MPA Major Research Papers

Date of Award


Degree Type

Major Research Paper

Degree Name

Master of Public Administration


Political Science


Godwin Arku

Geographical Areas

Ontario Municipalities, Regional Government


In Ontario, Development Charges (DCs) are a revenue tool designed to assist municipalities with paying for growth-related capital costs arising from the expanded infrastructure required to accommodate new development. The Development Charges Act, 1997 grants municipalities the authority to levy DCs through adopting By-laws of Council and defines the rules and structure they must follow when implementation and revision of charge systems occurs. Where implemented, DCs are meant to ensure that existing municipal ratepayers (property owners) are not required to pay the capital costs associated with new services and facilities that are needed to accommodate new development. The revenue collected from DCs can be used to fund the growth-related capital costs of a broad range of municipal infrastructure from roads, sewage treatment and water supply systems to parks, public transit and library services. The development, implementation and administration of DCs is therefore an important feature of local government in Ontario that can affect how municipalities grow and where they grow in the future. This research paper assesses the implementation and impacts of Development Charges among lower tier local governments in three (3) of Ontario’s eight (8) regional municipalities in an attempt to answer the question: Do changes in development charge levels generally lag or lead growth in a given municipality based on Building Permit (development) activity? By identifying, quantifying and assessing patterns in the data from the selected municipalities, the research seeks to establish how the level or magnitude to which Development Charges are set comes to impact development activity within a given local government setting when other factors are held constant. Recommendations are made from the analyzed data as well as thoughts concerning opportunities for future research.