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I understand the deadline to complete COMRIF projects has been extended to October 31, 2010. How do I request an extension?

On July 7, 2008, a letter (from the COMRIF Management Committee Co-Chairs has been sent to municipalities outlining the extension application process and the timelines.

Municipalities requesting an extension must provide the following details by September 30, 2008:

  1. Rationale explaining why the extension is required; and
  2. Revised projected cash flow and timeline for the submission of payment claims.

Information should be sent to the COMRIF Joint Secretariat.

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Will there be a fourth intake of COMRIF?

The federal and provincial governments continue to work together on implementing projects already announced under the first three intakes of COMRIF.

While there will be no more funding available through COMRIF, the federal and provincial governments are negotiating an agreement for the delivery of new infrastructure funding in Ontario, under the Building Canada Plan.

The governments of Canada and Ontario remain committed to improving public infrastructure in small urban and rural municipalities throughout the province.

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What is the Canada-Ontario Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund?

The Canada-Ontario Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund (COMRIF) is a federal-provincial-municipal program to improve and renew municipal infrastructure across Ontario. It is designed to respond to the infrastructure needs of small urban centres and rural municipalities with populations of less than 250,000. COMRIF is a five-year program, launched on November 15, 2004.

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How much have governments invested in this initiative?

The governments of Canada and Ontario have each invested up to $298 million over five years to improve public infrastructure in small urban and rural municipalities throughout the province. With municipal contributions, COMRIF is expected to stimulate up to $900 million in total capital investments in Ontario.

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What were COMRIF's priorities?

COMRIF responds to local needs by making infrastructure improvements to provide clean, safe drinking water, better sewage systems, upgraded waste management processes, and safer roads and bridges. COMRIF targets "green" infrastructure projects to meet Canada's and Ontario's environmental objectives, while improving the health and safety of Ontario residents. Other priorities include public transit; cultural, recreational and tourist infrastructure; environmental energy improvements; and connectivity.

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How were projects assessed?

COMRIF project selection was a competitive, merit-based process using three key criteria to evaluate project proposals: health and safety, public policy priorities, and value for money. The evaluation was based on the information provided by the applicants in the application form, business case and related technical schedules.

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How were projects selected for funding?

Applications underwent a rigorous evaluation process that involved consultation with technical ministries and departments.

Projects were assessed using three criteria: health and safety, public policy priorities, and value for money. Projects that best met these criteria, including support for federal and provincial policy directions — such as greenhouse gas reduction, sustainable water and sewage systems, economic development, and increased waste diversion — were selected for funding.

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Who is administering COMRIF?

The governments of Canada and Ontario set up the COMRIF Joint Secretariat, which provides municipalities single-window access to the program.

The Joint Secretariat is composed of employees of Industry Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. As needed, the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario (FedNor), the Ontario ministries of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Transportation, Environment, and Northern Development and Mines, along with other departments, ministries and agencies, as appropriate, participate in the Joint Secretariat's activities to provide technical expertise.

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What is the role of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario?

The Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) works to support and enhance strong and effective municipal government in Ontario. AMO's presence as a COMRIF partner brings an increased municipal perspective and ensures a direct communication channel with municipal governments.

AMO has been active in the design of COMRIF to ensure the program meets local priorities and needs. AMO provides the municipal perspective in the overall management of the program, and will disseminate COMRIF information to its membership.

AMO, however, is not involved in any funding decisions under COMRIF.

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Can we use our gas tax funding as our municipal contribution for a COMRIF project?

In the case of an approved COMRIF project, a municipality can use some of its gas tax funding for a portion of the municipal contribution, so long as the total federal contribution does not exceed 50% of the project’s eligible cost.

The COMRIF project would have to be eligible in its own right for gas tax investment and all other gas tax investment requirements would have to be met.

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Do the governments of Canada and Ontario offer any other infrastructure programs for municipalities?

Yes. As part of their long-term strategy for infrastructure development, both governments offer several programs to help address municipal infrastructure needs. For more information on available programs, please see our Partners page.

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What is the Asset Management Program?

The Asset Management Program (AMP) is a component of COMRIF aimed at helping eligible municipalities and Local Services Boards (LSBs) to improve and increase their capacity to manage their infrastructure assets. Communities can use this funding to enhance knowledge of their existing infrastructure assets; evaluate life-cycle costs associated with the infrastructure they own and operate; assess the capacity of current infrastructure and identify future needs; plan and make infrastructure financing decisions; and train municipal staff in long-term infrastructure management.

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How much have the federal and provincial governments invested in the Asset Management Program?

As set out in the COMRIF Agreement, up to one per cent of the federal and provincial contributions to COMRIF, or $5.96 million, is dedicated to the AMP. Including a one-third municipal/Local Services Board matching contribution, the total investment under the AMP will reach almost $9 million.

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How was the Asset Management Program funding calculated?

Funding was calculated according to a formula that combines a minimum base amount plus per capita allocations, each representing 50 per cent of total available funding. Adjustments to the formula have been made to address the funding realities of single-tier vs. lower- and upper-tier municipalities.