IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

IMFG Graduate Student Papers: (1) Development Charges across Canada: An Underutilized Growth Management Tool? (2) Preparing for the Costs of Extreme Weather in Canadian Cities: Issues, Tools, Ideas

Listed author(s):
  • Mia Baumeister

    (R.E. Millward Associates Ltd.)

  • Cayley Burgess

    (Ontario Office of the Budget and Treasury Board)

Registered author(s):

    (1) Increasingly, compact and sustainable development has become a priority for Canadian municipalities. In order to realize these growth objectives, it is possible to look not only to conventional land use and growth management policies, but also to fiscal instruments to achieve planning goals. Existing literature suggests that development charges, which are financial tools used by municipalities in several Canadian provinces to pay for the growth-related capital costs associated with new development or redevelopment, can influence how land resources are consumed and developments are designed. Drawing on information from the literature and interviews with key informants, this research analyzed how development charges are used in British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario, as well as the Halifax Regional Municipality, to understand how jurisdictions employ development charges and what role these charges currently play in achieving growth objectives. The research found that few municipalities use their development charges proactively to meet planning goals. Moreover, the research revealed a divide among practitioners, with some maintaining that development charges were a revenueraising tool and a poor mechanism by which to achieve planning objectives. Others recognized that development charges could be—and were being—used as a tool to encourage compact growth, but identified several barriers to more effective and widespread use as a planning tool. Suggested recommendations for policy changes include more flexibility within legislation to collect for transit and other services, ongoing support from provincial officials to assist municipalities in designing development charge programs with policy goals in mind, and further exploration of how fiscal tools can best be used as planning tools. (2) This paper reviews the risks to Canadian municipal finance from extreme weather and analyzes the financial tools that cities can use to prepare for extreme weather events: insurance, weather reserves, weather derivatives, and budget provision. Despite the threat of climate change, Canadian cities are not substantially increasing their use of these tools. However, improvements could be made to accounting procedures and disaster assistance regulations, and amalgamating smaller cities could improve their ability to manage risk, all of which will ameliorate the financial impacts of extreme weather. The paper proposes reasons why Canadian cities have failed to fully adapt their infrastructure to extreme weather: lack of information, low fiscal capacity, externalities, moral hazard in disaster assistance arrangements, and poor program design. It concludes by discussing how these arrangements may be overhauled to better prepare Canadian municipalities for extreme weather, including new provincial legislation and the creation of a federal infrastructure fund modelled on the United States’ Pre-Disaster Mitigation program.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    File Function: First version, 2012
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by University of Toronto, Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance in its series IMFG Papers with number 09.

    in new window

    Length: 55 pages
    Date of creation: Jul 2012
    Publication status: Published in hard copy and online
    Handle: RePEc:mfg:wpaper:09
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mfg:wpaper:09. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Enid Slack)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.