.
  • LaHaye River Straight Pipe cleanup – The six-year program aims to replace the approximately 600 straight pipes, that feed raw sewage into the river, with septic tanks. It’s the first of its kind and is cost shared between the federal, provincial and municipal governments.  One third comes from the home owner. While there have been a few bumps in the road, the process is going relatively well.
  • Internet project – 65% of residents have little or no internet connection.  District is part of a pilot project with the Province with respect to the installation of wireless technology.  $2.3 million of which the municipality will contribute $246,000.   Another initiative involves the municipality paying $180,000 of a $2.2M project.  
  • In the process of constructing a new municipal building.

Tony Keats – Executive Director, Municipalites NL

  • Recently held its 67th AGM and Convention in Gander, NL  Close to 500 delegates including presenters, speakers govt officials attended.  Major topics included asset management, climate change, assessment, legal issues, 911, and Public Procurement Act.  
  • Hoping that the Provincial Government will enact a new Municipalities Act in the spring of 2019.
  • Organization purchased a new building and hoping to move in in the spring of 2019

Christine Blair – Colchester County

  • As owners of the Debert Business Park the municipality has been working on the historic significance of Debert and its rebranding. Major upgrades have been carried out.  
  • With the airport’s ability to handle smaller aircrafts it is working with the Halifax Airport Authority in the hopes of using it as a potential satellite or ancillary site. Air cadet group works out of that airport.  It is a very good central point for entry/exit to the Province. 
  • Working with the Town of Truro on the “Fundy Discovery Site”.  Site (10 acres) was purchased by County of Colchester.  The land has been prepared and it is hoped that an interpretation center can be constructed.  30,000 vehicles go past this site on any given day.  Already washrooms have been constructed along with a new playground.  Goals for amphitheater, walking trails and restaurant.
  • Also working with the Town of Truro and a number of first nations on flooding issues.
  • Bay of Fundy is an incredible asset for the eastern seaboard and New Brunswick.  There are two coastlines along that bay.

Geoff Stewart -UNSM (formerly Nova Scotia Federation of Municipalities0

  • Recently branded with a new name (Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities) with a new logo, website and a revitalized means of moving forward as an organization.
  • Executive Director is retiring – recruitment ongoing.
  • Getting ready for annual conference to be held on November 6, 2018. In the process of preparing resolutions.
  • Will be involved in a Minister’s round table discussion in the next week or so.

Waye Mason – Halifax Regional Municipality

  • Truth and Reconciliation initiative – A truth and reconciliation initiative involves discovering and revealing past wrongdoing by a government in the hope of resolving conflict left over from the past.  It can be very challenging and often takes an emotional toll on everyone affected.  
  • Involved in a similar arrangement to the Annapolis County i.e. Trade Mission.  Recently visited Tiawan.  Reception was positive with a very real value for municipal politicians.  
  • Election readiness – Given a pending federal election in 2019 HRM is actively pursuing federal campaigns with the hope of realizing economic and financial benefits for the municipality. Activity and jobs in the Halifax port is one of the greatest concerns.  Investment in the port is vital.

Pam Mood – Yarmouth 

  • Has had major issues with the ferry with the question of whether the CAT ferry will use the local terminal next as opposed to a US landing point.  Recently the Bar Harbour Town Council voted in favor of a five-year lease agreement with Bay Ferries for a portion of the town’s terminal which is a very positive step for 
  • It was noted that economic activity based on tourism has exceeded that generated from the fishery. 
  • Recently undertook a major downtown revitalization.  The downtown is unrecognizable from that of a few years ago.  
  • Bill 177, enacted by the Province, enabled the municipality to implement tiered taxation which has brought new life to the downtown.
  • Changes to land use planning have resulted in commercial operations being limited to the downtown core, thereby reducing urban sprawl.  This has met with great success.
  • Will be hosting the 2019 National Communities in Bloom conference.

