Municipalities own more infrastructure than any other order of government in Ontario.

These assets range from water treatment and wastewater facilities, to parks, community centres, public housing, and of course, local roads and bridges.

But this infrastructure is under mounting pressure. Much of it was first built in the 1950s and 1960s and is now deteriorating, requiring upgrades or replacement. A growing population is also fueling the need for new investments. Ontario faces a municipal infrastructure gap of $60 billion that will take 10 years to close.

Municipal roads and bridges account for nearly half of the funding gap. In the 1990s, the Province of Ontario transferred almost 5,000 kilometres of provincial highways to municipal governments, adding to the transportation infrastructure burden. In many areas of the province, municipal roads and bridges are the only means of transportation, underpinning both the local economy and community life.

To address the gap, Ontario’s municipalities have put recent federal and provincial infrastructure funding programs to good use. They have also leveraged funding opportunities resulting from the provincial upload of social services costs. But more needs to be done. AMO continues to advocate for dedicated, long-term, sustainable infrastructure funding programs from the federal and provincial governments. There is a particular need to support work on roads and bridges in municipalities – especially those with limited tax bases to support sustainable investment. 

AMO is pleased to be working in partnership with the Governments of Canada and Ontario as the federal government formulates its Long-Term Infrastructure Plan to replace the Building Canada Fund in 2014-15. 

Provincially, AMO has been working with the Ministry of Transportation and other partners in a Provincial-Municipal Roads and Bridges Review since 2010. This Review was focused on ways to enhance municipalities’ ability to pay for roads and bridges. Released in July, the final report recommends funding from all three orders of government for municipal roads and bridges.  

AMO looks forward to working with the provincial government in the future to deliver on Premier McGuinty’s 2011 commitment for a permanent provincial fund to support municipal roads and bridges.

Infrastructure Funding

Government of Canada

  • The Community Infrastructure Investment Fund, which provides nearly $50 million for community infrastructure upgrades and repairs, opened to applications in July 2012.
  • Canada’s Gas Tax Fund was legislated to be permanent in December 2011. It provides $746 million annually to Ontario municipalities. 
  • Cost-shared stimulus funding and other programs from 2007 to 2009 provided billions of dollars for municipal infrastructure projects. 
  • The cost-shared Building Canada Plan, a $33-billion, seven-year program for infrastructure, will soon expire. Consultation on a new program has begun.

Ontario Government Funding

  • Since 2008, several funding programs have provided more than $1 billion for various municipal infrastructure initiatives. 
  • The 2012 budget postponed municipal roads and bridges funding. 
  • The Gas Tax for Transit program also provides on-going support for municipal transit system. 
  • In August 2012, the government announced $60 million to help small, rural and Northern municipalities develop infrastructure plans and make critical repairs.