MFOA's Response to COVID-19 and Resources for Municipalities *Last Updated: May 22, 2020*


Quick Links

Click here for the latest MFOA news
  • Including registration details for upcoming COVID-19-related webinars including the Discussion Forums by population size
Click here for the latest Provincial and Federal News
  • Includes relevant links to COVID-19 updates
Click here for Municipal Finance Resources 
  • Includes recent recordings from our COVID-19 webinar series
  • Includes sample policies, reports to Council, and by-laws from various municipalities



MFOA's Response to COVID-19

Ensuring the safety of our staff, Board Members, Association Members and speakers is the foremost priority of our leadership team. This priority is guiding our decision making process as respond to the COVID-19. 

  • MFOA will be rescheduling all training events that were to be held prior to May 1, 2020. This includes all webinars, live streaming and in-person training. Each week we will determine if we need to extend that date and will provide updated communication by the end of day on Mondays. More information can be found on our training homepage.
  • Most MFOA staff will be working from home over the next two weeks to help flatten the curve. Every staff member has access to emails and phone lines to help support your needs. Visit our Staff Directory for contact information.
New updates on MFOA offices will be found on this page or on Twitter.

MFOA's draft report on the municipal financial implications of COVID-19 is now available

This report is the first of a series of papers that MFOA will release regarding the financial implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for municipalities and recommendations for support from other orders of government.  The impact of COVID-19 on municipalities is constantly evolving, and as such, the current recommendations are based on information obtained by MFOA staff up to the end of April 2020. Future reports will reflect our latest understanding of impacts. To access the report click here.

Discussion Forums by Population Size

 

Collaborate, discuss and engage in meaningful discourse with other similar-sized municipalities. Ask questions, share information and issues affecting your municipality, and gain valuable insights from your colleagues. This is an information discussion forum designed to benefit you. Each forum will be moderated by an MFOA Staff Member. The content to be discussed is driven by the questions, topics and/or concerns you provide to us upon registration. Please register and provide your topic suggestions by end of day on Wednesday, May 20.

Your participation during these forums is strongly encouraged. 

Forum 1: Population Size 100,000+ on May 22 @ 10:00 - 11:00 AM EST
Click Here to Register

Forum 2: Population Size 10,000 - 100,000 on May 22 @ 12:00 - 1:00 PM EST
Click Here to Register

Forum 3: Population Size Less than 10,000 on May 22 @ 2:00 - 3:00 PM EST
Click Here to Register

Provincial News and Resources

To help you address the finance implications of the COVID-19 crisis, we have culled a list of resources from various levels of government and associations. Can't find what you're looking for? Contact christine@mfoa.on.ca with your suggestions for additional resources. Check back regularly for new resources.

Provincial Updates on COVID-19 

TVO's Coronavirus page - for daily updates on the COVID-19 crisis from regions across Ontario.

Municipal World's Coronavirus page - for updates on what local governments are doing to respond to COVID-19.

AMO Coronavirus page - for updates from AMO.

OMERS COVID-19 page - OMERS updates for employers

MPAC Update to Partners page - MPAC updates for partners on COVID-19

Provincial Updates

  • On May 7, the Province  launched a new pandemic pay website. While there is little information on the program for the employers which includes municipal governments, employers are not required to apply for pandemic pay and we are told that eligible employers will be contacted by May 15.
  • On April 27, the Province released "Reopening Ontario After COVID-19", the plan for the eventual re-opening of businesses and public spaces.
  • Guidance on how to implement S.70.11 of the Planning Act and O. Reg. 149/20 has now been posted on the Environmental Registry of Ontario.
  • On April 23, the Province extended their emergency orders until May 6.
  • On April 17, the Province has issued a new order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protections Act, to provide municipal government with the flexibility for redeployment and other measures where there is local need during the outbreak including child care, social assistance, and by-law enforcement.

