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City councillor elected to provincial association

Mason Ainsworth joins small urban caucus of Association of Municipalities of Ontario
2018-01-11 Ainsworth.jpg
Mason Ainsworth

Orillia city councillor Mason Ainsworth has been elected to the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) board of directors to serve on its Small Urban Caucus.

He is the youngest person to be elected to the provincial organization in recent memory.

“No one can remember anyone younger than me being elected to AMO,” said Ainsworth, who recently turned 26. “I think that's exciting.”

Beyond that, it shows that young people can make a difference on a larger stage, he said.

“It shows that young people can get engaged in their communities, but also outside of that, they can get engaged on a broader scale to not only help their local communities but … help other folks on the other side of the province,” he said.

Ainsworth, who had to lobby his council colleagues to get permission to seek election to AMO, said he is looking forward to his new role, which he believes is an important one.

“It's important to me, but it's also really important to the city,” he said, noting AMO represents all 444 municipalities in the province.

“They are the primary voice that deals with the province,” said Ainsworth, noting it's a vital way for small cities like Orillia to be represented at the table where decisions are made. “It's a direct voice to the provincial government.”

Because the province “basically dictates everything we do, we need to make sure we have a good relationship with them.”

Ainsworth referenced a provincial downloading issue that occurred two years ago when the province decided to exempt a local long-term care home from paying taxes.

“That was a half million dollars gone from property taxes … which is almost a 1 per cent tax increase for the city,” said Ainsworth, noting the provincial decision affected more than a dozen other municipalities as well. “That's an example of why it's important, specifically for Orillia, to have direct input and an opportunity to bring up issues like this.”

Ainsworth acknowledged his role goes well beyond Orillia. He said he will try to be the voice for all small municipalities.

He said after October's municipal election, assuming he is re-elected as a Ward 3 councillor, he will reach out to neighbouring municipalities and invite input.

“I want to come and meet with (them) and I want to talk about issues, ideas or concerns of small urban municipalities and then hopefully bring some of those to the table and see if we can get some solutions or pass those ideas to the province and say you know, maybe this is something we should be looking at,” said Ainsworth.

I would just say that it's a great opportunity for Orillia, and I'm very happy to have the support of our council moving forward in this position, as well as, you know, support from the other aim of directors and really was happy to get the nice welcome from the president the board and hopefully, you know, bring forward some good ideas and some issues and concerns from other folks

According to an AMO press release, as a member of the Board, Ainsworth will help set policy for the Association and serve as a key municipal leader in the province.

“AMO benefits from membership from across the province, and a board that reflects the diversity of Ontario’s municipal governments. To that end, I am pleased to have Mason on the 2018- 2020 Board team,” said AMO President Jamie McGarvey.

AMO is a non-profit organization representing almost all of Ontario’s 444 municipal governments. AMO supports strong and effective municipal government in Ontario and promotes the value of municipal government as a vital and essential component of Ontario and Canada’s political system.


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Dave Dawson

About the Author: Dave Dawson

Dave Dawson is community editor of
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