Provincial funding to Conservation Authorities adds up to less than $2 per year from taxpayers and reaps many benefits

Updated: February 4, 2019

Comments on Conservation Ontario’s 2019 Budget Consultation Submission

Ontario is on a path to ‘restore our fiscal balance’ and a lot of sacrifices need to be made in order to do so. 

But, just how much is a life worth because conservation authorities use their provincial funding to protect lives and property from flooding and to protect sources of drinking water from contamination and overuse – and they do it efficiently and collaboratively. 

The Province of Ontario currently provides Ontario’s 36 conservation authorities with annual transfer payments of $7.4 million for natural hazards work (flooding and erosion); $5 million in matching funds to address flood infrastructure (dams, dykes etc) issues; and a further $7.2 million under the Ontario Drinking Water Source Protection program to protect sources of drinking water. 

And what do Ontarians get for their money:

  1. Saves lives – prevents flooding and protects sources of drinking water 
  2. Provides early warning to Ontario municipalities about flood events
  3. Prevents millions of dollars in additional flood damages to property, reducing the financial and mental stress and dislocation of many residents
  4. Makes sure we have enough water for all our needs – people, industry and Ontario’s ecosystems

All of this for less than $2 per year from each Ontario taxpayer.

Each year, we are experiencing more frequent, costly natural disasters. Canada’s Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements (which provides recovery funding) predicts that more than $670 million annually will be needed for flooding alone. Each year, it takes more money to protect people and build watersheds that can stand up to challenges such as climate change. Consequently, conservation authorities have worked hard to develop a range of funding partnerships and are very good at leveraging provincial investments with municipal, federal, corporate and agency collaborations. 

Everyone is doing their part and the Province needs to continue to meet its responsibilities to protect the public’s health and ensure the safety of its residents. 

Conservation Ontario has made a submission to the 2019 Budget Consultation on behalf of Ontario’s conservation authorities and, recognizing the fiscal goals of this government, did not ask for more money, although it is sorely needed. Instead, we’re asking the Province to continue to invest in these critical natural hazards and drinking water programs. 

We’re quite sure people are willing to continue to keep paying less than $2 each year for this peace of mind.

Author:Kim Gavine, General Manager, Conservation Ontario