  • click for more...
  • On April 14, the Province passed the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Support and Protection Act. The Act makes the following amendments:
    • Planning Act - enable municipalities to suspend local planning decision timelines during a declared state of emergency.
    • Development Charges Act - allow municipalities with an expiring development charges by-law to use their existing by-law during the current emergency and for 6 months following the end of the emergency declaration. 
    • Police Services Act - empower the Solicitor General to provide municipalities with an extension on the deadline to prepare and adopt a community safety and well-being plan. The Solicitor General can extend the deadline past January 1, 2021.
    • Education Act - allow school boards with an expiring education development charge (EDC) by-law to use their existing by-law for an additional 6 months after the end of the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • On April 9, Minister Steve Clark sent a letter to Heads of Councils to signal the government's intention to introduce legislation in the coming weeks to allow for the suspension of specified timelines associated with land use planning matters that could be applied retroactively to the date that an emergency was declared. The letter is available below.
  • The Federal Government has provided details of their Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy - the plan to provide a wage subsidy of 75 per cent for qualifying businesses, for up to 3 months, retroactive to March 15, 2020. The government has clarified that public sector entities are not eligible employers.
  • Fiscal Update - WSIB reports and payments will be deferred until August 31, 2020. Municipalities as Schedule 2 organizations are included.
  • Fiscal Update - deferral of the required municipal quarterly remittance of education tax collections by 90 days.  The current remittance due March 31 remains unchanged. The remittance which would have been due on June 30 is now due on September 30.  The payment which had been due September 30 is now due December 30. 
  • Fiscal Update - the assessed values for 2021 will be based on the same valuation date as they are for 2020.  There will be no financial impact for municipalities as a result of this postponement.  MPAC will continue to update assessment rolls to reflect new construction.  Technical details related to this postponement will be determined in the months ahead.
  • March 25 - the Province released its economic and fiscal update. MFOA's summary is available here
  • March 23 -  the Province put in an order for the mandatory closure of all non-essential workplaces effective as of Tuesday, March 24th at 11:59 p.m. This closure will be in effect for 14 days with the possibility of extending this order as the situation evolves.
  • March 23 - $200 million in funding for social services relief funding. The province will be providing municipalities and organizations that administer social services with funding to support them in their response to COVID-19. The funding will help municipalities and social service providers such as shelters, food banks, emergency services, charities and non-profits continue to deliver their critical services, hire additional staff, and find ways to promote social distancing and self-isolation to keep clients safe and healthy. Ontario's municipal service managers will determine local needs and distribute the funding, ensuring clients are receiving the support they need.
  • March 20 - the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing announced that the submission deadline for ERO 019-1406 (Proposed regulatory matters pertaining to community benefits authority under the Planning Act, the Development Charges Act, and the Building Code Act) has been extended to April 20, 2020MFOA's submission is now available.
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Letters to Municipal Stakeholders from Provincial Ministries

Municipal Finance Resources


MFOA Resources and COVID-19 Webinar Series Recordings

  • MFOA's Cash Flow Template - in Excel format. If you have issues accessing this document please contact christine@mfoa.on.ca
  • The Property Tax Issues and COVID-19 Discussion Forum from March 24 is now available. Click here to view a recording of the forum. 
  • The Challenges for Finance During COVID-19 Discussion Forum from March 26 is now available. Click here to view the presentation. For a summary of the questions posed by participants and relevant discussions, please click hereClick here to view a recording of the forum. 
  • Property Tax and COVID-19: Continuing the Conversation Discussion Forum from April 3 is now available. Click here to view a recording of the forum.
  • Financial Impacts of COVID-19 Part 1: Panel DiscussionClick here for a recording of the webinar. Click here for a copy of the presentation. Click here for additional materials.
  • Tax Sales and the COVID-19 Emergency Webinar from April 22 is now available. Click here for a recording of the webinar. Click here for a copy of the presentation.  Click here for an informative Q&A document on tax sales. 
  • Financial Impacts of COVID-19: Part 2 from April 29 is now available. Click here for a recording of the webinar. Sample reports and policies referenced in the session are available for download below under Municipal Examples.
  • Property Tax and COVID-19: Informing the Decision-Making Process from May 11 is now available. Click here for a recording of the webinar. Click here to participate in Municipal Tax Equity Consultant's survey on property tax responses.

Municipal Associations

  • FCM has released a summary of recommendations to the Federal government. FCM is requesting for at least $10 billion in targeted emergency operating funding to all local governments as direct allocations using a hybrid formula of federal Gas Tax Funds and a ridership-based allocation for municipalities that operate transit systems.
  • CUTA has developed a series of asks for the Federal government. Notably, $400 million/month in funding to replace lost farebox revenues for transit systems, and urgently look to support transit systems that have lost non-farebox revenues.
  • AMCTO/MISA/AMO have collaborated on various resources on Electronic Council Meetings. Access the Electronic Council Meeting Guide as well as technical resources and information on meeting platforms.
  • AMO has developed a series of webinars and podcasts to support members during the COVID-19 emergency. In particular, their webinar on Municipal Labour Relations during COVID-19 provides key insights on labour relations during COVID-19 and arising from the various legislative changes.

