Kitchener, ON – Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic, with Councillors John Gazzola and Zyg Janecki, joined other municipal officials from across Ontario this week at the Association of Municipalities Ontario (AMO) conference in Ottawa. Premier Doug Ford was also in attendance, along with provincial ministers, parliamentary assistants and members of the Ontario legislature, who are meeting with elected officials on issues important to Ontario municipalities. Mayor Vrbanovic met with government officials to continue discussions on Two-Way, All Day GO rail service and high-speed rail in the Waterloo Region.

“We are happy to hear that the new provincial government is committed to bringing Two-Way, All-Day GO rail service to Kitchener, as well as continuing with the environmental assessment process for high- speed rail,” said Mayor Vrbanovic. “The gridlock on highway 401 is bad now and it’s only going to get worse. We are hearing loud and clear from frustrated commuters and businesses along the Toronto-Waterloo Region corridor that we need better public rail transit between the Waterloo Region and the GTA.”

Mayor Vrbanovic also met with Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clark, as part of a delegation by the Large Urban Mayors Caucus of Ontario (LUMCO). At this meeting, Minister Clark committed to consulting with municipalities as part of a review of regional government in the coming months. LUMCO municipalities represent roughly 67 per cent of Ontario’s population.

“We welcome the Minister’s offer to engage our community as part of any regional review. This will allow grassroots solutions to local issues.  We are also happy to hear, both from Premier Ford and Minister Clark, that there are no plans in the near future to change the current municipal structure in Waterloo Region.”

Also on the minds of many at the AMO conference is the implementation of the upcoming cannabis legislation, effective Oct. 17, 2018.  The new provincial government recently announced private retail sales of cannabis.  While the role of municipalities will significantly increase due to this change, Finance Minister Vic Fedeli ensured municipalities that the province wants to work with and empower municipalities during the next phase of consultation.

“While we will work hard to adapt to the province’s changes, they do raise a lot of questions for municipalities. As the level of government closest to the people, we welcome the government’s empowerment of municipalities in this process,” said Mayor Vrbanovic.


 AMO works to make municipal governments stronger and more effective. Through AMO, Ontario’s 444 municipalities work together to achieve shared goals and meet common challenges.  The mandate of the organization is to support and enhance strong and effective municipal government in Ontario. It promotes the value of the municipal level of government as a vital and essential component of Ontario and Canada's political system.

The Large Urban Mayor’s Caucus of Ontario (LUMCO) represents 67 per cent of Ontario’s population. Currently there are 27 Large Urban Caucus Mayors with populations of over 100,000 residents in Ontario.


For more information, please contact

Paul Grivicic
Chief of Staff, Office of the Mayor & Council
City of Kitchener
T: 519-741-2200 ext. 7795
C: 226-749-3410 

Nicole Amaral
Manager of Creative Services and Digital Media, Corporate Communications & Marketing
City of Kitchener
T: 519-7-2200 ext. 7861