Special Project | 2020

In It Together: Clarifying Provincial-Municipal Responsibilities in Ontario

Local governments across Ontario collectively spend more than $64 billion every year on public services. However, municipalities deliver few of those services alone. The provincial government is involved in every aspect of local service delivery, through cost-sharing, policy setting, and regulation.

This report from Ontario 360, the Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance, and the Urban Policy Lab explores the relationship between the Province and Ontario’s 444 municipalities – how it has become so intertwined and why the time has come for a reassessment that ensures Ontarians receive the highest quality, most effective, and most efficient services from their governments.

The report examines the current state of cost-sharing between the Province and municipalities across 15 service areas. It concludes by making six recommendations to ensure a productive review of provincial and municipal responsibilities in Ontario:

1. Take a collaborative approach.
2. Follow the pay-for-say principle and avoid unfunded mandates.
3. Consider local revenue capacity.
4. Respect local and regional differences.
5. Look forward, not backward
6. Start with health and social services

Read the paper

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