Review and Comments on Slack and Bird, "Does Amalgamation Strengthen the Financial Viability of Local Government?"
The Harris era restructuring that led to widespread amalgamation of municipalities and school boards, as well as downloading ever more service responsibilities, was seen by the provincial government of the day as a silver bullet for achieving significant cost-savings. This would be achieved by “reaping economies of scale” and coordinating “service delivery across local boundaries.” Bound up in these assumptions was a significant adoption of neoliberal inspired concepts such as New Public Management, and down-shift responsibilization . In their report , Slack and Bird evaluate what, if any, cost-savings were achieved due to amalgamation, with a specific focus on Toronto as a case study.
The abrupt municipal amalgamation exercise reduced the number of municipalities from 815 in 1995 to 447 in 2001, which also significantly reduced the number of councillors. It should be noted that cost-savings on this alone would be fairly negligible with respect to the overall municipal budget compared to other budget items such as transportation, protection, and the provision of social services. The Harris Government sought to encourage entrepreneurial opportunities for municipalities for alternative service delivery via the Building the Ontario Public Service for the Future. 
These costs, however, were not fully realized, or were masked by other factors such as property tax reform and the LSR. Other additional costs included:
There is still dispute over whether or not significant cost savings were achieved as a result of the drastic restructuring, or if savings were offset by new costs such as those associated with transitioning to a new merged municipality, the increased burden of additional service delivery (lightened somewhat by the subsequent provincial government), and the effects of property tax reform. Where the authors seem to be in agreement is in the less tangible costs, such as more fragmentation of community identity in the larger municipalities, and decreased civic engagement.
Sources and Notes:
 Slack, E. and Richard Bird (2013). Does Municipal Amalgamation Strengthen the Financial Viability of Local Government? A Canadian Example
 The term is referenced in the governmentality literature of the mid-1990s. See Bourdieu, P. (1999). The abdication of the state In P. Bourdieu (Ed.), The weight of the world: Social suffering in contemporary society: 181-8. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press; Peck, Jamie and Adam Tickell (2002). Neoliberalizing Space. Antipode 34 (3): 380-404. In a vast majority of applications of responsibilization, this is brought about through a process of market-based rationalization and a belief in disempowering liberal welfare state models of governance.
 Burak, R. (1997). Building Ontario Public Service for the Future: A Framework for Action. Ontario. Management Board of Cabinet. Secretariat. Toronto.