Mark Clairmont |

MUSKOKA ― Voters who liked the federal election results can heave a huge sigh of relief.

One Muskoka is dead.

The province isn’t going to force a political reorganization of Muskoka.

And that probably suits people who voted for Scott Aitchison as the next Parry Sound-Muskoka MP.

Moving forward, Muskoka will remain in the past.

Two hospitals, seven municipalities.

Same old same old. Doomed to live in the past are we?

Friday, the province said instead of announcing the results of a study on the possible amalgamation of Muskoka and some other regions, the Ford government is providing up to $143 million to municipalities to help them lower costs and improve services for local residents over the long term.

Earlier this year, the government conducted a review of Ontario’s eight regional governments and Simcoe County.

It says more than 8,500 submissions were received and the special advisers, Michael Fenn and Ken Seiling, attended nine in-person sessions and listened to ideas from individuals and organizations on how to improve their local governments.

Throughout this extensive review, the government heard that local communities should decide what is best for them in terms of governance, decision-making and service delivery.

Now, provincial Conservatives say that “after careful consideration of the feedback we heard through the course of the review, our government stands firm in its commitment to partnering with municipalities without pursuing a top-down approach,” they say in a release.

“We will provide municipalities with the resources to support local decision making. We are committed to helping and empowering municipalities to become more efficient and effective, so they can make every dollar count,” said said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

“This investment supports the province’s commitment to reduce the cost of government, while maintaining quality services the people of Ontario expect from all levels of government.”

He goes on to say funding will be available to all 444 municipalities so they can find smarter, more efficient ways to operate and focus spending on vital programs and services for Ontarians.

“Municipalities are the level of government closest to the people, but every community is different – one size doesn’t fit all,” said Clark. “This investment in communities will support municipal transformation efforts to make sure they are delivering efficient, effective and modern services that best meet the unique needs of their residents.

“Our government is working in partnership with municipalities to ensure that taxpayers’ dollars are respected.


Ontario is extending two application-based funding streams: one for small and rural municipalities, and one for large urban governments.

The 2020 Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund will have the same structure as this year and provide a total of $500 million to 389 municipalities across the province.

Ontario will also launch a consultation with municipalities about whether to align the municipal and provincial fiscal year.

Ontario is also proposing to eliminate duplication by combining the provincial and municipal voters lists, giving Elections Ontario the responsibility of managing the updated list and taking the burden off of municipalities.

Government background:

Ontario Putting People First by Supporting Smart and Efficient Municipal Service Delivery

Muskoka’s seven municipal governments will remain intact for now, after the province backed away from some kind of consolidation of the three towns and three townships.