The following are research documents on municipal issues. Click on any link below to download documentation in PDF format.

  • Affordable Housing: An Investment  
                 Saskatchewan Social Services [Task Force on Housing Affordability], June 2008 
    The report of the Task Force contains 36 recommendations to address the current affordable housing challenge in Saskatchewan and a suggested timetable for implementation.
  • An Analysis of Social Infrastructure and City Competitiveness -- Synthesis and Key Findings  
                 City of Ottawa/Infrastructure Canada Knowledge-building, Outreach and Awareness Research Program, March 2009
    This research initiative set out to answer a fundamental research question:
    Can you measure the outcomes of individual infrastructure investments for productivity and competitiveness at the level of a city or urban region and if so, how? And to what extent do municipal governments already do so? Or, alternatively, have cities engaged in investments that were specifically meant to develop the competitiveness of the local economy and that have been or could be measured against their stated goals?
    These insights allowed the development of a theoretical model and research methodology suitable to the questions at hand, via adaptation of several existing models of factors and relationships affecting urban competitiveness that represented a reasonable consensus view from the literature.
  • Building Prosperity from the Ground Up: Restoring Municipal Fiscal Balance
                 Federation of Canadian Municipalities, June 2006                                             
    As a result of the pressures of urbanization and offloading, Canada’s municipal governments are providing much more than their traditional responsibilities of basic services to property. These new municipal “responsibilities” include everything from immigrant-settlement programs, to affordable housing, to emergency preparedness and, in some jurisdictions, even day-care.
    However, municipal governments lack the resources and fiscal tools they need to meet these new responsibilities. They are largely dependent on the property tax, a regressive and unresponsive revenue source, and user fees. They are facing a fiscal squeeze, caught between a growing range of responsibilities and inadequate financial resources.
  • The Economic Impact of Public Infrastructure in Ontario 
                 Conference Board of Canada, February 2010                                                        
    The Conference Board conducted an economic impact analysis to examine the impact that infrastructure investment is having on employment and output associated with the construction phase of the ReNew Ontario program.
  • Federal-municipal relations in Canada: The changing organizational landscape  
                 Christopher Stoney, Katherine A.H. Graham, September 2009                            
    Drawing on research that is part of the five-year Major Collaborative Research Initiative project examining public policy in Canadian municipalities, this article provides an overview of the federal-municipal machinery developed to facilitate urban policy and program development. The ‘‘federal-municipal machinery’’ refers to the many programs and initiatives that have been used to structure federal-municipal relations and influence urban policy and development. The research time frame begins with the period leading up to the creation of the Ministry of State for Urban Affairs, in 1971, and continues through four decades to include recent events of note such as the creation of the Prime Minister’s Caucus Task Force on Urban Issues, the subsequent announcements of the New Deal, and the Gas Tax Fund for Canada’s cities and communities. The authors begin with a discussion of why federal governments involve themselves in municipal and urban affairs and then provide an overview of their analysis by identifying patterns and trends in the evolution of federal-municipal machinery. They then discuss the effectiveness of the machinery, over three periods, and conclude by considering the implications of their findings for the future of federal-municipal relations in the context of the growing pressures facing urban Canada.
  • Growing Saskatchewan in an Urban Age (Policy Brief)  
                 University of Saskatchewan Economy Research Lab [Olfert, Partridge, Fulton], January 2006 
    This policy brief includes a research-based description of some of the key Saskatchewan realities and suggests an avenue for improved economic vitality and quality of life, focusing on the importance of urban growth. The over-riding conclusion in terms of enhancing long-run provincial prosperity is that continuing on the current trajectory could have dire consequences.
  • Investing in Better Places: International Perspectives  
                 The Smith Institute [Ed: Sharon Chisholm], March 2011                                 
    Infrastructure is more than a story about how we repair and upgrade our cities. Rather, it concerns the multiple connections between experts, communities and policy makers, on the one side, and effects on investments such as housing, roads, transit and business formation on the other. It is about the developing links between cities, towns, rural communities and regions. It is also about delivering infrastructure by strengthening relationships and finding new
    pathways to collaboration.
    The possibility that cities, large and small, when supported by effective governance arrangements, can play a strong role in determining national prosperity and well-being forms the context for this publication.
  • Looking West 2007: Urban Policy Priorities and Assessing Governments  
                 Canada West Foundation [Loleen Berdahl], April 2007                                       
    It is often said that municipal governments are the closest to the people and the most efficient form of government. By and large, urbanites in the West and the Toronto area appear to agree with this assessment: a large number of urban residents report that their municipal government has more impact on their daily lives than their provincial government or the federal government, and a large number also report that their municipal government is the least wasteful with its money. In addition, the majority feels that big cities should be treated differently than smaller municipalities. However, urbanites are not convinced that their municipal government needs more money, and public perceptions of urban priorities tend to focus on “conventional” local concerns such as crime, roads and traffic.
  • Long-term Debt Limits in Saskatchewan: Challenges and Opportunities
                 The Policy Shop (the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate Students' Association)
    This report explains the policies and processes that comprise debt regulation of urban governments. Initially, the report was organized around answering the question of why the utilities-based debt is included in the debt-limit calculation. Analyzing the policy and speaking to municipal stakeholders, made it clear that municipal concerns about debt-limits are much broader in nature.

