Ford Government Moves to Help Make Municipalities Stronger

Queen's Park
Queen's Park building seat of the Ontario Provincial Government. The Ontario Legislative Building which houses the viceregal suite of the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, and offices for members of the provincial parliament

Dedicated funds will drive efficiencies and strengthen local service delivery

TORONTO ― Ontario is providing up to $143 million to municipalities to help them lower costs and improve services for local residents over the long term. Funding will be available to all 444 municipalities so they can find smarter, more efficient ways to operate and focus spending on vital programs and services for Ontarians.

Municipalities deliver a wide range of services that people rely on every day, like transit, water and wastewater, and parks and recreation.

“Municipalities are the level of government closest to the people, but every community is different – one size doesn’t fit all,” said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “This investment in communities will support municipal transformation efforts to make sure they are delivering efficient, effective and modern services that best meet the unique needs of their residents.”

“Our government is working in partnership with municipalities to ensure that taxpayers’ dollars are respected. Earlier this year, the government conducted a review of Ontario’s eight regional governments and Simcoe County. Over 8,500 submissions were received and the Special Advisors, Michael Fenn and Ken Seiling, attended nine in-person sessions and listened to ideas from individuals and organizations on how to improve their local governments,” states the Minister.

New Democrats Say Ford Flip-Flopping

The NDP’s Municipal Affairs critic, Jeff Burch, released the following statement regarding Doug Ford’s decision to give up on his scheme to force municipalities to amalgamate: “Doug Ford threatened to trample over democracy once again when he decided he knew better than Ontarians about the kind of local representation they deserve at municipal and regional governments. Ford’s flip-flop on forced amalgamations is welcome, but his efforts to try to force municipalities to do what they always knew was wrong has wasted time, money and energy.

“And opening a $143-million fund to push municipalities to make further budget cuts is especially hard to swallow after Ford cut $2 billion from municipalities. Those cuts — putting a deep hole in things like public health and childcare — need to be reversed.

“This back-track follows the introduction of a Private Member’s Bill (Bill 21) by NDP Leader Andrea Horwath to demand Doug Ford stop playing mayor in Ontario’s municipalities.”

The Conservatives say that “Throughout this extensive review, the government heard that local communities should decide what is best for them in terms of governance, decision-making and service delivery. After careful consideration of the feedback we heard through the course of the review, our government stands firm in its commitment to partnering with municipalities without pursuing a top-down approach. We will provide municipalities with the resources to support local decision-making.”

“We are committed to helping and empowering municipalities to become more efficient and effective, so they can make every dollar count,” said Clark. “This investment supports the province’s commitment to reduce the cost of government while maintaining quality services the people of Ontario expect from all levels of government.”

QUICK FACTS

  • Our government is extending two application-based funding streams: one for small and rural municipalities, and one for large urban governments.
  • The 2020 Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund will have the same structure as this year and provide a total of $500 million to 389 municipalities across the province.
  • Ontario will also launch a consultation with municipalities about whether to align the municipal and provincial fiscal year.
  • Our government is proposing to eliminate duplication by combining the provincial and municipal voters lists, giving Elections Ontario the responsibility of managing the updated list and taking the burden off of municipalities.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION