Today Premier Kathleen Wynne announced infrastructure funding for municipalities under the permanent Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund (OCIF) and Building Canada Fund – Small Communities Fund (BCF-SCF). These programs will flow $100 million annually (OCIF) and $272 million from each of the federal and provincial governments (SCF) to municipal infrastructure projects. Ontario intends to identify Small Communities Fund projects jointly with the new permanent Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund. This will streamline the process for eligible applicants and help expedite program delivery.

Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund

After consultation with municipalities, the $100 million annual OCIF fund was announced in the 2014 Ontario Budget for critical infrastructure in small, rural and northern municipalities. The OCIF funding delivers on some longstanding municipal needs by offering permanent and predictable infrastructure funding to municipalities. Half of the OCIF funding will be allocated by formula for municipal priorities. Municipalities are eligible for OCIF funding if they have 100,000 or fewer residents; have more than 25 per cent rural residents; or are located in Northern Ontario. The program will be reviewed in three years with an objective of moving to full formula-based funding.

OCIF Formula Funding

  • $50 million formula-based funds will support critical municipal road, bridge, water and wastewater projects and can also be used for asset management planning.
  • Formula allocations are based on municipal fiscal ability and municipal infrastructure stock. Allocations include a base amount and will be confirmed by letter in September.
OCIF Application Funding
  • $50 million in application based funds for eligible municipalities of up to $2 million for critical roads, bridge, water and wastewater projects identified under asset management plans.
  • Expressions of interest are due by September 19, 2014. Communities will be notified of the results of the pre-screen in October. Full applications for communities that pass the pre-screen will be due in December. Final funding announcements will be in early 2015.
  • The OCIF program will be reviewed in 3 years with the objective of moving to full formula-based funding over time as critical projects are addressed and asset management plans are in place.
This will place the onus on municipal governments to complete and expand their asset management planning so that they are in place to guide infrastructure investments.

The OCIF funding responds to AMO’s call for permanent provincial funding for municipal road, bridge and other infrastructure for small, rural and northern municipalities since 2011. The funding also begins to address local government requests for predictable formula allocations linked to asset management plans to address local priorities.

Building Canada Fund – Small Communities Fund (BCF-SCF)

The Premier also announced the intake of funding applications under the BCF’s Small Communities Fund. The BCF provides $14 billion nationally for infrastructure. The SCF sets aside $1 billion for communities across Canada with under 100,000 residents.

In Ontario, the SCF will deliver $544 million of cost shared provincial and federal funding to municipalities. With municipal contributions added, the fund will dedicate over $800 million to local infrastructure. Municipalities will be able to submit two project proposals – one for OCIF and one for BCF-SCF.

BCF-SCF Eligible project categories:
  • Public transit
  • Drinking water
  • Wastewater
  • Solid waste management
  • Green energy
  • Innovation
  • Connectivity and broadband
  • Brownfield redevelopment
  • Disaster mitigation infrastructure
  • Local and regional airports
  • Short-line rail
  • Short-sea shipping
  • Highways and major roads
AMO understands that BCF Provincial/Territorial Infrastructure Component funds are still under discussion between Ontario and Canada and information will be released at a later time. The $4 billion BCF National Infrastructure Component is also available to municipalities now. Information can be found on Infrastructure Canada’s Building Canada Plan website.

Municipalities are encouraged to read the program guide released by the Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure to begin the application process for these programs. Letters outlining OCIF formula-based allocations will be delivered next month.