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2015 Fall

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1. New Boundary Alteration Compensation Guidelines

The Saskatchewan Plan for Growth pledged to accelerate the annexation process by developing a common framework to provide consistency and fairness in municipal land annexation decisions.

One of the key issues that can block annexation agreements between municipalities is the question of what financial compensation should be paid by one municipality to the other.

The Ministry of Government Relations – in collaboration with the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA), and the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) – has developed a set of principles for financial settlements between municipalities for boundary alterations.

These overarching principles are intended for use both by and for municipalities in determining annexation compensation. They will also be used by the Saskatchewan Municipal Board (SMB) if municipalities cannot settle the matter. Municipalities continue to be encouraged to voluntarily reach their own mutually acceptable annexation agreements.

The province has also made other improvements to the annexation process to support growth. These efforts to expedite the annexation process include legislative changes to streamline the process, along with changes to the SMB’s procedural policies to reduce the time frame for decision-making.

These eight principles have been incorporated into A Guide for Municipal Boundary Alterations (Annexation). This guide includes a set of questions related to each principle – to give municipalities guidance in their use, and to help explain how each principle should be interpreted by rural and urban municipalities.


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2. Improved conflict of interest materials now available

A reminder to all municipalities that Bill 186, The Municipal Conflict of Interest Amendment Act received Royal Assent on November 19, 2015, which means the changes (other than matters noted below) are now in force.

The amendments to The Cities Act, The Municipalities Act and The Northern Municipalities Act, 2010, improve and introduce rules on conflict of interest, public disclosure, procedural bylaws, employee code of conduct, council member code of ethics and Oath of Office. A model Code of Ethics to be placed in regulation, and revisions to the Oath of Office form that is prescribed in regulation, are yet to be developed. The ministry will consult further with the municipal sector on these two matters that will only come into force once regulations are developed and these provisions are proclaimed.

Bill 186 also expands the provincial Ombudsman’s jurisdiction to include municipalities. Any persons may submit complaints to the Ombudsman regarding administrative and procedural matters of municipal councils.

To help make it easier for municipal governments to implement the new rules set out in the new legislation, the Ministry of Government Relations has developed three sample templates.

In addition to the sample templates, the ministry distributed Information Bulletins that summarized the changes as they pertain to the three municipal Acts.

If you have any questions about these changes, or if you need more information about the sample templates, contact:

  • 306-425-4320 (Northern municipalities)
  • 306-787-2680 (Other municipalities)
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3. Share your feedback about the use of Local Improvements

Saskatchewan continues to grow. With this growth comes an increased need for municipalities to deliver the services people and businesses in their community need. That’s why the Government of Saskatchewan wants to hear from you – to help review The Local Improvements Act, 1993.

Local improvement charges are one tool municipalities can use to raise funds necessary to improve local infrastructure. The Act allows municipalities to charge specific properties that will directly benefit from infrastructure projects.

This temporary charge can be applied to infrastructure projects both large and small, ranging from sidewalks, curbs, water and sewer, street paving, and street lights. Their timeline to finish can range from a single year all the way to 25 years.

By completing the Local Improvements survey, you will help create a better understanding of how these charges are used, and how The Local Improvements Act, 1993, can better help communities meet their future infrastructure needs.

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4. New legislation for 2016 Local Government Elections

A reminder to all municipalities that Bill 166, The Local Government Election Act, 2015 and its regulations will come into force on January 1, 2016.

This means any general election or by-election taking place after January 1, 2016 will be subject to the provisions of the new legislation. These changes affect all rural, urban and northern municipalities.

The new Act has been rewritten, and combines the rural and urban election provisions – including prescribed forms, to make the process easier for municipal administrators. The ministry has also developed a manual that will be available for download in early January.

Municipal Advisors will be working with the Rural Municipal Administrators Association and the Urban Municipal Administrators Association to provide training for election officials in the spring of 2016.

If you have any questions about the new legislation, or the upcoming training, please contact a Municipal Advisor by calling:

  • 306-787-2680
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5. 2016 gravel extraction licence maximum fee rates

Municipalities have the authority to pass a bylaw to charge gravel crushers and extractors a gravel extraction licence fee.

The maximum fee a municipality may establish is calculated by a formula set out in Section 8.1 of The Municipalities Regulations. The formula was implemented in 2008 to provide automatic biennial updates of the maximum rate.

The maximum gravel extraction licence fee rates for 2016 and 2017, effective January 1, 2016, will be as follows:

  • $0.160 per cubic metre
  • $0.122 per cubic yard
  • $0.086 per cubic tonne
  • $0.080 per ton

The maximum fee is increased based on the annual percentage change for the “all-items” Consumer Price Index (CPI) for Saskatchewan for the year, two years before the first year the rate comes into effect. The rate increase for 2016 represents a CPI inflation rate of 0.9 percent in 2013, and 2.0 percent in 2014.

If you have any questions or comments, contact a municipal advisor at:

  • 306-787-2680
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6. Government launches Municipal Growth Readiness Checklist

Whether your municipality is dealing with current growth challenges, or preparing for future growth, the Municipal Growth Readiness Checklist (MGRC) tool is here to help.

The MGRC, designed by the Ministry of Government Relations, is there to help administrations and councils think about the impacts that growth can have on their community – and what actions, if any, are needed to make improvements.

The tool has been designed in consultation with the municipal associations as a follow-up to the previous municipal government sustainability self-assessment tool.

The launch of the MGRC follows the ministry’s efforts in recent years to help municipalities self-assess their strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities. The MGRC is designed as a discussion starter; a means of getting municipal officials to think about the challenges and impacts that current or future municipal and regional growth can have on their municipality, and whether or not they are able to adequately respond.

Download the interactive tool

Save and print the paper version

Municipalities can gauge their readiness for growth in eight categories:

  1. Land Use Planning and Governance;
  2. Administrative Capacity;
  3. Fiscal Health;
  4. Service Delivery;
  5. Public Safety; 
  6. Infrastructure;
  7. Demographics and Economic Trends; and 
  8. Regional Partnerships.

By focusing on the most pressing growth challenges that municipalities can face, the checklist will provide a basic scan of “growth readiness” and help raise awareness among the administration and council. The previous self-assessment tool focused on municipal government sustainability. Shifting focus to growth readiness will help municipalities prioritize their most pressing risks, all the way to identifying medium and long-term growth goals.

Visit the MGRC’s webpage to find out more information about what each of these categories mean to your municipality’s current and future states for growth.

If you have questions about the Municipal Growth Readiness Checklist, please contact the Rapid Growth Communities Team at:

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