MPA Major Research Papers

Date of Award


Degree Type

Major Research Paper

Degree Name

Master of Public Administration


Political Science


Joseph Lyons

Geographical Areas



In today’s global economy, Canada’s cities play a key role in the country’s economic growth and prosperity. They must build and maintain significant amounts of public infrastructure. However, the large and ever-growing national infrastructure deficit threatens to undermine the country’s competitiveness and quality of life. Since the turn of the century, the federal and provincial governments have increased reinvestment in infrastructure and employed several policy approaches to spur municipalities towards formalized asset management (AM) practice, which is widely recognized as the optimal means for determining long-term maintenance and funding requirements. Given the varied policy approaches, the state of municipal AM maturity might also be expected to differ across the country. Large municipalities have generally progressed much further than small municipalities, whose resources are very limited. Less is known about mid-sized cities, however, where perhaps more variation can be expected. Therefore, this paper surveys the current AM maturity of mid-sized Canadian cities using the Federation of Canadian Municipalities AM Readiness Scale, finding that most respondents are in the early stages of AM practice, though BC and Ontario seem to be further ahead of other provinces. The paper also assesses the effectiveness of the federal and provincial policies, classifying them using Christopher Hood’s NATO framework and finding that, while they produced some incremental progress towards AM practice, success was limited because they did not address the key challenges municipalities faced, such as the lack of internal capacity to develop AM practice. The paper concludes with a few observations and considerations for future policy-making in Canada’s multi-level governance context.