Effective Friday, September 17, a province-wide mandatory masking order will be implemented for all indoor public spaces. 

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2021 February

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1. COVID-19 Material to Share with Citizens

The Ministry of Health created the following fact sheet that you can share with citizens or post in your municipal office:

Facebook profile picture of man's face with tagline "Get Vaccinated!" and "#getvaccinatedsk".Health is also encouraging everyone to update their Facebook profile pic with a "Get Vaccinated!" frame to show your support and encourage your family and friends to get their vaccination. To update your profile, follow these simple steps:

  1. Log into your Facebook profile
  2. Click on Update Profile Picture once there is an option to either upload a new photo or add a frame
  3. Choose "Add a Frame"
  4. Search for #getvaccinatedSK
  5. Choose the 'Get Vaccinated by Government of Sask" frame
  6. Click on "Use as Profile Pic"

For the latest information about the Government of Saskatchewan's COVID-19 Response, visit saskatchewan.ca/COVID19.

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2. Municipal Administrators' Corner

Key Tasks in February and March

  • By end of February: T4 slips and Workers' Compensation Board Employer's Payroll Statement are due.
  • On or before March 1: A regional park authority is to authorize a uniform rate to be levied on properties within a regional park. The park authority shall notify the RM of the rate by March 1 or a mutually agreed upon date.
  • On or before March 1: Requests for a special levy to be placed on properties within an organized hamlet must be received from the board.
  • By March 1: Organized hamlet boards are to submit an annual budget to the RM unless the board and the council have agreed to a different date.
  • By the 10th of each month: Submit school tax collections directly to the Minister of Finance.
  • It's time to start thinking about your 2021 budget. Council must adopt annual operating and capital budgets, and if necessary, adjust tax policies from previous years.

New Sample Bylaw

The Code of Ethics Sample Bylaw was updated and is available on Publications Saskatchewan. Please review with council to determine if your bylaw should be updated.

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3. 2021 Revaluation

Assessment revaluations are based on a four-year cycle. The 2021 revaluation will update assessed values to reflect a new base date of January 1, 2019. The base date means that 2019 values reflect a property's value as of January 1, 2019.

Property tax percentages of value were amended for 2021. A news release was issued on December 4, 2020, outlining the changes. No adjustments were made to residential, non-arable and other agricultural properties; however, the percentage of value for all commercial properties decreased to 85 per cent from the previous 100 per cent. This includes commercial, industrial, elevator, railway, resource and pipeline properties.

Municipalities should carefully examine the assessment shifts and look at the impact revaluation has on the current tax policy. The municipality may need to adjust the mill rate to remain revenue neutral and/or adjust tax tools (minimum tax, base tax, mill rate factors).

Make sure to:

  • Appoint board of revision members and secretary prior to preparation of the assessment roll. Council members and employees are not eligible to sit as members of the board of revision. The assessor is also not eligible to serve as secretary to the board of revision for any appeals involving the municipality where they work.
  • Set the remuneration for the members and secretary of the board of revision. If your municipality is using an independent service provider for the board of revision, review the contract to ensure the agreement is up-to-date.
  • Remove farm dwelling exemptions in unorganized hamlets (pursuant to the recently amended section 293(2)(e) of The Municipalities Act). This is a new provision in the legislation, which came into effect on January 1, 2021.
  • Review all eligible farm dwelling exemptions to ensure 2021 agricultural land values are applied.
  • Include on assessment notices the contact information for the municipality and contact information for the secretary of the board of revision, as well as appeal fees.
  • Allow 60 days for the filing of appeals after the day on which assessment notices are mailed. This does not pertain to amended or supplementary notices, for which the appeal period is 30 days.
  • Advertise in the Saskatchewan Gazette that the assessment roll is open and notify the secretary of the board of revision of the date.
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4. GR Tradeshow Booth Goes ‘Virtual’ at 2021 SARM Convention

SARM will host a virtual convention this year to ensure representatives can still come together safely, in light of COVID-19.

