October 25, 2019

This morning, at AMO’s Fall Policy Forum, the Honourable Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, made several key announcements of interest to municipal governments across Ontario:
 
  •  The government will provide $125 million over 4 years to 405 small and rural municipalities.  This application based funding will help municipalities conduct service delivery reviews and implement process improvements in the delivery of public services.
  • For the 39 largest municipalities, the provincial government will provide $6 million annually to 2022-23 to increase effectiveness and reduce costs by supporting line-by-line reviews, audits and other service reviews.
  • The government will begin consultations on aligning the provincial and municipal fiscal years.  Currently, the municipal fiscal year in Ontario begins on January 1, while the provincial fiscal year begins on April 1. AMO looks forward to working with the province to see if aligning the provincial and municipal budget years makes sense. It should create greater certainty as we establish our budgets.
  • It is proposed that responsibility for the voters list shift from the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation to Elections Ontario. This would replace two voters lists (provincial and municipal) with one list for both elections. AMO’s priority is ensuring that people are able and encouraged to vote. We will work with Elections Ontario to ensure that happens.
  • On the issue of the regional government review, the Minister announced that there would be no forced amalgamations. The government will provide municipalities with resources to support local decision-making and will not be “pursuing a top-down approach.”  AMO believes the province has listened to municipalities and concluded that municipalities are best positioned to determine their own governance.
Residents and taxpayers expect the province and municipalities to work together. Today’s announcement is an important step in the right direction. Municipalities are keen to further modernize, and the government is clearly prepared to support municipal modernization initiatives. Today’s announcement helps re-set the provincial-municipal relationship.