Budgeting and Long-Term Financial Planning Action Group

The Municipal Budgeting and Long-Term Financial Planning Action Group (Action Group), facilitated by the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs (MMA), was created as a forum for municipal stakeholders to collaborate on practical and actionable ideas that will assist municipalities in strengthening budgeting, asset management and long-term financial planning practices.

The Action Group, consisting of municipal staff, provincial staff, and MFOA policy staff, has developed tools to help simplify complex municipal finance topics, including a common language guide to municipal finance statements, and informational handouts on budget planning and unfunded liabilities.

The Action Group also had a Small Municipalities Sub-Committee which has developed guides and tools concerning budgeting and long-term financial planning targeted to small municipalities. The sub-committee was composed of municipal staff from select small communities, provincial staff, and MFOA policy staff.

Action Group Deliverables

  1. Common Language Guide to Municipal Financial Statements
  2. Municipal Budget Planning: Surplus and Deficit
  3. Municipal Budget Planning: Unfunded Liabilities
  4. Investing Sustainably in Infrastructure 
  5. Public Engagement in Long-Term Financial Planning 
  6. Fiscal Health Indicators  (example)
    • From an inventory of over 200 municipal measures, the Action Group identified key indicators that could be used to better understand municipal operational and financial performance. The indicators included in this document consider the elements of a municipality’s fiscal sustainability, flexibility and vulnerability. Municipalities may choose to use these indicators to identify key trends and to make appropriate comparisons.

Small Municipalities Sub-Committee Deliverables

  1. Understanding the FITS
    • On an annual basis, Ministry staff conducts a review of the Financial Information Returns (FIRs) and financial statements submitted by municipalities. Through the use of several key financial indicators, municipal financial performance is monitored in relation to established thresholds. “Understanding the Financial Threshold Indicators (FITs)” tip sheet was designed as a plain guide to provide clarification on what your municipality’s performance results mean. For further information on the key financial indicators, please contact your local Municipal Services Office
  2. List of Existing Municipal Finance Resources
  3. Best Practices on “Budget Matters” Regulation O.Reg. 284/09) Reporting Requirement
  4. Understanding Municipal Debt
  5. Municipal Debt Case Study 

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