Education & Events

2019 Municipal Leaders' Forum


Four Points by Sheraton Toronto Airport
6257 Airport Road, Mississauga, Ontario L4V 1E4

Friday, March 29, 2019


About the Forum

The annual AMCTO Municipal Leaders’ Forum, is a premier event for Senior Executive Leaders from Ontario’s municipal sector.

The 2019 Municipal Leaders’ Forum will bring together issues experts, academics, and senior leaders from the private and public sectors to discuss proven strategies around one of the key strategic leadership and management issues facing our sector today.

 Who Should Attend
• CAOs and municipal executive leaders and management
• Public Sector Executives

Keynote – Managing In The Era Of Populism

Michael Adams, President and Co-founder of the Environics Group of Research and Communications Consulting Companies, and author of Could it Happen Here? Canada in the Age of Trump and Brexit

Michael Adams is the president of the Environics group of research and communications consulting companies which he co-founded in 1970. In 2006 he founded and serves as president of the non-profit Environics Institute for Survey Research. The Environics Institute is a non-profit entity whose mission is to sponsor relevant and original public opinion and social research on issues of public policy and social change.

Mr. Adams is also the author of seven books, and a regular contributor of published commentary on Canadian values and social trends. In 2016 he was awarded the Order of Canada for his work in helping Canadians understand who they are as a country and a people. His most recent book, published in 2017, is Could it Happen Here? Canada in the Age of Trump and Brexit.

Keynote – Current Ontario Government Fiscal Priorities

Doug Downey, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Finance

Doug was born in Simcoe County. After obtaining degrees from Wilfrid Laurier (B.A.), Brock (M.A.) and Dalhousie (Law) Universities, he settled in the north end of Simcoe County.
Prior to being elected, he established and ran a law firm. He is a certified specialist in real estate and obtained a Masters of Law in Municipal and Development Law.

He chaired the Independent Panel on the Trent-Severn Waterway and has been a keynote speaker at the Welland Canal conference; was appointed to the Provincial Panel on the Regulation of Home Inspectors; and the Business Law Advisory Council, advising the former Minister of Government and Consumer Services.
He was elected in June 2018 to represent the riding of Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte and currently serves as the Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Finance and Deputy Government Whip. He is also leading the review of the Mortgage Broker Lenders and Administrators Act. He was previously elected twice to a municipal council and served three years on the Board of the Ontario Small Urban Caucus.

Doug has served as Chair of Big Brothers Big Sisters, Orillia & District Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis, Vice President of a Community Development Corporation and several other community organizations. He was Secretary/Treasurer for the Ontario Bar Association for five years. He is the recipient of several law and community service awards.

Agenda (click to download)

Managing in the Era of Populism

Could the increasing trend of nationalism we are seeing in the United States and Europe come to Canada, and what are the implications for senior municipal officials in Ontario, of the rising wave of populism on both the left and right?
Presenter: Michael Adams, President, The Environics Institute for Survey Research

Current Municipal Funding Priorities for the Provincial Government

MPP Doug Downey, Parliamentary Assistant, Office of the Minister of Finance, the Hon. Victor Fedeli, will provide invaluable insights about the Government’s key fiscal priorities and programs targeting the municipal government sector, at this critical time of developing budgets and financial plans for local communities.  

Presenter: MPP Doug Downey, Parliamentary Assistant, Office of Minister Victor Fedeli, Minister of Finance, & Chair of Cabinet, Government of Ontario

Painting the Municipal Fiscal Picture

The presentation will cover three major areas. First, expenditure challenges posed by our aging population; increasing densification and changing demographics; crumbling and new infrastructure; and climate change. Second, revenue challenges including the role of taxes, prices, and grants. As for taxes, the discussion will revolve around threats to the property tax base; its capacity to generate revenue; the treatment of residential versus commercial/industrial properties; and whether new taxes should be permitted. As for pricing, comments will be made on when, where, and how prices should be set. Third, some discussion will be directed at municipal structures and service delivery and how this might affect spending and revenue decisions.

