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Policy and Finance Committee Considers Special Water Committee

At its meeting on May 8, 2003, the Policy and Finance Committee considered a report from the City's Chief Administrative Officer on a comprehensive Council Governance Review recently undertaken by her department. The committee adopted the report's recommendation against the establishment of the proposed Water Committee, noting instead that water and wastewater policy matters should continue to be considered by the Works Committee.

Council will consider the Policy and Finance Committee's recommendations on the Council Governance Review report at its meeting on June 24, 25 and 26, 2003.

City Council approves report on designating Water and Wastewater Services as a "Business Unit"

At its meeting held on April 14, 15 and 16, 2003, City Council approved, without amendment, a report from the Chief Administrative Officer on the designation of Water and Wastewater Services as a "Business Unit" within the Works and Emergency Services Department. The report was requested by Council at its meeting on November 26, 27 and 28, 2002.

At the November meeting, Council endorsed a governance model for water and wastewater services consisting of a special Water Committee of seven Councillors with sole responsibility for water and wastewater matters and appropriate delegated powers. The establishment of such a committee was considered through the Council Governance Review recently undertaken. A report on that review was considered by the Policy and Finance Committee at its meeting on May 8, 2003, and will be considered by City Council at its meeting to be held May 21, 22 and 23, 2003.

Council Adopts Joint Committee Recommendation to Establish a Water and Wastewater Committee

At its meeting held on November 26, 27 & 28, 2002, City Council amended and adopted the recommendations of the joint Policy & Finance and Works Committee regarding the establishment of a Committee for Water & Wastewater Services.

Council also confirmed its commitment to not privatize the capital stock or operations of the Toronto water and wastewater system or service. Read the full text of the Council decision.

Joint Committee Rejects Toronto Water Board Proposal, Recommends New Committee

On November 19, 2002, the joint Policy & Finance and Works Committee meeting, Councillors rejected Chief Administrative Officer Shirley Hoy's report on the establishment of a Toronto Water Board. Instead, Councillors approved a compromise recommendation to establish a water and wastewater committee.

The joint Committee's proposed governance model is a committee of seven Councillors that would report directly to Council and have responsibility solely for water and wastewater matters. The Committee would have appropriate delegated powers to award, in a timely fashion, capital and operating contracts within the approved budgets to meet operational needs of water and wastewater services.

The new Committee would include two advisory committees reporting to it. One would be a technical advisory committee providing advice on the operational needs of the Water & Wastewater Services Division. The other, a citizen advisory committee made up of citizens, labour unions, environmental groups, sewer and watermain construction organizations, representatives of the business and financial communities, health advocates and resident associations, would provide guidance and support to the City.

The Water & Wastewater Services Division would become a "business unit" within the Works & Emergency Services Department. It would be allowed to operate with a greater degree of delegated financial and operational authority, have negotiated service level agreements for all centrally provided services, and operate under administrative policies and procedures tailored to service the needs of the Division. A business plan for the unit is to be produced.

The CAO is to report back in April 2003, as part of the current review of the Council Committee structure. Her report is to include details of the new Committee and its delegated authority, along with the identification of staff and other resources required to support the work of the Committee. The concept of the business unit status of the Water & Wastewater Services Division must also be defined in this report.

The recommendations from the November 19th joint Committee meeting will be considered by Council at its meeting on November 26, 27 and 28, 2002.

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Public Information Session on Proposed Toronto Water Board held November 6, 2002

A public Information Session was held on Wednesday, November 6, 2002 in the Council Chamber at Toronto City Hall. Approximately 300 people attended the Session, which was chaired by Councillor Brad Duguid and co-hosted by Councillor Irene Jones. Also in attendance for portions of the meeting were Councilors McConnell and Moscoe.

The format of the meeting was a presentation (PDF 212 Kb) by the CAO followed by an open question-and-answer period, during which 25 people spoke and asked questions. The CAO, the Commissioner of Works and Emergency Services, the General Manager of W&WW, staff from the CAO's Office and staff from Legal Services were on hand to respond. Minutes of the meeting were distributed at the joint meeting of the Policy & Finance and Works Committees on November 19, 2002, along with a Memo from the CAO.

October 22, 2002

The CAO has released a report on the proposed implementation of a Toronto Water Board. The report will go to a joint meeting of Policy & Finance and the Works Committees on November 19. The report will then go to Council for consideration at the November 26 to 28 meeting.

