MSI program to end in three years

By Charles Lefebvre and Leah Murray
March 22, 2018 - 3:26pm

MEDICINE HAT, AB – The provincial government is planning to phase out the Municipality Sustainability Initiative Grant program.

The program, which was put in place in 2007, will end during the 2021-22 fiscal year, following a recommendation from David Dodge, the former governor of the Bank of Canada.

“Dodge indicated as the economy recovers, the government should normalize spending and be prepared to curtail spending further if oil prices remained low,” according to the government’s fiscal plan.

“Consistent with his recommendations, government is reducing the capital plan to a more normal investment level starting in 2018-19, with reductions in both capital grants and investment.”

The NDP says it currently provides more grants to municipalities than any other province on a per capita basis. As the program comes to a close, the government says it will reviewing current funding arrangements with municipalities.

Currently, the funding under the MSI program will be reduced by $152 million a year.

The government says it will work to replace the program with a new infrastructure grant program. It says the funding for the program will be based on revenue sharing. Schools, hospitals, highways and other public infrastructure will continue to be invested in by the government.

Government projects $8.8 billion deficit in 2018-19 budget