The incorporation order divides a rural municipality into divisions and assigns each division a number. The voters of each division elect a councilor for a four year term. Elections are held every second year in the fall, with terms of office beginning at the council meeting following the election. The election for positions of reeve and councillors for odd numbered divisions are held at the same time, for example 2014, followed by elections two years after, for example 2016, for coucillors in even-numbered divisions.
Section 49 of The Municipalities Act allows the Minister to alter the boundaries of, eliminate, or create one or more divisions or renumber the divisions in a rural municipality.
Council may wish to restructure its divisions and alter the composition of council in order to better represent the interests of the ratepayers, to more equitably represent the population of the municipality, to more equitably represent the geographical composition of the municipality, or for other reasons that council considers appropriate. Whatever the reasons, it is recommended that council hold a public meeting, or some other form of public consultation, prior to an application.
To initiate a division boundary alteration, an interested council should submit the following documentation to the ministry:
- a resolution of council requesting the division boundary alteration;
- an explanation of the reasons for the request;
- a map and description of each new division by Township and Range. Section numbers may be referenced if the division boundary will not follow Township and Range lines; and
- an outline of the public consultation undertaken to inform the ratepayers of council’s intention to alter the division boundaries.
As a result of a division boundary change, there will have to be a municipal election called for each division that is undergoing a change. Accordingly, unless specifically requested otherwise by the RM councils, orders are normally made effective to coincide with the regular autumn municipal election. Should changes impact divisions that are not in an election year, the order will have to specify a shorter (normally one-year) term of office for those councillors. Accordingly, the Ministerial Order will make provision for:
- the appointment of a returning officer;
- the dates for receiving nominations and holding elections for councillors;
- setting the polling places and election officials
- the date on which the council shall hold its first meeting; and
- setting out the term of office of the affected division councillors
As such, the RM is requested to include the above information with its submission.
The Ministerial Order will set out an effective date that the division boundary alteration will take effect and set the details for the election to find councillors to fill the altered divisions. The order will also confirm the lands of the RM and set out the boundaries of each municipal council division.