Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus outlines goals for 2022

2022 EOWC-Members of the Eastern Ontario Wardens' Caucus met in person for 2022 advocacy planning.

SARAH WILLIAMS

STAFF WRITER

On Friday, March 11, 2022 the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus (EOWC) met in Lennox and Addington County for their first in-person meeting since the start of the pandemic. This was a priority setting meeting wherein the caucus outlined the primary issues for 2022.

The EOWC is an advocacy group made up of mayors and wardens from rural municipalities in this part of Ontario.

The caucus identified the following three issues to focus on this year:

  • Affordable and Attainable Housing
  • Ontario Health Team Governance/Structure; and
  • Health Care Human Resources/Family Physicians

In their meeting, the EOWC also identified issues of ongoing importance for which they will continue to advocate. Many of these items will be supported on an as-needed basis. These continued advocacy items include: COVID-19 municipal recovery, long-term care funding and Community Paramedicine.

“This is a critical year for both the Province of Ontario and the municipal sector, with elections scheduled for both levels of government,” stated EOWC Chair Debbie Robinson. “The EOWC has strategically evaluated and focused its priorities for 2022 and will continue to advocate strongly for Eastern Ontario residents.”

Affordable and Attainable Housing

Housing affordability and attainability will remain a central focus for the EOWC.

As per the EOWC, in order to address a housing shortfall in rural Eastern Ontario, the EOWC and the Rural Ontario Institute (ROI) are working together on a digital tool aimed at providing local, reliable, and current rural data to assist municipalities in the planning and construction of new, affordable housing.

The EOWC will build on past work done on this file and will continue to work with the Province and other key stakeholders to facilitate affordable housing initiatives and increase investments and supports for individuals across this region

Ontario Health Team Governance / Structure

The EOWC is critical to the delivery of health care and are responsible for co-funding and delivering a number of health-related services that fall under the Ontario Health Team umbrella. The EOWC is strongly advocating with the Ministry of Health to ensure municipally elected representation is mandated for all Ontario Health Teams throughout the Province.

Health Care Human Resources / Family Physicians

The EOWC acknowledges the many human resource challenges facing the health care sector, including the ability to attract, recruit and retain qualified workers including family physicians. The EOWC is a collaborative partner and is willing to work with key stakeholders in order to address this longstanding systemic issue.