Province eases financial pressures on municipalities and property taxpayers



    Provincial and municipal partners reach agreement

    TORONTO, Oct. 31 /CNW/ -

    NEWS

    The McGuinty government is moving to upload all social assistance
benefits and court security costs from municipalities, as stated in an
agreement announced today by the Province of Ontario, the Association of
Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) and the City of Toronto.
    A consensus report released today will help reduce cost pressures for
municipalities and property taxpayers.  The Report completes the work of the
Provincial-Municipal Fiscal and Service Delivery Review, which has created new
and better ways to fund and deliver services to the people of Ontario.

    The agreement accomplishes the following:

    
    -   The Report announces the upload of Ontario Works benefits and court
        security costs.
    -   Early outcomes of the Review process include the upload of Ontario
        Drug Benefits, completed in 2008, and the Ontario Disability Support
        Program, beginning in 2009.
    -   By 2018, when all these uploads are completed, the Review will result
        in a net annual benefit to municipalities of more than $1.5 billion
        compared to 2007.
    -   By 2018, total annual ongoing support to municipalities, including
        other provincial initiatives, is projected to reach $3.8 billion - an
        increase of about $2.7 billion or 250 per cent over 2003.
    -   The upload of Ontario Works benefits will reduce municipal costs by
        more than $400 million annually, by 2018.
    -   The cost of court security will also be uploaded to the province,
        starting in 2012 to a maximum of $125 million a year by 2018.
    

    QUOTES
    "This is a milestone in our partnership with municipal governments and
all Ontarians will benefit from the spirit of collaboration of the Review,"
said Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Jim Watson.
    "Through our partnerships with municipalities, we are uploading social
assistance costs, which builds on our poverty agenda, at an affordable pace,"
said Finance Minister Dwight Duncan. "This agreement represents the success we
can achieve by working together while recognizing Ontario's fiscal challenges
in the current global economic environment."
    "For more than a decade AMO's top priority has been to upload social
assistance costs from the municipal property tax base," said AMO President
Peter Hume. "In 2005, we called upon the Ontario Government to work with
municipalities to develop a plan to restore fiscally sustainable municipal
government to Ontario over a manageable period of time. The Province listened
and it has worked with us to build stronger communities throughout Ontario."
    "Today's announcement shows very clearly that this provincial government
has both listened and acted in response to the needs of our communities," said
Toronto Mayor David Miller. "The provincial government came to the table,
worked closely with us, and got the principles right.  We have set forward on
a new course."

    QUICK FACTS

    
    -   Projected total ongoing annual support to municipalities is estimated
        to be $3.8 billion by 2018, a $2.7 billion or 250 per cent increase
        over 2003.
    -   The province will begin the upload of the benefits portion of Ontario
        Works in 2010 and the upload of court security in 2012. Uploads will
        be complete in 2018.
    -   In 2007, as an early outcome of the Review, the Premier announced
        that the Province would upload Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB) costs in
        2008 and Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) costs starting in
        2009 and completed by 2011.
    -   In addition to these uploads resulting from the Review, since 2003,
        the Province has uploaded public health costs by increasing the
        provincial share from 50 per cent to 75 per cent, made additional
        investments in land ambulance services, and provided two cents per
        litre of provincial gas tax to municipalities to improve public
        transit.
    -   A joint provincial-municipal process will develop options regarding
        responsibilities and funding arrangements for roads and bridges.
    -   A joint working group will be formed to discuss the current approach
        to funding Ontario Works administration and to recommend principles
        for simplifying and strengthening accountability.
    -   Service delivery recommendations mean provincial and municipal
        governments will work together to refocus programs and services
        around results for people.
    -   Since 2005, municipalities have been receiving funds through the
        Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund (OMPF) to respond to particular
        municipal challenges, including social program costs. Consistent
        with the normal operation of the OMPF, social programs grants will be
        adjusted to reflect the reduction in municipal social program costs
        as the uploads are phased in. As a result of reduced social program
        costs, the OMPF will decline to a level of about $500 million by
        2016.
    -   The province has invested almost $7 billion in funding for municipal
        infrastructure in the last three fiscal years.
    -   Through the Investing in Ontario Act, 2008, the government is
        investing $1.1 billion this year in municipal infrastructure to
        improve roads and bridges, expand public transit and build other
        municipal projects throughout the province.

