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2021 December

Municipalities Today is a web-based newsletter published monthly by the Ministry of Government Relations. It lists deadlines, training opportunities, services and programs that may be of interest to Saskatchewan municipal administrators.

View past editions of Municipalities Today by visiting the Publications Centre.

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1. Municipal Administrators' Corner

Reminders

  • The administrator's bond (or equivalent) must be presented to council at the first meeting in January.
  • Municipalities are encouraged to review appointments, such as board of revision or development appeals board, early in the year to ensure expired appointments are updated.
  • Rural municipalities are required to provide an organized hamlet board with a statement of revenue and expenditures by January 20, 2022.
  • Tax liens for 2020 tax enforcement properties are required to be registered by January 31, 2022.
  • The deadline for filing the 2021 Education Property Tax (EPT) annual return is January 31, 2022 (see these EPT Resources for more information). All monthly returns for 2021 MUST be submitted prior to completing your annual return as the monthly amounts reported automatically populate your annual return. If you are unsure if you have filed all returns and made the required payments, look at your municipality's Statement of Account through SETS to determine if any are missing. For more information on how to run a statement of account, contact SETS at 1-800-667-6102.

A detailed Municipal Administrator's Calendar is available to assist you throughout the year on specific deadlines.

Public Notice Policy

All municipalities in Saskatchewan are required to have a public notice policy established by bylaw (see sample bylaw). A public notice bylaw must identify:

  • The matters for which public notice is required according to the appropriate municipal act (The Cities Act, The Municipalities Act or The Northern Municipalities Act, 2010);
  • The minimum number of days' notice that is required;
  • The methods of notice to be followed; and
  • Any other prescribed matters.

Public notice is required before council proposes to deal with or even consider the matter that requires public notice. Some of those matters include (but are not limited to):

  • The consideration of any report to close and lease or close and sell a municipal street or road;
  • The power or duty to hold a public hearing and decide a matter after a public hearing;
  • Council's power to establish a purchasing policy;
  • The establishment of a tax cancellation or abatement policy;
  • The sale or lease of land for less than fair market value and without a public offering;
  • Council's power to set the remuneration for members of council, council committees, and other bodies established by council; and
  • The amendment, repealing or passing of the council procedures bylaw.

Administrators can also consult the Public Notice Obligations resource for further information. Unless a longer time is specified in the municipal act, public notice must be given at least seven days before the council meeting at which the matter is to be considered. Administrators must be aware that the requirement for a public notice policy bylaw is for matters solely under the appropriate municipal act. Other statutes such as The Tax Enforcement Act, The Planning and Development Act, 2007 and The Local Government Election Act, 2015 have different public notice requirements for the different matters within their legislation.

A public notice policy ensures that the notice people can expect is consistent and not made on a case-by-case basis. Although the requirement to have a public notice policy has been in place for several years in all three municipal acts, municipalities are encouraged to review their bylaw. For example, does your municipality now have a website on which public notices will be posted? It may be appropriate to amend your bylaw to identify your municipal website and social media platforms as additional public notice methods.

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2. Local Boards of Revision and Development Appeals Boards

Municipalities may be aware that a private board of revision and development appeals board provider will not be offering its services in 2022. While the Ministry of Government Relations continues to work closely with the municipal sector on its board of revision renewal initiative, these changes remain on target to be in place for the 2023 property tax year.

Municipalities remain responsible for establishing assessment appeal and development appeal boards as the first level of appeal.

Municipalities have some options regarding these boards including:

  • Recruiting citizens from within their communities;
  • Partnering with other municipalities to establish or use existing boards;
  • Doing an internet search for third party providers; or
  • Preparing a request for information or request for proposals from third-party providers using guides and resources available on the SaskTenders website.

A guide for board of revision members is available for download from the Publications Centre.

Development appeals board information can also be found on the provincial website. The Development Appeals Board Guide on this page is under review. The revised guide will be available in January 2022.

Online training for development appeals board and board of revision members and secretaries will soon be available. Details of how to access this training will be included in a future edition of Municipalities Today.

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3. The Construction Codes Act Coming into Force

The Construction Codes Act (the CCA) will come into force on January 1, 2022. The CCA will repeal and replace The Uniform Building and Accessibility Standards (the UBAS Act) as the legislation which governs the construction and occupancy of buildings in Saskatchewan. This includes the adoption of three new regulations:

  • The Building Code Regulations;
  • The Energy Code Regulations; and
  • The Plumbing Code Regulations.

Local authorities are responsible for administering and enforcing the CCA, The Building Code Regulations and The Energy Code Regulations. Saskatoon, Regina, Lloydminster and the Global Transportation Hub are also responsible for administering The Plumbing Code Regulations in their jurisdiction, with the Technical Safety Authority of Saskatchewan responsible for administering the plumbing code throughout the balance of the province.

Local authorities are advised that all contracts, permits, bylaws, licences and building official orders that are valid under the UBAS Act on December 31, 2021, remain valid under the CCA on January 1, 2022. There is no requirement for a local authority to reissue these documents simply because the CCA came into force. However, local authorities are encouraged to update their materials to reference the correct legislation and to ensure materials contain all information required by either the CCA or The Building Code Regulations.

Additional information and resources on the CCA and associated regulations will be available shortly. Local authorities, administrators and building officials who have questions on the CCA should contact Building and Technical Standards Branch at 306-787-4113 or btstandards@gov.sk.ca.

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4. Canada Community-Building Fund – Compliance with PSAB 3150-Tangible Capital Assets

Municipalities participating in the Canada Community-Building Fund (CCBF), formerly the federal Gas Tax Fund program, are required to fulfil a number of requirements as outlined in their Municipal Gas Tax Fund Agreement. The Municipal Compliance Strategy provides further information on significant terms and conditions that must be met in order for a municipality to be considered compliant in order to receive their CCBF payment.

One such term and condition is the annual submission of audited financial statements with an acceptable audit opinion. The municipality's CCBF payment will be placed on hold and may result in removal from the CCBF program if the audited financial statement contains:

  • A denied or no-audit opinion;
  • An adverse audit opinion; or
  • A qualified audit opinion for PSAB 3150-Tangible Capital Assets.

A recent review of the financial statements has noted some municipalities are receiving a qualified audit opinion for non-compliance with PSAB 3150. Auditors have cited the following reasons for the qualification:

  • A detailed record of individual tangible capital assets and amortization expense balances is not maintained; or
  • Cannot locate or re-create the detailed register of all tangible capital assets and their carrying values at the year-end.

Municipalities should work with their auditor to immediately remedy these issues. CCBF program staff may be contacted at ccbfprogram@gov.sk.ca for further information.

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5. 2021 Financial Statements

The 2021 financial statement template was emailed to your municipality in early December 2021. If you did not receive the email, please check your SPAM/JUNK folder. If you are unable to find the email, please email financialstatements@gov.sk.ca or you may download a copy from the Publications Centre.

Your municipality is required to submit a copy of the audited financial statement, auditor's report and management letter to financialstatements@gov.sk.ca on or before July 1, 2022, unless you are a city, in which case your due date is on or before September 1, 2022.

Your municipality is also required to submit a copy of the management letter for any controlled corporation.

Operating under COVID-19 may raise accounting and financial reporting issues that you would not have dealt with as a municipality or are of a greater magnitude than usual. It is important that you consult with your appointed auditor on issues in the Public Sector Accounting Standards that may be of particular relevance to you.

If you have any questions regarding completing or submitting your financial statements, please email financialstatements@gov.sk.ca.

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6. 2021 Grant Confirmation Report

The 2021 Grant Confirmation Report providing a detailed listing of grant payments received in 2021 by your municipality from the Municipal Infrastructure and Finance Branch will be emailed to your municipality in mid-January 2022. If you do not receive the email, please check your SPAM/JUNK folder.

A copy of this report may be forwarded to your auditor to verify the grant payments your municipality received.

If you have any questions about this report, please email financialstatements@gov.sk.ca.

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7. Reminder: Phase 1 Application Deadline Approaching for New ICIP Intake

Municipalities and other eligible applicants are reminded January 11, 2022, is the Phase 1 application deadline for community, culture and recreation projects under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP).

This deadline is for projects at the "shovel-ready" stage. Submitted project applications will also be considered in the second intake phase.

Phase 2 remains open and closes May 10, 2022, which is for more complex projects needing more time to complete applications.

Previously unsuccessful applicants are encouraged to submit eligible project proposals under this new intake.

This will be the last opportunity to apply for these types of projects under ICIP in Saskatchewan, to allow future intakes to focus on other types of infrastructure.

To begin the online application process and to read the full eligibility requirements, visit www.sakatchewan.ca/ICIP.

If you have questions, please contact the Saskatchewan Ministry of Government Relations' Municipal Infrastructure and Finance Branch at infra@gov.sk.ca or 306-787-1262.

Under ICIP, the Government of Saskatchewan secured more than $900 million in federal funding over 10 years, until 2028, to support all types of eligible infrastructure projects in the province.

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