Eastern Ontario, March 23, 2021 – The Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus (EOWC) met virtually on Friday, March 12, 2021 for a priority setting meeting in order to establish advocacy efforts for the 2021 term.
The Caucus has identified the following key priorities for 2021:
the Eastern Ontario Regional Network (EORN) Gig Project;
- Affordable and attainable housing;
- Long-term care; and
- Health care transformation.
In addition, the EOWC will continue to advocate for social assistance transformation, COVID-19 municipal recovery, and joint and several liability.
“Each year, the EOWC identifies key priorities in order to narrow its focus and act as a roadmap for the term ahead,” stated EOWC Chair Debbie Robinson. “As the Caucus continues to advance advocacy efforts this coming year, making a difference in the daily lives of eastern Ontario residents will remain a primary motivation for us in 2021 and beyond.”
Eastern Ontario Regional Network (EORN): Gig Project
The EOWC will continue to advocate for better broadband in rural communities and provide ongoing support to EORN in the development of a plan to ensure access to the CRTC minimum service level of 50 / 10 Mbps. The EORN Gig Project aims to deliver ultra-fast internet to homes and businesses to meet needs of the region for a generation.
Affordable and Attainable Housing
Housing affordability and attainability will remain a central focus for the EOWC. The Caucus looks forward to working with the provincial and federal governments, and other stakeholders to facilitate affordable and attainable housing initiatives and increase investments, supply and supports for individuals across eastern Ontario.
Municipalities are vital partners in the delivery of long-term care. In total, EOWC members currently own and operate 15 long-term care facilities, representing 2,386 licenced beds. The EOWC will continue to share its recommendations and research findings from its recent comprehensive Review of Eastern Ontario Long-Term Care Facilities to advocate for the improvement of Ontario’s long-term care sector.
Health Care Transformation
The EOWC has also identified health care transformation as a key priority for 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of having an effective, efficient and modern health care system. The EOWC will continue to work collaboratively with the Province and key stakeholders to inform changes regarding public health and emergency health services. The EOWC and its member municipalities have a vested interest in the health care system in order to shape the best possible care for rural eastern Ontario residents.
Continued Advocacy Items for the EOWC
The Caucus has also identified continued advocacy items, described as issues of ongoing importance that the EOWC has identified in the past and will continue to support on an as-needed basis. These continued advocacy items include social assistance transformation, COVID-19 municipal recovery, and joint and several liability, among other issues that may arise throughout the year ahead.