    LEARN MORE:

    Read the Report...
    Read the Fact Sheets:
                    Ontario Works
                    Court Security
                    Better Service for Ontario
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                        Ontario.ca/provincialmunicipalreview
                                                                   AMO.on.ca
                                                                  Toronto.ca
                                                      Disponible en français


                                                                 FACT SHEET

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

                            COURT SECURITY UPLOAD
    

    Ontario will remove court security and prisoner transportation costs from
municipal budgets by 2018, phasing in the upload of these costs starting in
2012. The upload will save municipalities as much as $125 million a year when
fully implemented.
    The announcement is part of the Provincial-Municipal Fiscal and Service
Delivery Review consensus report, Facing the Future Together, released jointly
today by the Ontario government, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario
(AMO) and the City of Toronto.

    
    The Partners have agreed:

    -   To work together to implement a phased-in upload which will make
        court security and offender transportation costs of up to
        $125 million a year a provincial responsibility by 2018.
    -   To phase in the upload equally over seven years.
    -   To work together to gather information on current court security
        costs.
    -   To work with judges, police and other justice sector partners to
        develop consistent province-wide standards to make sure all Ontario
        courts are safe and secure.

    More facts:
    -   Municipalities have been responsible for costs related to court
        security since 1990. Given the increasing emphasis on security, these
        costs have escalated.
    -   Across Ontario, over 100 municipal governments are paying court
        security costs.
    -   Some municipalities with a regional courthouse within their
        boundaries also shoulder costs for cases involving residents in
        surrounding municipalities.
    -   Provincial courts are administered by the Ministry of the Attorney
        General. Prisoner transportation is administered by the Ministry of
        Community Safety and Correctional Services.
    -   The Ministry of the Attorney General and the Ministry of Community
        Safety and Correctional Services will work with municipalities to
        conduct consultations on new standards for those affected by these
        changes including judges and police services.

    Learn more:
      A list of communities with provincial courts is attached.
      Read the full report at www.ontario.ca/provincialmunicipalreview.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                        Ontario.ca/provincialmunicipalreview
                                                                   AMO.on.ca
                                                                  Toronto.ca
                                                      Disponible en français


                                                                FACT SHEET

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Locations of Ontario Courts(*)

