A new paper from the Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance (IMFG) about the legacy of the amalgamations of Toronto and Montréal finds that the reforms created cities that are “too big, yet still too small.”
As both Toronto and Montréal emerge from local governance crises, the paper looks back at another highly contentious period in Canada’s two biggest cities. The advocates of amalgamation promised fewer politicians and more efficient government. The provinces went ahead with the forced mergers despite fierce resistance from local communities.
Since then, the paths taken by both cities have been different. Amalgamation stuck in Toronto, whereas Montréal experienced ‘de-amalgamations’ and other tumultuous reforms.
The paper looks at the impacts on costs, equity among residents, local democracy, and regional coordination. The most significant legacy was cities that were “too big” to be locally responsive, “yet too small” to be able to coordinate critical metropolitan services like transit.
Part of IMFG’s Perspectives series, the paper by IMFG Post-Doctoral Fellow Zachary Spicer is entitled “Too Big, Yet Still Too Small: The Mixed Legacy of the Montréal and Toronto Amalgamations.”
You can access the paper here:
The paper highlights the key findings from two recent full-length IMFG Papers:
- “Public Finance in Montréal: In Search of Equity and Efficiency” by Jean-Philippe Meloche & François Vaillancourt of the Université de Montréal; and
- “Merging Municipalities: Is Bigger Better” by Enid Slack & Richard Bird of the IMFG.
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