MPA Major Research Papers

Date of Award


Degree Type

Major Research Paper

Degree Name

Master of Public Administration


Political Science


Jennifer Kirkham

Geographical Areas

Ontario, Oxford County, Wellesley Township, Plummer Additional Township, Highland East, Peterborough


Municipalities across the Province are grappling with infrastructure deficits. Small, northern, and rural municipality’s tax assessment base limits its ability to garner sufficient revenue to support operations as well as renew and replace infrastructure. Federal and Provincial governments must step in and assist. As a result, the province introduced the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund (OCIF) as a permanent program to fund critical infrastructure projects for core assets—roads, bridges, water and wastewater. This paper analyzes provincially mandated municipal Financial Information Returns (FIRs) in conjunction with OCIF statistics to assess whether the Province can efficiently and effectively re-distribute revenue using existing financial and statistical data to local governments, and to investigate the effectiveness of an application-based, rather than formula-based, approach for infrastructure grants. I conclude that the distribution of grants was inequitable, and so did not efficiently target need, and recommend that the province increase transparency and predictability by adopting a formula-based granting model.