May 24, 2004

Canada, Ontario, AMO to collaborate on infrastructure program for smaller communities

The governments of Canada and Ontario have signed a Letter of Intent which will lead to increased funding for public infrastructure in small urban centres and rural municipalities. This will help small towns and rural communities comply with drinking water standards, improve sewage treatment and waste management, and address other health and safety priorities, as well as repairing local roads and bridges. Ontario is the first province to join the federal government in this program to fund municipal rural infrastructure. The investments will be made through the Canada-Ontario Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund (COMRIF).

A second Letter of Intent signed by the two governments pledges them to work closely with the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) to implement the program and ensure it meets local priorities and needs. Canada, Ontario and the AMO will finalize a protocol setting out the association's role and responsibilities in the future delivery of the program.

The federal government is committing $298 million over five years to infrastructure projects in small towns and rural municipalities in Ontario. Investments from the Ontario government and the municipalities participating in the program are each expected to match that amount. The federal, provincial and municipal governments should then provide approximately $900 million.

The Letters of Intent formalize an agreement between the federal and provincial governments and AMO to:

* develop a framework guiding project selection so as to maximize public benefits, especially with respect to environmental issues;

* design a faster, simpler application process for municipalities;

* create a joint secretariat to review and evaluate project applications; and

* establish a target for green infrastructure to protect the environment and improve public health and safety.

More information is available from Pat Vanini at the AMO, 416/971-9856.

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