Municipal Fiscal Autonomy Key
to Unlocking Ontario’s Competitiveness
Sault Ste. Marie and Ontario Chambers of Commerce Report:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 21, 2021
Province & Municipalities Must Improve Local Resilience to Budget Pressures
Sault Ste. Marie, ON – Today, as all levels of government look to balance debt and deficits while protecting the well-being of our communities, the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce (SSMCOC) and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) released its latest report, Better Budgets: Bolstering the Fiscal Resilience of Ontario’s Municipalities. This policy brief identifies 14 recommendations for both the Province and municipalities which can bring immediate and long-term relief to communities across Ontario.
“Municipalities in Ontario, such as Sault Ste. Marie, are facing a triple threat this year: an ongoing pandemic that has been devastating to local economies, reduced revenue from closed or limited services, and increased spending on public health and human services. The Financial Accountability Office estimates the pandemic will collectively cost municipalities $2.7 billion in 2021, on top of the expected $4.1 billion impact of 2020,” notes Michael Stone, President of the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce. “In Budget 2021, the Government of Ontario committed to a long‐term economic growth plan. It is imperative public policymakers do everything they can do to ensure communities like Sault Ste. Marie do not get left behind in recovery.”
“Ontario’s post-pandemic recovery and long-term success will depend heavily on unleashing the economic potential of our municipalities,” says Claudia Dessanti, Senior Manager, Policy of the OCC. “Given that local governments in Ontario cannot run budget deficits, their current options for fiscal sustainability are limited to tax increases, service cuts, and the use of reserves. Now is the time for municipalities and the Province to explore alternative means of achieving fiscal sustainability.”
Key recommendations outlined in the report put out by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce network include:
- Undertake a comprehensive and forward-looking review of Ontario’s property tax system to ensure the system is more equitable, efficient, and predictable for businesses.
- Adhere to the ‘pay-for-say principle’ to ensure that all responsibilities are accompanied by adequate funding.
- Enhance and incentivize regional collaboration across municipalities.
The Ontario Chamber of Commerce network extends thanks to KPMG Canada and the report’s authors for their collaboration on Better Budgets: Bolstering the Fiscal Resilience of Ontario’s Municipalities. Read the report.
About the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce
The Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce represents the interests of 700 plus business and agencies in Sault Ste. Marie and has been serving the needs of this community since 1889. The Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce will lead the way as the voice of business, advancing economic prosperity for its membership and the business community. Learn more about the SSMCOC at www.ssmcoc.com
Rory Ring, CEO
Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce