2nd/3rd Annual Local Government Performance Index

Research Paper, Taxation, David Seymour, Larry Mitchell

Executive Summary

• The 2008 Local Government Performance Index (LGPI) assesses the financial health and public accounting disclosure of 79 of Canada’s municipalities based on those municipalities’ audited financial statements.

• This assessment reveals large differences between the financial health and disclosure standards of Canadian municipalities. While these differences can often be explained by differences in provincial legislation, city size or geography, it is up to the municipalities to provide those explanations.

• The Individual City Reports reveal figures and percentages for each city: By looking at the report for any city, it is possible to see how its financial statistics compare with those of the average Canadian city and the average city in its province.

• Dollar figures are averaged over the number of households that are listed in that municipality according to the 2006 census. This allows very large cities such as Toronto to be compared with very small cities such as Cornwall.

• In most cases, the LGPI reports 2006 and 2007 figures; however, in some cases only the figures for one year were available. As can be seen in the city reports, we were unable to acquire audited financial statements for many of the cities.

• Significant efforts were made to acquire all reports, including web site searches, phone calls and e-mails. That it should be so difficult to access financial statements is a serious indictment of those cities.

• A notable omission is all of the Quebec cities except Montreal. This is because no English-language financial statements could be found for these municipalities.

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