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Standard and Poor's reaffirms Niagara Region's "AA" stable credit rating

Regional financial report card
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Niagara Region continues to maintain its “AA” credit rating, with a stable outlook, according to an Oct. 8, 2019 confirmation report released by credit rating agency Standard and Poor’s.

The stable rating comes as a result of the Region’s solid budgetary performance, strong financial management, as well as very ample liquidity.

Niagara Region has shown increased focus on long-term strategic and financial planning, which is supported by its financial policies. Standard and Poor's notes that the long-term plans present a good level of detail and are based on well-documented and realistic assumptions. Disclosure and transparency in financial reporting are also identified as good, with debt and liquidity management practices being considered prudent.

The credit rating agency highlighted that financial management is strong and institutions remain broadly supportive. However, in Standard and Poor's opinion, slow population growth and weak demographic trends result in a less favourable socioeconomic profile, which is a rating constraint. Having said that, Standard and Poor's notes that “…the expansion of GO commuter train service in the region could increase the influx of younger people and start reversing these trends [less favourable socioeconomic profile]”.

One item that the report points out is related to Ontario’s ongoing regional government review, which could have an impact on the Region’s credit profile. Standard and Poor's will continue to monitor the developments of the regional governance review.