Island municipalities get word on OMPF funding

MANITOULIN—After a period of uncertainly, Manitoulin municipalities are breathing a sigh of relief as Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund (OMPF) contributions were announced last week.

The Island municipal breakdowns are as follows: Town of Northeastern Manitoulin and the Islands, $1,541,300 ($1,510,800 in 2018); Assiginack, $697,100 ($709,500 in 2018); Tehkummah, $369,900 ($366,400 in 2018); Central Manitoulin, $1,375,500 ($1,373,300 in 2018); Billings, $484,300 ($468,400 in 2018); Gore Bay, $464,300 ($459,000 in 2018); Gordon/Barrie Island, $621,000 ($597,900 in 2018); and Burpee and Mills, $295,100 ($279,100 in 2018).

The OMPF is the province’s main general assistance grant, primarily for Northern and rural municipalities.

It was initiated during the last Conservative regime, that of Premier Mike Harris and was at that time intended to assist municipalities, especially small rural ones, help finance downloaded services previously paid for by the province.

“For 2019, the government is maintaining the OMPF structure as it was in 2018, while allowing for annual data updates and related grant parameter adjustments, in keeping with the program’s responsiveness to changing municipal circumstances,” a note on the Ministry of Finance website states, leaving some municipal officials to worry about what shape the OMPF will take in the years to come.