Forum Paper | 2018

Finding Common Ground: Interlocal Cooperation in Canada

A range of municipalities are considering or already using interlocal agreements in a variety of policy areas. Canadian municipalities with such agreements generally report high levels of satisfaction with them. Surprisingly, however, we find less cooperation between Canadian municipalities than we find in other parts of the world.

In May 2017, the Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance (IMFG) hosted a conference that brought together researchers and practitioners in the field to explore the scope, focus, and future of interlocal cooperation in Canada. The conference included both aggregate research conducted across several Census Metropolitan Areas and detailed case studies of specific governments and agreements. Lessons were drawn both from agreements between municipalities and from agreements between municipal and Indigenous governments.

This Forum paper presents findings from the conference and concludes by providing suggestions for local governments hoping to enter into interlocal agreements. These recommendations focus on strengthening three key areas: relationships, institutional processes, and accountability and democracy.

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