Ontario increases financial help to Island municipalities through partnership fund

KIRKLAND LAKE—The Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities (FONOM) is pleased with the provincial government’s announcement on November 20 to increase the Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund (OMPF) by $5 million for a total of $510 million in funding for 389 municipalities across the province.

The province has recognized that municipalities are facing challenging fiscal circumstances by not only increasing funding but also targeting the funding to municipalities that are most challenged, notes the FONOM release. Specifically, the funding will be increased for the Northern and Rural Fiscal Circumstances Grant, the Rural Communities Grant, and the Northern Communities Grant.

“Today, the Ministry of Finance issued 2018 allocation notices from the Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund (OMPF). The total funding envelope to municipalities will be increased by $5 million to $510 million. We understand that this is a permanent increase to OMPF for 2018 and beyond,” wrote Monika Turner, director of policy for AMO, November 20. She explained the 2018 OMPF attempts to balance the range of views expressed by municipalities through the 2017 consultation process, while reflecting the objectives and principles of the Circumstances Grant; recognize the challenges of rural farming communities with the highest levels of farmland by providing an $5 million through the Northern and Rural Communities Grant; maintain minimum funding guarantees to provide continued stability (i.e. 85 percent of 20187 allocation in the south, 90 percent in the north); an additional $5 million to be provided through the Northern Communities Grant component to further support Northern municipalities, as announced in the 2017 Ontario Economic Outlook on November 14, 2017.

“The Ministry’s changes for 2018 demonstrate a continued effort to distribute OMPF allocations based on need and the specific fiscal challenges of different types of municipalities,” wrote Ms. Turner. “The remaining transitional and stabilization grants  are an integral part of the overall envelope in future years. There remains an enduring need for a strong equalization program across the province.”

“2018 marks the full implementation of the upload of social assistance benefit costs and court security transportation costs (up to $125 million annually) from the property tax base as agreed to under the 2008 Provincial Municipal Fiscal Service Delivery Review agreement. The 2018 Upload benefit to municipal governments is $2.1 billion,” added Ms. Turner.

As for the allocations, for the township of Assiginack, the combined benefit of the 2018 OMPF and provincial uploads totals $871,300, $709,500 through OMPF and a $161,800 benefit resulting from the provincial uploads. This exceeds the township’s 2017 combined benefit by $19,800 and payments received in 2004 by $202,300.

For Billings, the combined benefit of the 2018 OMPF and provincial uploads totals $621,500, $468,400 through OMPF, and $153,100 benefit resulting from the provincial uploads. This exceeds the township’s 2017 combined benefit by $41,600 and payments received in 2004 by $261,500.

The Township of Burpee and Mills’ combined benefit of the 2018 OMPF and provincial uploads totals $341,200, $279,100 through the OMPF, and $62,100 benefit resulting from the provincial uploads. This exceeds the township’s 2017 combined benefits by $26,600 and payments received in 2004 by $159,200.

For Central Manitoulin, combined benefit of the 2018 OMPF and provincial uploads totals $1,712,600, $1,373,300 through OMPF, and $339,300 benefit resulting from the provincial uploads. This exceeds the municipality’s 2017 combined benefit by $133,300 and payments received in 2004 by $929,600.

Cockburn Island’s combined benefit of the 2018 OMPF and provincial uploads totals $126,700, $118,300 through OMPF and $8,400 benefit resulting from the provincial uploads. This exceeds the township’s 2017 combined benefit by $4,600 and payments received in 2004 by $24,700.

The Municipality of Gordon-Barrie Island’s combined benefit of the 2018 OMPF and provincial uploads totals $716,800, $597,900 through OMPF and $118,900 benefit resulting from the provincial uploads. This exceeds the municipality’s 2017 combined benefit by $69,700 and payments received in 2004 by $378,800.

The Town of Gore Bay’s combined benefit of the 2018 OMPF and provincial uploads totals $537,400 $459,000 through OMPF, and $78,400 benefit resulting from the provincial uploads. This exceeds the towns’ 2017 combined benefit by $30,600 and payments received in 2004 by $189,400.

The municipality of Northeastern Manitoulin and the Islands combined benefit of the 2018 OMPF and provincial uploads totals $1,976,000 $1,510,800 through the OMPF and $465,200 benefit resulting from the provincial uploads. This exceeds the municipality’s 2017 combined benefit by $259,200 and payments received in 2004 by $519,000.

The Township of Tehkummah’s combined benefit of the 2018 OMPF and provincial uploads totals $431,500, $366,400 through the OMPF and $65,100 benefit resulting from the provincial uploads. This exceeds the township’s 2017 combined benefit by $40,900 and payments received in 2004 by $210,500.

“While we are pleased with the increase in funding and for recognizing rural and Northern communities are facing unique circumstances, it is important to acknowledge that not all communities are seeing increases. In fact, there are communities across Northern Ontario that will be seeing a decrease from their 2017 funding allocations,” said Alan Spacek, FONOM president. “We would also like to acknowledge the government for fulfilling their commitment to upload social assistance benefit costs and court security and prisoner transportation costs from the property tax base as part of the 2018 Provincial Municipal Fiscal Service Delivery Review Agreement.”