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December 13, 2018

Canada’s municipalities are routinely missing the spending targets in their budgets by large amounts, undermining the ability of voters to hold them accountable, according to a new study from the C.D. Howe Institute.

In “Wild Numbers: Getting Better Fiscal Accountability in Canada’s Municipalities” authors William B.P. Robson and Farah Omran compare the annual spending projections of Canada’s 31 most populous municipalities over the past nine years to their end-of-year financial results. They find that in almost all these municipalities, the numbers – which are typically confusing – are badly off the mark.

*Note to Readers: This is an updated version of the Commentary with corrected numbers for the city of Markham 

William B.P. Robson
William Robson

Bill Robson took office as CEO of the C.D. Howe Institute in July 2006, after serving as the Institute’s Senior Vice President since 2003 and Director of Research from 2000 to 2003. He has written more than 240 monographs, articles, chapters and books on such subjects as government budgets, pensions, healthcare financing, inflation and currency issues.

Farah Omran
Farah Omran

Farah Omran joined the C.D. Howe Institute in 2017, while completing her Master of Arts in Economics from the University of Toronto. She is now a policy analyst at the institute, working on a wide range of topics, including monetary policy, financial services, and fiscal accountability.