Programs and Services Financial Sustainability Procedure

Purpose statement

The purpose of this procedure is to:

  1. define an approved process in seeking and/or accepting non tax levy funding for new programs and services;
  2. ensure that both the Town of Oakville (town) and the fund provider receive value for money and that respective objectives are understood and met;
  3. minimize financial risk to the Town


This procedure applies to services, programs and initiatives delivered by the Town of Oakville’s departments and agencies.


The annual budget process is the mechanism for communication and obtaining any necessary approvals as outlined in this procedure.

  1. Guiding Principles
    The following guiding principles apply to new programs / services and existing services that are supported in part through non-tax revenue.
    1. Mandate Based: all initiatives must be in keeping with Council’s Strategic Goals and Objectives and must reference the approved Guiding Principles and Mandate as set out in the appropriate departmental Master / Strategic Plans.
    2. Sound and Appropriate Planning for Sustainability: all program or services that may require future tax-based funding must be supported by a sound business plan and must be aligned with the budget process. At a minimum, the business plan must include:
      1. Strategic Objectives;
      2. Market Analysis;
      3. Implementation Plan;
      4. Communication Plan;
      5. Evaluation / Key Success Factors; and
      6. Financial Analysis including:
        • Non- tax funding source and time frame of commitment
        • Potential future operating impacts should non-tax funding no longer be available.
    3. Cost Efficiency: funding will only be sought or accepted when it is cost efficient to do so.
  2. Categories
    There are four categories of programs / services that are supported through non tax revenue sources as defined in this procedure:
    1. One-time Project;
    2. Program / Service enhancements;
    3. Established Operating Grants / Donations; and
    4. Pilot Operating Grants / Donations.
  3. Assessment Processes and Criteria
    Programs /services are assessed using the following processes where appropriate:
    1. Process for One-time Project and Program/Service Enhancements: the funding opportunity will be reviewed by staff and the appropriate department head to ensure the following:
      1. Alignment with mandate and strategic directions;
      2. Demonstrated enhancement / value added attributes that support mandate;
      3. No current or anticipated encumbrances for the town (i.e. additional supports / funding);
      4. Sustainable with current resources.
      Decision Making Authority: department head
    2. Process for Established Operating Grants/Donations and Pilot Operating Grants/Donations:
      1. Staff will develop a business plan for review by appropriate department head/commissioner.
      2. Business Plans should identify the following:
        • Initial non-tax funding sources and anticipated length of time that such funding source will be available
        • Potential future operating budget impacts in the event that non-tax funding is no longer available
      3. Staff will prepare a report to the appropriate Committee for consideration of the program’s merits as a level of service change and/or pilot project based on detailed business plan and Assessment Criteria.
      4. If not approved the program will not be delivered.
      5. If approved as a pilot:
        • Any funding required to supplement such a pilot program would be funded through the corporate contingency.
        • Upon completion of pilot a thorough re-evaluation is conducted (see Appendix B).
        • Evaluation is presented to appropriate Committee for consideration of continuance of program. If recommended for continuance, program is forwarded to budget process for final approval and inclusion of funding in base budgets. If not recommended for continuance, it is terminated.
      6. If approved, tax funding to sustain the program shall be transferred to the department base budget.  Should any remaining non-tax funding be discontinued, the department will submit an adjustment to the base budget during the budget process.
      Decision making authority: department head recommends initiative status – pilot or establish service. Council considers during budget process.

While established operating grants/donation initiatives generally have a long term history and/or are supported through various Acts, these will be brought to Council’s attention during annual budget discussions in order to alert Council to any anticipated change in funding status which might have an affect on current or future operating budgets.


One-time Project:  Funding that supports projects that has a defined start and end date and that do not by definition require any significant on–going supports for example Ministry grant for development of zero tolerance policy.

Program / Service Enhancements: Funding for existing services that serve to add value to the service. Often in the form of equipment, supplies and other product for example specialized Library furniture.

Established Operating Grants/Donations: Funding that supports the ongoing operations. While not guaranteed, these funds have an established history of support and may be rooted in policy and or legislation for example Museum Operating Grant–   Ministry of Culture.

Pilot Operating Grants / Donations: Funding that is intended to launch a new service or enhance the service level of an existing program for example Information Oakville - ongoing database improvement.


Departments are responsible for soliciting, negotiating and administering grants and other forms of sponsorship subject to the applicable policy and procedures.


Appendix A - New Program/Service Consideration Guidelines
Appendix B - Pilot Evaluation Guidelines

Appendix A - New Programs/Services Consideration Guidelines

Any proposed new program or initiative must be documented using the following format and content guidelines.

Strategic Directions
How does the initiative support Council’s strategic Directions?

Guiding Principles and Mandate
How does the initiative align with the departmental Guiding Principles and mandate as stated in the Master Plan?

Sustainability/ Business Planning
Does the business plan adequately address the question of sustainability?  Does the business plan outline a sound and achievable sustainability plan?

Provide detailed business plan addressing the following at a minimum:

  • Strategic Objectives
  • Market Analysis
  • Implementation Plan
  • Communication
  • Evaluation / Key Success Factors
  • Financial Analysis
    • Initial non-tax funding sources and anticipated length of time for committed funding
    • Potential future operating budget impacts should non-tax  funding no longer be available

Staff Recommendation
Provide recommendation

  • Do not initiate
  • Recommend service
  • Recommend as Pilot

Appendix B - Pilot Evaluation Guidelines

Upon completion of a pilot program, a thorough evaluation will be conducted using the following content guidelines.

Strategic Directions
How has the initiative supported Council’s strategic Directions?

Provide Examples

Guiding Principles and Mandate
How has the initiative demonstrated alignment with the Guiding Principles and mandate as stated in the Master Plan?

Provide Examples

Business Plan
Did the initiative achieve it’s objectives as stated in the business plan?

Provide details on secured, future non-tax based funding

Provide 3 year budget

Service Implications
Describe the service implications should this initiative be discontinued

Net Financial Impact
What will be the net tax based financial impact for the next fiscal year?

Staff Recommendation

  • Discontinue
  • Recommend

Related procedures

Corporate Sponsorship Procedure