Media Release: Ontario’s municipal infrastructure backlog was $52 billion in 2020


[La version française suit le texte anglais.]                                                               


TORONTO, August 17, 2021 - Today, the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario (FAO) released a report that reviews the infrastructure assets owned by Ontario’s municipalities, estimates their current replacement value (CRV) and condition, and the costs to bring these assets into a state of good repair in 2020.

Ontario’s 444 municipalities own and manage the majority of public infrastructure in the province, more than both the federal and provincial governments combined. Municipal infrastructure assets include roads and bridges, water systems, transit, and buildings and facilities. The FAO estimates that the CRV of municipal infrastructure assessed in this report was $484 billion in 2020.

Despite the importance of municipal infrastructure to facilitate the day-to-day operation of the economy and society, a comprehensive municipal asset dataset does not exist. To undertake its analysis, the FAO compiled data from currently available sources to develop a comprehensive municipal infrastructure dataset.

Based on this dataset, the FAO estimates that 55 per cent of municipal assets are in a state of good repair. The remaining 45 per cent of assets are estimated to be not in a state of good repair.

The current cost to bring municipal assets into a state of good repair (in other words, to eliminate the municipal infrastructure backlog) is about $52 billion, according to the FAO. Municipal roads represent the largest share of the infrastructure backlog at $21.1 billion, followed by ‘other’ buildings and facilities ($9.5 billion), wastewater ($7.3 billion), potable water ($5.3 billion), and bridges and culverts ($4.3 billion).

Maintaining public infrastructure in a state of good repair is generally the most cost-effective strategy over an asset’s life cycle, although it is not the only consideration of municipal asset managers and may conflict with other budgetary priorities. Postponing repairs raises the risk of service disruption and increases the costs associated with municipal infrastructure over time.

To learn more, read the full report here.

Quick facts:

  • Municipal water infrastructure, including potable water, storm water and wastewater, has a current replacement value of $229 billion (47 per cent of the municipal total).
  • Due to uncertainty about asset condition estimates, the municipal infrastructure backlog could range between $45 billion and $59 billion.
  • There are $47 billion of municipal assets whose condition is unknown and not included in the FAO’s infrastructure backlog estimates. If these assets were included, the size of the backlog would be larger.
  • The Toronto economic region has the largest share of assets in a state of good repair at 62.3 per cent, 7.6 percentage points higher than the province-wide average. The region also has the lowest infrastructure backlog relative to its CRV, indicating that its assets are in better condition relative to other regions.
  • The report is the second of the FAO’s three-stage analysis of the impact of select climate change hazards on provincial and municipal infrastructure.  The first report, Provincial Infrastructure, was released in November 2020.

About the FAO

Established by the Financial Accountability Officer Act, 2013, the Financial Accountability Office (FAO) provides independent analysis on the state of the Province’s finances, trends in the provincial economy and related matters important to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter at


For further information, please contact:
Anna Giannini  l  647.527.2385  l  |