Municipalities in Ontario are expected to maintain the majority of the province’s infrastructure without access to the proper funding tools. This untenable situation helps to explain a municipal infrastructure deficit of $34 billion dollars in the road, bridge, and culvert asset classes alone.
Outdated provincial laws limit a municipality’s main source of revenue to the property tax. Moreover, they are not permitted to run deficits in their operating budgets, a fact that makes capital investments easier to delay. It also makes them dependent on funding programs of other orders of government who don’t always share the same priorities and which applying to can be administratively burdensome.
Currently, the City of Toronto enjoys revenue generating tools through the City of Toronto Act that all other municipalities do not have access to. Granting all municipalities the same authority as the City of Toronto is the bare minimum the province can do to address the issue of municipal fiscal sustainability. The vast majority of Ontario’s municipalities have asked for this.
Within the Canadian context, there is a widespread disparity between the revenue sources that municipalities can pursue. Rural communities in Prince Edward Island currently have access to more revenue tools than the City of Ottawa. There are a number of best practices that have emerged from other jurisdictions that have implemented tax reforms. Good Roads believes that incorporating these practices will ensure that the buy-in and success of these changes will be widespread and meaningful.
Voice your support for municipal revenue tools by writing to the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.