Why We Need Transformational Change

Chatham-Kent Financial Facts • 2006 - 2016


Considerable research has been done on the overall financial picture of Chatham-Kent during the development of my Transformation CK election platform. The 2006-2016 focus period was chosen for two reasons:

  • It corresponds well with the majority of the period Randy Hope has been mayor

  • We have considerable reliable information available from the 2006 and 2016 Statistics Canada censuses

The annual BMA Municipal Studies were an excellent source of peer-comparison information. We have also utilized the extremely-detailed Financial Information Returns (FIR’s) — summaries of municipal revenues & expenses — which are prepared by Chatham-Kent and submitted to the Ontario Ministry of Finance annually. Most of this data is not indexed by search engines and must be downloaded and interpreted manually.

Our main findings are listed under the headings JOBS, POPULATION, HOUSEHOLD INCOME and SUSTAINABILITY.

Private-sector job loss and its associated population decline are the main drivers of some concerning trends over the last decade. We must prioritize job creation and resident attraction & retention in order to reverse our downward spiral. Only a made-in-Chatham-Kent creative solution will allow us to regain lost ground and start catching-up with our peers across the province. This is why “Growing Our Community” is Pillar #1 of my Transformation CK campaign platform. Our future depends on it.

It’s our time.


JOBS in Chatham-Kent (2006-2016)

  • The number of people in our labour force declined by 12.7% while in the province overall it increased by 8.4%

  • The number of people not in the labour force here increased by 11.1%

  • We estimate that Chatham-Kent lost 8,500 private sector jobs during the study period

  • We estimate that Chatham-Kent gained 1,215 jobs in the government sector, an increase of 34%

  • Chatham-Kent lost 5,315 manufacturing jobs, almost 45% of the manufacturing labour force and almost double the rate of loss in the province overall (24%)

POPULATION of Chatham-Kent (2006-2016)

  • The Chatham-Kent population fell by 6.0% (down 2.0% from 2011-2016). Ontario’s grew by 10.6%

  • The Chatham-Kent population in the 20-39 age group fell by 13.3%. Ontario grew by 8.1%

  • Our senior population (55 and older) grew by 23.6% and now forms 37% of the total Chatham-Kent population

  • Farmers are paying a significantly greater proportion of the property tax burden to make-up for a marked reduction in Commercial & Industrial taxation revenue

Click an image to make it larger. Escape key closes the zoomed-in image.

HOUSEHOLD (HH) INCOME in Chatham-Kent (2006-2016)

  • The median 2006 HH income in Chatham-Kent was $51,081 and in Ontario $60,455 or 18% greater

  • The median 2016 HH income in Chatham-Kent was $58,264 and in Ontario $74,287 or 27.5% greater

  • Chatham-Kent’s HH income grew 14.1% or 1.3% annually

  • Ontario’s HH income grew by 22.9% or 2.1% annually

  • Ontario’s HH income rose 62% faster than HH income in Chatham-Kent

  • Chatham-Kent’s HH income did not keep pace with the rate of inflation during this period (1.64% annually or 17.7% overall)

  • Government transfers formed 13.9% of Chatham-Kent’s HH income in 2006 (41% higher than the Ontario average)

  • Government transfers grew to 17.7% in 2016 (60% higher than Ontario average)

SUSTAINABILITY in Chatham-Kent (2006-2016)

  • Municipal tax revenues grew by about $35M or 3.5% annually

  • The number of full-time municipal employees grew by 7.4% even though our overall population declined by 6%

  • Overall compensation provided to municipal staff grew by 3.65% annually, more than double the inflation rate and almost three times the growth in HH income

  • Growing municipal staff compensation of more than double the inflation rate during a period of economic stagnation, negative population growth and weak income growth is not sustainable.

A Note about the Amalgamation of the COMMUNITIES IN CHATHAM-KENT…

Prior to amalgamation in 1998 there were 12 self-governing urban areas; 4 major fully serviced hamlets, and another 16 minor hamlets, all with their own distinct boundaries, histories and various signs of community infrastructure. No other municipality in Ontario comes remotely close to this level of blended municipal diversity. Due to this multitude of community interests, and the sheer physical size and diversity of Chatham-Kent, it may well be that the normal standards used to construct and measure the performance of our municipal government are not appropriate.