How it works

The Province will distribute approximately $400 million to 424 communities across Ontario in 2022.

Communities don’t need to apply for the funding but will need to provide planning and reporting documents to the government to receive the grants.

Under the formula-based component, eligible recipients:

  • receive annual allocation notices specifying OCIF funding for the calendar year
  • may accumulate annual formula-based grants for up to five years to address larger infrastructure projects
  • are guaranteed to receive a minimum of $100,000 per year

Who is eligible

Ontario municipalities

The following municipalities are eligible:

  • small municipalities (municipalities with populations less than 100,000)
  • northern municipalities
  • rural municipalities

We used the 2016 census data to determine eligibility for the 2021 and 2022 grants.

Local Services Boards (LSBs)

LSBs that own water and/or wastewater systems are eligible to receive the minimum grant of $100,000 per year.

Eligible and ineligible expenditures

Eligible capital expenditures

Capital expenditures on core infrastructure projects (such as roads, bridges, water and wastewater, including sanitary and stormwater facilities) that are part of an asset management plan are eligible, including:

  • capital construction of new core infrastructure to be owned by the recipient that addresses an existing health or safety issue
  • capital maintenance for the renewal, rehabilitation and replacement of core infrastructure owned by the recipient
  • debt-financing charges specifically associated with the capital construction and maintenance of core infrastructure are eligible, if started after January 1, 2017.

Coordinated infrastructure and land-use planning

Capital projects must be consistent with Ontario’s land-use planning framework. The provincial land-use planning framework promotes a coordinated and integrated approach when planning for land use and infrastructure. This is achieved through policy direction derived from the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) and applicable provincial land use plans such as the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe.

An integrated approach to land use and infrastructure planning allows for the identification of benefits, such as cost savings and improved environmental protection, by ensuring development choices make the best use of existing infrastructure before consuming more land or resources.

When read together, the PPS and provincial plans require municipalities to consider, among other things:

  • the implications of growth on infrastructure needs
  • the full lifecycle costs of infrastructure, which may include asset management planning
  • integration of environmental protection with infrastructure planning (for example, using watershed or subwatershed plans)

Eligible asset management planning expenditures

Eligible expenditures for the development, updating and improvement of asset management plans for any asset type(s), include:

  • asset management software
  • conferences and training for municipal staff that are 100% related to asset management planning, including reasonable related travel, meal and accommodation expenses
  • third-party condition assessments
  • third-party consultants whose responsibilities are limited to asset management planning

Collaboration on asset management

We encourage recipients to work together to develop and improve asset management plans. Smaller communities should consider hiring a shared resource to serve as their asset manager. By collaborating, communities can:

  • share best practices
  • learn from each other
  • improve their asset management plans at a reduced cost

For example, four neighbouring communities with similar infrastructure systems could attract a full-time local expert dedicated to serving each municipality about one week per month.

Eligible optimization expenditures

Activities that improve the performance or increase the capacity of existing water and wastewater infrastructure under the Composite Correction Program are eligible, including:

  • third-party comprehensive performance evaluations
  • third-party comprehensive technical assistance

Innovative capital technologies

Ontario has become a world-class centre for developing new technologies that can help reduce, avoid or defer capital and lifecycle costs. Recipients may want to consider incorporating innovative technologies into their projects.

For example, the Ontario Water Consortium supports the development, demonstration and adoption of Ontario’s water technologies. Many of these technologies already support communities across Ontario, including projects funded through the government’s Showcasing Water Innovation program (PDF) and the consortium’s Advancing Water Technologies program.

Innovative approaches to community management of water include:

  • trenchless technologies for lining watermains
  • phosphorus removal from stormwater
  • ammonia removal from wastewater

Composite Correction Program

Municipalities can reduce or avoid life-cycle costs through non-capital solutions. The Composite Correction Program is a well-regarded, two-step protocol for optimizing water and wastewater systems.

The first step is a comprehensive performance evaluation to determine the factors that impact performance or capacity, including:

  • operation
  • design
  • maintenance
  • administration factors

The second step, comprehensive technical assistance, involves hands-on operator training and support to improve process control and operating procedures.

Eligible staff time expenditures (for municipalities only)

Municipalities may allocate up to 40% or $80,000 of their formula funding per year (whichever is less) to hours worked by municipal staff whose responsibilities include:

  • asset management planning, and/or
  • Composite Correction Program implementation while receiving third-party comprehensive technical assistance

Ineligible expenditures include:

  • infrastructure expansion projects to accommodate future employment or residential development on greenfield sites
  • acquisition and/or leasing of land, buildings and other facilities
  • legal fees
  • rolling stock (for example, trucks, graders, etc.)
  • movable/transitory assets (for example, portable generators, etc.)
  • the costs of completing any application for a provincial funding program
  • all taxes
  • stand-alone street-light projects
  • costs for recreational trails

A more detailed list of eligible expenditure categories is included in the transfer payment agreement.

What you need to submit to receive funding

Eligible municipalities and LSBs must submit the following to the Ministry of Infrastructure (MOI) periodically as requested by the ministry:

  • a comprehensive asset management plan, covering at least core infrastructure assets, and including all of the information and analysis described in the Asset Management Planning for Municipal Infrastructure regulation (O. Reg. 588/17 as amended by O. Reg. 193/21). If you haven’t made any changes to a previously submitted asset management plan between regulatory phase-in years, you do not need to re-submit
  • in a form provided by the ministry, information on how your allocation was or will be used on eligible expenditures
  • all other reporting as requested by the ministry

Submit by email to ocif@ontario.ca or mail to:
Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund
c/o Infrastructure Program Delivery Branch
Ministry of Infrastructure
1 Stone Road West, 4th Floor Northwest
Guelph, ON
N1G 4Y2

In addition, eligible municipalities must submit their previous year’s annual Financial Information Return (FIR), without critical errors, to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing via Smart FIR. For any related questions, please email fir.mah@ontario.ca.