  • Municipal Infrastructure: Macroeconomic Impacts of Spending and Level-of-Government Financing 
                 Federation of Canadian Municipalities [Sonnen, Infometrica Limited], May 2008
    This project measures the impact on the economy of additional spending on infrastructure. The method employed focuses on how the additional demand on economic resources is transferred through from construction of the new infrastructure to the rest of the economy. Estimates include “multiplier” effects that account for linkages from the construction industry to all others, and the extent to which additional wage and business incomes induce further spending. Included in this is an examination of the “fiscal offsets” to different orders of government of investment in local infrastructure. In this respect, this project updates earlier studies for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and others, including the federal Treasury Board. As a new focus, this project considers the relative economic impacts of funding infrastructure investments from different revenue bases (e.g. income taxes, sales taxes, and property taxes).

  • Problematic Property Tax: Why the Property Tax Fails to Measure Up and What to Do About It  
                 Canada West Foundation [Casey G. Vander Ploeg], November 2008                
    Seizing the opportunities, and effectively addressing the challenges, facing Canada’s big cities is critical to both economic prosperity and quality of life in Canada. The Canada West Foundation’s Western Cities Project has been providing timely and accessible information about urban issues since 2000. The project is focused on six western Canadian urban areas — Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Regina, and Winnipeg — but it speaks to issues that affect urban areas across Canada.
  • Redefining Revenue Sharing: Report of the Gap Analysis/Cost Drivers Working Committee  
    Nichols Applied Management [Management and Economic Consultants], November 2007
    This report summarizes the findings and recommendations of the Gap Analysis/Cost Drivers Working Committee established in 2007 to assist with the analysis of the Government of Saskatchewan's Revenue Sharing program.

Provincial & Territorial Municipal Associations [Slack/Kitchen/McMillain/Vaillancourt], June 2007
This study provides a cross-jurisdictional comparison of the roles, responsibilities, resources, and relationships among municipal governments and their provincial and territorial governments across Canada. The study includes information on municipal responsibilities, expenditures, revenues (own-source revenues and intergovernmental transfers), and intergovernmental relationships (including provincial/territorial-municipal and inter-municipal relationships).

  • The State of Canada's Cities and Communities 2012
            Federation of Canadian Municipalities, May 2012
    The State of Canada’s Cities and Communities 2012 surveys the national challenges playing out in the places Canadians live, work, and raise their families.
    The report has two parts. Part One takes a look at recent fiscal trends affecting our cities and communities. It reviews the financial challenges cities and communities have struggled with during the past two-and-half decades, and what progress has been made in addressing them.
    Part Two looks at the state of intergovernmental cooperation in Canada. It focuses on three areas where federal, provincial-territorial, and municipal governments have overlapping roles and responsibilities: policing and public safety, housing, and environmental sustainability.


These discussion papers
were created by SUMA’s policy staff and are not the official position of SUMA.

The papers are intended to assist the Board of Directors in establishing positions and offer guidance on further research into the various issues that face urban municipalities.
Previous Month  November 2015  Next Month
Register Now for Convention 2016!

Early-bird pricing for Convention 2016 registration is available until December 23, 2015, so register soon! All the details should have come to the main email contact for your municipality on November

Read More
Join Our Mailing List