: 2018 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.

The OMPF is largely a northern and rural grant, with 90 per cent of its funding going to northern and rural municipalities.

The objectives of the program are to:

  • support areas with limited property assessment;
  • recognize the challenges of northern and rural municipalities, while targeting funding to those with more challenging fiscal circumstances; and
  • assist municipalities as they transition to the redesigned program.

In 2018, the Province will provide a total of $510 million in unconditional funding through the OMPF to 389 municipalities across the province. As announced in the 2017 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review, the Province is increasing the total OMPF envelope by $5 million beginning in 2018 to further support northern municipalities.

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 2018?

A. Beginning in 2018, the Province is increasing the total OMPF envelope by $5 million to further support northern municipalities, which will bring the total OMPF envelope to $510 million.

The OMPF combined with the benefit of the uploads will total over $2.6 billion in 2018 — more than four times the level of support provided in 2004.

Q. How is the 2018 OMPF different from 2017 program?

A. Beginning in 2018, the Province is increasing the total OMPF envelope by $5 million to further support northern municipalities, which will bring the total OMPF envelope to $510 million.

The 2018 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 2018 program will:

  • Increase targeted support to municipalities with more challenging fiscal circumstances by increasing the Northern and Rural Fiscal Circumstances Grant to $89 million from $82 million in 2017.
  • Further recognize the challenges of northern municipalities by enhancing the Northern Communities Grant to $89 million, an increase of $5 million over 2017. This builds on the enhancement provided to northern municipalities in 2016.
  • Continue to support rural communities across the province through the Rural Communities Grant, which will total $150 million in 2018. The farm enhancement of the Rural Communities Grant will grow from $10 million in 2017 to $15 million in 2018 to further support municipalities with the highest levels of farm land.

Q. How does the 2018 OMPF support rural, farming communities?

A. The government recognizes the unique challenges faced by rural farming communities.

The majority of OMPF support – 75 per cent – is allocated to rural communities compared to just over 50 per cent in 2008.

In 2018, the government is providing rural municipalities with $760 million in support through the combined benefit of the OMPF and provincial uploads. This includes:

  • $380 million in funding through the OMPF, which translates into $310 per household– more than 3 times the provincial average.
  • $380 million in provincial uploads.

Support to rural municipalities has increased by $380 million, or double the support provided in 2004.

In addition, based on feedback from municipalities, the government has enhanced the Rural Communities Grant of the OMPF to further recognize the challenges of municipalities with the highest level of farm land.

Rural farming communities are also benefiting from the government’s significant infrastructure investments.

Q. How does the 2018 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 90 per cent of total funding to northern and rural municipalities.

In addition, in 2018, the government is increasing the total envelope of the OMPF to further support northern municipalities.  As a result, the Northern Communities Grant will increase to $89 million, an increase of $5 million over 2017. This builds on the enhancement provided to northern municipalities in 2016.

Under the 2018 OMPF, the Province will provide northern municipalities with $360 million in support through the combined benefit of the OMPF and provincial uploads – an increase of over $105 million, or over 40 per cent since 2004. This includes:

  • $205 million in funding through the OMPF, which translates into $560 per household– nearly 10 times the average in the rest of the province.
  • $155 million in provincial uploads.

Northern municipalities are also benefiting from the government’s significant infrastructure investments.

Q. What is Transitional Assistance?

A. In addition to the OMPF’s four core grant components, the 2018 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 2018 based on their 2017 OMPF allocation.

In 2018, 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 2017 OMPF allocation and northern municipalities will receive at least 90 per cent of their 2017 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 2018? 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. Beginning in 2018, the Province will increase OMPF funding to $510 million, which will provide unconditional support to 389 municipalities across the province.

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 now that the uploads are fully implemented?

A. The Province has a very strong record of supporting and working in partnership with municipalities to ensure they are able to provide the services their communities need.

As a result of the provincial uploads, Ontario municipalities will benefit from approximately $2 billion in reduced costs in 2018 alone, for a total benefit of over $13.5 billion since the uploads began in 2008.

The benefit of the uploads will continue to grow as the province continues to assume the growth in the uploaded costs.

This increased support has helped to put municipalities on a financially sustainable footing. Going forward, the Province will focus on investing in infrastructure, which will benefit communities across Ontario. The government is making one of the largest infrastructure investments in Ontario’s history, more than $190 billion over 13 years, beginning in 2014–15.

This includes provincial investments in municipal infrastructure, which are increasing through the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund, Connecting Links and the Provincial Gas Tax Program. These investments will strengthen Ontario’s road, bridge, transit, water and wastewater infrastructure.

The Province is also working with the federal government to invest in infrastructure programs such as the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund (CWWF), and is investing up to $100 million of proceeds from the provincial carbon market in a new Municipal Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Challenge Fund in 2017–18.