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About the Saskatchewan Municipal System

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1. General Information

Saskatchewan’s The Municipalities Act and The Cities Act provide the basic legislative framework for all of the province’s southern municipalities, and give municipalities what is referred to as “Natural Persons Power”. This term is commonly understood to mean that municipalities possess all of the same powers that a normal person would. Natural person powers generally do not give municipalities more jurisdiction than they already had and they do not confer or expand any law-making, bylaw, or taxing powers since natural persons don't have any such authority. What does change is the 'default' authority and flexibility for municipalities regarding administrative or corporate matters. Essentially, a municipality can take any action that a natural person or business could to carry out its purposes unless or until legislation prohibits an action or places limitations or conditions on an action.

The two Acts also describe the general purpose of municipalities. Section 4(2) of both Acts specify that municipalities have the following purposes:

  • To provide good government;
  • To provide services, facilities and other things that, in the opinion of council, are necessary or desirable for all or a part of the municipality;
  • To develop and maintain a safe and viable community;
  • To foster economic, social and environmental well-being; and
  • To provide wise stewardship of public assets.

Municipalities within the boundaries of the Northern Saskatchewan Administration District operate pursuant to The Northern Municipalities Act, 2010.

As the environment in which municipalities operate becomes increasingly complex, it isn't simple to categorize all of the things that municipalities do on a day-to-day basis to fulfill their purposes. Generally speaking however, it is the municipal level of government that has the most direct impact on the daily life of citizens.

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2. Types of Municipalities

Saskatchewan currently has 778 urban, rural and northern municipalities. For listings, see the Municipal Directory.

In southern Saskatchewan there are 754 incorporated municipalities:

  • 458 are urban municipalities. These include:
    • 16 cities;
    • 147 towns;
    • 255 villages; and
    • 40 resort villages.
  • 296 are rural municipalities

In northern Saskatchewan, there are 24 incorporated municipalities:

  • 2 northern towns;
  • 11 northern villages; and
  • 11 northern hamlets.

Unincorporated areas of Southern Saskatchewan include hamlets and organized hamlets within rural municipalities. Hamlets exist where they meet the definition of a ‘hamlet' in The Municipalities Act.  There are 147 Organized Hamlets established by Minister's Order.  

Unincorporated areas of northern Saskatchewan are part of the Northern Saskatchewan Administration District (NSAD) and are administered by the Northern Municipal Services Branch. There are 11 northern settlements within the NSAD.

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3. Urban Municipalities

In Saskatchewan, cities, towns, villages and resort villages are all defined as urban municipalities.  These municipalities are created by a ministerial order that describes the municipal boundaries. Each is governed by an elected council that can hire staff to manage daily administration and maintain municipal services (e.g. roads, utilities, recreation facilities). A municipal council has the power to adopt bylaws:

  • to provide for the health and safety of the municipality's residents,
  • to decide what type and level of municipal services will be provided,
  • to control land development and zoning provisions,
  • to borrow money for municipal improvements, and
  • to set local tax policies & rates to cover the costs of municipal services.

The number of urban municipalities are listed in the Types of Municipalities section.

Individual municipalities may be contacted using the Municipal Directory.

Saskatchewan's cities are governed by The Cities Act, while the remaining municipalities are governed by The Municipalities Act.

To view or buy a copy of these acts or their related regulations visit Publications Saskatchewan

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4. Rural Municipalities

A rural municipality is created by a ministerial order that describes the municipal boundaries and divisions therein.

Content:

A rural municipality is a defined territory incorporated under The Municipalities Act. A rural municipality is created by a ministerial order that describes the municipal boundaries and divisions therein. Rural municipalities include hamlets which may or may not be organized.  A rural municipality is governed by an elected council that can hire staff to manage daily administration and maintain municipal services (e.g. roads, utilities, recreation facilities). A municipal council has the power to adopt bylaws.

  • to provide for the health and safety of the municipality's residents;
  • to decide what type and level of municipal services will be provided;
  • to control land development and zoning provisions;
  • to borrow money for municipal improvements; and
  • to set local tax policies and rates to cover the costs of municipal services.

The number of rural municipalities and organized hamlets can be found in the Types of Municipalities section.

Rural municipal boundary maps see our Municipal Boundary page.

Individual rural municipalities may be contacted using the Municipal Directory.

To view or buy a copy of The Municipalities Act or its related regulations visit Publications Saskatchewan.

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5. Northern Municipalities

A northern municipality is a northern town, northern village or northern hamlet incorporated under The Northern Municipalities Act, 2010. These municipalities are located in the Northern Saskatchewan Administration District. A northern municipality is created by a ministerial order that describes the the municipal boundaries. Each is governed by an elected council that can hire staff to manage daily administration and maintain municipal services (e.g. roads, utilities, recreation facilities). Northern settlements are created under the same legislation; but each is governed by elected local advisory committee that reports to the Minister of Government Relations to provide for the health and safety of the municipality's residents,

  • to decide what type and level of municipal services will be provided,
  • to control land development and zoning provisions,
  • to borrow money for municipal improvements, and
  • to set local tax policies and rates to cover the costs of municipal services.

The numbers of northern municipalities and settlements can be found in the Types of Municipalities section.

Northern municipalities and settlements can be contacted using the Municipal Directory.

To view or buy a copy of The Northern Municipalities Act, 2010 or its related regulations visit Publications Saskatchewan.

Guides, manuals and calendars for administrators and clerks can be found via the Municipal Administration page.   

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6. Organized Hamlets

Organized hamlets are administered by the rural municipality in which the hamlet is located. Voters of an organized hamlet may elect a three member management board that reports to the rural municipality council. Some organized hamlets may be designated a division and be represented by a division councillor on the rural municipality council. 

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