Media Release

Tillsonburg attends 2023 ROMA conference; Beres elected to board

Tillsonburg attends 2023 ROMA conference; Beres elected to board

The 2023 Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) Conference, held in Toronto from January 22 to 24, drew a record of more than 1,500 participants from across rural Ontario. Mayor Deb Gilvesy, Deputy Mayor Dave Beres and Chief Administrative Officer Kyle Pratt represented the Town of Tillsonburg at the annual event.

Themed “Breaking New Ground,” the conference reflected ROMA’s advocacy work on priorities such as housing and economic growth. The event featured dozens of speakers, sessions and workshops across a broad range of municipal responsibilities.

Members also elected the 2023-2027 ROMA Board, with Deputy Mayor Dave Beres elected to represent Zone 3. The area encompasses Oxford, Norfolk, Brant and Haldimand counties, as well as Niagara Region and the City of Hamilton.

“ROMA brings together municipalities from across Ontario and provides an opportunity for elected officials and senior staff to not only learn from each other, but dialogue with the Province on important issues,” says Mayor Deb Gilvesy.

The Tillsonburg delegation met with a variety of Ministry representatives during the conference including the including the Ministry of Infrastructure regarding the future of Kinsmen Bridge, and the Ministry of Transportation regarding inter-community transit.

The group also had meetings with the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, and the Ministry of Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks.

“I think it’s important for the Province to hear from rural municipalities directly about their needs and struggles,” says Deputy Mayor Dave Beres. “Although only 20% of Ontario’s population live in rural communities, their contribution to Ontario’s economy through agriculture and tourism is significant. An event like the ROMA conference provides that important face-to-face connection.”

In a meeting with the Solicitor General’s office, the Town thanked the government for its leadership on public safety, and in particular, the $208 million investment that is being made over three years to upgrade the provincial 911 public safety answering system. The delegation also advocated for Tillsonburg’s share of this funding.

“We had a number of items on our agenda going into the conference, and while we weren’t able to raise all of them, the conversations we did have with Ministry officials were productive,” says Pratt.

“Health care and affordable housing remain critical issues in our community, so we’ll continue to try and advance those concerns,” adds Gilvesy.

The conference included participation from political leaders across the province, including Chief Stacey Laforme, Premier Ford, incoming Leader of the Opposition Marit Stiles, Interim Liberal Leader John Fraser and Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner. Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clark, Health Minister Sylvia Jones and Agriculture and Rural Affairs Minister Lisa Thompson also addressed delegates.

Minister Clark announced that Ontario is extending the deadline for implementation projects approved under Intake 3 of the Municipal Modernization Program and the Streamline Development Approval Fund. He also announced $936 million in funding for municipal service managers and Indigenous program administrators for 2023-24 and 2024-25 through the National Housing Strategy. 

During the conference, Lisa Thompson, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs also opened the next intake of the Rural Economic Development program.

About Tillsonburg
Located 90 minutes west of the Toronto area, Tillsonburg offers companies a strategic location in Ontario’s agriculture and manufacturing heartland. With low business and development costs, progressive policies and a high-speed fibre optic network, Tillsonburg is home to more than 600 regional, national and international companies. To find out more about Tillsonburg, visit

About ROMA
The rural arm of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, ROMA advocates for policies and programs that will help build thriving rural Ontario communities. ROMA takes pride in promoting, supporting and enhancing strong and effective rural governments. About 270 of Ontario's 444 municipalities have populations of less than 10,000, while scores more are rural in character. 



Deb Gilvesy
Town of Tillsonburg
200 Broadway – Suite 204
Tillsonburg, ON N4G 5A7
519 688 3009 ext 4053

Kyle Pratt
Chief Administrative Officer
Town of Tillsonburg
200 Broadway – Suite 204
Tillsonburg, ON  N4G 5A7
519 688 3009 ext 4000


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