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City Advocates for a Modern Provincial-Municipal Fiscal Partnership

Delegation at ROMA 2024

The City of Owen Sound joins the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) in calling on the province to commit to reviewing the provincial-municipal fiscal framework as part of the upcoming provincial budget.  

In early January, AMO, a non-profit organization representing almost all of Ontario’s 444 municipal governments, highlighted the need for a Social and Economic Prosperity Review as part of its Pre-Budget Submission to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs. 

Last week, a delegation from Owen Sound attended the 2024 Rural Ontario Municipality Association (ROMA) annual conference to address key issues affecting our region, including sustainable funding. The City’s delegation was comprised of Mayor Ian Boddy, Deputy Mayor Scott Greig, Councillor Jon Farmer, and Director of Public Works and Engineering Lara Widdifield. 

The group met with the Hon. Peter Bethlenfalvy, Minister of Finance to: 

  • Discuss Owen Sound’s disproportionate share of costs related to core infrastructure and social infrastructure as a regional hub 
  • Address specific areas of concern, including stable funding and timelines for grants, court security, physician recruitment, and insurance costs 
  • Request a new fiscal framework that recognizes and is reflective of the scale and scope of municipal service delivery today 

Municipalities provide infrastructure and critical services that are central to Ontario’s economic prosperity and quality of life, with the City investing 42 million in providing services annually in our community. The fiscal framework that municipalities rely on to deliver infrastructure and services is broken – failing residents, small businesses and major industries. Unlike the province, municipal revenues do not grow with the economy or inflation. New realities, including the pressures of growth, economic factors like inflation and interest rates, social challenges, and provincial policy decisions are pushing municipalities to the brink.

Last adjusted in 2008, a review of provincial-municipal financial arrangements is long overdue.  Municipalities continue to subsidize the provincial treasury by almost $4 billion each year by paying for provincial responsibilities such as social housing, long-term care, public health, childcare, and social services. Ontario’s property taxes are already the second highest in the country, while provincial spending per capita is the lowest in Canada. Property taxpayers, including small business owners and seniors on fixed incomes, can’t afford to keep paying provincial costs.  

As Ontario grows, major investment in essential municipal infrastructure is required to achieve the province’s ambitious target of building 1.5 million new homes by 2031. However, Bill 23 created a $1 billion annual hole in municipalities’ ability to fund this foundational new infrastructure that will help our province grow.   

Ontario’s provincial and municipal governments have a strong history of collaboration. The City of Owen Sound and AMO believe the time is right for the province to work together with municipal governments to modernize this partnership and build a solid foundation for economic and social prosperity that is fair and affordable for taxpayers. 

For more information, please contact Tim Simmonds, City Manager at 519-376-4440 ext. 1210 or email 


"Our objective at the 2024 ROMA conference was to discuss issues that are important to our community in Owen Sound and to engage in partnerships with key decision-makers. This is part of a broader plan to enhance the City’s government relations and to build strong relationships with our federal, provincial, and regional partners.”  

-Mayor Ian Boddy 

Quick Facts: 

  • Collaboration and partnerships with other levels of government and stakeholders are critical to advocate successfully for policy changes. 
  • AMO works with Ontario’s 444 municipalities to enhance strong and effective municipal government in Ontario. It promotes the value of the municipal level of government as a vital and essential component of Ontario and Canada's political system. 
  • The annual ROMA Conference provides rural municipal leaders the opportunity to address policy issues and funding concerns and to meet directly with Provincial Ministers on local issues. Each year, more than 1,000 individuals attend, including municipal colleagues, provincial and federal elected officials, and senior staff. 
  • For 2024, the City has budgeted approximately $400,000 for net court security costs, a service that could be paid for by the province with a new funding model. 



Contact Us

808 2nd Avenue East,
Owen Sound, ON
N4K 2H4
Phone: 519-376-1440
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