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 fulfil their purposes. Generally speaking however, it is the municipal level of government that has the most direct impact on the daily life of citizens.