MPA Major Research Papers

Date of Award


Degree Type

Major Research Paper

Degree Name

Master of Public Administration


Political Science


Andrew Sancton

Geographical Areas

Ontario, Adjala-Tosorontio, Aurora, Blandford-Blenheim, Bracebridge, Bradford West Gwillimbury, Brock, Caledon, Clearview, Collingwood, East Gwillimbury, East Zorra-Tavistock, Essa, Fort Erie, Georgian Bay, Georgina, Gravenhurst, Grimsby, Halton Hills, Huntsville, Ingersoll, Innisfil, King, Lake of Bays, Lincoln, Midland, Muskoka District, Muskoka Lakes, New Tecumseth, Niagara-on-the-Lake, North Dumfries, Norwich, OroMedonte, Oxford County, Pelham, Penetanguishene, Port Colborne, Ramara, Scugog, Severn, Simcoe County, South-West Oxford, Springwater, Tay, Thorold, Tillsonburg, Tiny, Uxbridge, Wainfleet, Welland, Wellesley, West Lincoln, Whitchurch-Stouffville, Wilmot, Woodstock, Woolwich, Zorra


The intent of the 2019 Regional Government Review (Review) was to find ways to expand service delivery and reduce costs in 82 Ontario municipalities. However, no changes resulted. Instead, the Province allocated significant funding to the existing Municipal Modernization Program (MMP) for municipalities to utilize in hopes of achieving the same results the Review had. Accordingly, this paper looks at whether the MMP, a provincial conditional grant, is effectively achieving its stated intended purposes. It is clear that intergovernmental relations as they pertain to grants is a much-researched topic, with a vast collection of research to draw upon spanning much of the 20th century. However, the research is generally outdated and mainly revolves around the municipal fiscal response to provincial grants, specifically how provincial grants influence spending at the municipal level. Through the use of the MMP databases and municipal staff reports and press releases, an inductive research strategy was utilized to classify each project awarded funding through intakes one and two of the MMP on the basis of whether they were a ‘cost-savings’, ‘service expansion’ or ‘other’ project. The analysis reveals that the ‘Review’ stream of the MMP does not directly translate into improvements to municipal services or their budgets, while the ‘Implementation’ stream can have a direct impact. However, given the disproportionate use of the MMP for ‘Review’ stream projects, it appears that the stated intent of the program is not being carried out to its fullest extent possible, as the execution piece is usually missed.