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2021 January

Municipalities Today is a web-based newsletter published monthly. 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 Publications Saskatchewan.

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1. Municipal Administrator's Corner

The sample Code of Ethics Bylaw has been updated and is available on Publications Saskatchewan.

Key Tasks in January and February

  • Confirm the date of audit the with the auditor. (Section 188 of The Municipalities Act, section 210 of The Northern Municipalities Act, 2010 or section 159 of The Cities Act).
  • Add year-end penalties for taxes in arrears to tax roll, if not already done.
  • Anytime between January 1 and November 15: submit list of lands with arrears of taxes to head of council, in duplicate, in accordance with The Tax Enforcement Act.
  • At first council meeting in January: Present administrator's bond or proof of equivalent insurance.
  • By the 10th of each month: file the Education Property Tax (EPT) Return for the previous month through SETS and remit payment to the Minister of Finance.
  • By January 20: rural municipalities must provide any organized hamlet board the Statements of Revenues and Expenditures for the previous year (Section 34 of The Municipalities Regulations).
  • By January 31: complete and submit annual EPT Return on SETS.
  • By January 31: register tax liens, if not already completed.
  • Notify other taxing authorities of any tax exemptions for the purpose of economic development prior to February 1st of first year of agreement. An exemption or partial exemption by a council of EPT levied on behalf of the Government of Saskatchewan is to be granted in accordance with The Education Property Tax Act.
  • Complete year-end procedures to prepare for audit.
  • Review previous year's revenues and expenditures in preparation of the budgeting process.
  • Review signing authorities and appointments for:
    • committees and boards (including library board);
    • municipal officials (building inspector, pest control officer, bylaw enforcement officer, etc.); and
    • auditor and solicitor.
  • Notify the Executive Director of the Crops and Irrigation Branch at the Ministry of Agriculture of the appointment of a weed inspector by your council under the authority of The Weed Control Act (if applicable).
  • Appoint Board of Revision members and secretary, and set remuneration. Council cannot appoint council members or employees to the board, nor the assessor as the secretary. This shall be done before the assessment roll is prepared.
  • Remit PST payable to the Ministry of Finance by the last day of the month following the end of the reporting period to avoid fines and penalties.
  • Remit GST return for 2020.
  • Complete and submit annual payroll returns, including T4s.
  • By February 28: complete and submit annual Workers' Compensation Board statement, as well as an estimate of employee earnings for current year.

Remember that a detailed legislative and operational calendar is available online.

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2. Legislation Amendments Effective January 1, 2021

Below are reminders of some amendments to legislation that came into force January 1, 2021. Please refer to the Bulletins for more detailed information.

  • Clarifying that the 60-day appeal period in a revaluation year applies to the initial assessment notice, not an amended or supplementary notice where it has a 30-day period (Section 226 of The Municipalities Act).
  • Clarifying that secretaries of appeal boards must explain deficiencies in a notice of appeal (Section 226, 247 of The Municipalities Act).
  • Ensuring the property owner is informed of an agreement to adjust an assessment or a new valuation or classification due to an appeal, if not a party to the agreement or appeal (Section 228, 256 of The Municipalities Act).
  • Allowing a board of revision decision to be mailed by ordinary mail to be consistent with how decisions of the Saskatchewan Municipal Board Assessment Appeals Committee may be sent (Section 240 of The Municipalities Act).
  • Requiring the owner be notified of the decision, if the owner of the property is not a party to the appeal (Section 240 of The Municipalities Act).
  • Changing the allotted time for decisions on all appeals from 90 days to 180 days (Section 240 of The Municipalities Act).
  • Stating that municipalities shall submit to the minister a mill rate survey return, information respecting tax tools, tax rates and any other taxes and rates levied or proposed to be levied, by August 15th, in the prescribed form (Section 290.01 of The Municipalities Act).
  • Removing farm dwelling exemption in unorganized hamlets (Section 293 of The Municipalities Act).
  • Implementing changes to the number of trailers or mobile homes allowed by permit from "two or more" to "one or more" (Section 306 of The Municipalities Act).
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3. Progress Continues on the Board of Revision Renewal Project

Late last year, the Ministry of Government Relations asked for your feedback on improving the assessment appeal system. Specifically, we requested your help to explore how to best govern and fund one of the four components of a new model: a provincial registrar as the first and single point of contact for all assessment appeals in the province. Feedback was gathered in two ways:

  • an online survey, with over 300 responses; and
  • focus groups, facilitated by Praxis Consulting, with a total of 28 participants.

The ministry thanks all municipalities for their active participation and feedback! If you would like to provide further feedback, please send an email to property.tax@gov.sk.ca.

The results of the survey and focus groups revealed diverse thoughts on the scope of duties for a provincial registrar and the potential for municipalities to cost-share the expenses. No clear consensus emerged from the conversations. The thoughtful feedback will be used by the ministry and steering committee as we continue to design and develop an improved assessment appeal system, aligned with the four previously identified model components:

  • training and certification;
  • a provincial board of revision;
  • a provincial registrar; and
  • oversight.

This work will be prioritized to focus on the initial system problems identified by the 2019 Praxis Report on stakeholder consultation.

Training for board of revision chairs, members and secretaries

An immediate priority for the project is to provide current boards of revision with training to assist them in the short-term (see the November 2020 Municipalities Today story about this training).

In December 2020, the ministry hosted a series of pre-recorded and live webinars that discussed administrative law and administrative tribunals. If you were unable to attend, you can watch the recorded webinars at:

We strongly encourage all municipal administrators to share the link with their boards of revision and encourage them to use the material to prepare for upcoming appeals.

The ministry and the project steering committee are continuing to work on a comprehensive training program that will be available by fall of 2021.

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4. Targeted Sector Support Initiative: Application Intake Coming Soon

The Targeted Sector Support (TSS) Initiative provides cost-shared grants to municipalities partnering on projects focused on regional cooperation, capacity building and good governance.

Funding for TSS ($1.5 million per fiscal year) is derived from a portion of municipal revenue sharing. The funds are used to support projects that help advance priorities set by the Steering Committee.

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

The Steering Committee will soon be accepting applications for funding under this program.

To apply, please check the Targeted Sector Support Initiative page, once the anticipated application window opens.

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5. Deadline Fast Approaching: Municipal Revenue Sharing Grant - Declaration of Eligibility

The deadline for submission of the online Declaration of Eligibility is January 31, 2021.

To avoid your municipality's Municipal Revenue Sharing Grant for the 2021-22 year from being withheld, ensure your municipality submits its online Declaration of Eligibility and that your municipality meets all eligibility requirements. Please refer to the Declaration of Eligibility Guide and Infographic for additional information on the declaration process and eligibility requirements.

The unique link and password for the online Municipal Revenue Sharing Grant Declaration of Eligibility was emailed to each municipality on November 13, 2020. If you did not receive the email, please email grcompliance@gov.sk.ca requesting the email be re-sent.

A completed declaration requires a resolution from council confirming the eligibility requirements the municipality meets. The ministry does not require a certified copy of the resolution unless the municipality is contacted for a random audit. Administrators who have not yet submitted the online declaration will want to ensure the Declaration of Eligibility is on the January council meeting agenda for a resolution from council.

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