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About the Saskatchewan Municipal System

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1. General Information

Saskatchewan's The Municipalities Act, The Cities Act and The Northern Municipalities Act, 2010 provide the basic legislative framework for all of the province's 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 three Acts also describe the general purpose of municipalities. Section 4(2) of these 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.

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2. Types of Municipalities

Saskatchewan currently has 775 urban, rural and northern municipalities. For listings, see the Municipal Directory.

In southern Saskatchewan there are 750 incorporated municipalities:

  • 454 are urban municipalities. These include:
    • 16 cities;
    • 147 towns;
    • 250 villages; and
    • 41 resort villages.
  • 296 are rural municipalities

In northern Saskatchewan, there are 25 incorporated municipalities:

  • 2 northern towns;
  • 11 northern villages;
  • 11 northern hamlets; and
  • The Northern Saskatchewan Administration District (NSAD).

Unincorporated areas of Southern Saskatchewan include hamlets and organized hamlets. There are 145 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. 

Rural Municipalities

A rural municipality is a defined territory incorporated under The Municipalities Act. These municipalities may include hamlets which may or may not be organized (see below). 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;
  • decide what type and level of municipal services will be provided;
  • control land development and zoning provisions;
  • borrow money for municipal improvements; and
  • set local tax policies and rates to cover the costs of municipal services.

Organized Hamlets

An organized hamlet is an area within the rural municipality. It is created by a ministerial order and is governed by the rural municipality in which it is located. An organized hamlet is not incorporated and does not have legal authority.

Voters of an organized hamlet elect a three-member board that reports to the rural municipal council. Some organized hamlets may be designated as a division and be represented by a division councillor on the rural municipal council.

NOTE: If you are looking for a rural municipal map, you will need to contact the rural municipality directly. Email and telephone numbers of all Saskatchewan municipalities can be found using the Municipal Directory.

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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 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;
  • control land development and zoning provisions;
  • borrow money for municipal improvements; and
  • set local tax policies and rates to cover the costs of municipal services.

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 on the Municipal Administration page.

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