What We Do

Municipal Finance

Municipal Finance

Hemson’s municipal practice is extensive and is anchored by professionals who have considerable experience in both the municipal environment and the private sector. Our approach to each assignment is tailored to meet the specific needs of our clients in areas such as full cost recovery fees and charges, rate setting, development charges, fiscal impact analysis, and community and long-range financial planning. Hemson has undertaken municipal finance work for clients across Canada including the provinces of Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

Development Charges

Hemson has wide-ranging experience in preparing development charges background studies for municipalities in Ontario and across Canada for the recovery of development-related capital costs of servicing new development. We have provided development charges policy advice to both large and small municipalities individually and in groups. Our assignments include studies for region-wide, municipal and area-specific charges.

Hemson has undertaken some of the most complex and detailed development charge studies in Ontario and has dealt with the full range of municipal services in many different contexts. The firm is highly regarded by both its municipal clients and the development industry for its aggressive, yet fair, reasonable and thorough approach. Altogether, the firm has completed over 200 DC background studies for a range of municipal clients.

We have also provided expert testimony on development charge related matters before the Ontario Municipal Board for hearings and mediations. We have also advised municipalities on development charge complaint matters.

Recent clients Include:

  • City of Toronto
  • City of Waterloo
  • City of Markham
  • City of Vaughan
  • Town of Wasaga Beach
  • Town of Quinte West
  • Town of Meaford
  • Township of Lake of Bays
  • Elgin County
  • Region of Waterloo (ongoing)
  • Regional Municipality of Halifax, Nova Scotia (ongoing)
  • City of Vancouver, British Columbia (ongoing)

Financial Incentives

Municipalities are increasingly exploring new methods of using financial incentives to further their planning policy objectives. Hemson has assisted a number of Ontario municipalities in preparing financial incentives for the redevelopment of brownfields, downtown core areas, and as a means to promote specific economic sectors.

Relevant projects:

  • City of Toronto – City-wide CIP Financial Incentives Program
  • City of Vaughan – Vaughan Metropolitan Centre Community Improvement Plan for Major Office Uses
  • Region of Waterloo – Brownfield Financial Incentives Pilot Program
  • City of Saint John – Financial Incentives for Development and Heritage Conservation

Asset Management Plans (AMP)

Municipalities are increasingly concerned about maintaining infrastructure and other capital assets through planned major maintenance, rehabilitation and replacement. In this regard, Hemson has developed financial databases and analytical models to assist decision-makers in understanding the scope of financial requirements and to assess alternative funding strategies.

Now that municipalities have completed several iterations of their asset management plans since the Province’s first mandate, jurisdictions and industry associations have begun placing more emphasis on improving the quality of asset planning. This includes improvements to data quality, departmental integration, reporting improvements and tie-ins to corporate long-term financial planning.

Hemson has been heavily involved in the Municipal Finance Officers’ Association’s (MFOA) development of leading asset management practices. Hemson completed the development of comprehensive “tip sheets” in an effort to help guide Ontario municipalities in advancing and implementing their asset management plans.

Recent clients include:

  • Town of The Blue Mountains
  • Township of Springwater
  • Township of Addington Highlands
  • Township of Scugog (ongoing)
  • The City of Brampton (ongoing)
  • Municipal Finance Officers’ Association

Full Cost Recovery Fees and Charges

Municipalities across Canada have begun to move towards implementing user fees and rates that support the full cost recovery of services. In this context, Hemson has undertaken more than 30 fee setting studies in Ontario under the Building Code Act, Planning Act, Municipal Act, Public Libraries Act, and Cemeteries Act. As part of this work, Hemson has also undertaken extensive consultation and engagement with user groups and internal stakeholders such as staff and Council. Recently, Hemson completed user fee and permit fee reviews for the City of Vancouver, British Columbia.

Recent projects include:

  • City of Vancouver – Comprehensive Review of Permit Fees
  • City of Vancouver – Engineering Development Fees Review (ongoing)
  • Town of Richmond Hill – Review of User Fees and Subsidy Policies (ongoing)

Water and Sewer Rate Setting Studies

Hemson has undertaken numerous studies to establish full cost recovery water and wastewater rates for a number of municipalities across Canada. In Ontario, these studies have been completed in the context of the requirements of the Sustainable Water and Sewage Systems Act (SWSSA) and Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). Hemson has developed some of the most innovative water and wastewater rate structures and the lasting relationships we have developed with clients is a testament to the ongoing, high quality support we provide.

Recent clients include:

  • Municipality of Kincardine
  • Municipality of Tweed
  • Town of Georgina
  • City of Moncton, New Brunswick
  • Parkland County, Alberta (ongoing)

Long-range Financial Planning and Fiscal Impact Studies

Hemson has undertaken long range financial plans for a number of municipalities within Ontario and more recently, the Province of Alberta. These assignments often include analyses and forecasting of all revenues and expenditures (capital and operating), funding and financing options, reserve fund adequacy, and financial policies (relating to debt, investments, growth management, reserve fund management, capital budgeting etc.).

Hemson has assisted numerous municipalities in understanding the financial implications of various policy decisions. We have developed financial impact models that analyse the effects of growth and development on municipal expenditures and revenues.

Recent clients include:

  • Town of Innisfil – Long-Range Financial Plan
  • Town of Georgina – Long-Range Financial Plan (ongoing)
  • Township of Springwater – Long-Range Financial Plan
  • County of Brant – Fiscal Impact Analysis

Development Charges, Asset Management Plans, Long Range Financial Planning and all other municipal finance inquires



Craig Binning, Partner
Phone: (416) 593-5090 ext. 20
Email: cbinning@hemson.com
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