: 2014 Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund - Qs & As

Q1. What is the OMPF?

A.

The Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund (OMPF) is the Province’s main unconditional transfer payment to municipalities.

In early 2012, the province announced the review of the OMPF and the phase-down of the program to $500 million by 2016. The OMPF phase-down was part of the Province’s agreement with municipalities in 2008 to upload social assistance benefit programs as well as court security costs off the property tax base.

Consistent with this commitment, the province is announcing $550 million in unconditional funding through the redesigned 2014 OMPF.

It is important to note that despite the phase-down of the program, the combined benefit of the OMPF and provincial uploads will continue to increase, with uploads more than offsetting the reduction to the program.

Q2. How much funding will municipalities receive through the OMPF in 2014?

A.

The Province will provide over $2 billion to municipalities through the combined benefit of both the OMPF grants and provincial uploads.

  • $550 million through OMPF grants, and
  • Over $1.5 billion in provincial uploads.

The 2014 combined benefit will increase to more than three times the level of funding provided in 2004, and is the equivalent of over 12 per cent of municipal property tax revenue in the province.

Q3. What will the redesigned program look like for 2014?

A.

2013 was a transition year for the OMPF, during which the province consulted with the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) and other municipal representatives on how best to redesign the program to support municipal needs. The government also received valuable input from a number of municipalities across the province. These consultations helped to shape the redesign of the program. 

The redesigned $550 million 2014 OMPF will continue to provide support to municipalities through the Assessment Equalization, Northern Communities and Rural Communities Grants which have been in place since the introduction of the program in 2005. These grants recognize the challenges of northern and rural municipalities, and those with weaker assessment bases.

In addition, as part of the redesign of the program for 2014, the Province is introducing a new grant – the Northern and Rural Fiscal Circumstances Grant.

This new grant is provided to municipalities eligible for funding through the Northern Communities and Rural Communities Grants and provides additional, targeted support in recognition that not all northern and rural municipalities have the same fiscal circumstances.

Furthermore, the 2014 OMPF also includes a significant amount of transitional support in order to assist municipalities as they transition to the redesigned program.

Q4. What is Transitional Assistance?

A.

In addition to the four core grants announced for 2014, the $550 million in OMPF will also include a significant amount of transitional support. This funding is intended to assist municipalities as they transition to the redesigned program.

Through this Transitional Assistance the province will ensure that in 2014 municipalities receive a guaranteed level of support based on their 2013 OMPF allocation. This means, municipalities in the north will receive at least 90 per cent of their 2013 OMPF allocation, while municipalities in other regions of the province will receive at least 85 per cent. 

  • These minimum levels of support will be enhanced, up to 100 per cent, for eligible northern and rural municipalities with more challenging fiscal circumstances.
Q5. What will the program look like beyond 2014?

A.

The four grants and Transitional Assistance announced for 2014 will remain the core elements of the redesigned program in future years. The province will continue to consult with municipalities in the coming months on how best to support their needs through the OMPF, while also adhering to the scheduled phase-down of the program.

Given the significant amount of Transitional Assistance provided in 2014, these consultations will focus on whether the program should further enhance targeted support or include other objectives beyond those announced as part of the redesign.

Q6. Will the Province continue with the uploads announced through the Provincial-Municipal Fiscal and Service Delivery Review (PMFSDR)?

A.

The government has reconfirmed is commitment to the uploads on many occasions.  Despite the Province’s fiscal challenges, the government will continue the phased upload of Ontario Works benefits as well as court security and prisoner transportation costs in 2014. This builds on the previous upload of Ontario Drug Benefits and Ontario Disability Support Program. 

In 2014 alone, municipalities will benefit from over $1.5 billion in reduced costs as a result of the uploads. These uploads, combined with $550 million in funding through the 2014 OMPF represent the equivalent of 12 per cent of municipal property tax revenue in the province.

The provincial uploads have ensured that more property tax dollars are available for important municipal priorities including investments in infrastructure.

Q7. What is the government doing to help municipalities?

A.

The government has a very strong record of supporting and working with municipalities.
In 2014, the province is providing municipalities with over $2 billion through the combined benefit of both the OMPF grants and provincial uploads. This represents an increase of more than three times the level of funding provided in 2004, and is the equivalent of over 12 per cent of municipal property tax revenue in the province.

Through the OMPF, provincial uploads and other provincial initiatives, the province is providing municipalities with ongoing support of approximately $3.5 billion in 2014 — an increase of over 200 per cent from the level provided in 2003.

In August 2012, the Province launched the Municipal Infrastructure Strategy. As part of the strategy, we have provided $9 million to help municipalities prepare asset management plans, and nearly $90 million for critical projects through the Municipal Infrastructure Investment Initiative.

As a continuation of the strategy, we are providing $100 million through the Small, Rural and Northern Municipal Infrastructure Fund. We have consulted with our municipal partners on the design of the fund and a potential permanent program for consideration in the 2014 Budget.

These investments have helped municipalities to modernize and expand their transit systems, repair and upgrade roads and bridges, and revitalize community infrastructure.