Media Releases

New paper calls for a rethink of Ontario’s provincial-municipal arrangements

May 14, 2014

TORONTO, ON — The Gov­ern­ment of Ontario’s arrange­ments with local gov­ern­ments are fac­ing pres­sures for reform, and the Province’s chal­leng­ing fis­cal con­di­tions could be the cat­a­lyst for a rethink about how provin­cial-munic­i­pal affairs are man­aged in the years ahead.

This is the con­clu­sion of a new paper by André Côté and Michael Fenn. Provin­cial-munic­i­pal rela­tions receive lit­tle atten­tion but have big impacts on pub­lic ser­vices – from tran­sit and infra­struc­ture to polic­ing and social ser­vices – and far reach­ing impli­ca­tions for the pros­per­i­ty and qual­i­ty of life of Ontario’s com­mu­ni­ties.

Today, provin­cial-munic­i­pal arrange­ments are under pres­sure to adapt, in order to:
• cre­ate the con­di­tions for Ontario’s cities and city-regions to suc­ceed in the glob­al econ­o­my;
• realign and inte­grate a com­plex web of ser­vices for cit­i­zens; and
• ensure the sus­tain­abil­i­ty of local finances.

As in the past, the Province’s chal­leng­ing finances could be the cat­a­lyst for change.

The authors out­line a series of impli­ca­tions for pol­i­cy­mak­ers, includ­ing the need to treat cities dif­fer­ent­ly than small munic­i­pal­i­ties, improve region­al gov­er­nance, bet­ter inte­grate provin­cial and munic­i­pal ser­vices, and increase flex­i­bil­i­ty in local finances through access to new tax­es.

“Approach­ing an Inflec­tion Point in Ontario’s Provin­cial-Munic­i­pal Rela­tions” is the sixth in the IMFG’s Per­spec­tives series — a brief, acces­si­ble style of paper intend­ed to help inform and spark pub­lic debate about impor­tant cur­rent issues in urban pub­lic affairs.

It accom­pa­nies the full-length IMFG Paper that can be found here.

André Côté is the IMFG’s pro­gram and research man­ag­er, and Michael Fenn is a con­sul­tant, and for­mer Ontario deputy min­is­ter, CEO of Metrolinx, and munic­i­pal chief admin­is­tra­tor.

About the Insti­tute on Munic­i­pal Finance and Gov­er­nance (IMFG)
The IMFG is an aca­d­e­m­ic research hub and think tank that focuss­es on the fis­cal and gov­er­nance chal­lenges fac­ing large cities and city-regions. It is locat­ed at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toronto’s Munk School of Glob­al Affairs, and can be locat­ed online at

For more infor­ma­tion,  con­tact:

André Côté
Tel: 416–978-2168

Michael Fenn
Tel: 905–699-1776