Failure to provide this reporting may result in payments being withheld.

Banking funding

Eligible recipients may accumulate their formula-based grants for up to five years. For example, grant funding received in 2022 must be spent by December 31, 2026. Recipients will report on how and when banked funds will be used.

Banked funds must be kept in an interest-bearing account and recipients must report on interest earned on the funds. Failure to use banked funds within five years will result in the funds having to be repaid to the Province, including interest earned.

Calculating the grant

The size of grants is determined by:

  • core infrastructure owned by municipalities, including roads, bridges, water and wastewater
  • the municipality’s economic conditions

The grant is designed to be responsive to local needs and economic conditions. In order to ensure that municipalities with more core infrastructure and more challenging economic conditions receive proportionally larger grants, the amount of funding per $100,000 of total core infrastructure is calculated using an “infrastructure index.”

Municipalities with a higher infrastructure index will receive a proportionally larger grant per $100,000 of core infrastructure.

The minimum grant size is $100,000. All eligible LSBs will receive the minimum amount.

How the formula works

We use the following steps to calculate a municipality’s grant.

Step 1: Determine the amount of core infrastructure owned by the municipality

A municipality’s core infrastructure is valued at cost as reported in its Financial Information Return (FIR) (Schedule 51: Schedule of Tangible Capital Assets). FIR data is taken from the best of two years, whichever yields a higher value for the municipality. In 2022 we used the best of FIR data from 2017 or 2018. For the 2020 and 2021 grants, we used FIR data from 2015 and 2016.

Starting with 2023 OCIF allocations, a municipality’s core infrastructure will be calculated using either Current Replacement Values (CRVs) or estimated CRVs for eligible core infrastructure categories. More information on the transition to using CRVs in the OCIF funding formula will be provided at a later date.

Step 2: Calculate the infrastructure index

The infrastructure index compares a municipality’s core infrastructure to its weighted property assessment and median household income.

The infrastructure index is composed of two indicators:

  • the ratio of core infrastructure to weighted property assessment
  • the ratio of core infrastructure per household to median household income

The two indicators are placed on comparable scales and then averaged to calculate a municipality’s infrastructure index.

Adjustments are made to core infrastructure values to make multi-tier municipalities comparable to single-tier municipalities when calculating the infrastructure index.

Step 3: Determine the funding per $100,000 of core infrastructure to be received by the municipality

The exact amount of formula-based funding for every $100,000 of core infrastructure owned by the municipality depends on the municipality’s infrastructure index and how it relates to the median infrastructure index of all eligible municipalities.

Municipalities with an infrastructure index at the median will receive the median amount of funding per $100,000 of core infrastructure funding noted in Table 1 below.

For every 10% that a municipality’s infrastructure index is below the median value, it will receive less funding per $100,000 of core infrastructure, down to a minimum noted in Table 1 below.

For every 10% that a municipality’s infrastructure index is above the median, it will receive more funding per $100,000 of core infrastructure, up to a maximum amount noted in Table 1 below.

Image
Image shows the funding breakdown in years 2021 and 2022.

Table 1 - Funding based on the infrastructure index

Note: 2022 funding per $100,000 of core infrastructure has increased due to the increase in the overall funding envelope.

Read the accessible description for Table 1.

Step 4: Calculate the grant

For every $100,000 of core infrastructure owned by a municipality, it will receive the amount of funding determined by its infrastructure index (see step 3 above). The total core infrastructure owned by the municipality (unadjusted) is used in step 4.

For example, in 2022, as shown in the table, if a municipality’s infrastructure index is equal to the median, it will receive $765.27 per $100,000 in core infrastructure. Therefore, if a municipality’s core infrastructure is equal to $210,000,000, the grant amount would be 2,100 × $765.27 = $1,607,067.

In 2022, a municipality will receive the calculated amount in step 4 or $100,000 – whichever is greater, unless their calculated amount is greater than $10 million. If a municipality’s calculated amount is greater than $10 million, the municipality will receive $10 million as this is the funding maximum for 2022.

Financial matters and consultation with Indigenous groups

Payments

The size of the grant will determine the frequency of payments. Subject to meeting terms and conditions set out in the transfer payment agreement, recipients that receive larger grants are paid more frequently (payments can be made as frequently as monthly).

Consultations with Indigenous groups

The Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario and municipalities may have a duty to consult, where appropriate, with Indigenous Groups (First Nation, Inuit and Métis peoples) where an activity is contemplated that may adversely impact Aboriginal or treaty rights.

Consultation requirements will vary depending on the size and location of the project in question. Grant recipients should ensure duty-to-consult requirements are met prior to commencing construction of funded projects.

Contact us

If you have questions about the OCIF you can contact us by:

Mailing address:
Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund
c/o Infrastructure Program Delivery Branch
Ministry of Infrastructure
1 Stone Road West, 4th Floor Northwest
Guelph, Ontario
N1G 4Y2

Chart descriptions

Table 1- Funding based on the infrastructure index

In 2021:

  • for every 10% that a municipality’s infrastructure index was below the median value, it would receive $24 less funding per $100,000 of core infrastructure, down to a minimum of $294
  • for every 10% that a municipality’s infrastructure index was above the median, it would receive $24 more funding per $100,000 of core infrastructure, up to a maximum amount of $587

In 2022:

  • for every 10% that a municipality’s infrastructure index is below the median value, it will receive $24 less funding per $100,000 of core infrastructure, down to a minimum of $574
  • for every 10% that a municipality’s infrastructure index is above the median, it will receive $24 more funding per $100,000 of core infrastructure, up to a maximum amount of $1,148