The Government of Ontario announced this morning that the Audit and Accountability and the Municipal Modernization Program will both be renewed. Altogether, the Province is providing $143 million in funding, with both programs being application-based. The Audit and Accountability Fund is dedicated to large urban municipalities and is intended to increase effectiveness and reduce costs by supporting line-by-line reviews, audits and other services. Through this fund, municipalities have access of up to $6 million annually through 2022-23. The Municipal Modernization Program is aimed at small and rural municipalities. Municipalities have access to a pot of $125 million to conduct new service delivery reviews, implement recommendations from previous reviews and undertake a range of projects such as IT solutions or process improvements.

Additionally, details surrounding the Green Infrastructure stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program have finally been released. Beginning on October 28th, municipalities with a population of less than 100,000 can apply for funding of up to $3 million to tackle “immediate, critical local water, wastewater and stormwater needs” with a potential second intake in 2020 for “emerging priorities related to water, wastewater, and stormwater projects and/or disaster mitigation.” The Stream has a total of $200 million dollars to allocate to municipalities, First Nations, Local Service Boards, and Conservation Authorities.

The Province also announced that it will begin consultations on reviewing the opportunity to align the municipal and provincial fiscal years in an effort to “enhance public transparency and improve program and service delivery.” Also proposed by the Province was a possible amendment to the Election Act, Municipal Elections Act, and “several other pieces of legislation” to combine municipal and provincial voter lists.

For more information on the announcements, refer to the below three Ontario Newsroom items:

“Ontario Putting People First by Supporting Smart, Efficient Municipal Service Delivery.” Government of Ontario. October 25, 2019.

“Ontario Helping Make Municipalities Stronger.” Government of Ontario. October 25, 2019.

“Ontario Investing in Green Infrastructure to Help Smaller Communities.” Government of Ontario. October 25, 2019.