Best Practices in Municipal Finance

  • GFOA's Managing Cash Flow in a Crisis: How to Quickly Build a Working Cash Flow Model includes a presentation and sample data to build your own cash flow model.
  • Grant Thornton has created a document outlining the various project-based incentives and grant options to come out of COVID-19. This document is regularly updated.
  • FCM's Designing Property Tax Deferrals provides questions and considerations when preparing a property tax deferral program. 
  • McCarthy-Tetrault has an article on Declared Emergency Leave in Ontario and which types of employees are eligible.
  • GFOA's Cash is King: Short Term Strategies to Slow the Flow of Money Out the Door and Keep the Budget Balanced presents a number of tried-and-true retrenchment techniques that can improve cash flow during difficult times and provide time and resources for governments to develop strategies to deal with the financial crisis.
  • GFOA's Fiscal First Aid Resource Center provides resources for their 12 Step Recovery Process during a financial crisis.
  • OMTRA's COVID-19 Resources page - includes sample policies from Ontario municipalities and updates on COVID-19.
  • GFOA's Best Practices for Disaster Recovery Documentation - this document outlines the steps municipalities can take to collect and maintain adequate documentation on disaster-related costs.
  • GFOA's Business Preparedness and Continuity Guidelines - GFOA recommends that governments develop, test, and maintain a plan to continue their basic business operations during and immediately after disruptive events. Governments must be able to anticipate problems, detect threats and determine effective protective actions to enable them to continue to function. 
  • GFOA's Disaster Preparedness - best practices for municipalities to incorporate resiliency into the capital planning process to produce a sustainable community and mitigate the effects of disasters.
  • Municipal World has launched a weekly podcast to discuss COVID-19 and municipalities. Tune into the first episode to hear Jody Johnson discuss operational challenges – including challenges around meetings.
  • Welch LLP has created "COVID-19: Guidance for Public Sector Entities in Canada". This resource links financial statement items with year-end considerations and impacts on the 2020 fiscal budget. The document is available for download below.

Practical Tips for Municipalities After a Disaster
The following information is from the Guidelines to apply for Municipal Disaster Recovery Assistance (MDRA). Please note, at this time the Province has not announced specific funding for municipalities that relates to disaster recovery, but these tips are best practices to prepare for potential funding.
  • Collect documentation - when submitting claims, municipalities are encouraged to attach as much supporting information as available. The success of claims largely rests on a municipality's ability to demonstrate costs incurred are linked to the natural disaster.
  • Immediately begin to separate incremental operating and capital costs related to the disaster from ordinary municipal expenditures. Establish a segregated General Ledger account to track incremental disaster-related expenses easily.
Examples from Municipalities
Please see below for a few examples of policies and procedures from municipalities across Ontario. Thank you to those who have provided MFOA with these documents. If you would like to share your reports and policies with your colleagues, please send them to Christine Duong (christine@mfoa.on.ca).
  • Municipality of Sioux Lookout - Delegation of Authority By-Law (March 2020)
  • Region of Waterloo - Report to Council - COVID-19 – Preliminary Overview of Potential Financial Impacts (March 24, 2020)
  • City of Thunder Bay - Report to Council - COVID-19 Pandemic – Financial Relief (March 30, 2020)
  • Township of Malahide - By-law to amend the Interim Tax Levy (April 2, 2020)
  • Township of Malahide - COVID-19 Emergency Status Report (April 2, 2020)
  • City of Greater Sudbury - Financial Implications of COVID-19 (April 14, 2020)
  • City of Greater Subdury - Service Level Report (April 14, 2020)
  • Town of St. Marys - Financial Relief Options for COVID-19 (April 2020) 
  • Town of Aurora - Temporary Work from Home Agreement (April 2020)
  • Municipality of Middlesex Centre - Work from Home Policy (March 2020)
  • Township of North Dumfries - Technology/Wireless Devices Policy (April 2016)
  • Township of North Dumfries - Municipal Financial Impact of COVID-19 (April 27, 2020)
  • Municipality of Brockton - COVID-19 2020 Budget Impacts (April 28, 2020)
  • Township of Strong - Tax Notice COVID-19 (April 16, 2020)
  • Township of Strong - How Do I Pay My Tax Bill? (Communication to Public) (April 2020)
  • Town of Port Hope - Report and Resolution on Temporary Suspension of Parking and Permit Fees (April 21, 2020)
  • Town of Port Hope - Financial Relief Amendments to the 2020 Interim Tax Levy, Water and Wastewater Collections (includes Report, Resolutions, and By-law) (April 2020)
  • County of Essex - By-law to Amend Tax Policy and Levy By-law (April 2020)
  • Town of Aurora - COVID-19 Financial Impact Report (April 28, 2020)
  • City of Guelph - Managing Impacts of COVID-19 (April 16, 2020)
  • City of Guelph - Managing Impacts of COVID-19: Part 2 (May 11, 2020)
 

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