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

The 2017 Municipal Leaders’ Forum presented by AMCTO will bring together issues experts, academics, and senior leaders from the private and public sectors to discuss proven strategies around key strategic leadership and management issues facing our sector today.



 When: Friday, April 7, 2017
8:30 am - 4:30 pm 
(Registration begins at 8:00 am)

 Four Points By Sheraton Toronto Airport
Windsor Hall
6257 Airport Road, Mississauga, Ontario L4V 1E4
Telephone: (905) 678-0064 or (800) 368-7764

Please click here to make your hotel reservations online



Please click
here to print and fax the registration form.

Fee: $457.65  ($405+$52.65 HST)

Fee includes Breakfast, Lunch, Refreshments and Materials
Student Rate: $100.00 + HST - please contact Jeanne Moon at to register 

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

KEYNOTE SPEAKER: The Honorable Bob Rae, PC CC O.ONT QC, 21st Premier of Ontario, Former Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, Lawyer, Mediator, Speaker and Writer

Populism and Policy
How do public servants deal with the growing conflict between populist politics and evidence based public policy?

Bob Rae was elected eleven times to the House of Commons and the Ontario legislature between 1978 and 2013.  He was Ontario’s 21st Premier from 1990 to 1995, and served as interim leader of the Liberal Party of Canada from 2011 to 2013.

He is working now as a lawyer, negotiator, mediator, and arbitrator, with a particular focus on first nations, aboriginal, and governance issues.  He also teaches at the University of Toronto School of Governance and Public Policy, and is a widely respected writer and commentator.

An author of five books and many studies and reports, Bob Rae is a Privy Councillor, a Companion of the Order of Canada, a member of the Order of Ontario, and has numerous awards and honorary degrees from institutions in Canada and around the world.


Please click here to print Agenda

Opening Moderator:
John Matheson, Principal and Corporate Counsel for StrategyCorp, former Chief of Staff to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing

Closing Moderator: Michael Fenn, Senior Advisor, StrategyCorp, former Deputy Minister and Chief Administrative Officer

Local Government Management in the Era of Populism

Municipal priorities and council agendas are often developed in reaction to immediate demands from a small but vocal group of citizens, and addressing their short term demands often supersedes the long-term strategic interests of the community. Municipalities are struggling to learn the rules of engagement. Municipal politicians also now have more direct lines of communication to the public, with no filter. This rise of populism where an individual politician is able to muster public support for positions contrary to that of the will of council or the strategic objectives of the municipal corporation, helps create more engagement, but also can increase the adversarial relationship between municipal leadership and the citizens. A panel of experts will address this topic by exploring the following key issues…

  • The rise of social media: direct democracy vs representative democracy – how to tell the difference
  • Rebuilding trust in local government management
  • The gap between public expectations and resource constraints
  • How to engage the public proactively and effectively
  • The rise of populism and the post facts world of politics

Mike Galloway,
CMO, Chief Administrative Officer, Town of Caledon
Sunil Johal, Policy Director, Mowat Centre, School of Public Policy and Governance, University of Toronto
David Siegel, Interim Dean, Faculty of Education, Professor of Political Science, Brock University

Ontario Municipal CAO Survey 2016

This presentation will share highlights gleaned from StrategyCorp’s extensive, one-on-one interviews with 25 experienced Ontario Chief Administrative Officers regarding what they see as the key challenges facing their municipalities and communities, and what will be expected from municipal managers in the foreseeable future.  From fiscal relations and politics in a digital environment, through to managing the municipal workforce and planning for succession, the findings and conclusions of this most recent survey of municipal leaders will help frame today's discussion.

John Matheson, Principal and Corporate Counsel for StrategyCorp ,former Chief of Staff to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Michael Fenn, Senior Advisor, StrategyCorp, former Deputy Minister and Chief Administrative Officer
Ian Smith, Vice President, StrategyCorp, a consultant with extensive senior experience in the municipal and transit spheres

Fiscal Sustainability

It is a perennial challenge for municipalities to respond to the escalating service delivery and infrastructure needs of their communities, without further burdening taxpayers.  Is the challenge getting more difficult? What issues and approaches could be considered for the future?

Topics addressed will include:

  • How to match revenue tools to expenditures effectively
  • Revenue challenges faced by municipalities in Ontario
  • How the size and profile of different municipalities affect the way they raise revenue and the kinds of revenue tools they use
  • Developing long-term fiscal plans to achieve sustainability
  • Revenue challenges for small and rural municipalities

Enid Slack, Director of the Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance, and an Adjunct Professor at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto
Lindsay Allison, Manager, Financing and Reserves, Regional Municipality of York
Matthew Wilson, Senior Advisor, Association of Municipalities of Ontario 

Combating Negative Perceptions to Market Municipal Sector Leadership Careers

We are all familiar with the foreboding stats relating to the impending retirement crisis facing the municipal sector, and the need for having a succession plan has been reinforced ad nauseum. But what is the reality of implementing a succession plan within the municipal environment with rising disenchantment with governments in general, and a move away from the traditional employment model that has existed for the past several decades? An expert panel will debate the following key questions from a range of perspectives…

  • Combating rising disenchantment with the public sector
  • The self-imposed glass ceiling
  • Attracting private sector executives willing to deal with the politicized environment
  • The domino effect: cannibalism of talented employees by other municipalities
  • Smaller and rural municipalities – how to attract talented staff
  • Getting council to invest in leadership development and training
  • Opportunities for partnership and secondments between municipalities
  • Is the traditional employment model outdated and can the municipal sector adapt?

Lori Kelly, Senior Manager, Talent Management, City of Mississauga 
Julia Robarts, CHRL, MSc, Engagement Manager, Odgers Berndtson , Executive Search - Executive Interim - Leadership Assessment
Kyle Pratt, MPA, CMM III, CHRL, CMO, Chief Administrative Officer, Municipality of Bluewater

The Changing Advocacy Environment: Getting Your Voice Heard

Like the public, municipalities are also seeking new ways to engage and get their voices heard and their needs addressed. Municipalities are increasingly looking for direct channels to government to address their priorities. Our panel will address this growing trend looking at what works, what doesn’t, and where municipalities can turn to for support with advocacy. Key issues to be addressed include…

  • Large and mid-sized municipalities increasingly hiring their own in-house government relations staff
  • The pros and cons of hiring a Government Relations Consultant
  • The relative effectiveness of municipal associations in advocating for municipalities – what’s working and what’s not? What can be improved?
  • The challenge for small municipalities – one size doesn’t fit all

Chris Wray, Chief Administrative Officer/Clerk-Treasurer, Municipality of Wawa
David Arbuckle, Manager, Strategic Public Policy, External Relations and Outcome Based Planning and Budgeting, Corporate Strategy Office Corporate Services, Region of Peel
Adam Thompson, Manager, Government and External Relations, City of London