Ontario municipalities under funding squeeze: study

October 22, 2014

TORONTO – As candidates across Ontario trade promises for votes in the lead up to the October 27 municipal election, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives releases a report that looks at the decades-long funding constraints that limit what newly elected politicians are going to be able to accomplish on behalf of their municipalities.

Under Pressure: How Public Policy is Constraining Ontario Municipalities, written by Ryerson University academic Carlo Fanelli, reviews decades of successive federal and provincial funding cuts to Ontario municipalities.

“Years of funding cuts, combined with downloading of public services, has created a real fiscal crunch on Ontario municipalities and that’s constraining the public conversation about what’s possible in many communities as we head into the election,” says Fanelli.

“The pressure on municipalities to find cost savings continues to grow, forcing city councils to delay social and physical infrastructure improvements or find inferior ways of delivering public services. Breaking this cycle will require new initiatives and new ways of thinking.”

The author proposes municipalities consider the following:

  • Turn to a variety of fiscal tools to repair Ontario’s outmoded system of provincial-municipal transfers – including look twice at taking up GST/HST sales tax room;
  • Work with the province to find dedicated funding for even more robust transit and infrastructure investments (more important in the face of extreme weather incidents and aging infrastructure);
  • Working with the province, examine new taxation and administrative powers to create new revenues streams that will ensure the sustainability and vitality of Ontario municipalities.

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 For more information please contact: Trish Hennessy, CCPA-Ontario: 416-525-4927 or [email protected].

Download the report on our website: Under Pressure: How Public Policy is Constraining Ontario Municipalities.