18 Jan, 2018

New IMFG publication: How do municipalities cooperate to reduce costs and improve services?

New paper from the Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance provides blueprint for effective interlocal cooperation agreements for Canadian municipalities.

Toronto, January 18, 2018 – Municipalities across Canada face pressure to provide high-quality services as well as build and maintain infrastructure while relying on limited sources of revenue. For many municipalities, limited geographic size or institutional scale make it especially difficult to address these challenges effectively. One way to reduce service costs and improve service quality is through interlocal cooperation, which involves either contracting with another municipality for service delivery or pooling resources with other local governments to deliver some services collectively to residents.

A new IMFG Forum paper, Finding Common Ground: Interlocal Cooperation in Canada, brings together findings from a recent IMFG event on intermunicipal collaboration. Authors Kate Daly and Zachary Spicer report that, even though the interlocal agreements that do exist are highly regarded, there are relatively few of them in Canada, compared with other countries. The paper shows how these agreements work in practice, examines the challenges they face, and presents lessons for local governments hoping to enter into them.

“Municipalities of all shapes and sizes are trying to save money and enhance service quality and many are coming to understand they cannot do it alone,” says Zachary Spicer. “Interlocal cooperation is one way to achieve this and evidence shows it can be effective in a range of policy areas.”

Read the paper

About the Authors

Kate Daly completed a PhD in Political Science from York University in 2017. Her dissertation explained politicians’ commitments to ‘smart growth’ planning policies in Waterloo Region, Ontario.

Zachary Spicer is a Visiting Researcher with the Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance and Senior Associate with the Innovation Policy Lab at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs.

About the Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance (IMFG)

The Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance is a research hub and think tank that focuses on the fiscal and governance challenges facing large cities and city-regions. It is located within the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs.

For more information, please contact:
Selena Zhang | Manager, Programs and Research
Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto
selena.zhang@utoronto.ca | www.munkschool.utoronto.ca/imfg