Canadian municipalities are delivering and funding more services today than anytime in previous history (Kitchen & Slack, 2003, p. 2217). Cities especially are under pressure to grow as they are the main drivers of economic prosperity for the provinces, whereas a multitude of towns and villages in rural locations are fighting for their very existence with desperate attempts to counter their already diminished populations. Providing and maintaining adequate infrastructure while delivering requisite services is needed to draw the investment and talent pool necessary to compete on a global scale. Meanwhile, reduced provincial and federal transfers coupled with downward-shifted responsibilities from these same bodies, has increasingly made these goals difficult to accomplish. Not to remain blameless, municipalities themselves have failed to plan, prioritize and boost revenues in order to meet their obligations. In present circumstances, municipal financial viability is without a doubt a serious issue as local government is being put in a position to fail by more senior levels.
With the property tax as their chief source of income, municipalities were born with the intention of providing a limited amount of property-related services. Urbanization brought with it an evolution of responsibility from property to people-oriented duties such as immigration and settlement , affordable housing, homelessness, urban Aboriginals, and other social programs (Tindal & Nobes Tindal, 2009, p. 208). Meanwhile by the mid 1980’s, the Federal government had become concerned about its growing annual deficits and as a response began to cut transfer payments to the provinces (Tindal & Nobes Tindal, 2009, p. 210). These cuts were closely matched by the provinces own limitation of transfers to local government, however by the late 1990’s when the federal government’s financial position improved and transfers resumed, the same gesture