Public infrastructure is central to our prosperity and our quality of life. Municipalities deliver many of the services that are critical to Ontarians, and these services rely on well-planned, well-built and well-maintained infrastructure. For example, municipalities are responsible for more than 15,000 bridges and large culverts and more than 140,000 kilometres of roads that support the movement of people and goods. In addition, more than 10 million Ontarians depend on municipal water and/or wastewater services.
Despite significant investments by all levels of government, more needs to be done to address current and emerging municipal infrastructure needs.
That is why the province released Building Together, a long-term infrastructure plan for Ontario, in June 2011. Building Together responds to the far reaching trends that will affect Ontario’s infrastructure needs, including a more global and service-oriented economy; a larger, older and more urbanized population; and the effects of a changing climate. The plan sets out a strategic framework that will guide future investments in ways that support economic growth, are fiscally responsible, and respond to changing needs. A key element of this framework is ensuring good stewardship through proper asset management.
Ontario Regulation 588/17 under the Infrastructure for Jobs and Prosperity Act, 2015 sets out specific asset management planning targets for municipalities including:
- implementing a strategic asset management policy by July 2019,
- adopting an asset management plan by July 2021 that addresses current service levels and costs to maintain current service levels, for core assets,
- building out that asset management plan by July 1, 2023 to include all assets, and
- enhancing that asset management plan by July 1, 2024 to address proposed levels of services and lifecycle and financial strategies.
Resolving municipal infrastructure challenges begins with improved asset management. The federal and provincial governments have committed to working with municipalities towards productive solutions, including permanent funding for municipal infrastructure.
Municipalities seeking provincial infrastructure funding must demonstrate how proposed projects fit within a strategic asset management plan. This will help ensure that limited resources are directed to the most critical needs.
Comprehensive Asset Management Planning
The Township of Huron-Kinloss has been working with Public Sector Digest to develop and implement a comprehensive asset management program.
The initial asset management plan was presented to Council on January 20, 2014 and contains strategies to ensure the sound management of core municipal infrastructure at a strategic, tactical and financial level.
On October 3, 2016 Council approved an updated version of the Asset Management Plan that was expanded to include all categories of assets, not just core infrastructure.
The most recent version of the plan was approved by Council on April 15, 2019 and includes enhanced data analysis, evaluation of risk and criticality, and implementation of lifecycle and financial strategies.
The asset management plan assists staff and Council in making informed decisions, strategic investments and is an essential requirement for provincial and federal funding.
The next version of the plan will evaluate current and desired levels of service and establish performance measurements.