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It’s Not You – It’s Them: Most Canadian Cities Have Baffling Budgets

In this edition of Graphic Intelligence, we show how Canada’s 25 most populous municipalities and Ontario’s 6 most populous regional municipalities fare in their financial reporting practices.

Municipal governments play a large role in Canadians’ daily lives, providing necessary services like policing, firefighting, and recreation that are vital for a good quality of life. In order to do so, they raise large amounts of money through taxes which affect Canadians’ decisions about where to live and invest.

In nearly all the municipalities we assess, obscure financial reports – notably, inconsistent presentations of key numbers in budgets and end-of-year financial statements – hamper taxpayers from making such decisions and holding their municipal governments accountable.

Toronto, Durham Region, Quebec City, and Longueuil provide little information in reader-friendly form, which puts them at the bottom of our grading scale.

Surrey, with its clear and complete financial presentation garners an A+. York Region, Vancouver and Markham are also high up in our ranking.

To learn more about the fiscal accountability of Canada’s major municipalities and how we grade their performance, read “Show Us the Numbers: Grading the Financial Reports of Canada’s Municipalities” by William B.P. Robson and Farah Omran.