November 05, 2015

New Boundary Alteration Guidelines Announced For Saskatchewan Municipalities

The Government of Saskatchewan, in collaboration with its municipal partners, today announced a new set of guidelines that will help local governments determine appropriate levels of financial compensation for boundary alterations.

“These guidelines fulfil our commitment under the Saskatchewan Plan for Growth to provide guidance to municipal governments that are dealing with negotiations over boundary alterations,” Government Relations Minister Jim Reiter said.  “They also preserve the autonomy of local government while providing maximum flexibility on how best to achieve mutually-acceptable annexation agreements.”

The new guidelines – developed in close collaboration with the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA) and the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) – provide a road map for municipal governments during negotiations, to achieve financial settlements that are fair and equitable to both parties.

The guidelines are designed to establish consistency and fairness for financial settlements during boundary alterations.  They are based on a series of principles that include a set of related questions and answers to explain how they should be interpreted and applied locally by rural and urban municipalities.

"SUMA is proud that our work with our partners at SARM and the province has resulted in a resource to help provide direction and frame discussions around boundary alterations when necessary," SUMA President Debra Button said.  "These voluntary guidelines respect municipal ability to decide what works best for them, while offering best practices for boundary alteration and building relationships in our regions."

“Economic and population growth across the province have made boundary alterations more commonplace today than in the past,” SARM President Ray Orb said.  “We hope that municipalities will use the new guidelines to reach voluntary boundary alteration agreements before turning to the Saskatchewan Municipal Board to resolve disputes.”

The Saskatchewan Municipal Board (SMB) can also use the guidelines as a basis to resolve boundary alteration disputes.

The SMB will encourage municipalities to use them as the first step in achieving a voluntary agreement through negotiation and mediation prior to any adjudication by the board.  Other measures have already been taken by the province to streamline the boundary alteration process including a series of legislative amendments made in 2013.

The ministry has also developed a manual to help guide the alteration process.  The guidelines and annexation manual can be found online at www.saskatchewan.ca/government/municipal-administration/community-planning-land-use-and-development/municipal-status-and-boundary-changes/annexation

“The guidelines for boundary alterations will give our municipal partners guidance when negotiating these agreements without the province establishing complicated rules and regulations,” Reiter said.  “That, combined with our other legislative changes, will continue to encourage economic growth in our communities.”