Government Relations will host a virtual tradeshow booth via SARM's online platform. Our staff will be available Tuesday, March 9 and Wednesday, March 10 to answer questions and provide information about:

  • building standards and licensing
  • community infrastructure
  • community planning
  • Indigenous and northern relations
  • municipal administration

Contact information will also be available at the booth for inquiries outside of convention dates and times.

For more details about SARM's convention, visit: https://sarm.ca/events/conventions.

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5. Reminder: Application Intake Open for Cost-Shared Grants under Targeted Sector Support Initiative

The Targeted Sector Support (TSS) Steering Committee is currently accepting applications for municipal projects under the TSS Initiative, with $1.5 million of funds once again made available to Saskatchewan municipalities.

TSS is a portion of Municipal Revenue Sharing used to encourage inter-community collaboration, help build capacity and promote good governance in all Saskatchewan municipalities. The funds are used to support projects that help municipalities to strengthen their core governance and administration responsibilities.

The Steering Committee consists of representatives from the Ministry of Government Relations, the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities, the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association and the Saskatchewan Association of Northern Communities.

The deadline to submit applications is 5 p.m. on March 5, 2021.

Examples of past TSS-funded projects include:

  • training to enhance the governance skills of municipal officials;
  • developing regional emergency plans;
  • completing a joint parks and recreation plan;
  • co-ordinating asset management;
  • harmonizing official community plans and zoning bylaws;
  • undertaking a municipal district feasibility study; and
  • various other projects aimed at strengthening collaboration and co-operation among communities.

For more information on eligibility, program funding and how to apply, visit the TSS Initiative webpage.

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6. Applications Now Open – Community Airport Partnership

Applications are now open for the Community Airport Partnership program. This program provides funding for regional, community-owned airports.

Eligible applicants include:

  • Rural and urban municipalities.
  • Airport authorities that manage community owned airports.

Deadline to apply is February 24, 2021.

Visit the Community Airport Partnership webpage for more information.

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7. 2020 Grant Confirmation Report

The 2020 Grant Confirmation Report, providing a detailed listing of grant payments received in 2020 by your municipality from the Municipal Infrastructure and Finance Branch, was emailed to your municipality in mid-January 2021. If you did 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 are unable to locate the email or if you have any questions about this report, please email financialstatements@gov.sk.ca.

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8. Red Tape Survey: The Uniform Building and Accessibility Standards Act Regulations

Finding ways to reduce red tape is important to help Saskatchewan businesses grow and remain competitive. The Ministry of Government Relations is seeking your input on the following regulations:

These regulations under The Uniform Building and Accessibility Standards Act consist of mostly operational provisions that impact building owners, industry, municipalities, building and fire officials and other interested building and energy code users.

Thank you to all who have already shared their feedback. If you haven't already participated, the Red Tape Survey will continue to accept comments until February 28, 2021.

After the survey closes, a summary of the submissions and next steps will be posted on the Government of Saskatchewan website. For more information, please contact regs@gov.sk.ca.

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9. Update About the New Construction Codes Act

Bill 4 – The Construction Codes Act was introduced as part of the 2020-2021 Legislative Session and will repeal and replace The Uniform Building and Accessibility Standards Act as the legislation which governs the construction and occupancy of buildings in Saskatchewan.

The new Act will modernize legislative standards related to building, energy efficiency and plumbing codes, and will provide additional powers to local authorities to fulfill their responsibility to administer and enforce construction codes. These powers include:

  • allowing building official orders to be registered on the land title registry;
  • providing a default building bylaw for municipalities who have not adopted their own building bylaw;
  • allowing costs of enforcement to be added to the property taxes of a building;
  • encouraging regional co-operation between neighbouring municipalities;
  • allowing municipalities to require a deposit or bond before a building permit is issued;
  • providing additional means of serving documents to building owners; and,
  • allowing pre-rulings by an independent board where there are differences in interpretation of a construction code.

It is anticipated that the new Act will come into force on January 1, 2022, with the 2020 editions of construction codes coming into force on January 1, 2023. For more information, please contact building.standards@gov.sk.ca.

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10. 2020 Financial Statements

The 2020 financial statement template was emailed to your municipality in December 2020. 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 of the template from our website.

Your municipality is required to submit a copy of the audited financial statements, auditor's report and management letter to financialstatements@gov.sk.ca on or before July 1, 2021, unless you are a city, in which case your due date is on or before September 1, 2021.

Effective January 1, 2021, 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 commonly 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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11. New Gas Tax Fund 'How-To' Videos Debut

A pair of new and animated instructional videos about the federal Gas Tax Fund (GTF) program in Saskatchewan have premiered online:

The videos are also available to view on the About the Federal Gas Tax Fund Program page and on the Ministry of Government Relations YouTube Channel.

The federal GTF program in Saskatchewan is administered by the provincial government to help support municipalities.

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12. Gas Tax Fund Reporting Reminders

The Municipal Gas Tax Fund Agreement requires municipalities with active GTF projects to submit a Municipal Annual Expenditure Report (MAER) each calendar year.

Municipalities requiring to complete a MAER for 2020 were emailed a request in January 2021.

If you received a request to complete a MAER for 2020 and have not already done so, please submit your MAER to the Ministry by the March 31, 2021 due date.

For further information, visit the Municipal Annual Expenditure Report webpage or watch the new video about GTF reporting requirements.

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13. Priority Saskatchewan Procurement Training and Resources

Priority Saskatchewan is a division of the Ministry of SaskBuilds and Procurement that is responsible for ensuring procurement across ministries and the Crown sector is fair, open, transparent, and based on international best practice. Priority Saskatchewan is committed to ongoing consultation with industry and stakeholders and continuous procurement improvement.

Priority Saskatchewan has a number of tools and resources that municipalities might find helpful. There are Procurement Templates and Template Preparation Guides available. As well, Priority Saskatchewan offers FREE procurement training and have moved their Module 1 and 2 training online to make them more accessible to all who are interested.

You can read descriptions of the available training on Priority Saskatchewan's website. For more information or to register for a training, please reach out to saskbuilds.prioritysk@gov.sk.ca.

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14. Have a Voice in Creating an Accessible Saskatchewan

The Government of Saskatchewan has begun work on accessibility legislation. In doing so, we are following recommendations in Saskatchewan's Disability Strategy and joining a number of other provinces that have developed similar legislation, including Ontario, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, and British Columbia. As well, the federal government recently passed the Accessible Canada Act.

Accessibility legislation will provide practical and consistent standards to remove and prevent barriers for people with disabilities in our province. We have identified six key areas in which to improve accessibility in Saskatchewan: design of public spaces, certification of service animals, information and communications, public transportation, public service employment and public sector procurement.

This month, we will launch our first round of public engagement. This will inform the creation of an accessibility act, which is the foundation of the legislation and will set the groundwork for developing regulations and standards in key areas under the act. We hope you will take time to provide your ideas and suggestions at accessiblesk.saskatchewan.ca.

Creating legislation is a long process. We are working towards having an accessibility act in place by 2023, with regulations in the key areas developed in the following years. Although the timelines are a few years down the road, the legislation will require some changes to the way organizations and businesses operate and provide services. We are approaching this legislation as a collaborative project to ensure we address the needs of people with disabilities and understand the interests of other stakeholders. We are asking Saskatchewan municipalities to actively participate and partner with us throughout the process of developing legislation. Together, we can move toward a more accessible and inclusive Saskatchewan for all of our residents.

Man in wheelchair playing tennis with tag line "Share your thoughts on accessibility in Saskatchewan today!"

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15. Municipal Sector Governance Program

The Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy (JSGS) is offering spring courses in the Municipal Sector Governance Program targeted specifically for municipal officials in Saskatchewan.

The online program is certified by the University of Regina and the University of Saskatchewan.

Visit the JSGS website for a list of upcoming courses and costs.

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