: 2016 Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund - Qs & As

Q1. What is the Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund?

A.

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

In 2012, we announced the review of the OMPF and the phase-down of the program by 2016.  This is the final year of the phase-down that was part of the Province’s agreement with the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) and municipalities in 2008 to upload social assistance benefit programs as well as court security and prisoner transportation costs off the property tax base.

Despite the phase-down of the program, overall support provided to municipalities will continue to increase, with the provincial uploads more than offsetting the reduction to the program.

Q2. How much funding will municipalities receive through the OMPF in 2016?

A.

The Province will provide over $2.3 billion to municipalities through the combined benefit of both the OMPF and provincial uploads.

  • $505 million through the OMPF, and
  • over $1.8 billion in provincial uploads.

This combined benefit is nearly four times the level of funding provided in 2004, and is the equivalent of 13 per cent of municipal property tax revenue in the province.

Q3. How is the 2016 OMPF different from 2015 program?

A.

The 2016 OMPF builds on the redesigned program that was announced in 2014.

The 2016 OMPF reflects the core objectives of the redesigned program, while balancing the range of views expressed by municipalities through this year’s consultations. 

Specifically, the 2016 OMPF will continue to increase targeted support to municipalities facing more challenging fiscal circumstances by increasing the Fiscal Circumstances Grant to $67 million, an increase of over 20 per cent to this grant component. 

In addition, beginning in 2016, the Rural Communities Grant, which continues to support rural farming communities, will be enhanced to $143 million.  This funding increase will be targeted to municipalities with the highest levels of farm land, in recognition of their unique challenges.

Finally, in response to municipal feedback, the 2016 minimum funding guarantees for municipalities in southern Ontario will be increased to at least 85 per cent of their 2015 OMPF allocation. Northern municipalities will continue to receive at least 90 per cent of their 2015 OMPF allocation.

Municipalities with the most challenging fiscal circumstances will continue to have their funding maintained at 100 per cent of the prior year’s allocation.

Q4. How will the 2016 OMPF support rural, farming communities?

A.

The OMPF has always recognized the unique challenges of rural farming communities.

Beginning in 2016, the Rural Communities Grant, which supports rural farming municipalities, will be enhanced to $143 million.  This funding increase will be targeted to municipalities with the highest levels of farm land as measured by the Farm Area Measure.

The Ministry of Finance has worked with municipalities to develop a Farm Area Measure, which calculates the percentage of a municipality’s land area comprised of farm land.

Per household funding provided through the Rural Communities Grant will be enhanced on a sliding scale for municipalities with a Farm Area Measure of more than 70 per cent, in recognition of their particular challenges.

Q5. What is Transitional Assistance?

A.

In addition to the OMPF four core grant components, the 2016 program continues to include a significant amount of transitional assistance in order to provide municipalities with stability as they adjust to the redesigned program.

Through the consultation process, we have heard that ensuring a manageable transition to the redesigned program continues to be an important focus for many municipalities. In response to this municipal feedback, the 2016 minimum funding guarantees for municipalities in southern Ontario will be increased to at least 85 per cent of their 2015 OMPF allocation. Northern municipalities will continue to receive at least 90 per cent of their 2015 OMPF allocation.

Municipalities with the most challenging fiscal circumstances will continue to have their funding maintained at 100 per cent of the prior year’s allocation.

Q6. What will the program look like beyond 2016? What is the longer-term vision for the OMPF?

A.

In 2016, the phase-down of the OMPF will be complete, and the design of the core grants now reflects the long-term objectives of the program.

While the program continues to include transitional funding, the core objectives of the program have been established. While this confirms the long-term goals of the program, we will continue to work with our municipal partners on potential refinements to the program to ensure the OMPF reflects the priorities of municipalities.

Q7. What is the government doing to help municipalities?

A.

Our government has a very strong record of supporting and working with municipalities.

In 2016 alone, municipalities will benefit from over $3.8 billion in ongoing support through the OMPF, provincial uploads and other provincial initiative – an increase of $2.7 billion from the level provided in 2003. 

In 2016, the Province continues to deliver on its commitment to upload social assistance benefit programs as well as court security and prisoner transportation costs off the property tax base.

It is important to note that the provincial uploads have ensured that more property tax dollars are available for important municipal priorities, including investments in infrastructure and economic development.

Furthermore, our significant investments in municipal infrastructure are supporting communities across the province.

Ontario is making the largest infrastructure investment in Ontario’s history with more than $130 billion over ten years. These investments will benefit municipalities across the province, whether it’s a new school, repairs to provincial highways or funding to help a municipality make critical repairs to a local bridge. This includes the permanent $100 million per year Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund (OCIF), as well as the $15 million annual investment for the new Connecting Links program beginning in 2016.