August 2017
Backgrounder
The Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund (OMPF) provides unconditional operating support from the Province to municipal governments. It uses an equalization approach to address challenges in rural and northern communities, with funding based on various community fiscal health indicators.

The fund has changed over time, in large part to reflect the upload of social assistance. Despite the upload, the OMPF remains a critical provincial funding program for many communities. The overall OMPF envelope was part of the 2008 Provincial-Municipal Fiscal and Service Delivery Review Agreement.  

For the past several years, the Ministry has hosted an annual meeting of almost 30 municipal treasurers to discuss the future of the Fund, its design and ongoing evolution. These discussions have helped to inform some of the Province’s funding decisions. Funding announcements for 2018 are expected in late fall.

Total allocations in 2018 will remain stable at $505 million, as announced in the 2017 Provincial Budget. AMO has been seeking modest inflationary increases from the provincial government for several years. However the total envelope remains unchanged. Key grant components related to policing and farmland have been discontinued (see chart below). In recent years, many recipient municipal governments have been experiencing annual cuts of between 10-15%. On the positive side, specific dollars are being targeted to specific municipalities facing the most pressing of fiscal circumstances.

OMPF reductions have a big impact on local property tax rates. Particularly because a 1% property tax increase raises just $50,000 for almost half of Ontario’s municipal governments.
 
Historical OMPF Allocation by Grant (in millions of $)
Component 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Social Services Grant 84 25 25 0 0 0 0 0
Policing Grant 82 92 94 0 0 0 0 0
Farmland and Managed Forests Grant 47 47 46 0 0 0 0 0
Assessment Equalization Grant 150 147 147 0 149 149 149 149
Northern Communities Grant 84 85 86 0 79 79 84 84
Rural Communities Grant 158 159 162 0 138 138 143 148
Northern and Rural Fiscal Circumstances Grant 0 0 0 0 50 55 67 82
Transitional and Stabilization Grants (incl. Northern & Rural Social Program) 45 42 38 0 134 94 61 41
Total OMPF 650 597 598 575 550 515 505 505