    Region            Location            Region        Location

    Northeastern      Blind River         Eastern       Addington Highlands
    -------------     ------------------  ------------  ---------------------
                      Chapleau                          Arnprior
                      ------------------                ---------------------
                      Cochrane                          Bancroft
                      ------------------                ---------------------
                      Elliot Lake                       Belleville        (3)
                      ------------------                ---------------------
                      Espanola                          Brighton
                      ------------------                ---------------------
                      Gogama                            Brockville
                      ------------------                ---------------------
                      Gore Bay                          Central Frontenac
                      ------------------                ---------------------
                      Greater Sudbury (2)               Cobourg
                      ------------------                ---------------------
                      Hearst                            Cornwall
                      ------------------                ---------------------
                      Hornepayne                        Greater Napanee   (3)
                      ------------------                ---------------------
                      Kapuskasing     (2)               Kawartha Lakes
                      ------------------                ---------------------
                      Kirkland Lake                     Killaloe, Hagarty and
                                                         Richards
                      ------------------                ---------------------
                      Mattawa                           Kingston          (3)
                      ------------------                ---------------------
                      Moosonee                          Minden Hills
                      ------------------                ---------------------
                      North Bay                         North Glengarry
                      ------------------                ---------------------
                      Parry Sound                       North Grenville
                      ------------------                ---------------------
                      Sault Ste. Marie                  Ottawa
                      ------------------                ---------------------
                      Sundridge                         Pembroke
                      ------------------                ---------------------
                      Temiskaming Shores                Perth
                      ------------------                ---------------------
                      Thessalon                         Peterborough      (2)
                      ------------------                ---------------------
                      Timmins         (2)               Picton            (2)
                      ------------------                ---------------------
                      Wawa                              Port Hope
                      ------------------                ---------------------
                      West Nipissing                    Prescott & Russell(2)
                      ------------------                ---------------------
                      Wikwemikong                       Quinte West
                      ------------------                ---------------------
    Northwestern      Atikokan                          Renfrew
    -------------     ------------------                ---------------------
                      Dryden                            Smiths Falls
                      ------------------                ---------------------
                      Fort Frances                      South Dundas
                      ------------------                ---------------------
                      Greenstone      (3)               Trent Hills
                      ------------------                ---------------------
                      Ignace              Central       Barrie
                      ------------------  -----------
                      Kenora                            Bracebridge
                      ------------------                ---------------------
                      Lac Seul                          Bradford-West
                                                         Gwillimbury
                      ------------------                ---------------------
                      Manitouwadge                      Brampton          (2)
                      ------------------                ---------------------
                      Nipigon         (2)               Brantford         (2)
                      ------------------                ---------------------
                      Rainy River                       Burlington
                      ------------------                ---------------------
                      Red Lake                          Collingwood
                      ------------------                ---------------------
                      Schreiber                         Fort Erie
                      ------------------                ---------------------
                      Sioux Lookout                     Haldimand
                      ------------------                ---------------------
                      Thunder Bay     (2)               Hamilton          (2)
                      ------------------                ---------------------
    Southwestern      Brockton                          Huntsville
    -------------     ------------------                ---------------------
                      Cambridge                         Midland
                      ------------------                ---------------------
                      Chatham-Kent                      Milton
                      ------------------                ---------------------
                      Fergus                            Newmarket
                      ------------------                ---------------------
                      Goderich                          Oakville
                      ------------------                ---------------------
                      Guelph          (2)               Orangeville
                      ------------------                ---------------------
                      Kitchener       (2)               Orillia
                      ------------------                ---------------------
                      Leamington                        Oshawa            (3)
                      ------------------                ---------------------
                      London                            Richmond Hill
                      ------------------                ---------------------
                      North Huron                       Simcoe
                      ------------------                ---------------------
                      North Perth                       St Catharines
                      ------------------                ---------------------
                      Owen Sound                        Welland
                      ------------------                ---------------------
                      Sarnia                            Whitby            (2)
                      ------------------                ---------------------
                      South Huron
                      ------------------
                      St. Thomas      (2) Toronto                        (12)
                      ------------------  -----------
                      Stratford       (2)
                      ------------------
                      Wellington North
                      ------------------
                      Windsor         (2)
                      ------------------
                      Woodstock          (*)This list may not be exhaustive.
                      ------------------


                                                                 FACT SHEET
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

                           UPLOADING ONTARIO WORKS
    

    With today's announcement Ontario will upload the cost of all social
assistance benefits by 2018 and pay the portion of Ontario Works benefits
which is currently paid by municipalities.
    The announcement is part of the Provincial-Municipal Fiscal and Service
Delivery Review consensus report, Facing the Future Together, released jointly
today by the Ontario government, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario
(AMO) and the City of Toronto.

    
    The Partners have agreed:

    -  Broad-based social assistance benefit programs should not be funded
       from property taxes.
    -  The Province will phase in an upload of Ontario Works benefits costs
       between 2010 and 2018.
    -  Municipalities have a key role to play in delivering Ontario Works in
       their communities.
    -  A joint working group will be formed to discuss the current approach
       to funding Ontario Works administration and to recommend principles
       for simplifying and strengthening accountability.

    People who seek or receive Ontario Works will not be affected by this
change.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
               2009  2010  2011  2012  2013  2014  2015  2016  2017  2018
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    OW
    Benefits     -     3%    6%   14%   29%   43%   57%   71%   86%  100%
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    What we've done already:
    The Province uploaded the municipal cost share of the Ontario Drug
Benefits Program effective January 1, 2008. Starting in 2009, we will begin to
upload municipal costs for the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP). The
ODSP upload will be completed by 2011.

    More facts:

    -  The Province currently pays 80 per cent of Ontario Works benefits, and
       the municipalities pay 20 per cent.
    -  The cost of administration of Ontario Works will continue to be
       cost-shared on a 50:50 provincial/municipal basis given actual
       verifiable costs up to the approved allocation for 2009.
    -  Social assistance benefits have been at least partly paid by
       municipalities since 1930s.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                           	         Ontario.ca/provincialmunicipalreview
                                                                   AMO.on.ca
                                                                  Toronto.ca
                                                      Disponible en français


                                                                  FACT SHEET
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

                         BETTER SERVICE FOR ONTARIO

    October 31, 2008

    Provincial and municipal governments are going to measure the services
they offer by the difference they make in people's lives as a result of a
landmark agreement between the McGuinty government and the municipalities of
Ontario.
    The announcement is part of the Provincial-Municipal Fiscal and Service
Delivery Review consensus report, Facing the Future Together, released jointly
today by the Ontario government, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario
(AMO) and the City of Toronto.

