Reducing costs by consolidating municipalities: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Ontario

“Notwithstanding a lack of interest by cost-cutting governments in Britain and the United States, municipal consolidation has emerged in at least three Canadian provinces – New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Ontario – as a significant government priority. There is no academic evidence to suggest that consolidation produces savings. Government reports in New Brunswick have tended to point more to non-financial benefits from consolidation, but the creation of the single-tier Halifax Regional Municipality in Nova Scotia has been justified primarily in terms of projected cost savings.

In Ontario, the “Common Sense Revolution” commits the government to reducing overlap and duplication but not necessarily to consolidation. A ministry study of one Ontario municipal amalgamation purports to demonstrate savings, but the conclusions are questionable. The report of the task force on the Greater Toronto Area is significant because it specifically rejects claims that lower-tier amalgamations will save money and because it points to the benefits of municipal competition. Reducing the number of municipal governments does not necessarily mean less government.”

Andrew Sancton | Sep 1 1996 | Political Science | Canadian Public Administration,