Harry Kitchen, Professor Emeritus, Economics, Trent University
Almos Tassonyi, Ph.D., Executive Fellow, The School of Public Policy, University of Calgary, Adjunct Lecturer, Department of Geography and Planning, University of Toronto, Research Associate, International Property Tax Institute

Strategic Issues in Municipal Leadership: A Roundtable Discussion 

Experienced CAO’s from municipalities across Ontario will answer questions from a moderator and provide their insights on the key strategic leadership issues and emerging trends facing local government managers in the Province. 

Norm Gale, City Manager, City of Thunder Bay
Rob Adams, Chief Administrative Officer, Municipality of Grey Highlands
Jennifer Moore, Chief Administrative Officer, County of Northumberland
Elaine Baxter-Trahair, Chief Administrative Officer, Region of Durham

Mowat Centre Report: Changing Nature of Employment & the Impact on Municipal Fiscal Sustainability

The nature of employment is changing. It is impacting municipal finance, resulting in a decrease of non-residential property tax and development charge revenue collected by the Region of Peel. 

The Region of Peel has partnered with the Mowat Centre to undertake a socio-economic research study to evaluate the impact of these disruptive changes. The study provides policy options to enable municipal fiscal sustainability. 

Sunil Johal, Director Policy, Mowat Centre, University of Toronto
Stephen VanOfwegen, CPA, CMA, Commissioner of Finance & Chief Financial Officer, Region of Peel

Building Smart Communities: What’s Now? What’s Next?

The phrase ‘Smart’ Communities has become increasingly ubiquitous, and has broadly come to mean a forward-thinking municipality that is connected, environmentally and fiscally sustainable, safe, liveable, well-run, resilient and responsive to community needs. Core elements of a smart community strategy are data, demand, customer focus, and equity. Our panel of expert municipal leaders will share insights on transformative initiatives being undertaken in their communities, and how they are preparing for the challenges of tomorrow, today.

Michael Kolm, Chief Transformation Officer, City of Toronto
Chris Gould, Chief Operational Officer, Bluewater Regional Network; Vice-President Utility Development
Yvonne Yeung, Senior Planner, Department of Planning and Urban Development, City of Markham

Is the Current Legislative Environment Making it Challenging to Govern Effectively?

Panelists will discuss the current legislative framework and recent fundamental changes regarding public expectations on transparency, accountability and oversight and what impact this is having on the important staff-council relationship, and the ability for municipal leaders to govern effectively.

Gabriel Eidelman, Founder and Director of the Urban Policy Lab, and assistant professor Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy
Jeffrey A. Abrams, Co-Principal, Principles Integrity
Zack Taylor, Assistant Professor, Director, Centre for Urban Policy and Local Governance , Dept. of Political Science, Western University, London, Canada
Mary Ellen Bench, City Solicitor, City of Mississauga



8:30 am - 4:30 pm (Breakfast and Registration begins at 8:00 am)

Fee: $468.95 ($415 + $53.95 HST)
(Includes breakfast, lunch, refreshments and materials)


Disclaimer: "This personal information, which you may provide to us, is used only for internal purposes to process your registration fee payment and to contact you or to distribute AMCTO-related materials to you, in the event that you have identified this personal contact information as your preferred means of contact.”

Refund Policy: All Cancellations must be confirmed in writing. A cancellation charge of $113.00 (includes HST) will be applied to every cancellation received up to seven (7) business days prior to the holding of the session. No refunds will be made for cancellations of less than seven (7) business days prior to the holding of the session

Hotel Reservations

Please call the Four Points by Sheraton Reservations Department at 1-800-565-5769 or directly at 905-678-1401 and reference AMCTO Leaders Forum, by no later than February 28th. 

Please register your room early as our room block is limited and will be on a first come first serve basis.

Online Reservations