The report going forward in November discusses:
a) details on implementing a municipal service board for water and wastewater services and
b) the transition process for implementation.

Under a municipal service board, water and wastewater services would remain firmly under public sector control. The City would remain the employer of the water and wastewater workforce, board members would be appointed by Council and would include citizen members as well as Councillors. Authority to approve the operating and capital budgets would remain with Council, as would the setting of rates and charges, and board meetings would be held in public.

A municipal service board would alleviate some of the challenges faced in the current service delivery model by creating an environment that supports focused, informed decision-making and provides opportunities to deal with long-term capital and operating budget requirements.

This proposed change in governance to a municipal service board will ensure that the delivery of water and wastewater services and the quality of Toronto's drinking water continue to meet or exceed federal and provincial guidelines.

A staff report delivered in June 2002 recommended a dedicated Toronto Water Board as the best option for managing the $500 million a year water and wastewater operation as well as preserving infrastructure assets estimated at $20 billion. The City of Toronto remains the employer of water and wastewater staff and Council would appoint citizens and councillors to the Board based on their experience and professional expertise.

Full report (PDF 137 Kb)
Appendix 1 (PDF 86 Kb) - Draft By-law
Appendix 2 (PDF 122 Kb) - Direction to the Board
Appendix 3 (PDF 54 Kb) - Transition Framework
Appendix 4 (PDF 275 Kb) - June Governance Study Report
Appendix 5 (PDF 75 Kb) - Motions from June Joint Committee Meeting
City Solicitor's report (PDF 62 Kb) - re: GATS and NAFTA Issues
Opinion letter (PDF 119 Kb) - from outside solicitor on GATS and NAFTA Issues

June 11/12, 2002 - Joint Meeting of Policy & Finance and Works Committees

Governance Study Report (PDF 275 Kb)
CAO presentation (PDF 54 Kb)
Decision Document (PDF 85 Kb)

After a six month review (December 2001 - May 2002), City of Toronto Chief Administrative Officer Shirley Hoy recommended to a joint meeting of the Policy & Finance and Works Committees (June 11/12, 2002) that the City's Water and Wastewater Services be provided through a Municipal Service Board (MSB).

A water and wastewater MSB would be a hybrid, a new type of city agency designed, under a new legislative authority, to specifically serve the City's water and wastewater needs.

A Municipal Service Board would act as a local board of the City. Members would be appointed by Council to operate and manage the City's water and wastewater services. In this governance model:

  • Council appoints Board members
  • Council approves the operating and capital budgets
  • Council sets the water rate (upon recommendation from the Board)
  • City owns all assets
  • Meetings are open to the public
  • Employees remain City staff, and
  • Conflict of Interest Act and the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act apply

"The review explored ways to address a number of issues facing Water and Wastewater services, including its current reporting relationship to the political structure," said Chief Administrative Officer Shirley Hoy. "We reviewed the approval processes for rates and funding, internal charges that may need to be adjusted to reflect the true cost of services provided and the need for more strategic political focus. The municipal service board model offers the best opportunity for future infrastructure needs to be addressed through long-term strategic planning, full-cost recovery, and a focus on the business and policy needs of the service."

The recommendation comes from a CAO-led team that reviewed three options for the City's water and wastewater service: retaining or modifying the status quo; establishing a municipal service board; or creating a municipally-owned corporation.

Each of the options were assessed using four sets of criteria:

  • Accountability and transparency
  • Capacity for innovation and flexibility
  • Efficient and effective operations
  • Quality assurance and environmental responsibility

The study included consultation with affected bargaining units, the general public and stakeholder groups, specifically environmental groups, service suppliers, industrial users and neighbouring municipalities. The public was invited to provide comment through the City's Web site, 24 hour phone/comment line, e-mail, fax, and several open houses.

At the meeting on June 11/12, 2002, the joint Policy & Finance and Works Committee referred the matter back to the CAO for a further report to include implementation details for the establishment of a water and wastewater MSB (view meeting resolution). A joint meeting of the Policy & Finance and Works Committees will be scheduled for later in the year to consider that report and hear deputations.

October, 2001 Report on Proposed Water and Wastewater Utility Study including Council amendments (PDF 47 Kb)

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