Adam Lordon – Miramichi

  • Downtown redevelopment is ongoing.  Challenging as it involves two former towns and three former villages.  Consultant commissioned to lead this initiative. 
  • Now seeing investment in building and homes.  There is a $7 million rebuild ongoing.  Great things happening.
  • Hoping to encourage residential component to the downtown.  This will require a parking strategy.
  • Work ongoing with development policies and the municipal plan. Planning Commission needs to have a mind reset to encourage more development.
  • Putting a push on diversity and inclusion – e.g. welcome barbecue.  Also focusing on truth and reconciliation given the presence of three first nation communities.
  • Focusing on cannabis and the creation of a business attraction incentive (tax relief) for the generation of economic activity.  Production facility in the works.
  • Recently announced that Canadian Entrepreneur of the Year is from Miramachi.
  • Mitigation efforts ongoing with respect to the creation of a new by-pass road.

Percy Manuel – Town of Gander 

  • Currently dealing with infrastructure needs with the least impact while attempting to boost the economy and be fiscally responsible.
  • Sometimes it is reactive while other times it is proactive.
  • Recently signed off on a tender for a wastewater treatment facility.  Cost is $30m.  One third to come from the Town.  
  • Municipality is attempting to balance timing with planning. i.e. often funding is available for project that is less of a priority, thereby advancing the need to proceed.
  • Dealing with a change in the relationship with the RCMP in terms of community policing.  As a result of the recent killing of RCMP officers in Moncton, danger to officers and subsequent changes to the Highway Traffic Act, the RCMP has withdrawn its commitment to collaborate with Municipal Enforcement Officers with respect to highway traffic enforcement.  As MEO’s are not trained in dangerous situations and the potential liability, a directive has been given to stop enforcing the Highway Traffic Act until the matter is resolved.
  • Recognizing the impact of the Broadway Musical, Come From Away, the Town of Gander has received national and international recognition with requests for productions, tours, interviews etc.  While the response has been overwhelming it has generated work and the need for time for municipal officials.  The Town is happy to oblige spreading the “good news” story and was recently invited to speak at the University California on a matter of public diplomacy.

Danny Breen – City of St. John’s

  • Transformation of a former bus garage into a farmer’s market.  Success has been resounding.  This initiative initiated as an outfall of immigration which was incorporated into the City’s Economic Roadmap.
  • The City is also attempting to revitalize the downtown and encourage residents and business owners to “think outside the box”.  Revitalization has always and will continue to present challenges.
  • City is proud to be flying the flag for all the Provinces and Territories and particularly proud to fly the Labrador flag.  This often gets commendation.
  • The City recently endured a court battle as part of its effort to protect watersheds from development.  The judge ruled against the City and ordered it to proceed with constructive expropriation.  The implications of this are vast and wide, not only for the City but for the entire province.  The matter is now before the Public Utilities Board.  The City is asking Government to change the legislation retroactively thereby mitigating an extensive bill for land acquisition or an extensive bill for water plant treatment facilities.  Unfortunately, the Province has taken a “hands off” approach.
  • 2018 Budget Consultation – The City is going through a very extensive and collaborative engagement process as it tried to prepare residents for the expectations of Budget 2019.  While known increased costs will be the outcome of Muskrat Falls and increased electricity rates, the City is seeking input from the public as it attempts retain service levels while minimizing tax increases.  The result of this process has been quite favorable to date.
  • Council remuneration – City Council has been grappling with the change in legislation regarding Council remuneration and the reduction of non-taxable reporting.  He indicated the City’s disappointment with FCM not taking a stronger stand on this issue and noted it puts Councillors in a position of having to submit expense claims to realize the same net income from remuneration.
  • Attempts were made to show a video on Sport Tourism in the City.  However, because of technical difficulties, it could not be shown.  A link will be sent to the Executive Director of AMC for distribution. 
Next Meeting – Date, Location, Agenda Items

Next meeting will be held in the Spring of 2019 with the location and date to be determined.

Adjournment

The meeting adjourned at 12:02 pm.

Respectfully submitted

Danny Breen

Mayor

City of St. John’s

APPENDIX A

APPENDIX B

APPENDIX C

APPENDIX D

APPENDIX E

APPENDIX F