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Thunder Bay Delegation Brings Priorities to Provincial Level
Date: February 28, 2018
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Feb. 28, 2018 – Thunder Bay’s key priorities were brought to the Ontario Good Roads Association (OGRA) Conference in Toronto this week.

A delegation led by Councillor Joe Virdiramo, Chair – Intergovernmental Affairs Committee, along with Mayor Keith Hobbs, Councillor Brian McKinnon, and City Manager Norm Gale brought forward several community issues to lobby for action and/or funding for Thunder Bay. 

“We discussed areas that are a priority for our city and the issues were well received,” said Councillor Virdiramo. “The dialog was engaging from both sides and the Provincial Ministers have an understanding of our issues, confirming that our lobbying is making an impact. Overall the conference was very productive, garnering positive support for our priorities.”  

The Thunder Bay delegation secured meetings with Provincial Ministers and the Opposition Parties, including:

  • Ernie Hardeman, MPP Oxford, Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario
  • Kevin Daniel Flynn, Minister of Labour
  • Michael Gravelle, Minister of Northern Development and Mines
  • Andrea Horwath, Leader, New Democratic Party of Ontario
  • Marie-France Lalonde, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services 
  • Glenn Thibeault, Minister of Energy
  • Stephanie Feletto, Indigenous Youth and Community Wellness Secretariat, Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation
  • Bill Mauro, Minister of Municipal Affairs (Meeting to take place after OGRA Conference to permit more discussion time.)

Key priorities the Thunder Bay delegation lobbied for included:

  • Bill 148 – Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act
  • Funding to implement the recommendations from the Seven Youth Inquest 
  • Joint Mobile Crisis Response Service
  • Mining Readiness Strategy – Energy
  • Next Generation 9-1-1
  • Non-Urgent Patient Transportation
  • Railway Right-of-Way Property Taxation
  • Shelter House – Managed Alcohol Program, Street Outreach Services and Operations

OGRA brought together thousands of municipal leaders from across Ontario for a four-day conference themed ‘The Challenge of Change’. Delegates heard from thought provoking speakers who addressed the ever changing political and municipal landscape, and learned how to navigate these changes and build stronger, more prosperous communities.

Among the many conference sessions were topics such as ‘Asset Management Planning – Prioritizing Projects’ and ‘Municipalities in the Age of Legalized Cannabis’. Key note addresses were delivered by Provincial Ministers, and, for the first time in 124 years, OGRA hosted a fireside chat with ministers whom have the closest relationship with Ontario municipalities.

These in-depth conversations included Hon. Kathryn McGarry, Minister of Transportation; Hon. Bill Mauro, Minister of Municipal Affairs; and Joe Tiernay, Executive Director, Ontario Good Roads Association.
“We took every opportunity to ensure our priorities were heard by key Ministries while at OGRA,” said Mayor Hobbs. “We need investment from the Province, and these meetings will help us build those partnerships.”

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Contact:  Councillor Joe Virdiramo, Chair – Intergovernmental Affairs Committee, 628-6878 or