McGuinty Government Uploads $935 Million In Social Programs From Municipalities
Upload Will Strengthen Every Municipality
The government is making an unprecedented contribution to municipalities by uploading the total cost of the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) and Ontario Drug Benefits (ODB) for social assistance recipients, said Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty.
"The downloading of these programs stands as one of the worst misjudgements of the previous government," said Premier McGuinty. "They've been a burden to every municipality and we're taking them back in full."
The upload, identified as a top priority by municipalities in the ongoing review of services, will begin in January. By the time it is fully implemented in 2011, the upload will save municipalities $935 million.
The Premier made the announcement at the annual general meeting of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario.
"By any objective standard, our relationship is better, our communities are stronger and our people are being better served than at any time under the previous Ontario government," said Premier McGuinty. "This is another example of the province and municipalities working together to make our communities stronger."
On August 14, 2006, Premier McGuinty announced that the government and the municipal sector would conduct a wide-ranging joint review aimed at improving the delivery and funding of municipal services in Ontario.
"We are pleased to take this important step and look forward to continuing the work of the review," said Premier McGuinty.
The review is also discussing infrastructure, economic competitiveness, improving service delivery and enhanced accountability.
Today's announcement builds on the more than $1.9 billion in on-going operating support to municipalities already being invested by the McGuinty government, including:
- The Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund, which will transfer $843 million in 2007, or $225 million more than 2004 transfers under its predecessor program, the Community Reinvestment Fund
- Making two cents per litre of provincial gasoline tax available for public transit totalling $1.6 billion by 2010
- Increasing the province's share of public health funding from 50 per cent in 2004 to 75 per cent in 2007 and
- Moving toward a 50:50 sharing of the cost of municipal land ambulance services by 2008.
Other investments in municipalities include:
- A $540 million cut to high business education tax rates over the next seven years, which will benefit 321 municipalities across the province
- The Ontario Child Benefit program, which will take children off the social assistance system
- Move Ontario 2020, a multi-year $17.5 billion rapid transit action plan for the GTA and Hamilton that will see the province pay the one-third share of capital costs normally assumed by municipalities.
"After four years, we've made great progress in building a strong, mature relationship with municipalities -- and that is resulting in stronger communities for Ontarians," said Premier McGuinty. "We'll continue working together and supporting shared goals so we can move forward in building a province and communities that are second to none."