: 2017 Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund - Qs & As

Q. What is the Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund (OMPF)?

A. The OMPF is the Province’s main unconditional transfer payment to municipalities.

In 2017, the Province will maintain OMPF funding at $505 million, which will provide unconditional support to 388 municipalities across the province. The Province will continue to provide unconditional funding in 2017 and beyond.

The OMPF was redesigned in 2014 following consultations with municipalities from across the province. A key component of the redesigned OMPF is that it better targets funding to northern and rural municipalities with challenging fiscal circumstances.

Consultations with municipalities have continued over the past year and have focused on refining the program to ensure it meets the long-term priorities of municipalities.

Q. How much funding will municipalities receive through the OMPF in 2017?

A. In 2017, the Province will provide over $2.4 billion to municipalities through the combined benefit of both the OMPF and provincial uploads. This is equivalent of 13 per cent of municipal property tax revenue in the province.

  • $505 million through the OMPF, and
  • over $1.9 billion in provincial uploads.

This combined benefit is nearly four times the level of funding provided in 2004.

Q. How is the 2017 OMPF different from 2016 program?

A. The 2017 OMPF reflects the core objectives of the redesigned program, while balancing the range of views expressed by municipalities through this year’s consultations. Specifically in 2017, the program will:

  • Further target support to municipalities with more challenging fiscal circumstances by increasing the Northern and Rural Fiscal Circumstances Grant to $82 million from $67 million in 2016;
  • Further enhance funding for municipalities across the province with the highest levels of farm land by increasing the Rural Communities Grant to $148 million from
    $143 million in 2016. This builds upon the enhancement for farming communities introduced in 2016; and
  • Continue to ensure that minimum levels of funding assist municipalities by providing $41 million through Transitional Assistance. Minimum funding guarantees will be set at 85 per cent of 2016 allocations for municipalities in southern Ontario and 90 per cent for municipalities in northern Ontario. These minimum levels of support will be enhanced up to 100 per cent for northern and rural municipalities, across the province, with more challenging fiscal circumstances.

Q. How does the 2017 OMPF support rural, farming communities?

A. The government has always recognized the unique challenges of rural communities.

In fact, the majority of support – nearly 75 per cent of total OMPF funding – will be allocated to rural communities, compared to just over 50 per cent in 2008. 

Under the 2017 OMPF, the Province will provide rural municipalities with $731 million in support through the combined benefit of the OMPF and provincial uploads – an increase of $348 million, or more than 91 per cent over 2004. This includes:

  • $377 million in funding through the OMPF, which translates into $300 per household – more than 3 times the provincial average.
  • $354 million in provincial uploads.

In addition, the Rural Communities Grant will be enhanced to $148 million from $143 million in 2016, with this funding targeted to rural municipalities across the province with the highest levels of farmland. This funding increase will build upon the funding enhancement introduced last year to recognize the particular challenges of these municipalities.

Rural municipalities will also benefit from the increase to the Northern and Rural Fiscal Circumstances Grant.

Q. How does the 2017 OMPF support northern communities?

A. The government continues to recognize challenges faced by northern communities.

In fact, the OMPF is now largely a northern and rural grant, allocating over 90 per cent of total funding to northern and rural municipalities.

Under the 2017 OMPF, the Province will provide northern municipalities with
$348 million in support through the combined benefit of the OMPF and provincial uploads – an increase of $95 million, or over 38 per cent over 2004. This includes:

  • $207 million in funding through the OMPF, which translates into $560 per household – nearly 10 times the average in the rest of the province.
  • $141 million in provincial uploads.

Q. What is Transitional Assistance?

A. In addition to the OMPF’s four core grant components, the 2017 program continues to include Transitional Assistance to assist municipalities as they adjust to the redesigned program. This funding ensures that municipalities receive a guaranteed level of support in 2017 based on their 2016 OMPF allocation.

In 2017, minimum funding guarantees have been set at 85 per cent for southern Ontario and 90 per cent for northern Ontario.  This means that municipalities in southern Ontario will receive at least 85 per cent of their 2016 OMPF allocation and northern municipalities will receive at least 90 per cent of their 2016 OMPF allocation.

These minimum levels of support will continue to be enhanced, up to 100 per cent, for eligible northern and rural municipalities across the province with more challenging fiscal circumstances, as measured by the Northern and Rural MFCI.

Q. What will the program look like beyond 2017? What is the longer-term vision for the OMPF?

A. While the program continues to include transitional funding, the core objectives of the program have been established and will continue. In 2017, the Province will maintain OMPF funding at $505 million, which will provide unconditional support to 388 municipalities across the province. The Province will continue to provide unconditional funding in 2017 and beyond.

Within this framework, we will continue to work with our municipal partners on potential
refinements to the program to ensure the OMPF reflects the priorities of municipalities.

Q. What is the government doing to support municipalities?

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

In 2017 alone, municipalities will benefit from more than $4 billion in ongoing support through the Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund (OMPF), provincial uploads, and other provincial initiatives — an increase of $2.9 billion from the level provided in 2003.

  • This includes over $2.4 billion to municipalities through the combined benefit of both the OMPF and provincial uploads.

Going forward, the government’s focus will be on investing in the infrastructure that is vital to the health, prosperity and quality of life of Ontarians. In partnership with communities, Ontario is making significant infrastructure investments to create jobs and help the Province grow and prosper.

The Province’s infrastructure commitments include transit, transportation and other priority infrastructure through Moving Ontario Forward that is supported by $31.5 billion in dedicated funds.

  • This plan includes about $15 billion for projects outside the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) and about $16 billion for projects in the GTHA.
  • As announced in the 2016 Ontario Budget, as part of Moving Ontario Forward, the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund (OCIF) is being expanded to $300 million per year by 2019, which will provide ongoing support for critical local infrastructure priorities.  The expanded fund was launched in July of 2016.  
  • Also announced in the 2016 Ontario Budget, the government is introducing a new Connecting Links program that will provide $20 million in 2016-17 to help municipalities pay for construction and repair costs for municipal roads that connect two ends of a provincial highway through a community or to a border crossing.
    • Funding for this program will increase to $30 million per year by 2018-19.

In addition, the Province signed a bilateral agreement with the federal government to make funding available under the federal Clean Water and Wastewater Fund (CWWF). The Province will contribute about $270 million in funding through the program to support immediate improvements to water distribution and treatment infrastructure, starting in 2016-17. This is in addition to a federal contribution of about $570 million.