Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Rural Programs Branch
Grants starting at $50,000 to Ontario small, northern, and rural municipalities, as well as local services boards to address local infrastructure needs. This program provides stable and long-term funding for capital infrastructure projects, innovative capital technologies, coordinated infrastructure and land-use planning, asset management planning, and infrastructure optimization.
How it Works:
Using a fair and transparent formula that recognizes that municipalities have different infrastructure needs and economic conditions, the Province will be distributing funding to communities across Ontario in 2018.
Communities need not 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 allocation notices specifying stable, predictable funding for the next 3 years.
-May accumulate annual formula-based grants for up to 5 years to address larger infrastructure projects.
-Are guaranteed to receive a minimum of $50,000 per year.
Eligible Capital Expenditures:
Capital expenditures on core infrastructure (roads, bridges, water and wastewater, including sanitary and stormwater facilities) projects 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 project activities above are eligible, if started after January 1, 2017.
Innovative Capital Technologies:
Ontario has become a world-class centre in developing new technologies that can help reduce, avoid or defer capital and lifecycle costs. WaterTAP exists to champion Ontario’s status as a world water technology hub. Many of these technologies already support communities across Ontario, including projects funded through the government’s showcasing water innovation program. Examples of innovative approaches include trenchless technologies for lining water mains, phosphorus removal from storm water, and ammonia removal from wastewater. Formula recipients may want to consider incorporating innovative technologies into their projects.
Coordinated Infrastructure and Land-use Planning:
Capital projects must be consistent with the government’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 cost savings, or other benefits such as 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 (e.g., through the use of 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 that are 100% related to asset management planning including reasonable related travel, meals and accommodation expenses
-Third-party condition assessments, and
-Third-party consultants whose responsibilities are limited to asset management planning.
Collaboration on Asset Management:
Recipients are encouraged to work together to develop and improve asset management plans. Smaller communities should consider hiring a shared resource to serve as their asset manager. For example, four neighboring communities with similar infrastructure systems could attract a full-time local expert dedicated to serving each municipality about one week per month. By collaborating, communities can share best practices, learn from each other, and improve their asset management plans at a reduced cost.
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; and
-Third-party comprehensive technical assistance
Composite Correction Program:
Municipalities can reduce or avoid life-cycle costs through non-capital solutions. The Composite Correction Program is a well-regarded 2-step protocol for optimizing water and wastewater systems. The first step is a Comprehensive Performance Evaluation, which determines the operation, design, maintenance and administration factors that impact performance or capacity. 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.
GrantWatch ID#: 175447
Calculating the Grant:
Grants are linked to core infrastructure (roads, bridges, water and wastewater) owned by municipalities and to their 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 $50,000. All eligible LSBs will receive the minimum amount.
Eligible recipients may accumulate their formula-based grants for up to 5 years. For example, grant funding received in 2018 must be spent by December 31, 2022.
All small municipalities (i.e., populations less than 100,000) are eligible. For the 2017, 2018 and 2019 grants, the 2011 census data was used to determine eligibility. For the 2020 grants, the 2016 census data was used.
In addition, all northern and rural municipalities are eligible.
Local Services Boards (LSBs):
LSBs that own water and/or wastewater systems are eligible to receive the minimum grant.
Ineligible costs include:
-Infrastructure expansion projects to accommodate future employment or residential development on greenfield sites
-Acquisition and/or leasing of land, buildings and other facilities
-Rolling stock (e.g. trucks, graders, etc.)
-Movable/transitory assets (e.g. portable generators, etc.)
-The costs of completing any application for and provincial funding program
-Stand-along street light projects
-Costs for recreational trails
-A more detailed list of eligible expenditure categories is included in the contribution agreement.
Eligible municipalities and LSBs must submit the following to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) on or before January 15, 2018 to receive the grants:
-A comprehensive asset management plan, covering at least core infrastructure assets, and including all of the information and analysis described in Building together: Guide for municipal asset management plans (https://www.ontario.ca/page/building-together-guide-municipal-asset-management-plans). If no changes have been made to a previously submitted asset management plan, the recipient is not required to re-submit.
-All outstanding reporting obligations from the OCIF formula and top-up components.
In addition, if not already done so, eligible municipalities must submit the following to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs by email by December 31, 2017:
-Outstanding 2016 Financial Information Returns (FIRs) without critical errors
-Outstanding 2015 FIRs without critical errors
Failure to meet these conditions may result in grants being withheld.
Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.
Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund – Formula-based component
c/o Rural Programs Branch
Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
1 Stone Road West, 4NW
Ministry of Municipal Affairs: