Section 52 of The Municipalities Act provides the authority for a village or resort village to become a town and a town to become a village or resort village.
To become a town, a village or resort village must have a population of 500 or more. A town may request its status be changed to a village or resort village if the population is less than 500.
When council is considering a status change, it is recommended that an informal public meeting be held to discuss the proposal to inform the community of council's intention. Any residents that would be affected by the status change should attend the public meeting.
If the status of a municipality changes, a new council must be elected to serve the community. Therefore, council may wish for the change to coincide with a general election.
Once a final decision has been made to request a status change, the council should submit the following information to the Ministry of Government Relations:
- A certified copy of a resolution of council requesting the status change;
- An outline of the public consultation regarding the request;
- Confirmation of the population; and
- The suggested details to hold an election to vote for the council of the new municipality, including the number of council members.
If the Minister is of the opinion that the status of the municipality should be changed, the Minister will issue an order causing the status of the municipality to be changed.
The Minister's Order will:
- Declare the municipality to be incorporated, assign a name to it, and describe its boundaries;
- Fix a day, hour, and place for the nomination day for the election of a council, which day may be before the effective date of the order;
- Appoint a person to act as the returning officer for the election;
- Fix a day, hour, and place for the first meeting of the council; and
- Include any other provision the minister considers necessary to facilitate the incorporation and to enable the holding of the first election and first meeting of the council.
Consequences of the order include: all bylaws and resolutions in force as the bylaws and resolutions in the former municipality continue in force as the bylaws and resolutions of the new municipality for one year or until sooner repealed and others made in their place. Refer to Section 63 of The Municipalities Act for further details regarding other consequences of the order.