TORONTO, Jan. 24, 2022 /CNW/ - The 2022 Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) Conference kicked off today with nearly 1,000 people participating in the virtual event.
"The ROMA Conference has always been a place where rural leaders connect to share solutions, collaborate with neighbours, and advocate for their communities," said ROMA Chair Robin Jones. "As we near two years of the COVD-19 pandemic, our challenges and world continue to evolve, coming together has never been more important."
Monday's program featured addresses by Premier Doug Ford, Minister Steve Clark and Andrea Horwath, Leader of the Ontario NDP. Tuesday's program will feature Steven Del Duca, Leader of the Liberal Party, and Mike Schreiner, Leader of the Green Party of Ontario.
In his address, Minister Clark announced $28 million for a third round of projects under the Municipal Modernization Program for small and rural municipalities to modernize, digitize, and improve local operations, including streamlining housing approval processes.
At the Conference, the ROMA Board also launched its action plan, Opportunities for Rural Ontario in a Post-COVID World, to support rural Ontario's growth and recovery. The ROMA Board commissioned Kathy Wood, CEO of Pivotal Momentum Inc. to develop the plan. It focuses on fostering rural resilience and urges a rethink of the role of rural communities in the economic and social vitality of the province.
The ROMA conference offers dozens of plenary sessions, workshops, keynote speakers and learning opportunities that reflect the broad scope of municipal responsibilities. Key topics relate to rural housing, community safety and wellbeing, rural and Northern health, and timely issues such as climate change. A full program is available online.
Conference highlights for Tuesday, January 25, include:
Environmental expert Dr. Bruce Lourie on climate change, the move to a net zero economy and the implications and opportunities for municipal governments.
Ontario's Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Lisa Thompson and Infrastructure Minister Kinga Surma.
Federal Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for South Ontario, Helena Jaczek.
A popular open Q&A session featuring municipal experts.
A forum where Ontario Ministers will take questions from municipal delegates related rural economic growth, environment and resource development.
Registered media have full access to the conference. Register now by contacting Megan Abraham, at email@example.com. Media are encouraged to register as soon as possible to ensure timely access.
ROMA takes pride in promoting, supporting and enhancing strong and effective rural governments. About 270 of Ontario's 444 municipalities have populations of less than 10,000, while scores more are rural in character. The rural arm of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, ROMA advocates for policies and programs that will help build thriving rural Ontario communities.
Follow ROMA on Twitter: @ROMA_Ont Conference hashtag: #ROMA202
SOURCE Rural Ontario Municipal Association
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