    The partners have agreed:
    -  To work together to develop an accountability framework for social
       services that focuses strongly on results for people.
    -  To work together to simplify and modernize the way income assistance
       and employment-related supports are provided to Ontario families.
    -  To work towards consolidating housing and homelessness programs into
       an outcome-focused housing service managed at the municipal level.
    -  To urge the federal government to fulfill its financial responsibility
       in the crucial areas of affordable housing and poverty reduction.

    One of the goals of the Provincial-Municipal Fiscal and Service Delivery
Review was to determine whether health and social service programs are being
delivered in ways that meet the quality, affordability and accountability
needs of the people who use them, taxpayers and the different orders of
government involved.

    What's being done:
    -  The Province has created a Cabinet Committee on Poverty Reduction
       working to develop a focused poverty reduction strategy.
    -  The Province has already announced the upload of the costs of benefits
       under the Ontario Disability Support Program and the Ontario Drug
       Benefits Program.
    -  The Review recommendations on housing and homelessness will form a key
       element of the Province's Long-Term Housing Strategy.
    -  The report recommendations on child care will be shared with the
       Province's Early Learning Advisor.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                        Ontario.ca/provincialmunicipalreview
                                                                   AMO.on.ca
                                                                  Toronto.ca
                                                      Disponible en français



                                                                 FACT SHEET
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

                      SUPPORT FOR THE REVIEW AND REPORT

    "For generations to come, this Review will benefit municipalities and
property taxpayers alike. This is a good day for Ontario municipalities with
many more to come."
                                         Roger Anderson
                                         Chair, Region of Durham

    "Simplifying the delivery of housing and homelessness programs is a great
opportunity to achieve better outcomes for those that rely on these services.
This is a big step forward."
                                         Richard Adams
                                         Mayor, Parry Sound

    "This is an example of how good public policy can be developed -
principled, thoughtful, collaborative. This exercise has raised the bar on how
to get things right."
                                         Eddie Francis
                                         Mayor, City of Windsor

    "The Province has never had a better understanding of the challenges
facing municipalities than it does now, as a result of this Review. Listening
and learning were key elements of this truly collaborative endeavour."
                                         Peter Hume
                                         AMO President and
                                         Councillor, City of Ottawa'

    "We do understand the current economic circumstances and appreciate the
spirit of co-operation from the provincial government in this review process.
This is a very positive step forward."
                                         Hazel McCallion
                                         Mayor, City of Mississauga

    "Today's announcement shows very clearly that this provincial government
has both listened and acted in response to the needs of our communities. The
provincial government came to the table, worked closely with us, and got the
principles right. We have set forward on a new course."
                                         David Miller
                                         Mayor, City of Toronto

    "Meaningful and principled changes are being made as a result of this
Review. We continue to move forward together."
                                         Michael Power
                                         Mayor, Municipality of Greenstone
    "These (Report) recommendations reflect a tremendous amount of hard work
and careful thought by provincial and municipal partners. Our objective has
been to develop recommendations that achieve a sustainable fiscal relationship
for both orders of government."
                                         Doug Reycraft
                                         AMO Immediate Past-President and
                                         Mayor, Southwest Middlesex

    "Social assistance benefit programs never belonged on the property tax
base. That it's being made right as part of this Review is something I'm proud
of."
                                         Bob Sweet
                                         Mayor of Petawawa

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                        Ontario.ca/provincialmunicipalreview

                                                                   AMO.on.ca

                                                                  Toronto.ca

                                                      Disponible en français


    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: Photos accompanying this release are available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at http://photos.newswire.ca.
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/
    




For further information:

For further information: Adam Grachnik, Ministry of Municipal Affairs
and Housing, (416) 585-6492; Brian Lambie, Association of Municipalities of
Ontario, (416) 729-5425; Kevin Sack, City of Toronto, (416) 397-5277

Organization Profile

Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing

More on this organization


Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

CNW Membership

Fill out a CNW membership form or contact us at 1 (877) 269-7890

Learn about CNW services

Request more information about CNW products and services or call us at 1 (877) 269-7890