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July 12, 2001
Report notes limits of new municipal performance program
  
A report today to the Policy and Finance Committee on the City of Toronto's
first results on a new provincial municipal performance measures program (MPMP)
highlights the difficulty of comparing the City's performance to other cities
in Ontario.

"I think the report shows that there is a need to put municipal performance
results in clear context. All municipalities have differences," says Acting
Chief Administrative Officer Shirley Hoy.

The report recommends that the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and the
Province receive the City's results simultaneously, that the Internet be used
to report comparisons to the public by September 30 and that the CAO report
back on MPMP developments in year two of the program.

MPMP is the first mandatory program of its kind in North America. Announced by
the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing in the fall of 2000, it requires
all municipalities in Ontario to file a report to the Province and to the
public on financial and performance data for solid waste, sewers, water,
transportation (roads and public transit), fire, police and land-use planning
and general government. The program allows municipalities to put raw data in
the context of factors such as differences in services levels and standards,
the age of infrastructure, demographic profiles and financial policies.

MPMP is not a unique program, according to the report, but rather "one more
addition to an already complex and thorough accountability framework." Ontario
municipalities have been using service value indicators -- measures of service
performance -- since the late eighties. Municipalities are also prohibited by
law from operating at a deficit, unlike senior governments.

In addition, Toronto has been working with six regional municipalities and
London, Ottawa, Sudbury and Thunder Bay on the Ontario Municipal Benchmarking
Initiative (OMBI) for several years. OMBI has several pilot projects underway
(long-term care, roads operation, emergency medical services, water and
wastewater, and waste management) and has also been engaged in reviewing best
practices in North American municipal benchmarking programs.

OMBI members favour a voluntary performance program managed by Ontario
municipalities. This would involve the convergence of MPMP and OMBI and the
creation of a province-wide Municipal Best Practices Centre. The Ministry of
Municipal Affairs and Housing is considering working with the Association of
Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) to develop such a centre.

AMO believes that MPMP further demonstrates the absence of need for the
municipal sector to be included in the proposed Bill 46 (the Public Sector
Accountability Act, 2001). AMO believes that the legislation, which seeks to
impose aggressive new reporting requirements on all the public sector, "fails
to recognize the accountability framework municipalities already operate under,
will result in more duplication and will add more cost to municipal government."

For more information about the MPMP and the City's performance initiatives,
view the CAO's home page at http://www.city.toronto.on.ca /cao/index.htm .

BACKGROUNDER
The Municipal Performance Measures Program
  • Launched in October 2000 with the intention of "enhancing local service delivery and strengthening government accountability to taxpayers." Designated by the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing under section 83.1 of the Municipal Act on June 18, 2001.
  • Municipalities provide data for 16 performance measures in eight core service areas (water and wastewater, solid waste management, roads and public transit, police, fire, planning and general government) into the performance measurement schedules that form part of the Financial Information Return.
  • The deadline for submission of results to the Province was June 30, but extensions have been granted so that Councils can see the results first. The deadline for a report to taxpayers is September 30.
  • An advisory committee was formed to advise the Ministry on the continuing development of MPMP. This group included ministry staff and representatives from the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, the Ontario Municipal Administrators Association, the Municipal Finance Officer's Association of Ontario, the Association of Municipal Managers, Clerks and Treasurers of Ontario, and several other groups. The Advisory Committee has set up working groups in each core service area.
  • The advisory committee will investigate the idea of a centre for municipal best practices as a means of sharing best practices electronically.
  • The MPMP summary report by the Province will not name or rank individual municipalities; recommend the results for immediate use for decision making; provide an overall ranking in each area or groups of areas; equate the results with management or political efficiency and effectiveness; provide a definitive assessment of an individual municipality and set provincial standards for measures.






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