Hamlets form part of, and are governed by, a rural municipality. A hamlet must contain at least 5 homes and 10 subdivided lots with a mean area under 1 acre (0.4047 ha). Hamlets have no formal boundaries other than the subdivided lot or property lines and, as such, are not recognized as municipal entities.
Organized hamlets are designated by Minister’s Order and have a legal boundary. The residents of an organized hamlet elect a three-person hamlet board to represent the community to the RM council.
Organized hamlets have not been granted spending authority. Accordingly, the RM collects all grants and taxes for the community. All grant money received from the Organized Hamlet Grant is to be allocated to the community, while the organized hamlet and the RM must negotiate an agreement whereby between 40 per cent and 75 per cent of all taxes collected from the community are allotted to the organized hamlet account.
Expenditures are made at the request of the hamlet board and must be granted if the appropriate funds are available.
Legislation and Regulations
Section 50 of The Municipalities Act provides the authority persons within a hamlet to apply to become an organized hamlet.
A hamlet that is located adjacent to another organized hamlet, or a municipality other than a rural municipality, may be established as an organized hamlet only if:
- the other organized hamlet or adjacent municipality refuses to annex the area of the hamlet;
- natural physical barriers separate the hamlet from the other organized hamlet or adjacent municipality;
- there is a lack of continuity in the development between the hamlet and the other organized hamlet or adjacent municipality; or
- access between the hamlet and the other organized hamlet or adjacent municipality is limited.
The minimum criteria is set out in Section 6.01 of The Municipalities Regulations.
Residents wishing to establish an area as an organized hamlet are encouraged to begin by discussing their wishes and concerns locally and with their RM council. They should hold a public meeting to answer questions and present their ideas to the other residents of the community.
Should the community wish to pursue establishment as an organized hamlet, and the minimum criteria are met, a petition with the signatures of at least 30 persons who would be voters of the proposed organized hamlet must be submitted to the administrator of the rural municipality where the hamlet is located. The petition must be completed by a person who resides in the hamlet and who will represent the petitioners and undertake all further communications on their behalf.
Within 30 days after the receipt of the petition, the municipal administrator must verify the signatures of the petition and report to council on whether the petition is sufficient.
If the petition is sufficient, the rural municipal council must prepare a notice to the public outlining the intention of the area to be established as an organized hamlet.
Please note that for the formal notice to the public and the public meeting the submission to government must be complete and available for public viewing. As such, it is recommended that the petitioner’s representative and the municipal council meet to discuss the proposal.
Additionally, as the submission must be complete, a proposed operating and capital budget and a future growth plan for the proposed organized hamlet must be complete and available for public viewing.
The Notice to the Public
The notice must be:
- published once a week for two consecutive weeks in a locally circulated newspaper;
- personally delivered or sent by ordinary mail to:
- each person assessed on the last revised assessment roll with respect to land or improvements located in the area affected by the proposed application;
- the council of all involved municipalities affected by the proposal and
- the board of all school divisions affected by the proposal.
The notice must contain:
the date, time, and place of a public meeting that will be held by council to discuss the proposal. The meeting must be held at least one week after the day on which the notice was last published, delivered, or sent.
- a map and description of the proposed organized hamlet;
- a brief explanation of the reasons for the proposal;
- a statement saying where the proposal may be examined;
- a statement saying that anyone who objects to the proposal may file a written objection, clearly explaining their reasons for objecting to the proposal, with the council within four weeks of the last publication of the notice; and
The Public Meeting
Pursuant to Section 57 of The Municipalities Act, council must conduct the public meeting and all of the material required to be included with the submission pursuant to Section 59 of The Municipalities Act must be available for public review.
It is recommended that the petitioner’s representative attend the public meeting and be available for questions regarding the proposal.
The Possibility of a Vote
Pursuant to Section 58 of The Municipalities Act:
- a vote may be called by the rural municipal council;
- the Minister, if it is considered desirable and in the public interest to call a vote, may require the rural municipal council to hold a vote; or
- the voters of a municipality may petition their council to hold a vote.
Once the rural municipality has completed the required public consultation, an application for designation as an organized hamlet may be submitted to the Ministry. An application includes a completed Form E from The Municipalities Regulations and the following schedules:
- Schedule 1:
the petition and the certificate of the rural municipal administrator verifying that the petition is sufficient.
- Schedule 2:
a map or plan showing the boundaries of the hamlet to be established as an organized hamlet, including the legal land description, verified by the municipal administrator and the petitioners representative.
- Schedule 3:
an outline of the future growth or development of the organized hamlet.
- Schedule 4:
a proposed operating and capital budget for the organized hamlet.
- Schedule 5:
a certified copy of the resolution from the rural municipality within which the organized hamlet is to be located, either consenting to or not consenting to, the establishment of the organized hamlet and the reasons for their position.
- Schedule 6:
a copy of the public notice and any written submission respecting the proposal that was received by council.
- Schedule 7:
minutes from the public meeting held to discuss the proposal.
- Schedule 8:
a statement setting out the population, total taxable assessment, total number of dwellings and lots for each municipality and the proposed organized hamlet. Population and dwelling unit data can be found from Statistics Canada Community Profiles website.
- Schedule 9:
a voluntary restructuring agreement is not part of the organized hamlet establishment process.
After a review of the submission, if the Minister is of the opinion that the organized hamlet should be established, the Minister may issue an order establishing the hamlet as an organized hamlet.
An order establishing an organized hamlet will:
- declare the organized hamlet to be established, assign a name to it, and describe its boundaries;
- fix a day, hour, and place for the nomination day for the election of a hamlet board, 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 hamlet board; and
- include any other provision the minister considers necessary to facilitate the establishment and to enable the holding of the first election and first meeting of the hamlet board.