by Stephen Hammond
Life isn’t fair. How many times have we heard that? Your Federal and Provincial governments are deciding who wins and who loses in the realm of municipal budgets.
While listening to the radio last week, I heard the Mayor of Ottawa express his wish that the Ford government maintain the $650 million dollars per year in Provincial transfers to the city. That seemed like a lot of money for the city of Ottawa, considering the fact that its population is about 55 times that of North Grenville. North Grenville receives only a little over $1 million per year in Provincial/Federal transfers and grants. You can do the math.
North Grenville seems to be getting a lot less on a proportional basis. In fact, an order of magnitude less. Now that’s interesting. I decided to do some digging. Here’s what I found.
I examined the 2018 budgets of five Ontario municipalities, including North Grenville, Ottawa, Toronto, Windsor, and Prescott. In these budgets, I looked for their respective numbers on Provincial/Federal transfers and grants for the year 2018. I then divided these numbers by their respective populations to find the amount per resident. The numbers are as follows: (transfers/grants abbreviated to tr./gr.)
- North Grenville: tr./gr. of $1,293,651; Pop. 17,500; tr./g. per resident = $74.
- Ottawa: tr./gr. of $670,000,000; Pop. 965,000; tr./gr. per resident = $694.
- Toronto: tr./gr. of $2.359 Billion; Pop. 3,006,000; tr./gr. per resident = $785.
- Windsor: tr./gr. of $230,288,687; Pop. 329,144; tr./gr. per resident = $700.
- Prescott: tr./gr. of $1,551,100; Pop. 4,000; tr./gr. per resident = $388.
If you’re not shocked by these numbers, you need to have a second look. Compared to North Grenville, Ottawa, Toronto, and Windsor are receiving almost 10 times the Provincial/Federal funding amount per capita, and Prescott about 5 times the amount per capita. If North Grenville was receiving an amount of Provincial/Federal transfers equal to the per capita amount that the city of Ottawa receives, the dollar value would total 17,500 x $694. = $12,145,000. This is equal to almost the entire municipal budget of North Grenville! What is going on here? How many years has this been happening? Do the above numbers even include things like large public transport and infrastructure projects, like the Ottawa LRT and Toronto transit?
We in the rural areas of Ontario are paying our income taxes, HST, license fees, etc… to the Provincial and Federal governments. It looks like most of these taxes and fees are going to pay for the good life in the big cities.
In future articles, I will examine what I suspect will be a pattern of neglect of Provincial/Federal funding of rural areas and small towns.