When is a user fee actually a user fee?: design and implementation challenges faced by Canadian municipalities.




Farish, Kelly Isabel Emmerson

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



The objective of this thesis is to provide guidance for Canadian municipal public administrators concerning the economic and legal criteria in the policy design and implementation of user fees. User fees are levies charged for a particular good or service, as compared to a tax, which is charged generally and not specifically allocated. The focus on municipalities is as a result of the unique revenue limitations faced by municipal governments. The thesis is based on a public administration framework that establishes four stages of public policy analysis: problem definition, design, implementation, and evaluation. With a focus on the design and implementation stages, this thesis clarifies the economic literature and jurisprudence in their respective disciplines and sets out design and implementation stage criteria that integrate both disciplines with a view to improving Canadian municipal user fee design and implementation.



municipal, user fee, user charge