Research

Research and documents on municipal issues. 

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’sWestern 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.

Reinventing the West: Sustainable public policies and fiscal regimes for the 21st century

The Conference Board of Canada, February 2017
This report explores the extent to which urban and rural municipalities in Saskatchewan possess the necessary fiscal tools to support economic growth and prosperity and to tackle the pressures they are facing in Saskatchewan’s changing economic landscape. The report attempts to answer the following questions: Do urban municipalities have the fiscal capacity to foster sustainable growth? Will they be able to attract and retain business investment and people? Do rural municipalities have the fiscal capacity to help maintain and expand the transportation network? In other words, has Saskatchewan gone far enough to realign its suite of public policies to succeed in the 21st century economy?

Roles, Responsibilities, Resources and Relationships

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 2012surveys the national challenges playing out in the placesCanadians 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.

 

The Urban Infrastructure Challenge in Canada: Making Greater Use of Municipal Debt Options

Canadian Home Builders Association [Altus Group Economic Consulting], January 2011
The Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) retained Altus Group to provide an analysis of efficient, effective and equitable financing tools for urban infrastructure in Canada.

 

Communities of Tomorrow, the public-private partnership focused on advancing municipal innovation, wound down in June 2013. As part of SUMA’s role in honouring the commitment of Communities of Tomorrow, our website now houses some of the documents they created. They are separated into final reports for projects completed through the Leveraged Municipal Innovation Fund, and all the projects funded by Communities of Tomorrow since 2010. We hope you find these documents useful.

Media Release on Continuing the Legacy of Communities of Tomorrow

Round One:

Utilization of Recycled Asphalt Guidelines (a.k.a. Cold Mix Guidelines)
 
Round Two: 
  • Water and Waste Water Treatment;
  • Buried Infrastructure;
  • Roads;
  • Municipal Solid Waste;
  • Automation;
  • Asset Management; and,
  • LED Traffic and Street Lighting.
This PDF lists all of the projects funded by Communities of Tomorrow since 2010. For each project you will find a title, a short description of the objectives of the project, and a summary of CT and other investment in the project costs. Almost all of the projects have to do with aspects of municipal infrastructure construction and maintenance, with most of them focused on roads, water, and wastewater treatment. The list should provide enough information on any given project to help you if you wish to follow up or investigate the original work.

In 2014, SUMA and our partner, the Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association, embarked on the creation of a guide for municipalities to facilitate collaboration between municipalities to provide recreation services. SUMA's portion of this intiative was funded through the advocacy fund created in 2013. We hired HJ Linnen and Associates to do the research and create the guide, which debuted at Convention 2015, and are pleased to present it to our membership.

Inter-Municipal Collaboration in Recreation: A Guide for Municipalities in a Growing Province

Appendix A: Worksheets and sample documents (fillable Word version)