Province opens applications process for new MMP intake

TORONTO — The Ontario government has announced a new Municipal Modernization Program (MMP) application intake for $40 million in funding to help small and rural municipalities improve delivery of programs and services.

The funding is part of the government’s $125 million in spending through 2022-23 to help small and rural municipalities become more efficient and save taxpayers’ dollars.

“Our government recognizes that COVID-19 has created challenges for everyone, including small and rural municipalities,” said Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark, who announced the funding on Jan. 26.

“By working hand in hand with our local partners, we have ensured that vital services continue to be delivered to individuals, families and businesses.

“The funding we are announcing today will build on the progress we have made together and allow for further review and modernization of local services so we can get the best return on taxpayers’ dollars.”

The MMP helps Ontario’s 405 small and rural municipalities find better, more efficient ways to operate and serve their residents, the province states.

Municipalities can use the funding to conduct reviews of service delivery and administrative expenditures to find efficiencies or implement a range of projects, including developing an online system to improve the local process for approving residential and industrial developments or setting up new shared services with neighbouring municipalities.

Wellington County municipalites pooled part of their funding to conduct an inter-municipal service review and study sharing of services.

Last year, Ontario funded 184 modernization projects led by small and rural municipalities, including service delivery reviews.

This week’s announcement was made during the 2021 Rural Municipalities of Ontario Association (ROMA) conference, where Premier Doug Ford, ministers, associate ministers and parliamentary assistants joined hundreds of municipal officials for the first-ever virtual ROMA conference.

They held meetings with almost 300 municipal delegations and reaffirmed the government’s commitment to protect the health and safety of Ontarians, and work in partnership with municipalities to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“COVID-19 has highlighted opportunities for small and rural municipalities to modernize local services,” said ROMA chair Allan Thompson.

He added the funding will help municipalities “be more efficient and better meet community needs.”